Faithlife Sermons

Sunday, December 24th, 2017 - AM - Biblically Celebrate Christ-Birth (Luke 2:1-20)

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:17
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Publish, wonder, ponder...

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Introduction:

Luke 2:1–20 KJV 1900
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, Good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
During this season of shopping and entertaining, let’s remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place.
Introduction: During this season of shopping and entertaining, let’s remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. We decorate our homes, send out cards, visit friends, buy presents, and go caroling. Some celebrate a portion of Christmas Day watching football games. For some, it’s a time for drinking and partying. But this is a holiday to honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger and to become our Savior. As Christians, we should celebrate in a unique way. I’d like to suggest four responses to the birthday of Christ based on today’s passage.
During this season of shopping and entertaining, let’s remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place.
By Dr. David Jeremiah
We decorate our homes, send out cards, visit friends, buy presents, and go caroling.
Scripture:
Some celebrate a portion of Christmas Day watching football games.
Introduction: During this season of shopping and entertaining, let’s remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. We decorate our homes, send out cards, visit friends, buy presents, and go caroling. Some celebrate a portion of Christmas Day watching football games. For some, it’s a time for drinking and partying. But this is a holiday to honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger and to become our Savior. As Christians, we should celebrate in a unique way. I’d like to suggest four responses to the birthday of Christ based on today’s passage.
For some, it’s a time for drinking and partying.
But this is a holiday to honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger and to become our Savior.
As Christians, we should celebrate in a unique way.
I’d like to suggest four responses to the birthday of Christ based on today’s passage.

I. By Publishing Abroad the Good News (v. 17).

Luke 2:17 KJV 1900
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
The shepherds “made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
a
There would be few children of a day old in a little place like Bethlehem, and none but one lying in a manger. The fact of the birth, which could be verified by sight, would confirm the message in its outward aspect, and thereby lead to belief in the angel’s disclosure of its inward character. The ‘sign’ attested the veracity of the messenger, and therefore the truth of all his word—both of that part of it capable of verification by sight and that part apprehensible by faith.
[Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 43–44.]
We’re to make Him known to those around us and help them understand that He came as a Savior.
There are many opportunities available during Christmas.
We can witness through the cards we send out.
We witness by how we decorate our homes.
We witness through the seasonal music we sing.
And we witness by inviting people to attend church services with us.
Many will come at this season of the year that would never darken our doors otherwise.
Be intentional about sharing Christ this Christmas.

II. By Wondering at the Good News (v. 18).

Luke 2:18 KJV 1900
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Those who heard the shepherds wondered at the things told them.
a
thaumazo (θαυμάζω, 2296) signifies “to wonder at, marvel”....
It means sit back, meditate, and think.
[W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 395.]
The word amuse adds the negative prefix which means “to not muse.”
Amusements are those things that keep us from thinking seriously about anything.
Christmas is a wonderful time for amusement, yet when those in heard about Jesus they mused on Him.
Think about it! Here is a story of purity wrapped up in the birth of a Child born to a young mother.
a
It is worthy of note that Luke uses θαυμάζω 4× in his infancy narrative. Zechariah’s long delay in the temple caused the people to wonder what had happened (). Later, after his son was born, the family’s relatives and friends were astonished when Zechariah confirmed that the boy’s name was to be John (1:63). The Christmas message of the shepherds aroused amazement (2:18), as did the encounter of Jesus’ parents with Simeon in the temple (2:33). The whole series of events had an air about them that caused people to marvel.
[Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 422.]
Here is joy amidst seeming tragedy. Here is a great announcement to a lowly group of shepherds. Here is a Baby born to die. Here is a King born in stable to poor parents, yet was God manifest in flesh.
Here is a great announcement to a lowly group of shepherds.
Here is a Baby born to die.
Here is a King born in stable to poor parents, yet was God manifest in flesh.
Quote - G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “In the presence of such a holy miracle, there can be no fitting attitude of the human intellect save that of acceptance of the truth without any attempt to explain the mystery.”
Think about it… when was the last time you were truly astonished at what Christ-birth means? How long since you were moved to tears in adoration to recognize what the presence of Jesus means?

III. By Pondering the Good News (v. 19).

Luke 2:19 KJV 1900
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Mary pondered all these things in her heart.
You say, “Isn’t that what you were just saying?” Well, the word ponder is even more intense than wonder. It means to "throw together” (Vines) or to “grasp the true meaning of” (EDNT).
Mary pondered and treasured them up. She was putting it all together finally in her heart and mind.
She was a woman who thought deeply about what was happening in her life.
It’s easy to become so busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas that we don’t spend time in personal Bible study and prayer.
We can let the outward celebrations of the holiday take us away from the one thing that could mean the most to us as Christians.
We have to make time for Pondering what the Bible says about Jesus and what that means to us personally.

IV. By Glorifying & Praising God (v. 20).

Luke 2:20 KJV 1900
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God.
I believe Christmas affords tremendous opportunities for glorifying God as we sing our wonderful carols, as we pray personally, quietly praise Him, and publicly worship.
Oh, to celebrate Christmas as Christians, we’ve got to take a step back from the busyness of the season and the materialism of the world and focus on Him!

Conclusion:

Notice the three types of responses seen in our passage:
The Shepherds - Publishing the Good News and Praising God!
The Hearers - Pausing over the Good News
Mary - Pondering the Good News
Jesus is our celebration. He is our Honored One. He is our King. This year let’s honor Him by Publishing the Good News about Him, by Wondering and renewing our astonishment and adoration to think that God in heaven would love a sinner like me enough to come and be robed in the infirmities of weak humanity, by Pondering the things that Christ has done for us, and by Giving Glory and Praise to God for Jesus!
[Parts of this Outline were Adapted for Use from: Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2005 Edition. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, n.d.), 380–381.]
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