The Bible is quite a difficult 66 books to understand. Firstly, there is a lot of it and secondly parts of it on a first, second and even third reading are pretty difficult to comprehend. Also, the Bible says some hard things about life and death, about heaven and hell, about judgement and grace. These are big and weighty things.
I told the parents of a Primary School that one of the silliest things people say to me is Jesus was a good man who taught some good things. No he isn't. Whoever told you that is silly and if, heaven forbid, they are leading the local church they shouldn't be. He is the holy Son of God who is coming again to judge the quick and the dead, who died horrifically on the cross and is risen and seated at the right hand of the father. Read Revelation 19:11-21 if you need a refresher (a good Advent thing to do).
John Stott reminded me from Basic Christianity that there are three ways people react to God and 'he's a nice man' is not one of them.
1. Fear: The Shepherds were 'terrified'. If you haven't been scared then you probably haven't understood who God is. Spend some time in the first three Chapters of Romans if you want to see what I mean.
2. Murder: Herod was murderous. The battle is raging- it was raging from the off and it still is. You are either for Jesus or you are against him. Decide which.
3. Wonder: The wise men bowed down before him and worshipped. They got it right and saw something in Jesus that almost everyone else missed. The word had become flesh and dwelt among us. If that doesn't humble you, pierce your pride, convict you of your sin and your secrets and drive you to your knees crying for mercy and grace then nothing will.
Preach the gospel this Christmas. Don't filly faddle about- we haven't got time. Preach it. Preach it for all you are worth.
I have spent two months nearly in Romans 1-3 and thankfully have got to the two greatest words in the New Testament- "But now....". The implications though of these introductory Chapters 1-3 are truly far-reaching and life-changing if they be true. That might be why no one reads them.
This sermon called Hard Texts really helped me and is a wonderful explanation of why there are tricky things in the bible and why it is worth getting up early to read them, pray them, journal them and work out what God is saying through them.
I hope you find listening as helpful as I did.