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I wish that John Frederick Coots’ memorable Santa Claus is Coming to Town had never been written. In case you haven’t threatened your children with the premises of the song this Christmas season, I will regurgitate its lyrics to facilitate your memory:
You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town He’s making a list And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good So be good for goodness sake!
O! You better watch out! You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town Santa Claus is coming to town
Realizing that I always made Santa’s “list,” despite the fact that I was rarely “nice” and comfortably “naughty,” I concluded at an early age that Santa is a pushover and his “list” nonsense. By the way, it’s safe to assume that John Frederick Coots had many kids, but I choose not to digress.
How often have we as parents echoed these lyrics as way of motivating our kids to behave sensibly? Sing the song if you desire, and use it to correct your children’s behavior if you so choose. I, however, have chosen to use this Christmas season as an opportunity to teach my kids that Christmas is about Christ, and unlike Santa, Jesus has come to town to make the “naughty” holy and the “holy” humbled.
Like children during the Christmas season, many live life trying to acquire enough checks to make the “list,” hoping that God will accept them by what they do. Unfortunately, those who build a ladder of good works to heaven will find themselves standing in hell. Good works have always been the result of salvation, not the cause of it.
Apart from the New Birth spoken by Jesus in John 3 we are hopeless, but because of it we are holy and acceptable to God. My hope and prayer is that those who don’t believe in the life and ministry of Christ will, and those who do will be given a greater knowledge of the greatness of Christ’s salvation this Christmas season.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regenerationand renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirsaccording to the hope of eternal life.
My heart is burdened for the salvation of my children. As I read Scripture, I am convinced of God’s absolute control over the affairs of this life. This control includes the salvation of my children, for it is He who opens and hardens hearts:
Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
Joshua 11:20 For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
Acts 16:13-15 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Romans 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Does this mean that I give up? Do I despair in my own inability to save my children? The Scripture doesn’t permit me to sit idle; neither does it allow me to hide my light under a basket (Matthew 5:16). As an ambassador of Christ and a steward of His gospel, I must proclaim the good news for in it resides the power of God to open hearts and save sinners (Romans 1:16). I bow my knees in prayer and plead with the God of the universe to open the hearts of the unsaved so that they can understand the gospel. I must not shrink back in shame; rather, I must boldly proclaim God’s solution to man’s most serious problem. Satan hates the gospel and seeks to destroy those who proclaim it. Don’t give him opportunity. Resist the Devil, draw the sword of God’s word (Ephesians 6:17), march triumphantly through the gates of Hell, and proclaim the good news of Christ to those who are held captive to do Satan’s will. For when you do, Satan will flee and you will observe God’s power to save sinners and destroy the works of the devil.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Last night 13 people were saved at Oak Grove’s Vacation Bible School in Cumming, GA. It was a great night to say the least. For me, it was a blessing to enter into the labor of others and see God bring life to the seeds that have been planted and watered by the faithful men and women at Oak Grove. During moments such as these, it is important for the body of Christ to remember that the power of God is in the seed and not the sower. In 1 Corinthian 4:6-8 the Apostle Paul differentiates between the role of man and the role of God by writing, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” The planting of the seed is dependent upon the sower and the resurrection of a seed is dependent upon God. This is an important principle to remember.
Now is the time for each of the 13 that were saved to “work out” the salvation that God has worked in. The Scriptures instruct us to grow in our Christian faith, and if we are going to grow in the Christian faith we must learn to grow together: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).
It is the “working out” of salvation that Paul mentions that authenticates the genuineness of the salvation that people claim to possess. The evidence of a changed life isn’t discovered in a one time decision for Christ, but rather in multiple decisions for Christ. It is the fruit of a tree that determines the tree’s type. It is the working out of salvation that determines its genuineness. Now is the time for each of us to work out corporately what God has worked in individually. Praise be to GOD!
Obama undeniably and unashamably states that whereas the United States was once a Christian nation, today it no longer is.
Congressmen Forbes sets the record straight! The United States was built upon a Judeo-Christian foundation. Forbes asks two questions that he wished President Obama would have asked and subsequently answered before he addressed the Muslims in Turkey on April 2009:
1) Did the US ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian Nation?
2) If it did, when was the moment in time when it ceased to be so?