Do You Have Room For Christ; and Does Christ Have a Room For You?

Sunday, December 25th, 2011
Sermon Series: Topical

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Do you Have Room for Christ

and does Christ Have a Room for You?

 

A little girl came home from Sunday school triumphantly waving a paper.  “Mommy,” she said.  “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”  The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture.  “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.

“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious.  “Oh,” the mother said cautiously.  “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?”  “That’s Pontius, the pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient.

“I see.  And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby,” she volunteered.  Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”  The little girl sighed.  “Can’t you tell?  That’s round John Virgin!”

Christmas has become familiar to us–maybe too familiar.  The scene over two centuries ago is unmistakable.  A lot of you have little nativities set up in your home, complete with stable, animals, Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus.  But do you have it right?  Do you really want to be biblical, or feel all warm and fuzzy in your Christian traditions, but be dead wrong?

Every picture I have seen shows Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem, but the Bible is silent about how they traveled–she could have walked or traveled by a cart.  The wise men don’t belong in your manger, they haven’t arrived yet–the Bible says they found Jesus in a house by the time they arrived.  We don’t know how many wise men actually came to see Christ.  Even though there were three gifts, there may have been more wise men.  And how many angels do you have?  There was one angel who spoke to them, but it was a multitude, too numerous to count, who praised God saying not “My Sweet Lord,” but “Glory to God in the highest.”

How much of the world’s commercialism and ideas have made their way into your thinking about Christ and Christmas?  After 2,000 years of retelling and romanticizing, most people see the manger scene as a beautiful story, eagerly anticipated like a Star Wars-episode one, or The Hobbit.  But it wasn’t.  Open your Bibles to Luke 2.  The world didn’t eagerly wait in line for the Christ child to come.  On the contrary, the world was so busy with its own affairs, it didn’t even make room for Christ to be born.

And nothing has changed today.  Many of your friends and family express sentimental thoughts about the infant Jesus as they go about their own affairs at Christmastime.  But very few pay any attention to the real Christ, for if they did, they would submit to their Creator and Lord.  He was not merely a baby born who would represent peace–He was the Creator God who took on human flesh in order to take the punishment you deserve for your sin, and make a way for you to have peace with the God you’re in rebellion to.

Some will think about Christ, possibly even ponder Him deeply, but they will not bow before Him as a slave does to a master, nor as a creature does His Creator, or as a sinner does His Savior.  But that is no different than when Christ was actually born.  The first century world was not looking expectantly for Christ when He came.  You remember what happened when eternal God was born as a man in Luke 2:1-7?

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  With Christ today, just like the first century, there seems to be . . .

#1  No room for Christ with the leaders

There was no room for Christ in the palaces of the leaders of the first century.  Caesar would not make room.  The idea of the great Caesar Augustus making room for a humble carpenter from Nazareth and his pregnant wife-to-be Mary, is preposterous.

Herod would not make room for Christ.  He ruled within twelve miles of where Christ was born.  Yet he was so far from making room, he actually plotted to have the young child killed when the birth was at last made known to Herod by the wise men.  And today is no different–senators, congressmen and presidents, kings, princes and queens have no room for Christ.  Oh they acknowledge Christ, go to events that honor Christ, but they do not follow Christ, nor submit to Christ, nor obey Christ as their Lord and Master.

Christ is the Prince of Peace, but leaders often delight in war.  The Lord Jesus is truth and conviction, but presidents are all politics and compromise.  Rulers love grandeur, pomp and hail to the chief, but Jesus is all simplicity and weakness–a carpenter’s son and the companion of fishermen.  Leaders have no room for Christ today.

Neither was there any room for Christ with the philosophers and educators of the first century.  Today, many scientists, PhD’s, college professors and media talking heads laugh at the reality of Christ as the only way to be right with God.  They’re insulted, even indignant when you quote John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”  Or Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

But it was no different back then—the educated leaders in Israel knew what the prophets had predicted about the coming Messiah in detail.  They knew so much from Micah 5:2, they could even tell Herod exactly where the Christ was to be born–in the city of Bethlehem.  Yet when the magi came later and inquired as to where the Christ was, Herod asked his brainy ones where the Christ was to be born, and amazingly they answered correctly.  Yet not one of the educated leaders—not one bothered to go to Bethlehem to greet the infant Christ, let alone worship Him.

