Editor’s note: One hundred years ago, on December 23, 1923, Foursquare’s founder, Aimee Semple McPherson, preached this sermon at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. What follows is a condensed adaptation of this classic message. As our movement’s yearlong Centennial Celebration draws to a close, we’re happy to share this important reminder of the power of the gospel.
Reading from the second chapter of Luke: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (v. 10-11, KJV).
For a few moments, we are going to talk about what the birth of Jesus Christ means to the world. I would like to speak on this subject from a positive and negative standpoint, taking the negative first. What would have happened if Christ had never come, had never been born in a manger, if the star had not announced His birth, if the wise men had not come? There would have been no occasion for the angels to come and bring the message of great joy. What would have happened?
Once, man walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden, face to face, but because of sin there was a gulf, which widened and deepened, between God and man. If Jesus had not come, there would never have been a bridge.
What a disastrous thing it would have been: First, prophecies would have been unfulfilled. The prophecy to Eve in Genesis 3:15 would have been unfulfilled. The prophecies to Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Nahum would have been unfulfilled. Oh, what a mighty blank void there would have been. If Jesus had not come, what darkness there would have been. Instead of the light of salvation, joy, gladness and peace of God, there would have been blank darkness.
If Jesus had not come, there would have been no bridge across the gulf of sin. Once, man walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden, face to face, but because of sin there was a gulf, which widened and deepened, between God and man. If Jesus had not come, there would never have been a bridge.
But, hallelujah, He did come, and He gave Himself a ransom just because He loved us so. From His birth in the manger to His death on the cross, He was building the bridge. When they drove nails into His hands and the wood of the cross, they were driving down the last boards of the bridge that leads from darkness to light, from Earth to glory, from dying to living. Oh Jesus, if You had not come, what hopeless people we would be.
If Jesus had not come, I could not preach the gospel of love. It would be a gospel of hardness. Indeed, not a gospel at all because gospel means “good news.” If Christ had not come, we never would have had the message of love.
Glory to God, He has come! What does His birth mean? It means that every prophecy has been fulfilled. We have light, salvation, joy and blessed peace. We have light.
Because He has come, we have a Saviour. He is our Deliverer. Because Jesus Christ has come, He will save you. No matter who you are, or how far you have wandered, He loves you.
Because Jesus has come, we have a Healer, a Great Physician. Not only for our bodies but, thank God, healing for our poor souls. There are such sore spots in some people’s hearts. “I can’t forgive that man or that woman.” But, because Christ has come, there is forgiveness. Because He has come, there is healing for the hard heart, healing for the deep wounds. And there is healing for your body if you but claim the blessing.
Because Jesus Christ has come, the Comforter has come. Praise the Lord. If Christ had not come, the Holy Ghost could not have come.
Because He has come, we have a Shepherd for the sheep. We have a great Consoler. Because Christ has come, we have a Captain of our souls. A Deliverer who leads us through every battle. We don’t need to fight. The beauty of it is that Christ does the fighting for us.
Because Christ has come, it is peace and goodwill toward men. Not the sword, not malice, and hatred, but love, gentleness and yieldedness. Christ has come! Because He has come, we have the oil of His love to soften hearts, the Balm of Gilead to heal wounded hearts. We have the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of Valley, whose fragrance fills our lives. We have the Bread of Life; we are no longer hungry. We have a Pilot who will take us through.
Oh, hallelujah! I bring you good tidings of great joy. For unto you is born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
This article is adapted from a Christmas sermon Aimee Semple McPherson preached at Angelus Temple on Dec. 23, 1923.