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The Expectation Of A Savior

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Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation

Luke 2:8-20

The Expectation Of A Savior

It’s To Be Expected

A Sunday school teacher gave every boy in his class a New Testament.  He then encouraged each of them to write his name inside the front cover. Several weeks later, after repeatedly inviting the boys to receive Christ as their personal Savior, he asked each lad who had done so to write these words under his name, “I accept Jesus.”  The teacher thought one youngster had not heard him clearly, for he had scribbled “I expect Jesus.”  But when he talked to the boy, he realized  that he knew what he had written after all.  The youngster had not only trusted the Lord, but he expected Him to be with him at all times--at home, at play, and at school.  He not only accepted Jesus, he expected Him to do all He had promised.

       Even as a pregnant wife and her husband expect a child, we, the pregnant Church, spiritual mothers and fathers, should expect a Savior, during the Christmas season!  Christmas should signal to us that we are pregnant and expecting the Messiah to be born in our hearts and spirits.  We are involved in a series of Messages entitled:  “Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation.”  We should receive our mood of expectation from the narratives of the very first Christmas.  In the first sermon, we explored “The Expectation Of A Forerunner.”  In the second sermon, we dealt with “The Expectation Of The Son Of The Most High God.”  Today we come to “The Expectation Of A Savior.”

(Please turn with me to Luke 2:8-20.  Let me read this aloud for us.)

       In this short series of messages, we are using the same outline, because it is the pattern of the Christmas narratives.  The outline is

·        The Divine Announcement

·        The Divine Promise

·        The Divine Expectation

·        The Divine Fulfillment


(Let us rush forward and deal with:)

1.     The Divine Announcement (vs. 8-9).

Now, in the same region where Jesus was born, there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  We now have the setting and backdrop for one of God’s dramatic announcements.  God has a certain flare for the dramatic.

Can you understand the perspective that we are all shepherds, in one way of looking at things?  We are all staying out in the field of the world and we are watching over the things and relationships that are important to us.  We believe that’s what life is all about, but God is about to break in on our mundane lives!!!

       Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord enveloped them and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.  They were no doubt frightened because they were not sure of the mission of this bright, and shining messenger.

       When an angel of the Lord shows us, we should have a holy reverence.  When God shows up, even to bring wonderful announcements, we must be aware that we are dealing with a holy God.

(Let us move now to:)

2.     The Divine Promise (vs. 10-14).

The angel begins his announcement with words of assurance, “Do not be afraid!”  He started with these words, because fear could have been a stronghold for the shepherds.  The Jews knew that if they saw God they would die.  If they took this angel to be God, they could have been afraid of death.  This could have been a stronghold that could keep them from accepting the divine announcement that was about to come.

       Do you remember the definition of a stronghold?

“a stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.”[1]

       Because the devil is always working to fabricate strongholds to bind us, we often need words of assurance from the Lord—especially when we are entering into new experiences.

       So, let me assure you—as a messenger from Jehovah—that this is a New Season and God is bent on blessing you!!!

       The angel’s next words are words of anticipation, “…behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.”  This introductory statement creates positive expectation or anticipation about the coming announcement.  The announcement is going to be the good news of great joy, and it will be for all the people.

God is concerned with all people—Red, Yellow, Black, White, rich, poor, high, low, male, female, slaves or those who are free.

       Now we come to the announcement, “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”  Today, in the city where David was born and where he lived before he became king, there has been born for you a Savior, a Deliverer, and He is Christ, the Lord.  He is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, and He is the Lord, the Ruler, the Master.

This announcement is pregnant with divine promise!!!  This announcement is just as fresh as if it were made today, although it was made 2,000 years ago.  For He who was born 2,000 years ago can be born in our hearts today, as Savior, Christ, and Lord.  The promise is that He will be our Savior or Deliverer.

·        He will save or deliver us from sin, Satan, self, sickness, and suffering in hell!!!

·        He will be Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah who has been long promised by Jehovah God.

