Faithlife Sermons

GLORY to God in the Highest!

Christmas Series 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

Great Words Associated with Christmas

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


This morning I want to preach the first of a 3 sermon series entitled “Three Words of Christmas!” All of which we find in Luke’s account of Christ’s birth. Each of these words holds great significance for us today, just as they did on that marvelous first Christmas when Christ was born.
So, let’s begin by seeing and understanding the importance of the first word.
Open your Bibles and turn to Luke 2. Let’s read the account of Christ’s birth, and I will draw your attention to our first word for consideration.
Luke 2:1–20 KJV 1900
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 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:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 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. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men. 15 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. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Most of us already know this story. If your family is like mine, we usually read this story each Christmas. May I say that this story is the real story of Christmas! It is the reason we celebrate each year. It is the story of God giving us the ultimate gift of His Son.
Unfortunately, sometimes, in our haste to get on with the festivities of Christmas, we tend to gloss over some of the great truths found in this beautiful revelation to the shepherds.
For example, I want to direct your attention to verse 9, which says
Luke 2:9 KJV 1900
9 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.
As I read and ponder this, I cannot help but place myself with those shepherds that night. I try to imagine what it must have been like for them. They are in their usual spot. It is night. Perhaps they have a small fire nearby to help keep them warm. They were probably sitting around talking about the day’s events or even speaking of family. They minded their own business as they tended sheep that night. As they were doing so, God showed up!
Note that Scripture says, “the angel of the Lord came upon them.In the original language, the angel of the Lord stood right by them. And, then, note that “the glory of the Lord shone around about them.” In other words, the whole place lit up with brilliant light surrounding the “angel of the Lord.”
I don’t think anyone of us can blame them for their reaction. Scripture records that those shepherds were “sore afraid.” A fear so “sore” they froze.
Think about it. One minute they are minding their own business, and the next, God’s angel is standing there surrounded by a brilliant and blinding light. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be afraid at that moment.
Note one other thing here. What was it that shone all around the shepherds? It was the GLORY OF THE LORD!
The first word of this Christmas season that I want us to focus on is God’s GLORY!
Here is my first point!

When FACED with God’s Glory, Sinful Men Cower!

Let’s first identify “God’s Glory.” For us to do that, we must first understand that “glory” is a word of honor. Throughout Scripture, “glory” is the splendor that has always characterized God. It is a word that is often characterized by or used in conjunction with brilliant light. When God’s glory came upon those men, it did so in the form of a bright light that “shone round about them.” Such demonstrations of God’s glory are nothing new. There are several instances of God’s glory characterized by various light forms.
O.T. EXAMPLES - God revealed His glory to Israel as a young nation.
Exodus 24:16–17 KJV 1900
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
When Solomon dedicated the Temple, Scripture records the following.
2 Chronicles 7:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. 3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Later, the prophet Isaiah had a vision of God’s glory recorded in Isaiah 6.
Isaiah 6:1–10 KJV 1900
1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; And see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, And make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Ezekiel gave us this account of God’s glory.
Ezekiel 10:4 KJV 1900
4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.
Later, again, Ezekiel notes...
Ezekiel 44:4 KJV 1900
4 Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord: and I fell upon my face.
In each instance, the glory of God was an obvious manifestation of God’s presence, power, and authority. And, in each instance, that visible manifestation was so overwhelming that it caused men to cower in fear as they understood the awesome holiness of God.
The nation of Israel begged Moses to represent them to God so they would have to face God’s glory.
At the temple’s dedication, the people reacted to God’s glory by throwing themselves prostrate in the street before God as they worshipped and praised Him.
Isaiah’s sinfulness overcame him as he cried, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
Ezekiel fell on his face before God’s glory.
And, when we come to this remarkable Christmas story, once again, we see men surrounded by the glory of God.
What is their reaction? They were sore afraid.
Is it possible this Christmas season that we need a fresh visit of God’s glory once again? There is no doubt that God’s glory reveals all that we indeed are. It reveals our sinfulness, rebellion, and utterly vain attempts to be holy. God’s glory reveals His true nature of complete holiness, righteousness, and judgment. When face with God’s glory, man’s only reaction is fear, guilt, and shame.
Yet, God has always had a plan for man concerning His Glory.

When FACED with God’s Glory, Men Find Mercy!

