One Man Short of Three Wise Men




As the world witnesses the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas we are reminded by a number of the great holiday carols that the Savior Jesus was born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
Those who downplay the significance of Bible prophecy, yet rejoice in the messages of the songs of the season overlook that their joy is not based on just rhythm and rhyme, but that the stirring of their hearts is rooted in lyrics of prophetic truth.
In Isaiah 7:14 we were told thousands of years ago, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name ‘Immanuel'" (which translates to mean "God with us").
In Michah 5:2 we were told of where this marvelous life would be born and of His glorious origin, "But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come for to Me, The One to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
In a more recent Christmas song the singer asks with wonder if Mary knew when she kissed the face of her baby Jesus that she was kissing the face of God. The answer to this question lies in the Old Testament Scripture of Isaiah 9:6 and in the certainty that Mary would have searched and cherished the prophecies of her beloved child of God.
In Isaiah we read, "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Another noted Christmas carol encourages mankind to "go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere...that Jesus Christ is born."
No other man on earth has a day dedicated to him to celebrate the day He was born the Son of God. No other man has for him a season of song sung before the world that He is the Savior who made it possible for "man to live forever more."
There are some Christians who oppose this time of celebration. They argue that the date of birth is inaccurate or that its history has roots in unbiblical customs and manmade traditions.
There are also non-Christians who also vehemently oppose any celebration or even the mention of Christ during what has come to be known as Christmas.
Consider the selective failure of Christian oppositionists to not use the biblically given names of the months of the year and to not use the alternative dispensation designation C.E., which refers to in the Common Era.
What is an obvious contradiction in values is that neither group has as of yet refused to use the BC/AD system invented by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD, nor have they declined using the Gregorian calendar which as sponsored by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Our present calendar in use has the exact same pagan attachments and historical background as Christmas. From the first month of its unbiblical, solar timetable in January we find that the name of this month is dedicated to the Roman two-faced god called Janus who was invoked as the guardian of the gate of heaven.
Nowhere in the Scriptures will one find specific instructions for mankind to make or dedicate to Christ a new calendar built upon the theorized birth date of the Son of God anymore than one will find instructions for men to celebrate before the world His birth during a season that culminates on some special day in December.
Why then do Christmas abolitionists not challenge the calendar they so faithfully schedule their lives around?
My family and I plan to enjoy Christmas and continue without reservation to use the present calendar in 2005 AD as it proclaims in Latin on many documents of earth "anno Domini," which translates to mean "in the year of the Lord."
To take the celebration of Christ out of Christmas would be the same as removing "in the year of the Lord" from the modern calendar. To do so would only serve at this time to remove any remnants of the shining light of truth from among the falsehoods of the world. Proclaiming Christ's superiority among the traditions of men is not the same as compromise. In Acts 17:22-34 we are told of when the Apostle Paul held forth the light of the Lord in the very midst of the false beliefs on Mars Hill in Greece and even quoted some of their pagan poets own words to make known what was truth. I am sure that there were also Christians of that time who would not have been able to discern the difference between the liberty in Christ Paul exercised and what truly constituted compromise.
We will continue to do likewise as Paul's example, Lord willing, until Jesus comes for us just as Charles Shultz had Linus quote the angel in his animated seasonal classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas"..."Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Among the songs of Christmas you will also hear of the wise men. Often depicted as three kings that followed the "star of wonder" they are portrayed as coming to pay homage to Christ when He appeared as a Child. This Child who was always God but yet who at that point in time became a man. The Bible is full of prophecies of how the wise men throughout the ages would likewise seek Him.
The following is a story of one man who was wise, one who was not as wise as he should have been and one not wise at all.
The first man was a renowned evangelist who many believed had led more people to Christ than any other man in the modern age. His almost global appeal was attributed to his anointed personality, inspiring voice and endearing countenance.
The second man was a famous preacher whose oratory, energy and flamboyance stirred attendance in unprecedented numbers at his titillating gatherings.
The last was a backwoods pastor who oversaw a congregation that in his over thirty years of preaching had never exceeded seven people. During the closing seven years of his life he labored futilely with a man who would have constituted the only convert that he would have ever , by God's Spirit, led to Christ before his death.
When the appointed time came the three men appeared at their respective judgments and their just rewards were made known.
The beloved evangelist asked the Lord how he did in his labors. The Lord revealed an incredible number of souls who had been led to salvation by the evangelist's preaching.
Then the Lord looked sad and drew back the curtain of heaven. Upon the earth and in the depths of hell the evangelist was shown men who because of the evangelists compromise had trusted in idols, spirits, charms and the gospels and traditions of devils and men instead of Christ alone for their salvation. The sufficiency of Christ's finished work upon the cross was denied in alien camps where he had sent them and useless intercessors were introduced in place of the Savior's own precious blood. Instead of sending light into the darkness he had sent those who sought light into the dark.
The Lord then tallied the number of lost souls that the compromised evangelist had inexcusably helped Satan send down the wide road to destruction. The Lord then showed the evangelist a mountain of crowns that were to have been his. The Lord told the evangelist, "Go and take for yourself, but three crowns."
When the evangelist approached the crowns he saw off in the distance a great mound of hay and stubble many times greater than his stack of crowns. As he came to understand that this other pile was his also, a great fire came down and burned up the useless mountain of his works. With the greatest of sorrow and equal relief the evangelist clung to the precious crowns that he would eternally cherish and rejoiced in the knowledge that his corrupted works were gone forever and would be forever forgotten.
Then the second man was seen at his judgment. The famous, wealthy preacher was greatly agitated for he had been waiting in a horrible place where he could find no relief from his detestable thoughts and agonizing pain. From the grip of unrelenting physical and mental torment he now suddenly found himself in the most glorious place and presence he had ever known. It was a place he knew he didn't belong.
Desperately he began to plead his case when he saw the Savior, for he knew his time of appeal was short. Feverishly he listed one by one the great works he credited to himself while mentioning Jesus' name and spoke of the wonderful endorsements he had received from the religious and non-religious leaders who had favored his ministry. He reminded the Lord of how he had instilled unity among different beliefs and how he had helped so many achieve favorable outlooks about themselves and the innate goodness of mankind.
Before the famous preacher could continue on telling of his great worldly strides in the areas of social advancements and monetary achievements, the Lord stopped him and said, "Even though My evangelist joined his hands to the plow of the destroyer and failed to bring in the full potential for the talents I had given him, just as you have also done, this man at least had the wisdom to find forgiveness and salvation in my blood for himself.
The Lord then told the man that he was an unforgiven worker of iniquity and that He and the man had never really met. The Lord then cast him into eternal darkness with his great mountain of evil works to fuel the fires of his torment for the endless tomorrow's (Matt. 7:22-23).
The judgment of the backwoods Pastor was then revealed. Always humble, kind and slow of speech, the Pastor knelt before the Lord. With tears in his eyes and head bowed he offered an apology to his Savior. "My King, no matter how many times I tried, I could never make your church grow beyond seven people and I died too soon to reach the one I believe you sent to me to reach with Your forgiveness."
Before the pastor could say any more, the Lord gently put His fingers to the pastor's lips to silence him. The Lord then spoke, "Dearly beloved, the few people and their families you taught, encouraged and prayed for in My small church were among my most cherished of children and I trusted them to no one but you and not a one was lost. You tended the garden of My heart with the fullness of the abilities you were given and your prayers were always sped before My throne. As for the broken one that I sent to you and you labored over for 7 years, after you were put to your rest, he went to visit where your body lie. Upon your grave stone it is written that you now rest with Me and that you will rise again. The lost sinner did not recall any clever preaching, nor did he think of a stirring voice, but at that moment he spoke to Me of your faithful, patient love and then he cried out to Me for forgiveness and told Me of his need to be with us forever. He now waits in obedience for My call, but unknown to him his own rebellious child will soon after recognize that it was My Spirt that changed his father and that it is with I he rests. Then this lone child will, in the near future, bring thousands of souls to Me by My increase and those souls will in turn bring to Me countless thousands more."
The Lord then reminded the pastor that, "It is those who labor in preparing the hard ground and the planters and waterers of the seeds that makes the fruit picker's chores profitable" and that "God will fully reward all the hands that labored in His fields to bring forth the harvest" (I Cor. 3:5-15).
The Lord then pointed all the eyes of heaven to a glorious thrown room containing many crowns as He told the humble pastor, "Go and receive your reward My wise and faithful servant for you never failed to use for Me all that I had given you."
As the faithful pastor walked towards his reward, with tears of unspeakable joy reflecting the light of heaven upon his cheeks, he found himself passing by the remaining crowns of the beloved evangelist. The pastor then heard His Savior's voice one more time as the Lord told him, "Before you go on to your reward, pick up the crowns that the evangelist left behind and take them with you also" (Matt. 25:14-30 & Rev. 3:11).
Dear friends, whether saved or unsaved, the heart of this story is that God will not be mocked and that time to make a difference is short and so very precious (Gal. 6:7-10 & Lk. 12:16-21).
The blessing of a passing day is a gift from God. A gift which reminds mankind that there are indeed things that will most certainly fade away and that glorious new things will appear forever. Glorious gifts for those who live to see the new morning and journey on into the eternal dawn.
Come to the forgiveness of Jesus Christ this moment by acknowledging that you are the one and same sinner He shed His blood for upon the cross and then make the most of each passing day for Him to the fullness of your ability so that your joys may be many and your regrets but few.
May you and your families have a wonderful Christmas filled with inspired songs of promise and hope as we sing boldly to a listening world "Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!"

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