·        He will be the Lord, the Ruler or Master of the Universe, who will reign from the throne of our lives, if we will but allow Him.

Are you getting excited about welcoming the Savior and Deliverer to reign upon the throne of your life?

(Yet, the angel doesn’t stop there, but offers attestation to the announcement.)

       The attestation or proof of the announcement is captured in the words, “And this will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”  They had to be alerted to the conditions in which they would find him, otherwise they would have looked in the wrong places.  He came in the form of a bond-servant.  He could have chosen any manifestation that He wanted.  He is God!

·        He could have chosen to be born a prince, in the Taj Mahal.

·        He could have chosen the emperor’s family, in Rome.

·        He could have chosen the priesthood line of Aaron.

But He chose to come as a baby wrapped in swaddling rags, in a manger, in a smelly stable.

       God often shows up in places where we don’t expect Him!!!

·        He shows up in common places, where we would never expect Him.

·        He shows up in the lives of people we would not deal with.

·        He shows up in hearts that we would find suspect.

·        He shows up in the hearts of common, everyday, sometimes raggedy, sometimes even smelly people!!!

       I thank God for that, because it gives me hope, expectation, and anticipation that He will show up in my heart!

(The story moves immediately from attestation to adoration.)

The Bible says, “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”  The one angel became many angels and they all were praising God with this wonderful proclamation, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  This is captured in Latin in the Christmas Carol entitled:  “Angels We Have Heard On High.”  The phrase is “Gloria in excelsis Deo!”  “Glory to God in the highest!”

The announcing of this wonderous event provoked great praise among the angels!!!

·        The Son of God has become flesh.

·        Deity has put on the coveralls of human flesh.

·        The Son of God has become the Savior of Humanity.

·        The promised Messiah has finally arrived on earth.

·        There is a new Lord and Master on earth.  And,

·        The prince and power of the air, Satan, is about to meet his match.

(And what will all of this mean?)

The coming of this Savior, this Deliverer, this Anointed One, this Messiah, this Lord, this Master will mean peace on earth among men who please Jehovah God!!!


       One of the main promises is peace on earth, because He, the Prince of Peace, has come!!!  And we have a promise today of peace from Jesus Christ, He said in

John 14:25-27 (NASB-U), “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

We have here the promise of the baptism or Lukan filling of the Holy Spirit.  Since He has come, He is teaching us all things and bringing to our remembrance all that Jesus has said.  But, there is something else that Jesus promised.  Peace!!!  He left His peace with us.  He has given His peace to us.  This is not the peace that the world gives.  This is Christ’s peace, and because of this peace, we are not to let our hearts be troubled or fearful.  This word “peace” is the Greek word eirene.  It means

“5)   of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”[2]

·        The soul is tranquil.  David would say, “Like a weaned child!”

A weaned child lies upon the breast of his/her mother with no fears or worries.  The child instinctively knows that mom will feed, lead, and protect him/her.

·        The soul is assured of its salvation through Christ.

1 John 5:13 (NASB-U), “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

·        The soul is fearing nothing from God.

Perfect love casts out all fear!!!

·        The soul is content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is.

We don’t have to arrange for, grasp tightly, or try to control our circumstances, because in Christ we have One who works out the details of our lives—and we’re content with what God is working out!!!

       We shall not cover it in this text, but we know there can be no peace without war and Jesus was born to destroy the works of the devil.  So, there is going to be peace, because the Prince of Peace will defeat the Prince of darkness, confusion, and chaos!!!

(We move from the divine promise to:)

3.     The Divine Expectation.

In this particular series, we have been highlighting the divine expectation that is part and parcel of the first Christmas events; we have been trying to see how that expectation should and can become our divine expectation.

Both the introductory words and the announcement of this divine event and promise provoke great expectation.  The Shepherds must have been chomping at the bit to find this Savior, this Messiah, this Lord.  They must have been awed at the expectation of what was meant by peace on earth!  They lived during the time when their homeland was occupied by enemy troops.  They lived beneath the tyranny of the Caesars.  Their hearts must have leaped with the expectation of peace.  This is the divine expectation of the first Christmas.  It did not arise from mere human aspiration, but from heaven-sent, divinely imparted, planted, or sired expectation.

