Faithlife Sermons

Shepherd-Like Peace

Living the Christmas Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Christmas can still come alive. We can live like the characters did!

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

I remember being a shepherd once. Oh, it was not by choice. In fact I was slated to be Joseph, but my parents overslept and we were late. I run from the car putting on my bathrobe and got to the sanctuary and someone else had already been put in my place. He became Joseph and I had to be a shepherd. Imagine that. Having to settle to be a shepherd. My Christmas that year was pretty tough for a 6 year old.
Even as a young boy I learned that being a shepherd wasn’t cool. Think about it, being a shepherd was not the most desired occupation. It is a dirty job, a thankless job, and one that is rough on the person that is a shepherd.
Sometimes, the shepherd is outcast because they are around dirty animals. Sometimes, the shepherd is looked down upon and perhaps seen as uneducated.
From a Jewish perspective, the shepherd was the role of their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David were all shepherds.
Jewish writer Fivel Glasser asked:
Why did so many of the original leaders of the Jewish people choose to become shepherds? Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel, explains that the advantage of shepherding may be found in the secluded lifestyle of the shepherd. While engaged with flocks, ambling through the hills and valleys, the shepherd is cut off from the noisy distractions of society, thus enabling ample time for inner reflection.
It was an honorable role. So it makes sense that the first birth announcement came to the men and boys who watched and protected their flocks at night.
Shepherds are people that spend time in great thought and reflection. This adds great meaning for me in the Christmas narrative. God chose to reveal Himself not to the scholarly but to the ones that understood the way of the lamb.
Luke 2:8–20 NIV84
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
There are several characteristics of shepherd-like peace that we can learn and apply to our lives today:

Extinguishes Fear

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The first thing we learn about the shepherds is that they were tending their flocks during the night. They were out in the country side, most likely tending sheep that were to be used in sacrifices. When watches his flock, he is watching to make sure that there is no danger. Lo and behold, the sky lights up and they see this magnificent being. I can’t imagine what they felt, but obvious they were afraid.
There are several times in the Bible where something like this happened:
Daniel 10:7 NIV84
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.
Luke 1:12 NIV84
When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
Luke
Revelation 1:17 NIV84
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
Revelation
How many times have you been startled in the dark of the night. Until you find out what is going on, your adrenaline kicks in and your heart starts racing. Perhaps at least for a few seconds maybe even more, you are overwhelmed with fear.
We are conscious to ourselves of so much guilt that we would think a message from heaven might be one of wrath.
There are several
The shepherds had to have felt that, even as tough as they were. The angel shows up, the glory of the Lord shining around them, and he speaks: Don’t be afraid.
You see, the first characteristic about shepherd-like peace is that it EXTINGUISHES FEAR.
Daniel 10:

Enhances Faith

Daniel 10:7 NIV84
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.
We are conscious to ourselves of so much guilrt
The Bible has the phrase “fear not” in it at least 365 times. I believe that we could do well to say that each day of the year. When we seek the path of our Lord, we do not have to fear. God’s desire for the shepherds on that night was to experience peace. God’s desire for you and me is to realize that His Peace can extinguish fear.
John 14:7 NIV84
If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:27 NIV84
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:274
Philippians 4:7 NIV84
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Shepherd-like peace can extinguish fear and it also can ENHANCE FAITH.
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Romans 5:1 NIV84
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 2:14 NIV84
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Romans

Enhances Faith

The shepherds heard the angel say, “I bring you good news of great joy.” This is a beautiful picture of Isaiah 52:7.
Isaiah 52:7 NIV84
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
When you experience peace like the shepherds, it enhances your faith. These shepherds were following in the footsteps of their ancestors and they knew of the prophecy foretold that a Savior was coming for their people. Hearing this good news, their faith increased and their belief was enhanced! The announcement from the angel was that the Savior was born to you, not the angels, but to YOU the shepherds- poor and outcasts.
God gets the honor. Mankind gets the joy. As a result, we all get peace!
Over the years as I have studied the word of God, my faith has grown and as a result it compels me to want to know the Lord better and better. As I grow and as I get to know the Lord better and better, I get more peace.
I believe that the shepherds can teach us very simply this concept! That with more peace we experience, the more our faith can grow!
Glory be to God in the Highest!
Philippians 4:7 NIV84
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Romans 5:1 NIV84
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Shepherd-like peace enhances your faith by confirming your faith and increasing your communion with God!
Do you have this peace? Are you allowing the shepherd-like peace to extinguish your fear and enhance your faith?
There is another characteristic that shows up as a result:

Energizes Fellowship

The shepherds experienced this phenomenal announcement! Do you see what happened? They discussed the word of the Lord.
They go with assurance and with each other to find the Christ child. This is a great example of iron sharpening iron.
They respond immediately.
The poverty in which they found Christ was not a shock to themselves, but an opportunity to understand that Christ became like them. The shepherds could identify!
They had to come to that manger and share their experiences with Mary and Joseph. What happens when we share our walk with the Lord with each other? It ENERGIZES OUR FELLOWSHIP!
When you and I come together and discuss the word of the Lord, we become energized. When we become energized, we become more assured in our walk and we are helping each other to grow in the likeness of our Lord!
Shepherd-like peace can
EXTINGUISH FEAR
ENHANCE OUR FAITH
ENERGIZE OUR FELLOWSHIP
AND finally, it can EVANGELIZE FELLOWMAN

Evangelizes Fellowman

Luke 2:17 NIV84
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
These shepherds knew that they could not keep the experience of meeting Christ to themselves. They took off and began to tell everyone they saw about the Good News.
The Latin word evangelium and its Greek equivalent mean “good news.”
The shepherds felt the need to share the good news of Christ with their fellowman. It should be no different for you and I today. The natural reaction should be to tell all what we have seen and heard. The gospel is available to all people, even the poorest people like shepherds. Shepherd-like peace propels us all to EVANGELIZE OUR FELLOWMAN.
John 3:16 NIV84
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
That is the good news given to the shepherds that night, and it is still given to you and me today!
Are you sharing your experience of meeting Christ?
Have you had an experience of meeting Christ to share? Why not right now?
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