Seldom do we find submission to Christ in the seats of learning today.  Few of the super brainy, brawny or big shots turn to Christ alone to be saved.  The Bible even warns us in 1 Corinthians 1:26, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.”

Few of this world’s professors, learned religious leaders, men of power or influence have room for Jesus.  They are too proud to admit their need, so the Gospel, the good news of (how Christ has provided for people) the only way to be re-established into a right relationship with God is foolish to them.  Christ is God who died in your place for your sin, providing the only way to get to heaven.  And this salvation is so merciful, the good news declares it is Christ alone who must awaken your heart to see the need of turning from your sin in repentance and depending on Him alone by faith.

Yet all of this is rejected by them.  They say, if man even needs God, he can work his way to heaven.  Just choose to follow a religion so you can earn your way.  And because they oppose God alone providing salvation, people today refuse to call Christ the first-cause Creator–they say science proves the world created itself.

They refuse to say that sin has terrible consequences, so they redefine sin as a problem needing adjustment.  They refuse to see Christ as the only way to heaven, so they assert there are no absolute truths–everyone’s opinion is as much truth as anyone else’s opinion.  At every step, the people with a voice today, the entertainers, media talking heads, and politicians have sought to dismantle the true reason Christ was born a baby.  They’ve rejected that Christ came to rescue you from your sins, that He came to offer you the only way you can be forgiven, that He came to offer you the only way you can be rightly restored with your Creator, now and forever.

Like the politicians and learned men of our day, those back in the first century had no room for Christ either.  But were there not good families in Bethlehem who might have taken Him in?  Undoubtedly there must have been God-fearing, well-to-do families in Bethlehem, and godly businessmen who supported the poor.  But I do not read these good families made room for a woman in labor, or later welcomed her child.  They may have been very gracious to each other, but there was no more space for Jesus in the guestrooms of the well-to-do families than there was in the palaces of the kings, or in the classrooms of the educators.  The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:4 that Jesus Christ was “rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God.”  It wasn’t merely kings and PhD’s, there was no room.

#2  No room for Christ with everyday people

If I could plug this projector into your head and see your heart, we may discover some surges of self-satisfaction.  You may be thinking, “even though it is true there was no place for Christ among the wise, mighty, or noble of this world, surely there was a place for Him among the common people such as ourselves.  We’d welcome Him.”  But would we?  In Christ’s day, inns were not the stopping places of the rich or noble.  The rich stayed with their friends.  Inns were the stopping places of the common folks who had nowhere else to go.  And it was precisely the inn that had no place for Jesus.

We sometimes try to convince ourselves that common people are more charitable or sympathetic than the rich or the powerful.  We speculate everyday people are more responsive to the claims of religion and the needs of people.  But that is not so.  Rather, the Bible teaches all of us, even common folk in Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

Let’s be fair. It is easy to understand why the common folk who filled the inn that first Christmas did not receive Christ.  For one thing, others had simply come first.  The inn was full, and why should one (who had possessed the wisdom to arrive early) make way for those who came late, regardless of how pressing the need was?  For another thing, there was no obvious difference.  True, the woman was with child.  But so were thousands of other women.  Perhaps if they had possessed money they might have been welcomed.  But they did not.  They were poor, so there was literally no incentive to show concern or attention.  So Christ was crowded out.

But could this be a description of your life?  If you are honest, only if you are willing to look genuinely at reality, you will admit that every chamber of your soul is so filled with human interests, there is little room for Christ.  There is little vital interest in Him.  There is little time for Him.  And this is true simply because our time is demanded by a thousand other things.  Our interest is drawn off in a thousand other directions, and our life is full with possessions, pleasures and people—until strange though it seems, there is no room for the Savior in our lives either, except in a very small stable in our soul.

I wonder if Jesus is in the stable of your life, or is He in the spread of your life?  I wonder if Christ is relegated to a stall, or sitting on the throne of your heart?  Is Christ centered on Sunday only, or central every day in everything?

So many have added Christ to their lifestyle with some sort of decision, but in reality they have not submitted to Christ as their Master.  The true Christ is never merely a resident in your life–if you truly know Him, He is the president of your life.  Just because you call yourself a Christian, prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, served him for a while, have been baptized does not make you a genuine Christian.