·        Do you desire the divine expectation of Christmas?

·        Do you want the words of these verses to come alive in your heart?

·        Do you want to be filled with divine expectation at the promise and prospect of finding a Savior and Deliverer this Christmas?

·        Do you want to be filled with divine anticipation at the promise and probability of finding a personal Messiah this Christmas?

·        Do you want to be filled with the divine expectation of having the Lord of the Universe reign from the throne of your life?

·        Do you want to be filled with the divine expectation and anticipation of experiencing His peace, upon earth, in your circumstances today?

All of this is available, if we would be let the Holy Spirit of Christmas impregnate us with His divine mood of expectation!!!

(We move now to:)

4.     The Divine Fulfillment (vs. 15-20).

After the angels disappeared, the shepherds said to each other, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that the Lord has made known to us!”  They didn’t mess around.  They made up their minds to follow their expectation.

       Then they did what they had made up their minds to do.  They took action, based upon their expectation and their mindsets.  They went in haste to Bethlehem and found things just as they had been prophesied to them.  And when they saw the accuracy of the prophecy, they shared the things that had been said to them with Joseph and Mary.  In short, they testified of their experience.

       If we are going to experience the divine expectation of Christmas, we need to get with others who also want to experience that excitement.  Expectation, anticipation, expectation, and celebration are magnified, when we join with others.  One of my mentors, Carl George, said that he determined, in his research, that you cannot have celebration with less than 100 people.  But, the more people you have, above 100, the greater the celebration.  This is experienced at an Ohio State football game—105,000 people.

We are going to keep growing until we fill this Great Worship Center two times with people who are excited about finding the Savior of the world!!!  And after we do that, if it is God’s will, we will build a bigger worship center and perhaps call it “The Kingdom Praise Center.”

       If we are going to experience the divine expectation of Christmas, we are going to need to make up our minds, as a group, that we are going in search of the joy of Christmas!!!  We have to seek the Lord in concert or unity.  We are going to do that on January 4th, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, but we can do that every Sunday and Wednesday.  Let’s covenant to go in search of the joy of Christmas, every time that we meet!

       If we are going to experience the divine expectation of Christmas, we are going to have to actually take action and go in pursuit of what has been promised through the Word of God.  And when we go in pursuit of what God has promised, we will find what God has promised and we will be blessed.

This is seen in David’s last words to Solomon.  He said in

1 Chronicles 28:9 (NASB-U), “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (emphasis mine).

David also said in

Psalm 119:2 (NASB-U), “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.’

       If we get with others who are seeking the Savior, and make up our minds to seek the Savior, and take action and go in pursuit of the Savior, we are going to experience the fact that God is true to His Word.  When we do, we will need to testify to God’s truthfulness!!!  This is when the test becomes a testimony!  We’ve got to testify.  I’ve got to testify today about God’s truthfulness.

       Now Mary treasured all the things that were said and experienced, and she pondered them in her heart.

       When we have personally found the Savior, at Christmas time, we will need to treasure these things and ponder them in our hearts.  There should be some deep, personal reflection at Christmas time.  After the presents are wrapped, while waiting on our mates who are shopping, while lying await at night, etc., etc., etc., we need to ponder these things in our hearts.

       Now the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God, because they had found things just as the angel had prophesied to them!

       When we corporately find the Savior of the world, during Christmas, just as it has been prophesied in the Word, we will need to glorify and praise God together!!!  We can make up our minds that we are going to heed the exhortation of David, which has become my exhortation.  He said in

Psalm 34:3 (NASB-U), “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


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[1] Edgardo Silvoso, taken from a memorandum to supporters and friends on “Plan Resistencia,” September 15, 1990:  p. 3.

[2] Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

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