A Christian should always obey and respect national laws because “the authorities are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1-5).
A Christian should be a good, law-abiding citizen, honestly paying his taxes. (Titus 3:1, Romans 13:6-7; Luke 20:25).
Nevertheless, in the very rare case that a government passes a law that goes against God’s laws (for example, if we are ordered to worship idols, or to join the army) then we must “obey God rather than men”. (See Acts 5:29).
A Christian should not take his brother to law. (1 Corinthians 6:18).
No. the Bible promises that faithful followers of Jesus will live for ever on earth.
The Bible also says that nobody has gone to heaven, except Jesus. (See Psalm 115:16; Acts2:34; John 3:13).
A few Bible passages are sometimes thought to teach that Christians are promised eternal life in heaven. But they can all be shown to agree with the teaching of the rest of the Bible. For example, “my Father’s house”, of John 14:2 is not in heaven. God’s house is the temple, as John 2:16 shows. The greatest of all temples is a spiritual temple, and the believers are living stones in that great house that is still being built (See 1 Peter 2:5). God’s house is therefore on earth, and because of this the Lord Jesus says (in the next verse John 14:3), “I will come again and receive you unto myself”.
”Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He had no human father, but was conceived when the power of God, called the Holy Spirit, worked a miracle on his mother, who was a virgin. (See Luke 1:32, 35; Matthew 1:20-25; Matthew 3:17; John 1:49; John 10:36).
He was, nevertheless, a human being who grew up, hungered, thirsted, wept, suffered and died like other human beings. (See Hebrews 2:11; Luke 2:52; Isaiah 53:3; John 11:35; John 19:33).
What was the work of Jesus, the Son of God?
- To reveal his Father, Almighty God, to the world in a way that men could understand. (See John 1:1, 8; John 12:45; John 14:9; John 17:6, 26).
- To show the glorious qualities of his Father â holiness, righteousness and love. (See John 1:14-41; Romans 3:24-26).
- To show to men the full meaning of Christian service and obedience. (See Luke 22:42; John 5:30; 8:29).
- To preach the gospel. (See Luke 4:18; 9:6; and 20:1).
- To die for us. (See John 10:11, 15; Acts 2:23).
- To bring us back to God. (See Ephesians 2:16; Romans 5:10; John 14:6).
Why is the Bible a Special Book?
It is the only book that gives us true knowledge about God, the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation. (See Hebrews 1:1-2; Psalm 138:2; 2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 119:160).
It has been written by men who were guided by the Holy Spirit of God. (See 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 1:11; Hebrews 1:1-2).
It promises eternal life to all who believe and obey its teaching. (See John 17:3; Romans 2:7; 2 Peter 1:11).
How can we best understand the Bible’s message?
To understand and believe its message, we need to read the Bible regularly and with a prayer for God’s blessing. (See 1 Timothy 4:13; Psalm 119:103-105; Jeremiah 15:16; Jeremiah 9:24).
The Bible itself is its best interpreter. Some parts of the Bible help us to understand other parts. (See Luke 24:25-27; 1 Corinthians 2:13).
Now is the time of year we are being told how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.
The shops are again full of decorations, gift suggestions and piped Christmas music. Our colleagues and neighbours are making their annual plans for over-indulgence. And churches are once more beginning arrangements for carol services to mark the birth of Christ, because for most Christians Christmas is a highlight, if not the highlight, of the religious calendar.
Lack of Bible Attention
It may be surprising to us, but in His wisdom God has given us little information about Christ’s birth and His word places little emphasis on it. It is bypassed completely by Mark and John. Luke gives us the fullest account. Matthew mentions it in passing while dealing with the events before and after it. This is very different from other events in Christ’s life which are described in detail in all four Gospels, such as the feeding of the five thousand. It is insignificant compared with the events leading up to and relating to Christ’s death and resurrection which occupy large parts of each Gospel.
“No Such Commandment”
Nowhere in the scriptures do we find commands to mark Christ’s birth, nor do we read of such celebrations being kept. Indeed, only two birthday celebrations are mentioned in the scriptures at all – those of Pharaoh and Herod. This is in complete contrast to remembering the death of Christ, which God’s word commands us to do and which records the early believers as doing.
Not kept by the early churches
We know that the death of Christ was celebrated from the beginning and that this evolved into the three days of Easter. But there is no mention of celebrating Christ’s birth in the many post-Apostolic writings which have survived. In AD 245 the theologian Origen described the Roman practice of celebrating birthdays as pagan, which strongly suggests that Christ’s birthday was not being marked at that time.
When was Christ born?
This idea that Christmas was probably not celebrated until the fourth century seems to coincide with the fact that for centuries there was considerable debate about the actual date of Christ’s birth. It is difficult to celebrate someone’s birthday without knowing when they were born!
The first contribution in early church writings to this discussion is found in a work by Clement of Alexandria in about AD 200. He mentioned several possibilities: March, April, and May – but not December.
“Be not conformed to this world”
The keeping of non-religious Christmas customs should be a matter of conscience: “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). But as for celebrating Christ’s birth:
- God does not want us to mark the birth of His Son once a year.
- If He had wanted this, He would have given us the date and told us how to do it.
- By doing so, we are copying a man-made festival from a false Church (the coming of which the apostles warned about), instigated for the wrong reason and at the wrong time.
Rod Hale (edited)
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD.” (Isaiah 2:2–5).