Remember the warning of Matthew 7:22 to 23, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  If you are a Christian, you will do what Christ says.  If you are a Christian, you will follow Christ in all you do–John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  And until Christ reigns upon the throne of your life, you cannot regard yourself as being any better than the people of Christ’s day, and possibly not a Christian at all.

It often seems that Christians today have no room for Christ, except to stick Him in a stall until they really need help ­­­­­from a crisis.  So many who call themselves Christians don’t have time for Christ as the central core priority and purpose of their being–they just have too much to do.

So today, have you submitted to Christ or have you merely stuck the sticker of Christianity on your Sunday lapel?  Is Jesus in a closet of your life, or is He at the core of your life?  Until He has indwelt you and reigns upon the throne of your life, you can’t regard yourself as being in any better position than those who slept comfortably while Mary gave birth to her child in a stable.

#3  Do you have room?

Someone says, “Yes, I have room for Christ, but I am unworthy.”  Of course you are unworthy.  This world is unworthy of Christ–He is our Creator and King.  But He still came here as a baby.  And, as if to make the truth obvious beyond all question, He had His birth in a place where they keep animals.  “My life is so vile,” says another.  But wasn’t the stable vile?  Did it not also smell of corruption?

“But I am afraid of Him,” says a third.  What?  Afraid of Jesus?  What harm has He done?  I read a story recently of an old woman who was in distress because of her deep poverty.  She was afraid that one day the police would come and arrest her because of her debts.  It happened that a godly Christian minister heard of her plight, and raised money to pay off her creditors.

Then, with the receipt for the debt in his pocket, and with some food for her present needs, he went to find her.  The neighbors knew her only by the name “Abigail.”  When he got to the building where she lived, the minister asked, “Can you tell me where Abigail lives?”  He was told to go up the stairs to a certain room.  He went to the door and knocked.  He waited, but there was no answer.  He knocked again–no answer.  He called, “Abigail, are you in there?”  Nothing.

At last he went back down the stairs and started to leave–but as he left, her neighbors asked him, “Did you find her?”  “No,” he answered. “She is not in.”  “Oh, she’s in, all right.  She’s just not letting you in.  She’s afraid you are one of her creditors, and she is just not opening the door.”  When he heard this, the minister went back up the stairs to the room and called out, “Abigail, let me in!  I’m the minister, and I’ve come to see you.”  “Oh,” came a voice from within.  “I thought you were the police, and I was afraid to open the door.”

When the door finally opened, the minister told her that friends had raised money to cancel her debt, had paid it, and had sent him to tell her, give her the receipt, and present her with some food for her current needs.  Abigail was overwhelmed and embarrassed.  “Just think,” she said, “I bolted the door against you.  I was afraid to let you in.”

You and I are “Abigail”.  The minister is Christ.  We have been afraid to open the door up to Him.  Yet Christ Himself has canceled the debt of our sin by His own death, and He has come to provide for us now.  And our debt of sin will not be canceled unless we trust Him with our lives.  He is our best friend, but many keep Him out.

There are some ex-Abigails in this room, until one day, through the sweet compulsion of His grace, the Lord Jesus Christ moved them to open the door and admit Him into the deep recesses of their lives.  And all those who have will testify–they did not make a mistake in yielding to Him.  They will say submitting to Christ was the best decision they ever made.  Have you opened the door?  Have you made room for the Savior?

If not, cry out for Him to be born in your soul today.  Do not say, “I hope that I will have room for Him.”  Make room for Him.  Do it today.  The Bible says in Hebrews 3:7 to 8 in the NIV, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”  God also says in His Word in 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NASB), “Now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.”  You don’t need a formula, you don’t need to walk forward or pray after me. In your soul, you are meeting a person, submitting to your Creator and crying out for forgiveness from a Savior.  And when it is real, Christ will convert you from the inside out.  He will make you new inside.  When you submit to Christ, you don’t turn over a new leaf, you are transformed to a new life.

So, Chris, if I do respond to Christ, what will happen to me?  How will everyone else react to me?

#4 The world will have no room for you

If you make room for Christ, then from this day on the world will have no room for you.  We see this in Luke 2:7–for notice, it does not say, “because there was no room for Him in the inn,” it says, “for them.”  That includes Mary and Joseph, as well as the infant Jesus.  Who are Christ’s mother, father, sister and brother today?  The Bible says in Matthew 12:50, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  Everyone who follows the Word of God is the Lord’s brother and sister.  Those who obey the Bible show they are truly God’s family.

