Yes, I know it’s not Christmas yet. But I want to get you thinking about its non-religious meaning before all the commercial and religious huppla makes you numb to the topic. And I want you to have a whole new experience this year. So forget everything you’ve ever heard “Christians” and atheists say regarding Jesus and read to the end.
Etymology of “Holiday”
The word “Holiday” came from the phrase “Holy Day.” (Ought Oh . . . you ARE talking religion. NO I’m NOT! Keep reading!) “Holy Day” meant “a day set aside” for a special purpose or remembrance. It was a day set aside specifically to think about and commemorate a theme which or person who impacted history. And to enjoy related discussions and remembrances with friends and family. On Memorial Day, we not only have the day off, but we have it off because brave men and women died to preserve our freedom and liberty. Martin Luther King Day commemorates the ministry and life of Dr. King and his valiant stand for civil rights against bigotry and oppression.
So why is Christmas a “Holy day”?
The One whose birthday we celebrate every December 25–though that was not the actual date when he was born–has so impacted the world you and I live in, that time itself is classified as A.D. “Anno Dei”–“the year of our Lord.” The celebration of that birth–the birth of God’s Messiah (or “anointed One”) divides old history (B.C.) from new history (A.D). The coming or “advent” of the Messiah not only did that, but it ushered in a new Kingdom. A Kingdom far different from the Kingdoms of men. It divided of an Old Covenant with God and ushered in a New Covenant (that’s where believers get the tern “New Testament” even though it’s origin is thousands of years old). When Messiah Jesus came, He inaugurated the prophesied “Kingdom of God.” What’s more, He claimed that Kingship. And God backed Him up, proving His claims by raising Him from the dead. NO OTHER HISTORIC WORLDVIEW CLAIMS A RESURRECTED SAVIOR AS ITS LIVING LEADER. Yes, Jesus is Alive! This is not religion. This is HISTORY.
The Supernatural Kingdom of God
People have always mistaken that Kingdom God for a human, political/religious Kingdom. Yet, that Kingdom has been expanding and growing quietly, secretly just as Jesus said it would. Most often, the Royal Reign of God is totally missed . . . even by so-called “Christians.” But those who are truly included in that Kingdom understand and expand it joyfully. We recognize its supernatural origins and ultimate natural manifestation.
“he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:10)
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3)
“for through him [Jesus] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
The Shepherd-King Knows Us
We aren’t necessarily recognized by the world or even by the church, but we know that we know the King and–more importantly–He knows us personally. He communicates with us and we with Him (Gospel of John 10:14, 23). Those who say that they are followers of Christ or know Him are quite mistaken if they have never heard Him call them by name. Hear what Jesus himself says regarding this:
“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3–4)
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14–15)(emphasis mine)
Jesus–the Shepherd King–is the reason for the season. He is the center-point of human history. It is from His life that both western and eastern Christianity were birthed. Granted, Christian orthodoxy has swung wide from it’s original intent and founder, but that does not mean that His was a life to be ashamed of or relegated to “religion.” Jesus is King of the Royal Reign of God–the Kingdom of God. He is God’s best and final WORD to hurting, distressed, and broken world.
Here and Coming Kingdom
The horrors converging upon this world in the forms of Ebola, ISIS, weather anomalies, kingdom rising up against kingdom, decadence and dissolution are evidences of the second-coming of the King:
“Then he [Jesus] gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:29–36)
You are Invited IF you Hear His Voice
This Christmas, perhaps you might think about topics worthy of the season, you will give and receive gifts, but if you don’t know the Shepherd-King’s voice or have fellowship and great joy from knowing Him (especially if He doesn’t know you), you have a hopeful word from Him. He said:
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)(emphasis mine)
If you don’t know Him. If you’ve never asked Him to call you by name . . . Don’t waste a moment. Get alone and in all seriousness call upon Him with a sincere heart and watch the miracle unfold over the next few hours, days or weeks. He has another promise:
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37)(emphasis mine)
Celebrate a Messiah-centered Christmas this year as a follower of the Shepherd-King whose Kingdom is Just, good, compassionate, supernatural, and everlasting!
DISCLAIMER: We don’t behead those who don’t want the Royal Reign of our God. We grieve that they have missed out on the Kingdom and our most wonderful Shepherd and have never heard His voice.
