December 19, 1993
There are many things that can be said at this time of the
year. Let me make a point in opening without perusing it at this
time. I may next week because New Years celibrates the passing
OT Israel had several special festival days. These days celebrated
God's control of time. Of course, those OT festival days which
were under the law were done away with in Christ.
The church, though, now has two special festival days which
also speak of God's control of time and history. Those days are
Christmas and Easter. Christmas tells us that God entered history
in the person of Jesus Christ. Easter tells us that God destroyed
the power of sin and death through the work of Jesus Christ. The
world is sinful, fallen and immature; therefore, time is a necessity
because time means change.
Time means that good can be developed for the glory of God.
Time, to a Christian, means the chance to develop the word and
work of God on earth.
To fallen man, time allows him to develop evil; therefore,
we should rejoice that time passes quickly. It means that Christ,
the righteous Judge Who will make all things right and new is
We can also mention that as God's judgement increases against
sinful man, time appears to speed up.
Luke 2:8-20 records the message of the angel
of God that was given to the shepherds. There is a note on the
bulletin that would confirm the actual birth as being somewhere
around this period of the year.
I would like to look at the angels message for a few moments
1) The birth of the Christ child was the first
prophecy delivered by God to man. Christ's birth was prophesied
more times and more specifically in OT Scripture than any one
other event. This glorious event of the first coming of Christ
was the most looked for event of His day. All of the 4,000 years
of OT history pointed to this event. Of course, His second coming
is what all history is pointing to now, and is the most looked
for event today
V. 7, the prophesied, glorious event took
place in a most unusual and unexpected place, a stable. This marvelous
evidence of the hand of God working in the affairs of men is unnoticed
by man. This is typical of the Lord's working in history. He works
without the knowledge of men.
2) Christ distinguished Himself, not by birth
into high class society, but by humility. Thus every person can
distinguish himself also by humility.
3) Though this event was looked for with great
expatiation by every one who was anyone of this day, the good
news, the glad tidings was delivered to shepherds. The first message
of good tidings went not to the priests, religious leaders or
the exalted of this world. It went to and was gladly receive by
shepherds. The message going to and gladly received by the "under
class" here would be indicative the gospel of Christ:
Isa 29:18, 19, And in that day shall the deaf
hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see
out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase
[their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice
in the Holy One of Israel.
2 Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he
became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
The Lord called Moses as he watched the sheep.
The Lord called David while he watched the sheep.
The Lord is called the Good Shepherd, and we are the sheep
of His pasture. Who could be more fitting to receive the first
good news message about Christ than shepherds?
4) note what the shepherds were doing, they
were watching their sheepat night. Knowing how
most babies come, this was probably soon after midnight, but the
shepherds were not asleep. The angles did not have to shake them,
but they were in the field, keeping watchful care of their charge.
These men were faithful in their assigned task that was their
duty. They were not in some act of devotion, but working hard
at their calling when they received the message from God.
God speaks to those who are hard at work at their task; He
speaks to those who are busy; He speaks to the faithful.
I know of no one in Scripture who was spoken to by the Lord
while loafing and killing time, or standing around waiting for
the Lord to speak to him. God speaks to people who are faithful
where they are in their calling.
5) V. 9, the word upon indicates
that the shepherds were not looking for the Lord: they were quite
surprised. The message from heaven here was very unexpected.
Also, the messengers of the Lord found the shepherds, they
did not find the Lord.
This also is typical of the Jesus, the Great Shepherd. He goes
looking for His sheep. He found me, I did not find Him.
Compare Lk 2:10 with Isa 40:
Isa 40:9, 10, 11, O Zion, that bringest good
tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that
bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it]
up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong [hand], and his arm
shall rule for him: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his
work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall
gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them] in his bosom,
[and] shall gently lead those that are with young.
The shepherds feared, but were told that they had no need to
We are commanded not to fear what men can do to us, and because
of Christ, we should not be sore afraid of the heavenly Father.
God has notgiven us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love
and of a sound mind.
