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HOW THE GRINCH STEALS CHRISTMAS - PART II

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 17, 2000

 

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him,
and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and
his own received him not" (John 1:10-11).

 

The great nineteenth century English commentator J. C. Ryle gives these comments on our text:
Christ was in the world invisibly, long before He was born of the Virgin Mary. He was there from the very beginning, ruling, ordering, and governing the whole creation. By Him all things consist (Colossians 1:17). He gave to all life and breath, rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons. By Him kings reigned and nations were increased or diminished. Yet men knew Him not, and honoured Him not. They "worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" (Romans 1:25). Well may the natural heart (of men) be called "wicked!"
     But Christ came visibly into the world when He was born in Bethlehem, and fared no better. He came to the very people whom He had brought out of Egypt, and purchased for His own. He came to the Jews, whom He had separated from other nations, and to whom He had revealed Himself by the prophets. He came to those very Jews who had read of Him in the Old Testament Scriptures, seen Him under types and figures in their temple services, and professed to be waiting for His coming. And yet, when He came, those very Jews received Him not. They even rejected Him, despised Him, and slew Him. Well may the natural heart be called "desperately wicked!" (Jeremiah 17:9);  (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Volume 1, Banner of Truth Trust, 1987, pp. 15-16).
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:10-11).

 

Mankind rejected Jesus Christ. It wasn't the Jews alone who rejected Him. "His own" includes the whole human race, of which they were a part, a representative part, because they were (and are) God's chosen people on earth. And the vast majority of the human race has always rejected Him - and continues to reject Him.

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
     (John 1:11).
I am going to discuss three ways that this text is illustrated and proved.

       

    1. It is proved by the Dr. Seuss story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
    2. It is proved by the Bible account of Jesus' birth.
    3. It is proved by the entire life of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
     (John 1:11).

 I. The universal rejection of Jesus Christ is illustrated by the Dr. Seuss story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Though I would prefer not to, I really must go back over the Grinch story. Hollywood is not a separate city, but is part of Los Angeles, a district of Los Angeles. People think and live movies here. And "The Grinch" is the number-one box office hit of this Christmas season.
If you must see the story, get the 1966 video, narrated by Boris Karloff, and watch it from your TV. At least that video is G rated. The new movie is PG rated for vulgar humor. Jim Carrey, who stars as the Grinch, always resorts to crude, vulgar, gross, and even filthy so-called "humor." He has taught a whole generation of brain dead Cretans to say "Eeuuww! Gross!" and then laugh. Carrey's "humor" is lower than that of the Three Stooges. That's too low for me! I don't recommend the movie!
Furthermore, the original story itself is not truly a Christmas story. It's about the ugly, commercialized mess Americans have made out of Christmas, but there is no mention of God or the birth of Christ in it. So, Dr. Seuss' story is not actually a Christmas story. There is no mention whatever of the birth of Christ in it.
The original story is about a Grinch, an ugly creature that lives in a cave on the side of a mountain. He hates the noise that people make in "Who-ville" at Christmas time. "Who-ville" is located at the base of the mountain where the Grinch lives.

"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I must find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"
           (Dr. Seuss,
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Random House, 1957, p. 5).

Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch Got a wonderful, awful idea!
          (Ibid., p. 13).

He decided to dress up like Santa Claus and steal all the presents, food and Christmas trees from the people of Who-ville. He takes all these things up on a high mountain and is about to throw them off of a cliff on Christmas morning. But he hears the people of Who-ville singing down below, and he changes his mind and brings back all the things he has stolen.

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn’t come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more."
          (Ibid., p. 47).
But Dr. Seuss never once tells us what that "little bit more" is! He never mentions Jesus! He never even tells us what the people of Who-ville were singing about. Were they real Christmas carols?
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!                               
Let earth receive her King…
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!             
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by…
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright,                              
Round yon Virgin, mother and child, Holy Infant, so tender and mild…
O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,                       
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem…

Were the people in Who-ville singing real Christmas carols like that, or were they singing,

 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,                               
Jack Frost tapping on the door…                               
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,                               
With every Christmas card I write…
Frosty the Snowman…                               
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer…

