We thank God who has kept us and given us this day. We greet you where you are. We thank God so much for keeping us. We also thank God for His help during the Youth Conference and for the special way in which He worked. We trust that the Lord will continue His work in each heart and that the examples we were given will help us to continue serving Him.
Over the festive season we normally have visitors who visit KSB and attend the Christmas services. We will hold virtual services on the following days: Christmas Eve, 24 Dec @ 18h30, Christmas Day, 24 Dec @ 11h00 and 18h30, Saturday, 26 Dec @ 11h00 and 18h30.
Christmas time is a wonderful period of joy when family and friends meet to celebrate. We encourage you, members of the congregation and the community to receive this gift of the Saviour. This gift is freely available to everyone; the poor, the downtrodden, those without much as well as those who are well-off. This gift is available to everyone who will welcome and receive it. We will be reminded of this gift and be invited to sit down and participate in this feast and receive this gift of God. We thank the leadership of the mission who has made it possible for us to experience the fellowship, warmth and joy of Christ at this time. Many people and even pastors are on holiday, but we want to share the gift of God with you. We thank God for technology so that we can reach you. Be careful though that Satan does not rob you. A service is a time when God serves you a meal on a tray and all you have to do is receive it, but Satan is wily, he can distract you and you can lose out on that which God has for you. May God be gracious to us. While many people celebrate these days in ways that displease God, may we be drawn closer to God to receive this wonderful gift that He came to freely bring us.
43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Luke 2: 43 – 46
In this text Jesus went on a journey with His parents to Jerusalem where they spent some days. On their return journey to Nazareth, Jesus’ parents realised that someone was missing who was very important to them. They had journeyed a whole day before they realised He was not with them. They possibly surmised that He was in the group somewhere with their relatives or other acquaintances, but when they began asking around, they realised to their consternation, He was not there. They did not just accept the fact and say, “Well, He’ll probably pitch up some time later or they will probably bring Him some time.” No, they took steps. They started seeking for Him all over and when they did not find Him in their group, they turned around to look for Him in Jerusalem. For three days they searched in Jerusalem and eventually found Him in the temple.
When I read this, I was troubled. People continue with their lives as if nothing is amiss while they do not have the Christ child with them. They sing, testify and preach but the Christ child is not with them. They sing and preach because it is the done thing, they can do these things in their own strength, and they are not troubled by the fact that Jesus is not with them. They are unconcerned about where He is and where they have left Him. Some forsake God and their church, they begin another church and there they preach but the Christ child is not with them, they have left Him behind. They leave that which was taught to them about this Child, and continue with spiritual work, but the Child is no longer with them. They were taught to humble themselves and accept correction, but when the Child is no longer there, they feel that the person who corrects them is in opposition to them.
When Jesus’ parents noticed that He was no longer with them, it troubled them to such an extent that they did not rest until they found Him. Child of God, are you concerned about whether Jesus is with you? When you realise that He is not with you, do you seek Him until you find Him? During this festive season of joy and celebration, many Christians lose the Child. Why? Because they say I will just do this once, enjoy this once, but through this they lose the Child. Young people who call themselves Christians celebrate in such a way that they are immoral. They get involved in things they should not be involved in, but they say, ‘We are celebrating’ but they lose the Christ Child. While on holiday they say, ‘We will dress like this and expose our bodies.’ They do not care how they dress as long as they fit in with the crowd. Then they take selfies in this state and the images are spread all over and the name of Christ is brought into disrepute because of it. A person excuses himself and says, ‘I just do this once a year, I’m celebrating! Let me be free from these restrictions and do what I like - just this once.’ Where is the Christ Child in your life? Is He still alive? Some say He is still with me, but Jesus has long ago died in their lives.
I know a certain married lady who was very gifted in singing and preaching. She could perform and work up an audience. People said she could bring angels down from heaven. Then she became pregnant but continued with her performances. The elderly people wondered how she could continue while expecting, but they thought their faith was small. She jumped and danced on the chairs. After some time, she visited her doctor who found that the child in her womb had died long ago and was already in a bad state. She then informed her followers social media about this and they spread the message further. Eventually the older ladies in the church also heard the news and they mourned. They went to mourn with her over what had happened. Then they asked her when the funeral of the unborn baby would take place. The lady asked, “What funeral? What does one need a funeral for? I cannot look at the grave of an unborn baby that I never knew or suckled for the rest of my life.” They asked her about all the people who knew that she was expecting and who had heard that her baby had passed away? She said, “You should not be worried about what people say, just send them to me.” You may think that the Child is alive in you and you testify about it but is He still alive? Where you have left behind your church and have begun your own movement somewhere else – is that Child still alive and healthy, and is He within you? You can read the Bible and expound on it because you know the Bible, and the theology. People may say ‘Amen’ when you preach because they do not know what the state of the Child is in you – maybe He has died long ago.
