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SIN AND CHRISTMAS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 12, 2010

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (I John 3:4-5).


Most people want a “warm and fuzzy” Christmas. They want to hear about “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”; they want to hear “Jingle Bells,” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”; they want to think about “Frosty the Snowman” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and, of course, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” But none of those songs have anything to do with the real meaning of Christmas!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against real Christmas carols. Not at all! But I did not name one Christmas carol. I just mentioned the “fuzzy, warm” secular songs that have come to define Christmas, at least in America. I am not against Christmas carols or Christmas trees either. As Dr. John R. Rice said, “I love Christmas…We would be very foolish if we turned Christmas over to Satan and worldings. If the world has a Christmas of revelry, let us make it a day of Christian love and fellowship and a day honoring to Christ” (John R. Rice, D.D., I Love Christmas, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1955, pp. 14, 15).

I agree with Dr. Rice. I love Christmas. But I hope you will make it a time of honoring Christ. I pray that you will all be with us for the Christmas banquet next Sunday night. And I hope that you will also be with us for supper here at the church at 7:30 PM on Christmas Eve, December 24th. We will try our best to honor the Lord Jesus Christ at both of those events. The Choir will sing praise to Christ. We will sing several Christ-exalting Christmas carols. We will hear Christ-filled sermons. We will hear Christ-honoring country gospel music from Rev. Dave Shook as we sit down in the fellowship hall and have dinner together on those two nights. Plan right now to be with us next Sunday evening for the Christmas banquet. Plan right now to be with us again the following Friday evening for dinner on Christmas Eve, on Friday the 24th. What a time we’re going to have at these two banquets.

But in all these festivities let us remember the reason that Jesus was born! The Apostle Paul said,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
       (I Timothy 1:15).

Say that verse out loud.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
       (I Timothy 1:15).

That takes us to our text. And please keep your Bible open at this place.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin”
       (I John 3:4-5).

I will bring two points from the text: first, what sin is; and, second, how Christ was manifested to take away our sins.

I. First, what sin is.

Last Sunday night a man in our inquiry room asked me, “What is sin?” I gave him a tract by C. H. Spurgeon to read when he got home. But I will speak more fully on that subject now. The end of I John 3:4 says,

“Sin is the transgression [“violation,” Strong #458] of the law.”

The Greek word means “violation” of the law. The “law” means the law of God. Spurgeon said,

Every sin breaks God’s law. It does not matter what sin is committed, it breaks the law at some point. There are ten great commandments of God [see Exodus 20:2-17] and it may be that you think you have never broken [some of them, but if you have broken even one of them] you have snapped the chain asunder as really as if you had broken all the links…This is what every kind of sin does: either by falling short of the command of God, or going beyond it, the law is broken (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Sinful Made Sinless,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1976 edition, volume XLIII, p. 135).

Every breach [violation] of the law is a sin. If thou dost not do what God commands thee, fully, heartily, always, without fail, thou hast sinned; and if thou dost at any moment that which God commands thee not to do, thou hast sinned against him… and every thought, or word, or deed, that is not in perfect conformity with the law…of God, is a sin…And remember, too, that this rule applies to thoughts and imaginations and desires, and to those secret motives which hide away within the soul…God shall bring these hidden [sins] to judgment” (Spurgeon, ibid.).

“For sin is the transgression [the violation] of the law”
       (I John 3:4).

God’s law was not given to save us. His law was given to show us our guilt, and to give us “the knowledge of [our] sin,”

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).

The law of God condemns everyone,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
       (Romans 3:23).

Thus, at the Last Judgment, when God’s record books are opened, every lost sinner will be condemned to Hell by the record of his countless sins.

“For sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).

But thank God there is more in our text!

II. Second, how Christ was manifested to take away our sins.

Please stand and read I John 3:5 out loud,

“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (I John 3:5).

You may be seated. Spurgeon said of this verse, “I have found no comfort except in this glorious fact, that Christ was manifested to take away our sins” (Spurgeon, ibid.). Christ “was manifested to take away our sins.” The Greek word translated “manifested” means “appeared” (Strong, #5319). It refers to His appearance on earth when He was born. Many denominations call the Christmas season “Advent.” “Advent” is from Latin. It also means the “appearance” of Christ. Both terms refer to the “coming” of Christ at His birth. On the first Christmas, the Lord Jesus Christ “was manifested to take away our sins” (I John 3:5). As the angel said to Joseph,

“Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus was born to save sinners. By His death on the Cross He paid the full price for sin. “For Christ…hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust” (I Peter 3:18). By the Blood He shed on the Cross, He cleanses His people “from all sin” (I John 1:7).

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
       (I Timothy 1:15).

If you are still a lost sinner, you need Jesus’ atonement for your sin on the Cross, and you need the Blood He shed to wash your sins away – and blot them out of God’s record in the books (see Revelation 20:12). Please listen again to those words of Dr. John R. Rice,

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God and Son of man,
   Tempted, poor and suffering, No one knows us as He can!
Holy, righteous, blameless, fitting sacrifice complete.
   By His blood atonement, God and sinners in Him meet.
Jesus, Baby Jesus, there’s a cross along the way.
   Born to die for sinners, born for crucifixion day!
(“Jesus, Baby Jesus” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I John 3:1-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, Baby Jesus” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

SIN AND CHRISTMAS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (I John 3:4-5).

(I Timothy 1:15)

I.   First, what sin is, I John 3:4; Exodus 20:2-17; Romans 3:19-20, 23.

II.  Second, how Christ was manifested to take away our sins, I John 3:5;
Matthew 1:21; I Peter 3:18; I John 1:7; I Timothy 1:15;
Revelation 20:12.