by William J. Stewart
A common maxim postulated by some this time of year is the need to keep the Christ in Christmas. Such vehemently affirm Jesus was born on December 25; and He is the reason for the season. I’ll simply reference a text for folks to carefully consider (Luke 2:8), and move on to a more important topic.
There is a much bigger issue facing those who claim to be Christians than whether Jesus was born on December 25 or not. As indicated by the title, this more critical matter is whether Jesus is welcome in our lives and assemblies. Sadly, there are some who identify as Christians who neither know the Christ nor are known by Him.
How can I make such a judgment? The Lord has already done so. There are some who like to wear the name of Christ but truly have no interest in what His word says. Friends, it is not possible to receive the Lord and reject His word at the same time (John 12:47-48). Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 7:21-23 that if we are not doing the will of His Father, then He does not know us, and we will find ourselves cast out of His presence in eternity.
Paul spoke of some who
…profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16)
What do our works say about us? Whom do they give glory to? Are we self-serving or are we serving the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:15)? Is Christ at the center of our lives, or does He occupy a small place on the fringe, where He and His will won’t get in the way of what we want to do? If this is the case, then we need to repent of our insolence before it’s too late! If we are living for ourselves, then Christ is not in us.
John very plainly wrote:
…he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given to us. (1 John 3:24)
What about in our assemblies? Is the Lord our reason for coming together? Unequivocally, if Jesus is not central in the lives of those who are assembling, then it is impossible for Him to be in the assembly itself.
Revelation 1:12-20 pictures the Lord walking in the midst of His churches. However, as we go into the next couple chapters, we find that He is not pleased with all that is going on. The church at Ephesus was busy in their service, and commended for a lot of things, but they had left the Lord behind—they were not doing what they were doing for Him. They had left their first love (Revelation 2:4). Jesus instructed them to repent, or He would remove their lampstand (Revelation 2:5).
The churches at Pergamos & Thyatira held to false doctrines (Revelation 2:14-15, 20). They were instructed to repent, or the Lord would come against them (Revelation 2:16, 21-22).
The church at Sardis was dead (Revelation 3:1). The solution was to repent (Revelation 3:3).
The church at Laodicea was apathetic (Revelation 3:15-16). Once more, the only way to fix it and be what the Lord expects His church to be was to repent (Revelation 3:19).
Is the Christ in our assembly? Are we proclaiming His word, glorifying His name, and doing His work? Realize, the church cannot be better than the parts that make it up. So, you and I need to live for the Lord, seeking His will and accomplishing it in our lives. If we do not, then let’s not deceive ourselves. We cannot be Christians without the Christ. We cannot have the hope of heaven if we neglect His will. It is essential that we keep the Christ in Christianity.