River of Life Church
December 13, 2020
Main Scripture Reference(s)
Acts 17:20


December 13, 2020 / Acts 17:20

“I Believe in Santa Claus.”

Text: Acts 17:20

**I need you to help me today. Those who are really religious, just take a chill pill. There are problem practices, and doctrines that we have to occasionally address in the church, and God always gives us understanding concerning these issues as we seek Him.


ILLUS.: I have lived in West TN for 12 ½ years. I have had at least 100 people tell me that Elvis was alive! If people can believe in Elvis…they can believe again in Santa Claus

I promise you when you leave church today-YOU WILL BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS. “Well, I have grown out of that.” “Well, maybe it is time to grow back into it.”

ILLUS.: Unitarian Church, “We know little of what we believe.”

We are Unitarian Universalist and Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, atheist and agnostic, believers in God, and more.

-Can you imagine advertising that you believe in everything, but really don’t know what you believe?

Text: Acts 17:20-23“To the Unknown God.”

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.”

Paul preached the gospel to these people who are out in the middle of nowhere. There is a monument in the middle of the country, “To the Unknown God.” Since we don’t know God, we will worship the unknown God. Vs. 24-34

-If we were there, we would be very inquisitive and wonder why would you waste the time to build a monument to something that you don’t believe in?

-Paul the Apostle decides to engage them in a conversation to help them understand a difficult subject.

-I sometimes see Christians fight over things that God doesn’t fight about.

Politics – No matter who is president, the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.

COVID 19– Has caused people to act super-spiritual, and both unspiritual. Some have worried about sanitizing their hands, but they need to sanitize their hearts.

-Let us be careful that we are not chasing an invisible rabbit.

Holidays – Be careful that you don’t die on every hill.


RE: If you rearrange the letters in his name, it spells satan.

-Don’t rearrange them. Leave the letters alone.

Name: Gregory: Reggo, George.

Santa Means: Holy or Saint. It came from another language.

RE:“I don’t believe we should lie to our children.”

-We wouldn’t want to do that…..I’m not suggesting that.

-I am suggesting that we tell the truth….


  1. What did the Inn Keeper Tell Joseph and Mary:

“There is no room in the Inn.”

(There is no record of the Inn Keeper speaking)

  1. The wise found Jesus in a HOUSE.

(Jesus was 2 years old when they got there)

  1. Go to heaven, be good.

-Saved, born again. Born of the water and spirit.

  1. There are 3 Wise men in the Bible.

(I don’t know where that came from. Nativity scenes.

  1. Watermelon Seeds:

(Swallow those seeds, they will grow in your stomach)

  1. Where do babies come from?

I have no idea….ask your mother.

  1. Mother’s lie:

I don’t want you to take a nap, just sit still, and watch this show.

  1. Shots don’t hurt.

-Covid tests are easy peasy.

  1. Mother’s other lie:

If you do that 1 more time…doesn’t mean anything…except for Tabi Kirk. She’s the dark-skinned lady in our church.

  1. I got your nose.

I have never lied to my children……

QUESTION: What are we going to teach our children about Santa Claus? THE TRUTH

John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

In the 4th Century, there was a young boy named Nick.

“Saint Nicolaus was born in 280 AD, in the area known as Turkey today.

His parents were incredibly wealthy.  They have also committed Christians who held beliefs close to the word of God. His parents were known as strong, solid, and Godly people.

During the 4th Century, many families did not have a Bible, but because of Nicolaus’ parent’s wealth, they gave Nick an education in the Bible. In the 4th Century when it became dark, you went inside and lit candles, and after a while, you blew out the candles and went to bed.(NO STREET LIGHTS)

-Nick had a noticeable hunger for the word of God. His parents would teach him Bible stories around the candle at night.

-At a young age, Nick turned his heart towards the Lord.

They taught him the principles and precepts of the word of God.

-He believed, “God still did miracles.” He also believed that God used people to do miracles in other people’s lives.

-When Nicolaus was a young man, his parents died.

-He was an only child, and young Nicolaus had enough money to never work for the rest of his life.

-He decided to seek God God’s will for his life. (Great decision)

-About the time he was seeking God. The bishop of Turkey died. Before the bishop died, he had a dream and God told this bishop “On Sunday morning a young man will walk through the doors of this church. That young man will take your place as bishop.”

-This 20-year old walked through the doors of the church on Lord’s day in 300 AD, and God spoke to the Bishop of Turkey…. “That’s the one.”

-Nicolaus was elevated from obscurity to one of the most influential bishops of his day. He was 20 years old. Nicolaus taught the word with conviction, “The word of God is true, and is useful for correction, reproof, and instruction in righteousness.” That we would be thoroughly equipped to do the work of the Lord.”

-He has strong qualities as His parents did.

-During his time as Bishop there was a controversy called, “The Arian Controversy” about the deity of Christ. 

