Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Caesar or Jesus

In the days of Caesar Augustus, Jesus was born in Bethlehem

The Christmas story tells of the birth of a new king. The world was moving according to the orders of Caesar Augustus, but although he was hailed as the great bringer of peace, real peace on earth would be realized only through the sovereignty of the child born in Bethlehem. Today the world moves to the orders of many different Caesars …there is the Caesar who is called The Market, and he speaks each day from New York  where he goes by the name Dow Jones,
Tokyo (Hang Sen), Paris (Cac) and London (FTSE), and he speaks and reacts each day,… then there is the Caesar of Brussels which this nation voted to leave earlier this year … but only to eventually be replaced by a more local Caesar as we “take back control”. The USA has just rejected one form of Caesar for a new Caesar. Various Caesars in the ME have visited humanitarian disaster on the people of Allepo in this last week. The Caesar in Russia is said to have manipulated the vote in the USA and is getting ready to do the same in German elections. Caesar still seems to hold much power and calls us to submit to him in many different ways.
And then of course there is the Caesar deep within each one us, who goes by the name of sin, and who rules to the degree that each of us let him.

The Christmas story tells of the birth of a new king during the rule of Caesar Augustus. The world moves according to the orders of different Caesars all with their promises of peace and stability and better times, but real peace on earth is realized only through the sovereignty of the child born in Bethlehem. And real peace in the depths of your being is only realised through the sovereignty of the child born in Bethlehem.

This is the story of the birth of a new kind of king. His birth reveals a new world order, a world not under Caesar but under the direction of God’s design for the redemption of all peoples. In this world, God’s Word is spoken to and heard by anyone who will listen. There is a place even for shepherds. Under His rule, there is hope for the oppressed by the caesars of today, forgiveness for those who recognise and desire the need for it,… and those who heard what God was doing then were filled with joy, and those who hear today can experience that same joy. The message of Christmas remains this: God has not forgotten us or abandoned us to the brokenness we have created. Caesar never has the final word. The story of Christmas, therefore, is both an announcement of hope and a call to humility.

We’ve sung of all this this evening:
Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
News! News!
Joy! Joy!
Peace! Peace!
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Shepherds, in the fields abiding
Watching o'er your flocks by night
God with man is now residing
Yonder shines the infant light
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

Will you receive Him this Christmas? … His rule on earth begins with his rule in you. His promise of peace on earth begins with peace in you. His message of joy is His promise to you. If you don’t know the peace and joy we have sung of, perhaps it is because you haven't yet been saved. If that is the case, before you leave this place, breathe an earnest prayer to God, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner. Lord, I need to be saved. Save me. I call upon your name." 

Join with me in prayer right now, I beg you. Join with me while I put words into your mouth, and speak them on your behalf—"Lord, I am guilty … I let so many caesars rule in my life. I deserve your rejection. Lord, I cannot save myself … I throw myself completely upon you and into you, O Lord. I trust the blood and righteousness of Jesus; I trust your mercy, and your love, and your power, as they are revealed in Him. I take hold of this word of yours, that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Lord, save me tonight, for Jesus' sake. Amen."

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