Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church White Christmas Series #1: White As Snow To hear this message and more download our free app at The App Store. Search The Gathering connect.
COLORS As we enter the Christmas season its distinctive decorations, light, and color delight our senses no matter how much work it took to get us here —and aren’t the colors in our sanctuary beautiful this season? The Christmas colors of red, green and white fill this place. In the word of God there are definitely patterns of symbolism attached to the colors in the Bible as they crop up again and again throughout the old and new testaments. The color white is always symbolic of righteousness and purity, and the color green is always associated with life and growth. In the Christmas season evergreens symbolize the everlasting life found only in Christ. The color red (or scarlet) in the Bible is always symbolic of blood. The life of man is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and so red also symbolizes humanity and the stain on every human which is sin.
STAINS Isaiah 59:1-2, Jeremiah 2:22, Isaiah 1:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:3-7 Consumer Reports put out a little book entitled “How to Clean Practically Anything.” It tells you, what solvent to use for a particular stain. Glycerin will remove the stain from a ball point pen. Boiling water will remove berry stains. Vinegar will remove crayon stains. Ammonia will remove blood stains. Alcohol will remove grass stains. Hydrogen peroxide is good for magic marker stains. Bleach works on mildew stains. Lemon juice works well on rust stains. But of course the book lists nothing for the stain of sin. Only one book does—the Bible. As the great hymn of Robert Lowry (1826-1899) said: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Through His prophets, long ago, God proclaimed that man’s sin separated us from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). The stain of our guilt is always before Him (Jeremiah 2:22) and it can not be washed away by anything that we can do; however, the Lord desired to “settle the matter of our sin separation forever. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)”. The prophet Isaiah announced that God would bring a “suffering servant” (Isaiah 53) to be “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:3-7). This is what Christmas is really all about. God’s offering of a blood sacrifice for our sin wrapped in human flesh and laying in a manger. He was born to live among us and die for our sins 33 years later. Jesus, the Peace Child! Although “the wages of sin is death (eternal separation from God) the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
God desires all of mankind to have a “white Christmas” so to speak. That is to say He wants to cover our stain of scarlet sin in His snow white righteousness and purity so that we can have true life and growth in His Spirit— springing up into eternal life. “What can Wash away our sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus”. Your Christmas gift from Christ is to be wrapped in white— That in Him you “become “the righteousness of God!” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Have you opened that gift?
OPENING GOD’S GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS Revelation 3:20, John 1:10-14 The first candle of advent that we lit today represents the Hope announced by prophets for the forgiveness of sin that would come through the blood of Jesus Christ. Like any thoughtful gift under your Christmas tree, God’s gift to mankind was planned out and purchased long before that Christmas in Bethlehem. The scarlet thread of the blood of Christ has been woven throughout the Bible. Every book and letter is a testament to Jesus—God’s promised gift: first through the law, the prophets and poets and later through the gospels and letters to the church.
From the very first book in the Bible-Genesis, we see a foreshadow of Christ as we read of Abraham taking his only son to sacrifice as a sin offering to the Lord. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham and provided a ram who was caught in the bushes for that sacrifice instead (Genesis 22:1-18). In the same way Jesus, God’s only son, was provided as a sacrifice for our sin. Again, we see a type of Jesus in the book of Exodus when the children of Israel are released from slavery in Egypt. The angel of death passes over all the homes that had the blood of a sacrificial lamb painted on the lintels of their door ways in the sign of a cross (Exodus 12:1-14). Jesus was called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” by John the Baptist (John 1:29) and later the Apostle Paul called Jesus “the Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). In the last book of the Bible-Revelation, We see Jesus Himself say “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
God’s gift of forgiveness—Jesus, is literally knocking at the door of our heart every time it pushes life’s blood through our body. He knocks so that we will answer Him. He wants to sit down with us and fellowship— this fellowship is made possible by opening our life’s door to Christ who has become the blood sacrifice for our sin. In exchange for that sin He imparts His righteousness to us! “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
Like any gift, we must open it to know its benefits. As the apostle John said: “To all who did receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:10-14). Jesus has come to the world and it has not recognized Him as it should have. Jesus came to the Jewish people, but they did not receive Him. Jesus—stands at the door and knocks for you. Do you recognize Him? Will you receive Him? Have you opened this indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)?
JESUS, HOPE FOR THE NATIONS Matthew 12:18-21 Our first candle of advent is Hope… Jesus is the only hope for mankind who are marked with the scarlet stain of sin. He alone is the way, the truth and the life and none will come to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). As the prophet Isaiah said, Jesus is the “ Chosen servant” who proclaims justice and hope for the nations. Put your hope in Him and let Him wrap you up in His glorious purity and light…have a White Christmas!