Nicolaus took a firm stand on the word of God. He was imprisoned by an evil emperor until Constantine became emperor.

-Constantine gathered a council called, “The Nicaean Council.”  Many men like Nicolaus lost their health from being imprisoned. They were tortured for what they believed. Many had permanent disabilities, losing feet and hands from being tortured.

Constantine began to weep when he saw the men who were tortured. Aries an early church leader made a bold declaration at the council: “Jesus wasn’t God.”

-Nicolaus became enraged and slapped Aries for his statement. That is my kind of preacher.

-He was involved in the long discussions over months concerning the deity of Christ.

-Nicolaus loved the book of James and believed that Faith without works is dead. He realized that God had given him an incredible opportunity to meet the needs of people. He began to secretly meet the needs of people when he would find out about it.  He would often do it at night, when people were in bed.

-He was Noble and wealthy, and he genuinely cared about people.

ILLUS.: Dowry, a man who had 3 daughters.

Who is giving this Dowry?

-He was caught giving gold to the 3rd daughter.

-Nicolaus told the man, “The secret to giving is giving in secret.”

I don’t want anyone to know I do these things.

Nicolaus eventually died on Dec. 6, 343 AD. 

December 6 is called by many St. Nicolaus day. 

He was the bishop of Turkey. The Roman Catholic church actually made him a saint.

The people of his community in Myra were touched by his generosity and kept giving gifts in secret like Nicolaus did.  

-When people would find gifts on the porch, or they would find food by their door, people would say, “St. Nicolaus came by last night.” His legacy grew and grew over many years.

-There was a sailor who came from Italy, and came through that part of the country, and he heard the story about the gift-giver St. Nicolaus. He eventually went to Germany and told the story and St. Nick was translated, St. Nicoloff.

-Germans told it to the people of Holland.

-The people In Holland translated St. Nicoloff as “Sinterklaas.”

-The story doesn’t end there. It went from Holland to New York, and the story kept growing into SANTA CLAUS.=

How did we come to know Santa Claus so vividly in America?

Dr. C Clarke Moore was the professor of theology at the New York   Seminary, his father was the pastor who gave the first oath of office to George Washington, the first president.

-He also comforted Alexander Hamilton towards the end of his life.

(However, Dr. C Clarke Morre is not remembered for any of these things)

-He is remembered for a poem he penned on Christmas Eve in 1 hour, in the year 1820. Mrs. Moore was making packages for poor people on Christmas Eve, and she was 1 turkey short, so she sent her husband down to the store to get another turkey for people who needed some help.

-On the way home he met a Dutch caretaker, this care-taker was a little chubby man with a bow mouth and a big red nose.

-He had dimples and a full white beard. The Care-taker began to tell him the story of Sinter-Claus, St. Nick, Nicoloff, Santa Claus.

-In Holland, they have celebrated St. Nick’s day by getting a sleigh full of gifts, and they put a statue of St. Nicolaus in the sleigh, with reindeer pulling the sleigh. They would throw candy and gifts to the children, and they would have a grand celebration celebrating St. Nicolaus Day.  

-As the story went on, the men who threw the candy wore red suits with white fur. Dr. Moore went home that night and wrote:

The 1820 poem “An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas.”

He is described as a jolly, heavy man who comes down the chimney to leave presents for deserving children and drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children have nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted and he called them by name:

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

-How did we get to the place about Santa Claus?:

In 1934 the song: “Santa Claus is coming to town was written.”

-That song created the commercialization of Christmas.

BUT THE TRUTH: St. Nick was a real person. He is a real historical truth.

-This man lived such an incredible Christian Life. Let’s look at what Santa Claus did. Let’s look at what Santa Claus did spiritually. 

  1. St. Nicolaus believed in the word of God.

-What He did was personify the person of Jesus Christ to his generation.

-Here we are 1700 years later remembering what He did.

  1. St. Nick saw a need he met it.

-He didn’t pick up the phone, and call the church and say, “I have a neighbor who needs something.” I believe God calls us to do good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

-We have a lot of opportunities for outreach this week.

“Give and it shall be given unto you.”

*Christmas Trees first came from Latavia (Germany)

*Martin Luther was the first man to illuminate a Christmas Tree, and he did it with candles.

*Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895.

*The word Christmas comes from a Latin word meaning: “Cristes maesse” “Christ’s Mass.”

*Christmas Nativity scenes were started by St. Francis of Assisi.

  1. St. Nick lived his life with excellence.

-Let’s make our life count.

-Let’s embrace giving and loving people.

-Nicolaus was willing to stand for truth and righteousness at the risk of his own life.

-He was ready to be imprisoned for what he believed.

-He found “The secret to giving is giving in secret.”

-He lived the greatest Christian witness since the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

-He has inspired gift-giving, and charity, and benevolence on a level that he never imagined.

-No other man has influenced the world the way Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas,  Santa Claus did, and that is why ladies and gentlemen:

I believe in Santa Claus.

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