O, you better watch out, you better not cry,                              
You better not shout, I'm telling you why,                               
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Don't get me wrong. Some of those secular Christmas songs are cute and harmless, especially the ones that don't mention "Santa Claus." I find no real fault in singing about "Jingle Bells," "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," or "Dreaming of a White Christmas." But when these are the only songs one sings at Christmas, it truly leaves Christ out of the picture.
Were they real Christmas carols or the Christless ones of the forties and fifties that those people in Who-ville were singing? Dr. Seuss never tells us! And he never mentioned the birth of Christ at all in his story! You see, Dr. Seuss left Jesus completely out of his story! And people loved it!
By 1957, when Dr. Seuss' story came out, America had been celebrating an increasingly secular Christmas for nearly twenty years. In the old Hollywood movies and radio programs, before 1940, they always featured traditional Christmas carols. But in 1942, in the movie, "Holiday Inn," Hollywood had Irving Berlin write the song "White Christmas" for Bing Crosby to sing. Christ-rejecting Hollywood people quickly squeezed Jesus Christ completely out of their "holidays" and the old Christmas carols never again appeared in movies or on most TV shows. They were replaced by newly written, secular Christmas songs.
So, by 1957, Dr. Seuss' story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, fit right in. It's a Christmas story without Christ, a Yuletide tale with no mention of the birth of mankind's Saviour! By 1988 Lew Wasserman, head of Universal Pictures, would produce a movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, which portrayed Jesus as a pervert. Hollywood has either rejected or attacked Jesus ever since.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"       
          (John 1:11).

Our text is illustrated and pictured by Dr. Seuss' story of the Grinch. The world has no room for Jesus now at Christmas! Many young people today don't even know that Christmas Day marks the birthday of Jesus Christ!

How about you? Will you celebrate a secular, Christless Christmas? Or will you be in church on Christmas Sunday? And not just any church will do. It must be a church where the pastor believes in the deity of Christ, the Blood atonement, and the new birth! Otherwise you may as well go to a Hindu temple or a Moslem mosque!
O, my young friend, come back with us next Sunday. Make Christ the Lord of your heart on Christmas this year! Don't let anything stop you from being here next Sunday! Why be lonely? Come home - to church!
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
          (John 1:11).

 

 II. But, secondly, our text is illustrated and proven by the account of
          Jesus' birth recorded in the New Testament.

The Bible tells us:

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).

The man who ran that inn (or hotel) has been called "the man who missed Christmas." New-evangelical evangelist Billy Graham says this about him:

     This Christmas I want to tell you about a man who was so caught up in his own problems that he missed the opportunity to be part of one of the greatest events of all times. This man actually missed Christmas altogether.
     The Bible doesn't tell us the name of this man, but we can read his story in the Gospel According to Luke, in the second chapter and the seventh verse. That verse tells us enough, and more than enough, about the innkeeper, the man who missed Christmas: "[Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
     The One who brought Christmas, the One who gave us Christmas and who is Christmas, could not find a room to be born in: "There was no room for them in the inn."
      How sad and searching are those familiar words from the Bible.
     What was the cause of this tragedy? Why was there no room for Mary and Joseph and their expected Baby, except in a stable? Bethlehem was a small town, and in those days most small towns perhaps had only one inn. The inn in Bethlehem was already filled. No other accommodation was available…
     He was too busy to notice a woman about to give birth to a Baby, to a Child who would grow up to become the most famous man in all of history, and more than a Man, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
           (Billy Graham, Decision magazine,          
                December 2000, p. 1).

 

This man missed knowing Jesus because he was simply too busy! You may say, "Dr. Hymers, I'm too busy to come to church on Christmas Sunday. I'm just too busy for church!" Well, young person, if you are that busy, then you are too busy for your own good! You have to make time to exercise. You have to make time to sleep. And you have to make time for Jesus - or you will miss Him, like the innkeeper did!
Do you know what the religion of preference is in Japan? According to a recent poll, it is Christianity! More people in Japan prefer Christianity to Buddhism! I found that information startling because most of us think of Japan as a Shinto Buddhist nation. Yet nearly sixty percent of the people say they prefer Christianity.
But this "preference" of Christianity makes no impact whatever on Japanese society. Why? Because "preferring" Christianity never saved anybody, and never helped any nation.
To be saved, you must not just prefer Christ; you must throw yourself upon Christ; you must trust Him fully.
If a person won't take a couple of hours each week for church - then I don't think that person will ever put their trust and complete confidence in Christ. You will remain lost, like that innkeeper, simply because you didn't make room for Christ.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"      
      (John 1:11).
Then, there was King Herod. He pretended that he wanted to be a Christian, but he lied. King Herod said to the wise men, "Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also" (Matthew 2:8).
There are many people like old King Herod today. They say they are Christians, but they are liars. How about you?
If you want to be a real Christian you must repent of your sins. That means you must change your mind about sin. You have been living a sinful life. You have been thinking dirty thoughts and missing church, and committing many sins. To become a real Christian, you must repent - you must change your mind. You must let the Holy Spirit convict you of sin (John 16:8). You must admit to yourself that you have lived a self-centered and sinful life. Only when you acknowledge your sin will the gospel make any sense.
When I tell you that Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins, it won't make much sense to you unless you first look deeply into your own life and admit that you are a sinner. Admit that you are in rebellion against God. Admit that you deserve punishment for your sins. Only then will the death of Christ on the Cross, to pay for your sins, take on any real significance.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
           (John 1:11).
Then, the third group in the Christmas story that illustrate my text are the soldiers.
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem…" (Matthew 2:16).
I have been thinking a lot about these soldiers of Herod's. They knew about the birth of the Messiah, the Saviour. The Bible says,

 

"He (Herod) was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him"
           (Matthew 2:3).

