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When Angels Speak!

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Good morning, we are in a sermon series entitled the Cast of Characters of Christmas… We started last week talking about the prophets who some 2700 years foretold the events surrounding the Birth of Christ. We are going to be looking at another cast of Characters … and that is ...The Angels…
The Angels are not extras in the drama of Christmas story - God had assigned them a perfect part in the story… they were going be responsible for announcing His coming..
… The angels are the master Communicators.... in scripture..
The word Angel literally means messenger… they are heavenly communicators… Their role is basically two fold to Deliver and explain God’s messages… .
Billy Graham wrote a book on Angels and He called them ... God’s Secret agents… because… angels are actively involved in the drama Salvation history …
We find in the Bible they always show up at crucial moments… and especially around the incarnation
we see them.. ..
Announcing the birth of Jesus
Announcing the resurrection
Revealing the Gospel is for the gentiles
Foretelling the second coming
Foretelling the the final triumph of Jesus at the end of the age.
The angels are both God’s secret agents and master communicators...
It was Gabriel who Communicated to Mary when she was just a teenager that she would be mother of Jesus…and that she would be the first and only woman who would experience an immaculate conception. How do you explain that to teenage girl..
What is incredible is that Mary understood the angels explanation ... and was willing to believe and accept the message.
Gabriel also Communicated to Joseph when he discovered Mary was pregnant… Being a righteous man — he wanted to do the right thing.... He was secretly planning on divorce Mary — but then Gabriel comes on the scene and explains that the Child within Mary was from the Lord himself… that the Holy Spirit had overshadowed Mary..and as a virgin she would conceive a son… His name would be Jesus and he would save the world from their sins.. Amazingly,Joseph also believed the message..
Angels were powerful communicators… of God messages.
The question is…
What lesson do we learn from the Angels when they Speak? What are the take aways
The First thing is that we learn is the importance of the spoken word.... We learn from the angels the importance of communication..
Communication is key component of life…and we are living at a time when you would think that communication would be easy… Today in the we can literally pick up our phone… and speak to anyone in the world..
But as we are learning that Technology doesn’t solve all our interpersonal and communications problems.... in some ways we have never been more disconnected than we are today.
Sherry Turkle, a professor at M.I.T. and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, has spent the last 15 years studying how our "plugged-in lives" have changed who we are.
What she has discovered is that all of our technological devices have produced a world in which we are always communicating but we're seldom having real conversations.
We have all these tools that you would imagine would increase our communication… give us more time families, friends and relationships
But the studies tell us differently… we are told..
The typical U.S. married couple spends 4 minutes a day in "meaningful conversation" with each other. That's 0.3 percent of the hours in a day. Preaching Today.
Not is the frequency of communication important but what we communicate..
George Bernard Shaw Irish literary critic, playwright, and essayist (said 70 years ago).
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
We learn from the Angels that Communication itself is important…
But, not just that but what they are communicating! The message they are sending into the world.. We talk somewhere between 13 -16 000 words per day…
What do all the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and sentences say about your life and the condition of our heart?
What is the message we sending out into the world..
T/s Let look at our text and see what message the angels were sending out into the world....
Luke 2:8–14 ESV
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!”
What do we learn when Angels Speak? First we learn the importance of the spoken word…
The second thing is the importance of the content of our words.. the angels proclaim The Good News.... Evangelion... a message of hope, joy, peace and salvation.. The angels words are centered in the Proclaimation of Christ…
The reason the angels were affective communicators… is because their words were tied to their message.... message of Good News...
T/S We learn for a a message to be communicated ...

1.The Message Has to be Credible.

