A Prophetic Christmas

What are you planning to give people this Christmas?

Did you buy them the latest or greatest — ?

Maybe you’re a person that thinks of gift ideas so easily that this time of year is no problem for you.

Maybe you have no idea what you can give people, and so Christmas is a time where you worry about over/under gifting.

How about a word of prophecy?

Perhaps you hear this word and think of the Old Testament guys and gals who predicted (accurately and without fail) future events concerning God’s people and God’s coming Messiah (Micah 4.8, 5.2, Isaiah9.2-7 for example). Let’s be clear: that is not what we are talking about. That ministry is no more.

However, we do read in 1 Corinthians 14.3 that those who speak a word of prophecy speak to someone for their upbuilding, their encouragement, or they consolation.

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

In contrast (on the other hand) to the gift of tongues which is personal and private (1 Corinthians 14.2, 5b, 6, 9, 19), prophecy is for others, prophecy is using your words in accordance with God’s Word to build people up, encourage people, and to console people.

So, this Christmas season, many people are so concerned with many things. Be a person who gives a word of prophecy, a word of upbuilding, a word of encouragement, a word of consolation. Second only to the unmatchable gift of God’s expressed love to you in the person of Jesus, I’m not sure there is anything more we can give people than love, upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation. 

How Am I Saved?

In James 1 we read about the testing of our faith (vv.2-4), how God tempts nobody (vv.12-15), and how the ultimate gift of salvation and eternal life comes from God (vv.16-18).

Then, we read this,

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

So, knowing all of this, we should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. This is because our anger does not produce in us the righteousness of God that should be present in those saved unto eternal life.

James continues and says that we should distance ourselves from filthiness and rampant wickedness, and having already told us that good comes from God and that He tempts nobody, James is saying, simply, put away things from your life that are not Godly.

Then we see what saves us from all this filthiness and wickedness, what saves us both in the here and now and in the ultimate sense, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

James is very clear that the word is what saves us. The Word of God carries the power of God, and the power of God in the Word of God saves our souls.

Maybe you have heard people talk about other Christian things as necessary for salvation; perhaps baptism, or communion, or worship, or a whole manner of weird and extra-Biblical things, but, at the core, it is possible to do those things and not have a saved soul, isn’t it. For example, we can eat bread and drink juice and not believe what it represents (although Paul has some strong words about that in 1 Corinthians 11). 

On the other hand think – is it possible to have the Word of God be implanted in your soul and not be saved?

It is the Word of God that saves us, because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation. 

In 2 Timothy 3 Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage the young pastor, specifically regarding Scripture, and we read,

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Very clear, that the sacred writings (Scripture, the Bible, the Word of God) make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

So, as James says, we are to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.

The Word of God saves us because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation, Jesus.

The Word of God saves us because reading it, having it implanted within us, strengthens our faith in Jesus, the Word become flesh.

The Word of God produces in us faith in Christ Jesus, which saves us (Ephesians 2.8-9, Acts 16.31, John 3.16).

How are we saved? Faith in Jesus, the living Word of God. Every time we read His written Word we are inescapably drawn to the Living Word.

How are we saved? The Word of God.

Point to ponder – Is the Word of God implanted within me?

Prayer – Father we thank you again for your Word. Help us to be people who value it, spend time in it, people who try our best to live it, and people who want to share it. Amen.