6) V. 11, the message was
a joyful message, and look at what the message said:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
In Peter's words, He is both Lord and Christ, Acts 2:39.
He was born on the first Christmas day, both Lord and Christ.
He rose from the dead the first Easter, both Lord and Christ.
Thus He lived, died, rose from the dead and today reigns as
both Lord and Christ.
Yes, Jesus, the son of David, is the Saviour as promised to
all the saints of old. But He is much more than Saviour, He is
both Lord and Christ.
There is a tremendous message preached by a black pastor, HM
Lockridge. The title of the message is Jesus Christ is
Lord. In that message, he rightly distinguishes between
the word Christ and Lord. Christ, said he, means what Jesus has
done for us; Lord, said he, means what we are to do for Him.
Jesus Christ is the Saviour; He came not only to save His people
from their sins, but to reign over them, Lk 1:31-33
Mat 1:21, And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Right from the very beginning, Christ the Saviour is identified
as Lord of all. Someone has said, "Either He is Lord of
all or He is not Lord atall." Clearly, Jesus
the Saviour cannot be separated from the Lord. The one who refuses
to recognize that Christ is Lord over all things, including his
own personal life, has denied Jesus as Saviour. Jesus is Christ
the Lord: The two cannot be separated.
He was born Jesus Christ the Lord
He died and rose from the dead as Jesus Christ the Lord
and He rules over all creation, man included, as Jesus Christ the Lord.
And the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the Lord shall have no end.
The angles told these shepherds that this was a matter of great
7) V. 10, the good
tidings of great joy were
First, given to the Jews, who received it not.
Second, given to the shepherds, poor and cast down, who acted upon it.
Third, given to all people of the earth, Jews
The Lord Himself commanded His message to be spread world-wide
to every living human being.
8) The joyful message to all men is one of
peace and good-will toward men. The message is the gospel of peace
Isa 2:2-4, And it shall come to pass in the
last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established
in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills;
and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and
say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to
the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth
the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall
judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they
shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into
pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither
shall they learn war any more.
Isa 11:1-9 And there shall come forth a rod
out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the
spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make
him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall
not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the
hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the
poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he
shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the
breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness
shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle
of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the
leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young
lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie
down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the
sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned
child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not
hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the
That peace is the gospel of peace; it is peace with God and
peace with our fellow men through the work of Christ in redemption
and conversion. Through faith in Christ, we are converted from
our old war-like ways (war with God, war with man) to peaceful
Peace, Look up Eph 2:13...
9) glory to God in the highest...
The proclamation of the message of peace is the highest glory
to God there is. God's redemption through His Son born 2000 years
ago is the highest glory to God. What can top the message of Redemption?
He is the only Mediator between God and man.
He is the only One Who can provide peace: a clear conscience
before God and man.
10) The angles speak and return about their
business as soon as they are finnished. The shepherds act upon
what they are told. Note here that God speaks to man so man can
act, not so man can brag about special favors.
Furthermore, these men acted by faith in the message delivered
to them. They did not sit around and discuss it and share their
individual experiences; they set about doing what they were to
11) They met the child and saw nothing in
the child or the child's circumstances to cause them to believe
that He was indeed the Son of the Most High God, yet they believed.
The sign that the angles spoke the truth was the babe in a stable.
12) V. 17 is interesting.
According to the law, there had to be two or more witnesses to
confirm any story. The Heavenly Father provided the needed witnesses
by speaking to and sending the shepherds to witness the event
of the birth of His Son.
The witnesses according to the law saw the angles, heard the
glorious message, saw the babe according to the message, and now,
as the first preachers of the good news, they all go and proclaim
But notice the response to message of the witnesses: people
wondered what was going on and were impressed, but no one went
to check it out.
Indifference to the message of Christ is not new. The very
first preachers also encountered indifference to their message.
13) finally, Mary: She just kept quiet. She
was a perfect model of a woman, and set an example for every person,
man or woman, to follow. All things came to pass just as the Lord
promised to her, yet she remained a humble, Godly woman.
Would we have been able to keep quiet and humble?
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