There is the story of three lunatics in an insane asylum: The first lunatic said to the second, "Did you know that I'm Napoleon Bonaparte?"
Indignantly, the second lunatic replied, "I beg your pardon! It just so happens that I am Napoleon Bonaparte!"
The first one said, "Oh yeah! Who says you're Napoleon Bonaparte?"
The second responded, "God told me so."
That aroused the third lunatic who said, "no I DID NOT!"
Now you know as good as I do that no one would take seriously these three men’s claims about who they are--especially the third one.
Why? Because none of them had the proofs to give credibility to their claims…
T/s What makes something credible/ Believable?
a. It has to true for all people… it can’t be true for some people some of the time, it has to be true for all people all of the time.. Regardless of their age or socio-economic background.
What we find in our text
Just outside of Bethlehem in the neighborhood were there were these bedouin shepherds looking after their sheep... .. Luke tells us
Luke 2:8 ESV
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
This is a common scene in Israel ... on a star lit night with the shepherds in the plains guarding their sheep from potential predators.. What seems like an ordinary night is going to quickly Change…
The Angels — these master communicators appear to these ordinary shepherds. You might have thought they would have chosen to reveal the birth of Christ to the Theologians of the Day… or may be the Royal family in Jerusalem...
But the angels choose theto Shepherds??
… What is even more surprising is that in those times Shepherds were despised by the “good,” respectable people of that day.
According to the Mishnah (jewish commentary) , shepherds were under a ban. They were regarded as thieves.
The only people lower than shepherds at that particular time in Jewish history were lepers.
Scholars speculate that the only reason the flocks were so close to Jerusalem was was because these men were keeping the sacrificial animals for the temple…
God comes only to those who the least in the world!
Paul tells us in Corinthians that God chose the foolish things of the world confound the wise…
1 Corinthians 1:28–29 ESV
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
In Corinth the currency of the day was intellectualism .. Corinth was a lot like our day… where.. Wisdom, knowledge, intellect, and education are the primary cultural currency in most of today’s cities.
We all want to make it—to have influence, to “make a difference”—and the way that we seek to accomplish this is through the accumulation of knowledge. Symbols of knowledge (academic degrees, institutional association, etc.) are symbols of latent power...
Well the Bible turns that story upside down… God has a different understanding of wisdom and power than the one revealed in the common cultural story-line...
The angels come to the least of them.
T/s What makes something credible/ Believable? first of all if something is Credible… It has to be applicable to all people…
2. The message should come with some proofs or signs...
The angels tell the shepherds that when they arrive in Bethlehem they will find a baby, and this baby will be “wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Not only would this sign help the shepherds find the right baby, it would also attest to the truth of the angel’s words to the last detail.
While there might be other newborn babies in Bethlehem wrapped in strips of cloth, there would be only one “lying in a manger.”
We know this was undeniable proof because of the way these shepherds responded --- immediately after seeing Jesus they go proclaim the very things they had seen..
T/What makes something credible/ Believable? It has to be applicable to all people… it can’t be true for some people it has to be true for all people… It has to come with proof or signs third…
3. It has to have a credible witnessess..
Every History book we pick up is the testimony of a witness of history… Remember that Luke is the Author of the Gospel of Luke He is Doctor and Historian…
What Luke tells us that these angels were credible witnesses.. These angels stood before the throne room of God day and night.. proclaiming the Glory and the goodness of God… The angles reflected not their own glory but the glory of the Lord Shone around them.
Luke 2:9 ESV
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.
The angel of the Lord (Gabriel) appears to the shepherds .. we are told that the glory of Lord blazed around them.. this was an awesome scene... The angels were before the throne room of God and so when angels manifest -- the still reflected the glory of God..
These angels who have been before the throne of God for eternity past and still enamored with the Glory of God… Have the testimony that a Stable not so far from them --- Jesus the Christ was to be born…
T/s What do the angels teach us about communicating effectively?
1.The message Has to be Credible.

2. The Message must Be Proclaimed with Confidence.

How many of us would like to travel on a plane where the pilot lacked confidence.. What if he said over the PA system.. - Good morning welcome to the flight…Just to give you a heads up we have terrible weather head of us… Looks like we have 50 percent chance of arriving --- in case we don’t their are parachutes in the overhead bin...How many of us would head for the exit sign…
We have seen through the Angels that the testimony that their message is Credible… it’s believable…
We also see that Credibility comes confidence
When the Angels speak… they speak with confidence and conviction… t
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.
The angel of the Lord (Gabriel) speaks with boldness.. He begins the conversation with two imperatives… Fear not… and Behold ---
These are attention grabbers… He want them to listen up… because he has something worthy to share.. Fear Not is from two Greek words… the first if Mega… and Phoeba.. Don’t Fear.. Why? because .
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.
Why such boldness and confidence… I believe that the reason is that the message of Good news meets real need in our world.. —
Psychologists tell us that fear and anxiety is on the rise… Think of the
The 24-hour news cycle, combined with the onslaught of natural disasters, social upheaval, and political strife, shootings... all have added to the anxiety...
Add onto that personal fear things like our health... fear of the unknown… the fear of job security, the fear of financial stability… fear of failing a test… fear of being rejected by others....
Two months ago there was an article in the NY Times entitled “Are we living in a Post Happiness world? Laura Holson points out the deep divide in our politics…between the angry and the angrier… Our world is threatened by climate change… Our booming US economy is showing signs of fatigue… Are we living in a post-happiness world?
The Shepherds first reaction is that of Fear…as you can imagine seeing an angel might evoke in us that emotion of fear… they would have been startled by Gabriel… and the sudden appearance of the Choir of angels...
One commentary pointed out that in the Jewish mind… a host of Angels represented an Army… and might of brought to mind the Angels of death that brought judgement to Egypt....
The angels however did not come… with judgment but a message that was going to meet their deepest fears and anxieties...
The gospel is the answer to all fears... Fear not - Don't be apprehensive... Why because the message contains within itself the good news.
The Birth of Jesus Glad tidings... Good news - message of great joy... and it is for all people… that Christ the Savior who will deliver you from your fears..
This was not just for a select few but for the whole planet... it is Christ for all nation... impact was going to be seen from generation to generation --- from nation to nation... all limitation are taken off... no restrictions..
The message was one that had substance..
Luke 2:12 ESV
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
The birth of Jesus would come with a sign -- an unusual sign that the Baby would be found in swaddling cloths in the manger....
The odds of finding another newborn baby boy lying in a manger would be extremely small, this would function as a sign of identity for the shepherds.
As soon as Gabriel makes the announcement…the angels confirm the message. A heavenly flash and suddenly the bewildered shepherds were surrounded by angels!
Luke 2:13–14 ESV
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!”
“A great company” is literally “a multitude”—not fifty, not 150, not 1,500—but beyond count. I think every one of God’s angels was there because this was the most amazing event that had ever happened in the entire universe..
Here have the witness of heaven… that the Choir of heaven in unison proclaim… the message… Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
What do the angels teach us about communication?
1.The message Has to be Credible.
2. The Message should Be Proclaimed with Confidence.

