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Christmas Sermon: What is Christmas About?

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Luke 2
Luke 2:1–20 ESV
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Proposition Statement

Luke 2:14 ESV
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
What is Christmas about?
- “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Outline

1. God’s eternal plan...
2. He Came to Bring Peace
3.
2. … to bring peace...
3. … to those with whom He is pleased

1. God’s Eternal Plan

Jesus’ birth foretold (too much coincidence?)
- I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
- But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Micah 5:2 ESV
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Isaiah 9:6–7 ESV
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 7:14 ESV
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
- But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
The birth of Jesus was God’s eternal plan to send a Saviour after the Fall
He planned and orchestrated history to bring about what He promised
including OT pictures of redemption
Noah
Moses (Exodus)
Serpent on the pole
The sacrifices
God even uses political leaders - even using their evil intent to fulfill His purposes
What God promises, He can deliver - because He is sovereign

Christmas is a reminder:

The birth of Jesus was the eternal plan of God.
We have the assurance that just as God was sovereign over all the circumstances of the world and history and rulers to bring about the birth of Jesus...
He is also sovereign over circumstances and history and rulers to fulfill the purpose of Jesus birth.
Which was...

2. …to Bring Peace...

Since the Fall in Genesis, the world has been at war
it put an end to peace
Adam’s sin brought a curse on God’s creation - and a curse on man
Every man is born a sinner - with a sinful nature
We are born having a selfish, prideful, s
What has been the result?
War & acts of terrorism
According to the NY Times, of the past 3700 years of recorded history...
only 268 years have been without any major wars - that’s 8%
108 million people died in wars in the 20th century alone
Natural disasters
In every individual - a selfish desire to do evil
According to some disaster relief organisations, about 1 million people have died in ND in the last 20 years
and overall 218 million people were affected
In the last hundred years, an estimated 8 million have died
To us, those might seem like far away troubles
Crime
Corruption
Personal suffering & loss
Financial stress
Depression and anxiety
The world is broken
We are trying to find peace any way we can
Materialism (Hollywood)
Sport
Ambition and work
Charity work (ease our consciences)
We can find peace for a time in these things, but it never lasts
Christmas truce of 1914
“The English brought a soccer ball from the trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.”
marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus
The next day they were shooting at each other
Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time.
They were only “friends for a time”
All our worldly loves can only give us peace for a time
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

We have to deal with our main problem:

Isaiah 59:2 ESV
but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
- but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Personal sin

The Solution:

- And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10–11 ESV
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
In Matthew’s account, the angel tells Joseph in a dream...
Luke 2:1
- (Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:21–22 ESV
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
Matthew 1:21–23 ESV
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Mat 1:21-23
To solve our dilemma, God Himself came to us
Almighty God - the Creator of the universe, holy and perfect, became a man
He endured every kind of humiliation and rejection
born in Bethlehem to poor people
born in a barn and made to lie in a manger - a feeding trough
rejected and despised His whole life
Eventually, crucified on a wooden cross
Exactly as He Himself had sovereignly planned it
Amazing how the angels appeared to shepherds guarding their flock that was to be slaughtered - to tell them that the Lamb had been born

WHY?

To satisfy God’s justice against our sin
To be the sacrifice on our behalf that would satisfy God’s justice against our sin
To make peace between God and sinner
To redeem us and restore us back to what we were made for
To give us the GREATEST gift of all -
His righteousness, and eternal life
Does this mean that everyone is now saved?
Does this mean

3. … to Those With Whom He is Pleased

Luke 2:14 ESV
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
- “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Two Responses:
Two Responses:
God is pleased with me - I am a good person
How could God be pleased with me - I am a bad person!

Jesus’ parable

- “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 18:10-14
Luke 18:10–14 ESV
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, but for the sinner
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Luke 18:10-14
Jesus
He spent His time talking to and eating with sinners
If Jesus came to make peace with those with whom He is pleased, and I know I am a sinner, how can His peace then be for me?
- And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Conclusion

Conclusion

What can we then say in conclusion?
We join the choir
We join with that heavenly host mentioned in verse 13, and say along with them...
Heavenly host = army
Luke 2:14 ESV
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Roman
Romans 11:33–36 ESV
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Yet they are declaring peace for sinners
“Glory to God in the highest”
Because He came to give us peace
Heavenly host = army
Yet they are declaring peace for sinners
Not on condition that we earn it - because nobody can
But to undeserving sinners who believe and call Him Lord
- Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
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