Even in the Old Testament, God’s glory was also a source of mercy!
EXAMPLE: You may recall that when God led Israel out of Egypt, He did so using His glory.
Exodus 13:21 KJV 1900
21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Here we see the mercy of God found in God’s glory. He led His people with His presence. He used the cloud by day and the fire by night to guide them. Remember the Red Sea experience. Israel had fled. Pharaoh once again hardened his heart and decided to pursue Israel. Now, Isreal finds itself stranded between the massive Red Sea and Pharaoh's angry army. You know the story. God used Moses to stretch out his staff, causing the Red Sea to divide in half, allowing Israel to cross in safety. However, there is one part of that story often overlooked. Scripture records that on the night they crossed.
Exodus 14:19–22 KJV 1900
19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
You see God’s glory, the pillar of cloud, become their protection that night. God stood between Israel and their enemy, keeping them safe as they crossed. What a wonderful picture of God’s mercy and God’s protection!
I give you these two points to bring you back to the night of Christ’s birth.
Men tremble when faced with God’s glory, but they also find mercy!
Now, go back with me to Luke’s account.
Look at verses 9-14.
Luke 2:9–14 KJV 1900
9 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. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
May I submit to you this morning that the greatest manifestation of God’s Glory was born wrapped in swaddling clothes!
John 1:14 KJV 1900
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
There is not doubt that Christ was God. And, there is no doubt that He completely fulfilled every part of God the Father’s will for Him. In John 17, Christ prayed
John 17:4–6 KJV 1900
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Christ by His words revealed God’s glory.
Christ by His actions revealed God’s glory.
And, then, with the ultimate act of sacrifice, Christ through His death revealed God’s grace and wonderful mercy.
Christ was born that Christmas morning full of God’s glory. A glory that was evident to the shepherds that night. And, yet, the whole reason for His birth was His death. He was born so that He might die for all of man’s sin. His death on the cross demonstrated to all the world the great love of God.
John 14:31 KJV 1900
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
Christ went to the cross with joy. He knew what was ahead of Him. He knew the shame that would come as He was crucified and caused to hang between earth and heaven. Yet, He did so with great anticipation. He anticipated those who would put their faith and trust in all that He did. He anticipated the moment His work was done and He would be able to sit down at the right hand of the Father.
Hebrews 12:2 KJV 1900
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Thus, this morning, may humbly ask of you who have not put their faith in Him do consider doing so this morning? You see Christs’ birth was necessary for His death. His death was necessary for your sin. Scripture is quite clear concerning our natural condition.
Every person is born already a sinner and under God’s judgment. Likewise, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to earn your way into heaven or even stand righteous before God. Listen to these verses.
Romans 3:23 KJV 1900
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:10–12 KJV 1900
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Christ is the only answer! He is the only way into Heaven. His death, burial, and resurrection make it possible for you once again stand righteous before God. However, it is only through Him. There is no other way.
John 14:6 KJV 1900
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Romans 5:8 KJV 1900
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 KJV 1900
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Therefore, each of us must admit our sinful and helpless condition. We must, by faith, accept all that Christ has done for us. We must believe with our heart and confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ. It is all about Him and what He has done for us!
Romans 10:9–10 KJV 1900
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
You see Christ was the ultimate revelation of God’s Glory!
Let me finish with this last thought concerning God’s Glory.

Our Purpose is to Manifest God’s Glory with our Lives!

We, as followers of Christ, have a purpose! What is our purpose?
1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV 1900
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If you go back to the announcement by the angels, you will see that we are to give
Luke 2:14 KJV 1900
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
Here is the thing. Giving glory to God in the highest also means we are to give glory to God in the present. We, as His disciples, are to be visible manifestations of God’s presence in the world. We are bought with a price, thus, we belong to Him. Additionally, we have His Spirit living within us.
1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV 1900
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 3:21 KJV 1900
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1 Corinthians 3:23 KJV 1900
23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:19 KJV 1900
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
There are three ways we are to glorify God as His people.

We are to glorify God in our bodies.

I just read I Corinthians 6:19. Now note verse 20 again which says
1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV 1900
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We are to glorify God by bearing much fruit.

John 15:8 KJV 1900
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Two thoughts here.
First, we have responsibility to live a life that bears the fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22-23 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Second, we also have a responsibility to sow the seed of God’s Word as we seek to bring glory to Him according to Matthew 13:1-9.

We are to glorify God with good works.

Matthew 5:16 KJV 1900
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Christian, in conclusion, I remind you that Christ is yours and you are His. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote
Colossians 1:27 KJV 1900
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
You see we have Christ through His Spirit indwelling us. We are then to live lives by which His presence can be felt in this world. The good news is that Christ is our hope. He desires more than anything to use us in reaching others for Him. He loves us. His Spirit indwells us. All we must do is learn to live in obedience to Him. Something that is easy to say but so, so hard to do. Yet, we can. We can live for Him and be used of Him.
Christ of Christmas came a long time ago. However, even today, He still lives. He lives within our hearts. Thus, Christ, the real reason for this season, is the ultimate revelation of God’s glory. And, by that same thought, as His Spirit indwells us, we can give Glory to God in the Highest! Let’s determine this Christmas season that we are going to glorify God with our lives. Let’s determine to live in such a way that others see Christ within us.
Related Media
Related Sermons