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Marystown Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Christmas Greetings 2015

The Forgotten Christmas Story

Saturday, December 26 at 11:15 AM

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Dear Friend,

We are saddened by the senseless loss of life in California; at least 14 killed and 17 injured. Not too long ago, the world mourned for the victims violence in France in which about 129 people were murdered. Back in April, Christians were targeted at a Kenyan University in which 144 were murdered. Brazil experienced the worst-ever environmental disaster which killed at least 13 people and flooded two states with thick mud. This is just a brief summary of this year's unnecessary violence and disaster due to greed.
These events must lead us to reflect on:
1. The meaning of life.
2. The future of the human race.
3. The necessity for a better world.
1. THE MEANING OF LIFE. The Bible reveals that life originates from God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. In the beginning God created life in a variety of species. Our Heavenly Father is the author of life. Therefore, any meaning of life must begin with the knowledge of the life-Giver.
Life, however, was never meant to be temporal. In fact, to talk about life as temporal does not make sense in the mind of an eternal God. Life cannot be life unless, death is never part of the picture. It is for this reason that Jesus provided clear definition of true life:
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3, NIV)
Life only has meaning when God is acknowledged as its Creator and Author. There is no meaning for existence outside of God.
2. THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE. The more humanity is separated from God, the source of all life, the more we will experience death. Life does not exists outside of God Almighty.
So, why death? The Bible has an answer:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:26, NIV)
What is sin?
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." (Isaiah 64:6)
"Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4)
What law does the Bible writer refer to?
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.'  Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Romans 7:12; cf. Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21)
Defiance against God and His Law brought death into a world that was designed to live in a state of innocence and holiness in the presence of God, its Creator.
With death among us, the future of the human race does not look good at all.
3. THE NECESSITY FOR A BETTER WORLD. So, it makes sense that obedience to God and His Law will restore order to the world, but it is not that simple. The breaking of God's holy Law requires death of the sinner. If the sinner is dead, then all humanity would disappear since all are found guilty.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)
So. what's the solution or the antidote to death?
God, the author of life. God has already made peace with humanity in the Person of His dear Son Jesus Christ and extends an invitation to you and me to return to Him. This is grace, but there is more. There is one technicality. Death is required for the restoration of life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
God sacrificed His own Son, Jesus Christ to pay for all the sins of the world. He did this by becoming human, forever to be connected to the human race. Jesus' infinite sacrifice on the cross of Calvary is the answer to death.
"Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die...?' " (Ezequiel 33:11)
God wants the entire human race to make a u-turn, so to speak. He desires that we repent of our wicked ways and surrender to His Lordship, this means to return to be subjected to His holy Law which brings order and harmony to our world. 
Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments."  (John 14:15) The Apostle John echoed this very teaching: "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome..." (1 John 5:3)
Merely attempting to obey God's Law is not sufficient to be saved, the offending party must receive the punishement of death.  This is an impossibility for the sinner, you and me.  Enter Jesus, God in human flesh, dressed in the garb of humanity, the sinless Son of God.  His death offers life to the repentant sinner.  Belief in Him means the renunciation of a life of sin in order to be born again spiritually and receive Jesus' Spirit in the heart, soul and mind.  This transformation enables the sinner to obtain eternal life and begin to walk in newness of the Spirit of God.
Jesus offers a better world without sin and death. The offer is extended to you and everyone who is willing to give up their sinful ways.
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' "
Jesus is the way to life.  Better yet, Jesus is the only way to life.
"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3, NIV)
Know Jesus today and live, for why should you die? If you want to learn more about Jesus and His love for you, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be ready to assist you begin a new journey in your temporal life that will lead to eternal life.
"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' " (John 11:25, 26)
Death has a one solution: Jesus.  Even if we die, Jesus promises the resurrection for all who "sleep" in him.  God desires to be with you, to live with Him.  Jesus is our Immanuel, God With Us --The Forgotten Christmas Story.
Give your heart to Jesus today!  To learn more about Jesus, plan to join us.

May the peace of Jesus which transcends all understanding be with those who suffered great loss this year.  May His mercy be with you and your personal endeavours.  May the love of God and His abundant life be yours this Christmas Season.  As in previous years, we are thankful to God for those of you who have become part of our new life here in the Burin Peninsula.  Thank you for your support.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,  

Victor and Pamela Reyes-Prieto
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Marystown, NL
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