Featured in the December, 2016 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
For most people in the world Christmas comes with chilling winds and snowdrifts. No wonder we have in our minds the familiar scene of a family gathered around a cozy fireplace. It feels good to be inside by a warm fire on a cold night.
However, as we open our Bibles we discover no one was inside at that first Christmas. Everybody was outside.
“There were the shepherds living out in the fields” (Luke 2:8). They shivered through the chilly night protecting the sleeping sheep. They were not insiders, but outsiders.
The Wise Men were on the road from Chaldea to Judea. Following the star, they camp out along a caravan route as the chill of night bites into their bones. These Savior-seeking star-followers are not gathered by some blazing hearth. They are not insiders, but outsiders.
Joseph and his wife, Mary, who is about to deliver her child, are also outside. Bethlehem is bulging with people who have come to be counted in the census. They go from house to house, only to be turned away. Again and again they are told, “No room”. For this night, Joseph and Mary are no more than street people as finally they seek shelter in a shed. Refused by everyone, they are not insiders, but outsiders.
But the glorious message of Christmas is that Jesus came to bring us inside. The Lord Jesus offers to make insiders of all the outsiders.
The grand announcement is that we are all inside God’s love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus did not come to take in the “good” people, but to let sinners come inside. He said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). Never think of yourself as outside of God’s love. In spite of our sins, we are all inside of God’s love. If God loved only good people, He would not love anyone. The glory of the Gospel is that God loves sinners.
The Lord Jesus Christ has come to bring us inside His forgiveness that we might experience, by His grace, release from all of our sins. Whether it is the haughty, religious Nicodemus or the Samaritan woman with her shabby morals, or a Zacchaeus who has ripped off his neighbors in Jericho, there is total forgiveness for all who repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Does not the Scripture say, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9)? Yes, the Christmas message is that all who were outside of God’s forgiveness can be inside and be forgiven.
This is what Jesus does — He makes insiders of outsiders. The message of the season is that you can be inside the family of God. The word is “Yet to all who received Him, those who believed on His name, He gave the right to become the children of God” (John 1:12). You don’t have to be outside looking in on God’s family. You can be inside. You can be a part of that family through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But best of all, the glorious Truth is that you can be inside heaven. You want to be inside heaven because “Outside are the dogs, those who practice the magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolators and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15).
You do not want to be outside heaven nor does Jesus want you outside for He said, “I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). This is where you belong in eternity - inside heaven in the place that the Lord Jesus Christ has prepared for you.
Yes, you can be inside. This is the day to repent of sin and receive Christ. As you turn from sin and trust in the Savior, you receive the gift of life everlasting and heaven itself. No longer are you an outsider, but an insider.
This is the message of Christmas, that the Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth to change you from being an outsider so, that you may become an insider.