3. The message should Change lives.

The message of peace is welcomed word but a very illusive word in our world..
The Society of International law in London states this incredible statistic:
since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than 8% of the time.
Over the last 4000 years of history, only 268 years saw peace.
Moreover in excess of 8000 peace treatises have been made and broken.In the last 3 centuries there has been 286 wars on the continent of Europe alone!
What does the announcement of the angels mean...
When the angels came with the message of peace it was during the Pax Romana (400 years of peace), brought about by imperial decree.
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy. He cannot give peace of heart for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”
… you can’t legislate peace...
Jesus said that he was going to bring peace.. but it would be as the world brings… Peace would be about Him giving us himself…
John 14:27 ESV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Oswald Sanders said..
“Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.”
The Peace that God brings Peace like no other Peace… It is not sentimental peace found in a Halmark Card that we put on the mantle…but it real peace.. it comes from the Jewish word shalom (peace) that means much more than a truce in the battles of life.
It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness.
This peace is the transcendent peace which brings an end to the conflict, between men and God.
The angels were announcing that ---hose who hear the message of the coming of the Messiah, the war is over. Peace has become incarnated in the Prince of Peace, who came to reconcile us with God.
Jesus came as a peacemaker — He came to reconcile man to himself. God is the great reconciler and longs that we stand in a right relationship with himself and the father…
Some times we find ourselves running from God.. but we need to know that his love is always running after us… Francis Thompson in his poem calls God the hound of heaven.. God’s love is alway pursing us..
Here is the Good News of Christmas...
God has dealt with our sin and His grace is sufficient. We can come home. We belong to Him. Whatever we have done, we can come home and be reconciled.
The promise of Peace is not for anyone but for those who have been reconciled to him.
The blessing of “Shalom” favor is upon ... those whom he is pleased.... those who have received His Peace..
He came to his own and his own received him not, but to as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, to as many as believed on his name.
It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
The message of Peace is between God but it is also, between us and others...
Peacemaking is not the same thing as peacekeeping.
This is how the United Nations explains what they do in these operations
“Our peacekeepers help prevent conflict to reduce human suffering, build stable and prosperous societies and enable people to reach their full potential.” United Nations.
We all hope they’re moving toward peacemaking, but peacekeeping is just preventing people from acting out on the hate that’s in their hearts.
It tries to prevent conflict and keeps people from destroying each other.
When Jesus brought us peace with God, He didn’t create an uneasy truce; He brought us back into unity and harmony with God.
Jesus didn’t tolerate us; He restored us. He didn’t make a way to endure being with us; He made a way to be near to us and develop a love relationship with us
Peacemaking restores relationship. It brings harmony. It goes beyond just avoiding and separating conflict and brings restoration, relationship, and unity
Aren’t you glad the angels didn’t proclaim, “And on earth tolerance to those whom He decided to endure”? Aren’t you glad the angels didn’t proclaim, “And on earth God puts up with those on whom His favor rests”?
Instead, He brought a true peace with God.
Finally, we need to find the inner peace that comes from being in harmony with ourselves. The Bible tells us that He set eternity into man’s heart,
So as long as we live, we will never be made whole until we have made peace with our Creator. Until we’ve accepted His love and begin to live out a daily relationship with Him.
The peace God gives is beyond our understanding
In the middle of grief, trouble, suffering, stress, and the messes we get ourselves into, God offers hope. We can know His peace that comes through a relationship with Him in Christ
What do the angels teach us about communication?
1.The message Has to be Credible.
2. The Message should Be Proclaimed with Confidence.
3. The message should Change lives.
Conclusion:
How do we know that a message has been communicated effectively?
The shepherds responded… and then they acted on the message.
Luke 2:16–18 ESV
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.
Seeing the baby Jesus was not enough for the shepherds. They had to share the story. Everyone they met heard from them about angelic visits, angelic songs of praise, and a trip to a manger to find the baby of God’s glory.
Shepherds found in a manger the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord himself. They let everyone in hearing distance know.
and everyone who saw, believed and proclaimed. ‘And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.…
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