Since "all" Jerusalem was troubled over news of the Saviour's birth, these soldiers had to know about it. Yet they went to kill the little children of Bethlehem anyway. They knew they might be killing the Messiah (Saviour), but they did it anyway!

Why? Why did they risk killing the Messiah? They did it out of conformity! My mother used to say, "Don't just go along with the crowd." There is a great danger in doing that. You might find that you lost your soul by going along with your friends as they sin. This Christmas you will have to make a choice. You'll have to decide whether to go to a Christmas party or come to church. You'll have to decide whether to be at church or go to work. I hope you will not be like these soldiers of Herod. I hope you won't "go along with the crowd." And I hope you'll be right here with us in church. Come home - to church at Christmas time!
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
          (John 1:11).

 III. Thirdly, our text is illustrated and proved by the entire life of Jesus.

Dr. John R. Rice, in his sermon, "No Room for Jesus," said this:
Jesus knew the world did not want Him (John 2:25). We do not know when Jesus knew this, but it must have been early (Luke 2:52). It stabs my heart with shame to feel that the baby Jesus, as soon as He knew anything, must have known that He was an unwanted child, born more for death than life. Jesus knew that men would hate Him but, loving, He came… He knew that there would be no room for Him in the inn or in the hearts of most of the world.
There was no room anywhere for Jesus. There was not only no room in the inn for Jesus, there was no permanent room for Him anywhere else (Matthew 8:20; John 7:53; 8:20): not in His own synagogue and village of Nazareth (Luke 4:29), not with His own family and friends (John 7:5; Mark 3:21), not in Gadara (Matthew 8:34), not in Jerusalem (John 8:59).
Wicked men begrudged (wanted to take away from) Jesus all He ever had. Bethlehem begrudged Him a place to be born. Herod begrudged Him His kingly title. Nazareth begrudged Him His fame (Matthew 13:55-57). The Pharisees begrudged Him His power (Matthew 12:24) and His right to His own Father's house (Matthew 21:23). The chief priests begrudged Him the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10), the homage of sinners (Luke 15:2), and every feast that was given (Matthew 11:19). Simon begrudged Him the tears and kisses upon His feet (Luke 7:36-50). Judas begrudged Him the sweet perfume of the alabaster box (John 12:3-8). The chief priests begrudged Him the cries of little children (Mark 11:9; Luke 19:37-40), an hour of prayer in the Garden (Matthew 26:47-68).
At His death, the rulers begrudged His name, "The King of the Jews," nailed above His cross (John 19:21). They begrudged Him even His clothes in the hour of shame (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24). They begrudged Him a drink of water in His dying agony (John 19:28-29). They begrudged His poor, tired body the peace that death brought, so after He (died), they pierced a spear deep into His side. They begrudged the testimony that His hanging body gave to the world of their sin and His love. They hastened to take the body down before sunset. When He arose from the dead, they begrudged Him even this (Matthew 28:12-15); (John R. Rice, "No Room for Jesus," in The Bible Garden, Sword of the Lord, 1982, pp. 349-350).
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
          (John 1:11).
Now look at the next verse, John 1:12. Here we read,
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12).

Will you receive Jesus - or will you reject Him, as most of the world does? Sinner, is your heart convicted of leaving Christ out of your life? Will you go to Hell because you made no room for the Saviour? Most people don't have room for Jesus. But if you will receive Him, He will wash your sins away with His Blood and you will become a child of God! It is my prayer that you will trust Jesus Christ and be saved!

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Matthew 2:1-23.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "No Room in the Inn" by A. L. Skilton, in Soul-Stirring Hymns, edited by Dr. John R. Rice, number 443.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet

at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

HOW THE GRINCH STEALS CHRISTMAS - PART II

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"He was in the world, and the world was made by him,
and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and
his own received him not" (John 1:10-11).

       

    1. How the text is illustrated by the Dr. Seuss story
    2.  

    3. How the text is illustrated by the Bible account of Jesus' birth,
      Luke 2:7; Matthew 2:8; Matthew 2:16; Matthew 2:3.
    4.  

    5. How the text is illustrated by the entire life of Jesus,
      John 2:25; Luke 2:52; Matthew 8:20; John 7:53; 8:20;
      Luke 4:29; John 7:5; Mark 3:21; Matthew 8:34; John 8:59;
      Matthew 13:55-57; Matthew 12:24; Matthew 21:23;
      Matthew 12:10; Luke 15:2; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:36-50;
      John 12:3-8; Mark 11:9; Luke 19:37-40; Matthew 26:47-68;
      John 19:21; Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24, 28-29;
      Matthew 28:12-15.