Those who open their entire lives to Christ, exchange all that they are for all that He is and follow Him, are his true relatives.  And if you are following Him, the world will have no more room for you than it had for Him.  You must not think that if you follow Jesus, you will be praised for doing so.  The angels will rejoice over every sinner who repents, no matter how insignificant in the world’s eyes.  But the world will not rejoice.  The world will scorn your decision.  The world will seek to put you down.  Then if it cannot succeed in getting you to renounce your decision or compromise your stand, it will turn its back on you and go its own way, shutting you out, ignoring you, and marginalizing your beliefs.

That is what Jesus foretold–it was He who said in John 15:19 (NIV), “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.”  In fact, if the world doesn’t speak bad of you because of Christ, the Lord Himself warns you that something is wrong with you.

Jesus said in Luke 6:26 (NIV), “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”  And in John 16:33 (NIV), “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  To be Christ’s follower is to be a person without a physical country–a displaced person.  It is to follow Christ into the poverty of the early years at Nazareth, the loneliness of His itinerant ministry, eventually to the cross, all the time knowing that as His disciple, just like the Master, you will have no place to lay your head.

But that is not the end of the story, for each one of His true children will have more than Bill Gates–in fact, more than the entire world can offer.  More power than the greatest leader, more wealth than the richest man, more wisdom than anyone with multiple degrees, and more noble than any king.  We are remind that . . .

#5  God has prepared a room for His own

Even though the world will have no room for you, from the day you decide to follow Jesus, God Himself will have room for you.  Christ has gone to prepare the most glorious rooms for each of His followers.  Christ said to you in John 14:1 to 3, “’Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’”

Are you ready to serve Christ on such terms?  Will you serve Christ when there is no room for you here below–only a cross?  Yet He who went to a cross has also gone on to prepare a place for you in heaven.  Others have followed Him and have rejoiced because Christ forgave them and gave them a new heart that knows real peace, real purpose, real joy and real love.

God has prepared a room for those who are His own.  Heaven is ready!  Those who already have rooms awaiting them, already taste what heaven is going to be like now in this life.  They know Christ intimately, and they can’t wait to be with Him in perfection forever.  Do you have room for Christ?

Would you please bow your heads and close your eyes for a moment of silent reflection.  Are you ready to submit to Christ today?

If you admit you are a sinner who is condemned by God for your disobedience to His law

If you hate your sin and believe that God became a man in the person of Christ, born as a baby, lived a perfect life, then gave Himself on the cross for your sins

If you are willing to trust the work of Christ on the cross in your place, taking God’s wrath for your sin

And if you believe Christ paid the punishment for your sin, which is death, believing that having no sin of His own, Christ rose from the dead to provide a way for you to have a completely new life

If you are willing to follow Him the rest of your life, not just opening up a stable, but submitting to Him as your Master

If you are willing to follow His Word over your relationships, feelings and thinking, then you can be forgiven now

Then surrender to Christ now.  There are some here who want to submit to Christ, so let me give you three options before you leave today

#1  Mark your response card—“I want to know more about Christ”

#2  Talk to the relatives or friends who invited you before you leave

#3  Confess your desire to the counselors after the service

And if you really want Christ, really desire to surrender your life, submit to Him, follow Him, and be forgiven and heaven bound, then right now raise your hand, and keep it up till I see it.  It is okay if no one responds, because God is the only one who can save someone–not me, not you, but God alone.  He must do it, and He chooses the time and place.

If you believe the baby of Christmas is the Creator you have rebelled from all your life, and now you want to be made right, then raise your hand–and if you have saving faith, you’ll end up exchanging all that you are for all that He is, and become a born again Christian.  If you are being drawn, and your heart right now is bursting, and the Spirit is prodding you to raise your hand–you may be totally afraid, but if God is doing it, you will respond.

The good news is, if you are going to become a Christian and you didn’t raise your hand now, you will submit to Christ soon.  He cannot be resisted–the hound of heaven will chase you down.  You might as well stop fighting the Lord and surrender, confess your sin, and by faith depend totally on the cross of Christ for your sins.  Say to Him, “I believe you are God who came to die for my sins and rose from the grave, I give you my life now and forever.”  Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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