My Version of A Christmas Carol – The Final Act Part 1
For two weeks now, I have been sharing with you My version of A Christmas Carol and that is my intention again this morning; to continue my story (or your story as we shall see) as my gift to you this Christmas—a gift to get you thinking about what really matters.
The differences between my version and Dicken’s: You (not scrooge) are the main character. And you are visited by an Angel (not ghosts) on Christmas Eve. Finally, Dicken’s version is pure fiction, whereas mine is based on reality. It is about what may be your story.
Where (then) our story started…a couple of weeks ago
You were in your bed on Christmas Eve, thinking about all the presents and plans that awaited you the next day when all of a sudden, you are whisked out of your bed and into the night by an Angel who tells you three things. The first thing he tells you is that you are going to die (that reality IOW be true of you just as it has for all those who have come before you), and the second thing he tells you is that Hell is a very real place (which is where your ride into the evening sky ultimately ends up).
You are standing on the shore of Hell itself, gazing into the pit of fire that consumes not only its space but also its inhabitants. You see people – old and young, men and women children, even babies –of every race and country there in its fiery midst; in agony as they feel the flames of that place burning the flesh from their bodies. And you realize WHY the Angel stressed its reality (or that it is a very real place)- b/c there is no denying what YOUR eyes are currently seeing; what your ears are currently hearing and what your nose is currently smelling. It is the smell of human flesh on fire. AND IT IS AWFUL….(so awful that it not only makes you sick but a little offended), WHY has the angel taken you (a Christian) to see/experience such a place? What could be the value of such a trip?
And that is when the angel tells you the third and final thing: He has taken you to Hell, b/c there is a very good chance that YOU will end up there!
Though you boast Christ as Savior, He has NOT been your greatest love, nor your first priority, nor your supreme master – something made evident by your continual lack of affection for Him, disobedience to all the He commands and your constant practice of putting other things before Him. IOW: Though you boast Him as Savior, He is NOT your Lord. And where Jesus is not Lord, He will never be Savior (this the bible – as you know, makes abundantly clear).
Fortunately for you (however) what the angel has already said is NOT the end of your STORY – BUT only a warning. Though you will die, it won’t be today, and though the very real place of Hell could be where you end up, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO.
And that you know (to be true) b/c JUST as quickly as you were transported into that awful place (hearing those awful possibilities), you are transported BACK into your BED.
As a matter of fact, it NOW seems as though you NEVER left…MAYBE it was all just a dream?
BUT that is when you realize the angel is still there and though in your room – outside your door is something very different.
You are not at home but in Bethlehem, and it is NOW Christmas DAY – the very FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY, and what lies outside bedroom door is the baby Jesus. He’s just been born and is lying in the manger with Mary and Joseph gazing at Him with great joy and wonder –
And that is exactly WHEN things get WEIRD again…
TIME seems to be moving much faster. As a result, you (and the angel) have become witnesses to NOT just the birth of Christ but His entire earthly life. What (beforehand) you had only READ about, you know experience (firsthand) within a matter of a couple of hours.
And it is in the midst of this fantastical visual biopic that the ANGEL (again) speaks. It is HERE THAT he tells you the purpose for seeing such things. The purpose is this: THAT you might LEARN what Jesus (during His life) LEARNED. That you might see and gain wisdom from the things He Himself gained wisdom from –b/c this (too) as the angel tells you, is also necessary, if you are to escape the HELL (and instead know HEAVEN) as your eternal home.
(Now) as support for what I just said, Luke 2:40 and 52 tells us that Jesus did (indeed) learn (or grow) in the area of wisdom – which means that what else we can expect to find in the life of our LORD is just THAT – wisdom that He learned, wisdom that was VITAL to continuing on the narrow path that leads to heaven. And that is exactly what WISDOM is…(and why it is so important).
It is knowledge/decisions/actions which PROTECT that person from becoming the unfortunate recipient of those things (in life) that are harmful, unprofitable or sinful. Folly (the direct opposite if wisdom), is then knowledge/decisions/actions which PROPEL that person in the direction of those things that are harmful, unprofitable or sinful (Consider: Pro 3:21, 4:5-7, 11-13, 8:10-12, 16:16, 23:23, 24:3-7, 14, 28:26; Ecc 2:13, 7:11-12, 19, 8:1, 10:2).
Which means this: The possession of wisdom or folly are not MORAL categories (IOW: you are not IN SIN simply b/c you follow the path of folly). However (at the same time), it is a path that will inevitably END there (in sin and even death). Likewise, WISDOM is the path that leads to righteousness (or more importantly) – to eternal life.
Therefore, what is necessary to GET TO HEAVEN is not just the practice of righteousness, but also the “know-how” – i.e. the wisdom which makes it possible. Hence why the Scripture is not just a repository of what constitutes right and wrong, but also WISDOM – e.g. 2Ti 3:15).
SO then, WISDOM is important to learn (just as important as learning what is right and what is wrong). It is what gives us the knowledge to sail safely to heaven (versus experiencing spiritual shipwreck – as many will b/c they lack such knowledge).
AND WHO better to learn it from than the MASTER Himself- which is what I want to share with you NOW (Col 2:3)…
What you (if my Christmas Carol were completely true) would have most assuredly witnessed (with your very own eyes) Jesus learned (as wisdom) during His earthly – WISDOM that was necessary for Him to LEARN in order to accomplish His task and make it safely back to His heavenly abode.
Jesus learned that: