EBENEZER SCROOGE AND HIS “EBENEZER.”
NEWS TO USE FROM EBENEZER SCROOGE!
Most of us have either heard, or read, or seen a movie about the Ebenezer Scrooge in the “Christmas Carol.” It was written by Charles Dickens and was first published in 1843. It is one of the most popular and enduring Christmas stories of all time. We have heard about Ebenezer Scrooge and his business partner, Jacob Marley. We know about Bob Cratchit, Little Tiny Tim, and the “Ghosts” that appeared to Mr. Scrooge on Christmas Eve. We remember the “Ghost of Christmas Past,” the “Ghost of Christmas Present,” and the “Ghost of Christmas Future” that Mr. Scrooge was forced to face. And when Mr. Scrooge considered his past, his present, and his future, he was a changed man. He really understood the real meaning of Christmas and what Christ has brought to the world. He could not wait to tell others about his change of attitude and his new found faith in Christmas!
Today we too need to be reminded of what Christmas is really all about. We need to be reminded of what Christ means to our past, our present, and our future. As we focus on our Lord’s birth, we are reminded of the:
Guilt of the Christian’s Past
1. We all “stood” in a state of “Guilt.”
2. We were all “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).
3. We were “by nature the children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).
5. We were all “alienated” from God (Col. 1:21), “enemies” of God (Rom. 5:10), and “guilty” before God (Rom. 3:19).
6. We lived “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph.2:12).
7. Paul was “formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Tim. 1:13).
8. We can fill in plenty of blanks ourselves. We were formerly: liars, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, robbers, drug addicts, drunkards, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, etc. You name it and some of us have done it!
9. However, because of Jesus, we have managed to outlast our outlandish past, which brings us to our next visit (point).
Grace of the Christian’s Present
1. We once “stood” in a state of “guilt.” Now we “stand” in a state of “Grace.”
2. Christians are “justified by faith” and now have access into “this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:1-2).
3. As Christians, we don’t intend to be harassed by our past. We have no need to fearwhen it comes to yesteryear. Mistakes were made we don’t deny, but we have kissed our past “goodbye.”
4. There is “now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1).
5. Therefore, like Paul, we are “forgetting those things which are behind…” which includes sins, bad decisions, misunderstanding etc. (Phil. 3:13).
6. When the “Ghost of Christmas Past” carried Ebenezer Scrooge back to his past, Ebenezer was a miserable man. He said, “Get me out of here!” Why? It was because he had made a lot of bad decisions. He had made a lot of mistakes. He had exemplified a bad attitude. And as long as the “Ghost” kept him in the “past,” Ebenezer was a miserable man. There is no one alive who can thrive (as a joyful Christian) if they let a “ghost” take them back to continually relive past mistakes.
7. It is much the same with us today. Satan may not use a “Ghost” to take us back to our past, but he will sometimes have a “host” of others to do it for him. It may be relatives, friends, Christian brothers/sisters, preachers, elders, or others, who are always bringing up the past to try to make us continually feel “guilty” about past mistakes. And the real sad part of it is that they are often successful. But we need to quit looking at ourselves through someone else’s eyes. Some of these are self righteous “hosts” who only want to carry us back to a “whipping post.”
8. We realize (much more than any of our critics) that at one time we “stood” in a “state” of “guilt,” and rightly so. But we now “stand” in a “state” of “grace” and that is really all we need to know. (By the way, if our “(G)-hosts” who like to bring up our past knew all that we know about our past they could really have a “field day.”)
9. But believers stand in a state of “grace” which is a very comforting “place.” Those who try to move you and me are just “barking up the wrong tree.”
10. Jesus came into our world to take our place, so that we could stand in a state of “grace.” This brings us to our next visit (point).
Glory of the Christian’s Future
1. We once “stood” in a state of “guilt.” Now we “stand” in a state of “grace.” And one day we will “stay” in a state of “Glory.”
2. When Christ appears, we will “appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4).
3. The “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)
4. We sing about it: “O yes I’ll live in glory by and by.”
5. Jesus came and was laid in a manger, so He could get us out of spiritual danger. He broadened our expansion when He told us about that mansion. We are on our way to glory because we believe His story.
The angel said to the Shepherds in Luke 2:10-11, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.”
Jesus really did bring “Joy to the World” of the “believer.” He Pardons the Guilt of the Past, Provides Grace for the Present, and Promises Glory for the Future.
I close with this poem I wrote about Mr. Scrooge.
EBENEZER SCROOGE AND HIS “EBENEZER”
Ebenezer Scrooge is famous,
Throughout the Christmas Season.
He was a sour, selfish man,
Who just would not listen to “reason.”
But then with some “supernatural help,”
He made a tremendous change.
Those who’d always known him thought:
“He sure is acting strange.”
But actually he was converted,
Into a different human being.
It was like a man who had been blind,
Who just suddenly started “seeing!”
That’s the way it is with Christians,
Throughout this entire land.
We’re changed because of Christmas,
When God became a “Man!”
Jesus came into this world of ours,
To be our greatest pleaser.
We, too, have had some “supernatural help,”
So we can raise our “Ebenezer.”
When the Israelites were fighting the Philistines they wanted Samuel to pray for God’s help and they got it. Samuel then selected a stone and named it “EBENEZER” to remind them that God had helped them (1 Samuel 7).
Mr. Scrooge had his own “Ebenezer” or “supernatural help” in making the change in his life.
As Christians, we too have our own spiritual “EBENEZER” that we raise by faith because the Lord has helped us.
Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.He named it EBENEZER (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” (1 Samuel 7:12, NLT).
“Here I raise my EBENEZER, hither by thy help I come…Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, He to rescue me from danger interposed His precious blood.” (“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” Robert Robinson, 1758)
Thank God for Jesus…the reason for every season.