Related Posts you May want to Consider:
We just sold our Celebration Center. Now our church family meets at our home. We’re a house church. Our first meeting was last Sunday. God met us and we were all full of joy. We know God is doing something new in our midst and we have set our hearts on following. But . . .
We have also changed our heartset along with our change of meeting location, we decided not to be–as one brother put it–“a church service caught by a living room.” I don’t want that. And I’m grateful that the folks in the New Life family don’t want that either. We made decisions. We are making real changes. We prefer productive over active. I’m proud of the brothers and sisters I fellowship with. They want to catch fish, not just study fishing or sing about fishing. We’ve all done that for too long. We’re not the church that has it right. We respect and honor the other churches in our region who love Jesus and people too. All we’re doing is following the Lord where He is leading ANY church that is doing that will be not only busy, but productive with the fruit of the Kingdom.
So . . . I’m sharing this important link, because I want to keep this truth before us and I want to reach out to other believers to do some serious soul-searching and then . . . TAKE ACTION!
I hear the following video challenge loud and clear.
QUESTION: Do you know a friend who needs to consider this challenge too?
I am small, but in this post, I have embraced a huge task. I seek to glorify another. My voice is not loud, but perhaps, because of the internet, it will be heard (if not believed).
First, I hope to help redeem the term “Christian”–which I would define as “a regenerate (born from the Father) disciple of Christ,” so that we can once again use it free from historic baggage and pejorative connotations.
Second, I hope to clearly portray a true Christian.
The only way to do that is to renounce Christianity’s historic counterpart–Churchianity.
As one appointed by Jesus, not of men, I tell you authoritatively that those who claimed in the past to be “Christians” (followers of Christ) and yet put Muslims to death for not believing, or tortured those who did not convert were IN NO WAY Christians. They were sons of their father whom Jesus identified as the Devil (Satan). If only discerning disciples of Jesus would see much of church history in this way, we could once and for all set the record straight. Let’s let the Word of God speak to them:
“All those who say they know Jesus but do not walk as he walked are liars (and we know who the father of lies is) and the truth is not in them.” —First Epistle of John, Chapter 2, verses 4-7.
No believer can, by the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, deny the character of Christ by word or deed. Yet that’s what much of historic “Christianity” (which I call “Churchianity” from here forward) did. By their actions Churchianity denied Christ and even put to death true believers and followers of Jesus, because the believers would not relent from their pure faith in Christ to follow dead forms and traditions of men. These dead forms and traditions (“religion”) were kept alive by evil men. Often, those who could afford to give the biggest estates and most money to the church hierarchy received titles and position in the church. These abuses are well documented in church history. Jesus warned that wolves would come in among the flock and ravage it FROM INSIDE. These are men who grasp power, riches, notoriety, and influence–all of which true disciples of Jesus would renounce, like their Master. These parasites were animated by religious flesh and were themselves the guardians of demonic strongholds. Unfortunately, Churchianity continues to be led by these unregenerate men. They have no loyalty to Jesus but use his name for their purposes, to consolidate their institutions, introduce false, heretical doctrines of demons, and lord it over the vulnerable and gullible. They create a culture of fear and shame to hold people in line.
A man of a particular “Christian” sect once told me that if the Inquisitions had succeeded, and were still in effect, he would delight to give the order to put me to death. He told me this with vehement anger and bulging veins as he shouted in my face that because I believed what Jesus said about having to be spiritually born from God that I was a heretic. This man would have made a good church leader in the middle ages. But he would not have been a good Christian. He is the stuff religious Churchianity is made of. See why, in a previous post, I despise religion?
Simply read the Book of Martyrs and see. Read about the voices of the radical reformation that stood against this pagan form of Christianity. That form of religion is what has prevented many millions from turning to Christ to find his arms open to receive and love them. Only the final judgment of God will put an end to “religion,” but I’ll be happy to see that Day with my Savior and Father. As the Word of God teaches, we who know and love Him will judge fallen angels and remand the spirits behind religion to the Lake of Fire. What a day of rejoicing that will be, when people are no longer troubled by Satan’s host. And Churchianity dies.
All that remains is this last word: Any “Christianity” that does not walk as Jesus walked is a counterfeit and a blasphemy against God the Father and Jesus our Lord. And how did Jesus walk? In humility and obedience to the Father. Loving his brothers and doing the works of the Father. Sharing the Beautiful News of the Royal Reign of God. This is Christianity, the only one God recognizes.