Possibly the disease that caused the death of the Child in your life is your pride. You do not want anybody to tell you anything. You are not prepared to submit to authority. When you were still small in your own eyes, when you were prepared to accept advice, even from someone who seemed low down and insignificant, there was good fruit and God could use you. But now there are signs that the Child is weak, malnourished and about to die in your life and if you do not take drastic steps, it will be the end. The warning sign could be the anger and rage that rises in your heart and you do not even realise that the Child cannot be healthy if there is such anger in the heart. The Child cannot be healthy where there is spiritual chaos and turmoil. You are strangling the Child by allowing that in your life. The Child cannot be healthy and live in an environment where you continually find fault, criticise and grumble. You will deceive people who do not know the working of the Holy Spirit, while you find fault and criticise. You are playing around. Your Christ Child is dead.
When Jesus’ parents realised that He was not there, they were troubled. They did not give themselves any rest until they found Him. Can you have peace in your heart while gossiping about or slandering your fellow brother or sister? The Child is dead in your life. How can you be comfortable and relax as if there is nothing amiss while the Christ Child is not with you? The Christ Child is dead. Young girls, people come to you with their dirty talk, you listen to it, laugh with them and even comment on it. Your Jesus is dead. You young man, other men talk to you about their dirty things. You enjoy the talk and chat along. Do you think Jesus is alive in your life? Husband and wife at home, does your relationship show that Jesus is alive and is growing in you or is it a cat-and-dog affair? As a wife you may be dissatisfied about what you receive from your husband. You compare yourself with others in the neighbourhood and you do not realise that God has given your husband the abilities he has. You want to keep up with the neighbours and go into debt. You are dissatisfied and complain about what you have. The Child has died within you.
Let us learn from the parents of Jesus who, once they discovered that He was not with them, went about seeking Him and did not give themselves any rest until they found Him. You must do the same whether people praise, compliment or applaud you. If you realise the Child is not with you, you need to seek Him. People may say you have so much courage, you are a real hero because you were able to tell others just what you think about them, then leave them behind and go your own way. But when all is quiet, you realise that something is missing from your life. Do not rest until you have found Him who is missing.
You may preach. Some call themselves ‘the generation of young pastors’ but they are unprepared to submit to their churches and to those who are older. They go out independently. They preach fiery sermons and people speak well of them, but it is all a big show, the Christ Child is not there. You might be a popular preacher because you speak the language of the time, you are modern and ‘with it’, people enjoy listening to you but is the Christ Child there, is He alive?
Parents you may have relaxed the standards in your family. Your children are going the way of the world. You support them. They appreciate it and say you are so understanding. You let go of the Gospel because you want to win them, but you are winning them for hell. The rot creeps in while you are in the church. Your language changes: what is wrong with having a boyfriend? Why is TV worldly? The problem is not with the children, but with the father. Parents today use the TV and the cell-phone as the baby-sitter and pacifier. What kind of a generation are we raising? Can the Child be alive within you when things are like this? Is He present? No, you have lost Him long ago. You even know where you lost Him and if you go back to that place, you will find Him there. You say, “We have leaders whom we follow who understand us and how things are in this world…” They might understand the things of hell and this world, but they do not understand the things of heaven.
When the parents realised that Jesus was missing, they backtracked all the way to Jerusalem and eventually they found Him in the Temple. If you backtrack you will find Jesus where you left Him. We must go back, we must seek Him, we must demolish that wall of separation between us and Him, until we are reunited with Him. Unless we seek Him, we will not find Him. Each member of the church has that responsibility to seek the Lord and to make sure that you find Him. Nobody else can do it. Your pastor and your minister cannot do it. They cannot seek Jesus on your behalf. You must take the trouble to do it.
Where is the Child? Is He still in your life? Is He still alive? Where is the evidence that He is still alive in your life? In the times in which we live, is Jesus present and alive in your life? In this time where young people discredit their elders and say that their era is passed and it is time for the youth to lead, is Jesus still alive in you? The young generation who when they have a diploma or degree think they know better. They can try and show that they are spirit-filled and even speak in tongues (making up gibberish), but they have imitated it from somewhere else. Older people may be waiting for your life to blossom and to see something good come from it, but when you get a bit of prominence, they must move out of the way because your time has come. Where is Jesus who is alive and with you? You think the only way you can rise to prominence is if you discredit those who went before you. Stop playing games. Seek the Lord until you find Him.
Nowadays it is said that there must be different means of attracting people to church - activities, music, drums. You may have all of that and people may even come but that does not show that Jesus is alive and with you. If He is truly alive, He will draw people.
During the festive season people are out to enjoy themselves, have fun and relax, but when you go out and even whole congregations go out, does the example that you set show that Jesus is alive? On the beach or wherever you may be on holiday, do people notice a difference when they see you? Do they see the presence of the Christ Child with you and say that person has something they do not have? If you are at home during the Christmas period, does the neighbourhood notice that you are a Christian family by the way you do things in unity?
This is a time of goodwill where people present gifts to each other. You have plenty at home and you may even waste food. There are people near you who do not have anything, but your heart does not reach out to them. Is Jesus truly alive in you? You may buy sets of clothing for your child and your neighbour’s child is wearing rags, but your heart does not go out to that person. Your Jesus is dead. Who do we take after? God, the Lord Jesus? God did not withhold His only begotten Son from us. Jesus did not consider heaven something to be grasped but He emptied Himself so that we could be enriched. May God grant us the grace to make sure that the Christ Child is present with us.
