An Amen Christmas

Saying “amen” in worship services is something most all of us as Baptists grew up hearing. I have fond recollections of a little fellow in one of my earlier churches who “amened” everything. When we had announcements made, he would shout “Amen!” I called him the “Amen Man.” I told every guest speaker we had about my one-man “amen corner.”

I have found that Baptists and other lower-church evangelicals pronounce the word “Aay-men” while higher church types, like Episcopalians and Lutherans, pronounce the affirmation “Ah-men.”

Despite the modern-day pronunciations, “amen” is a Hebrew word meaning “so be it” or “yes.” It was used frequently in the Old Testament, beginning in the book of Numbers and then used in Deuteronomy, I Chronicles and Psalms.
By the time of the New Testament, the affirmation had prayerful and promissory meaning. At the end of the Lord’s Prayer, “amen” is used to underscore the affirmation of God’s promise. Equally true is the ending of the Great Commission: “‘…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matt. 16:20, NKJV).

In Revelation, “amen” is found in reference to the seven churches as well as the worship service in Rev. 5:14. Then climactically, Jesus declares, “I am coming quickly. Amen” (Rev. 22:20).

My favorite reference to “amen” is found in the writings of Paul in II Cor. 1:20-22. Here the apostle is mounting his personal defense of his own ministry. He was making the case for his integrity among the people. Paul had been called a liar. Yet he said, “My yes was yes, and my no was no.”

When Paul used the word “yes,” it brought to mind the truth that Jesus is God’s “Yes.” Jesus is God’s “Amen.” He is the ultimate personification of the promises of God! In this way, you and I can experience an “Amen Christmas.”

Consider the declarations of Paul as a reminder of what the message of Christmas means. In these three verses, we can rediscover an “Amen Christmas.”

I. Christ is God’s Yes to the promise of salvation.
Remember that Jesus came to save us from our sins. That is the very essence of the Christmas message. His birth was miraculous, His death was victorious and the life He offers is precious.

One word used to reflect the meaning of salvation is redemption. Years ago, S&H Green Stamps were used to entice consumer business. You took the stamps to a redemption center. Those stamps were “redeemed” in the sense that they were used to trade for other items like pots and pans.

Redeem means to be bought back. We have been bought out of slavery to sin to the position of freedom in Christ. God says “amen” to our salvation in and through Christ!

II. Christ is God’s Yes to the promise of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in our lives. In the Old Testament, the presence of God’s Spirit was given to select people for specific tasks and reasons. The prophets, for example, were anointed by the Spirit to declare God’s message to the people in their times.

In Christ, the Spirit of God becomes real in the lives of all believers, not just a few. We are all in Christ and His Spirit in us. This is one of the great mysteries of the faith. God says “AMEN” to our Spirit-filled living through Christ.

The Spirit of God is our “anointing.” He is our blessing. He is our seal or stamp of approval. He is the guarantee of our salvation. He is the down payment on eternal life. God says “AMEN” to the promise of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

III. Christ is God’s Yes to the promise of service.
In the final verses of II Corinthians 1, the apostle becomes personal again. He describes how the Corinthian believers and he work together for the cause of Christ. They stand together in “joy” and by “faith.” There is joy in serving Christ, and He is to be served by faith in Him, not in ourselves.

An “Amen Christmas” means we say yes to God’s call to service. That is why the Great Commission ends with “amen.” He says yes to our challenge to make disciples. As we “go” in the world and “make disciples” of all people, God shouts a heavenly “AMEN.”

Being called a “yes man” is not a compliment. Being described as “God’s yes people” is the highest and greatest compliment we could ever receive. Let’s have an Amen Christmas! Claim the promises found in Christ: the pardon of salvation, the presence of His Spirit, and our call to personal service for Him.

When a person becomes excited and exuberant like winning a sports event, often you hear people shout “YES!!!” In Christ we can shout “YES!!!” We can shout “AMEN!!!” Yes, God’s Yes provides us with an Amen Christmas.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

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