The Inside and Outside of Christmas.
Matthew 23:25-28

25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 "Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (NAS)

INTRODUCTION:
The real meaning of Christmas comes from the heart of God. If we participate in the real meaning of Christmas it will be the expression of the heart. Christmas has an inside and an outside. Let me explain further.



I. THE OUTSIDE OF CHRISTMAS.
MAT 23:25


"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

A. THE CHRISTMAS TREE.

B. THE EMPHASIS OF SANTA CLAUS.

C. THE DECORATIONS.

D. THE GIVING OF GIFTS.

ILLUSTRATION:
Some businessmen are saying they hope this is the best Christmas ever. I always thought the first one was.

E. THE STORY OF JESUS.

ILLUSTRATION:
A girl of ten years went with a group of family and friends to see the Christmas light displays at various locations throughout the city. At one church, they stopped and got out to look more closely at a beautifully done nativity scene. "Isn't that beautiful?" said the little girl's grandmother. "Look at all the animals, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus." "Yes, Grandma," replied the granddaughter. "It is really nice. But there is only one thing that bothers me. Isn't baby Jesus ever going to grow up... he's the same size he was last year."

APPLICATION:

THE 10 YEAR OLD GIRL KNEW ONLY ABOUT AN OUTSIDE CHRISTMAS.



II. THE INSIDE OF CHRISTMAS .
MAT 23:26


"You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

A. THE CHRISTMAS TREE.
1. The Evergreen can be a sample of Eternal life.

B. THE EMPHASIS OF SANTA CLAUS.
1. It could mean an emphasis of giving. Have Santa bow at the feet of Jesus.

ILLUSTRATION:
Many Christian parents wonder what to tell their children about Santa Claus. Some see red (no pun intended) when they think of that jolly old elf. Others view him as a delightful fantasy that can do no harm. But have you ever thought that Santa can provide a springboard for reinforcing young minds with the true meaning of Christmas?

For example, when a child asks, "Is Santa real?" a mother or father might answer, "No, but hundreds of years ago, there lived a man named Nicholas (later known as St. Nicholas) who gave to others because he loved Jesus.

He was born in AD 280, and when he was still just a boy his parents died, leaving him great wealth. Early in his life he devoted himself to serving God. Later, as a bishop in Asia, he gave away much of his wealth to the poor - especially to children.

When he was persecuted and imprisoned, he always shared his meager provisions with the inmates. He believed that giving to the needy was the same as giving to Jesus. And that's what the Bible teaches us to do."

C. THE DECORATIONS.
1. Candles emphasize Jesus the Light of the world.
2. Angel on the tree "the angels and the birth of Christ.

D. THE GIVING OF GIFTS.
1. Give gifts that are meaningful.

APPLICATION:

THE INSIDE OF CHRISTMAS LETS OUR CHRISTIAN LOVE SHOW.



III. How do we get the Inside and Outside to be Christlike? 1 Cor 10:31



31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NAS)

A. Proper emphasis of the Christmas tree.

B. Proper emphasis of Santa Claus.

C. Proper emphasis on the decorations.

D. Proper emphasis on the giving of gifts.

E. Proper sharing of the story of Jesus.

ILLUSTRATION:
A striking Christmas card was once published with the title "If Christ Had Not Come". It was founded upon our Savior's words "If I had not come." The card represented a pastor's falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.

In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out to the street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Savior had disappeared.

The doorbell rang and a messenger asked the preacher to visit his poor, dying mother. He hastened with the weeping child, and as he reached the home he sat down and said, "I have something here that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended with Malachi. There was no Gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.

Two days later he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service. There was no message of consolation, no hope of heaven.

APPLICATION:

MAT 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 "Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

CONCLUSION:

In his portrayal of the nativity scene, Rembrandt focused attention entirely on the Babe in the manger. He did this by painting a shaft of light so that it falls exclusively on the Christ-child. Although he included other figures, they are shrouded in shadows. Rembrandt wanted nothing to detract from the significance of that baby -- who was God in the flesh. He wanted Christ to be the sole object of adoration.

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