He was an amazing child. Angels left heaven to sing ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men in whom He has good will’. The kings of the earth, the wise, the learned, bowed before Him and acknowledged that He was the Christ Child. His parents were amazed at all that they experienced with this child.
At the age of 12 something consumed Him within. Although He was born in an ordinary way, it was obvious that He was not an ordinary child. People of this world are occupied with the things of this world, but this Child was occupied with the things of heaven, from where He came.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for His parents when they discovered that He was not with them – at first, they may have taken it lightly and carried on, thinking He was close by. Only after a whole day’s journey did they realise with a shock He was not there and then they turned around to look for Him. We have heard that this is a lesson to us. We need to ensure that Jesus is always with us. How will we discover that He is not there? We can take it for granted that Jesus is there. We can take it lightly. This shows us that even a child of God can proceed without Jesus and yet not realise it. Parents can take things lightly in the family, whereas things have gone wrong long ago.
When Jesus’ parents returned to Jerusalem, they found him after three days. Had Jesus ever left Jerusalem or the temple? Jesus was busy with that which consumed Him all along. When His parents found Him, they were distressed and said, “Son, why have you treated us like this?” Jesus answered, “Did you not know I must be busy with the things pertaining to my Father’s house?” Jesus never said, “Oh yes, sorry, shame, we have been apart for so long.” He just asked a question, “Did you not know where to find Me, that I must be busy with the things of heaven?” Are we busy with the things of God’s house? Where are we? What do we spend our time on? If we are busy with the things pertaining to heaven, then we will be found on the same wavelength as He who came to save us. We will commit ourselves to being busy with that purpose for which Christ came into this world. Jesus said, “I must do the work of Him who sent Me while it is still day.” Jesus understood His calling very well. He knew what He had been sent for. He knew the limited time He had in which to do the work. That is why He was in God’s house, busy with the things pertaining to God’s house. That is why He was busy with questions and issues that would draw people closer to heaven. Those were the kind of questions He asked and answered, not the issues that led people into arguments, slander and gossip. Jesus knew that He had to be busy with salvation which He brought to men. How He would be able to unite people and reconcile them to heaven from which they had been separated. Jesus was busy seeing how He could bring the light to those in darkness. That is why He asked, “Did you not know I must be in My Father’s house?” A 12-year old boy asked His parents this question.
Jesus was missing and they found Him in His Father’s house. You might be missing but where are you to be found? In the cinema, looking at worldly, immoral and pornographic things that bring death, not life. Jesus did not have that mind. He did not have that attitude of death; He was busy with the things of heaven. He was not busy with vain things. He was busy with that which was heavenly. He was about His Father’s business. What are you busy with? What are you seeking? Are you seeking the things of heaven? Are you keeping yourself busy with that? Some are busy with sinful pleasures. They are found in houses of pleasure, in brothels. Some are busy making money, they are not busy with heavenly matters. But Jesus was found in His Father’s house, with God’s people. He was busy with things from above, not below, because He is not from below. You may have so much time on your hands. You may even be bored. Have you ever realised that your soul needs that which is from above and it cannot be satisfied with the entertainment from this world? With what are you feeding your soul? Jesus was separated from His parents because He was busy with things from above, but you are separated from God’s people because you are busy with sinful things. Come back to your rightful place, in the house of God, be busy with the things of God.
Young person be reconciled with your parents. Return and repent. Humble yourself and bow. Do not stubbornly resist God. There are rebellious children of 12, 13 years who make their parents grey overnight. The parents do not know what to do with their children anymore. The child is cheeky and demands certain things. He wants his own way and he will throw a tantrum if he does not get it. The child just wants his own way, not the way of God, not the way that will bring life. Look at Jesus, He was in the house of God, with God’s people, asking questions that bring life. He was not busy with vain controversies that just cause trouble.
Some parents even close an eye to what their children are doing and just allow them to do whatever they like - drink as they like and enjoy life. They are not busy with the things of God. This child asked these teachers questions. He wanted knowledge and wisdom about things pertaining to heaven.
We have been asked questions: Where is the Child? Is He still with us or has He gone missing? We must face the question: Where is the Child?
The wise men asked, “Where is He that has been born King of the Jews? We are seeking Him.” The wise men had taken a long journey to find the one who was born King of Jews, to bow down and worship Him. If we have lost Him, we must turn around and look for Him. It does not matter how long it takes to find Him but find Him we must if we want to one day be with Him in His home in heaven.
May God have mercy on us. May God grant us the assurance that the Child is with us. That we feel His movement within. Not like that mother who jumped around and performed, thinking that the child was still alive within her, but it had died long before, it was rotting and was about to kill her too. She appeared to be a mother, but her child was dead. You can appear to be a child of God, but the Child has died long ago within you. May God grant us the mercy to find out where the Child is.