Summary: This is the final lesson of the series. It is a reminder for us to embrace our discipleship and boldly share the good news of our King.
1. Series Review -- Close Encounter of the Holy Kind
a. We have a universal longing for God -- Ecclesiastes 3.11
b. His singular provision is his glory/presence within and among us
c. We have a common access to that glory in and through the church
d. The Epic Failure of Many Churches -- Loss of that Presence
e. The Process to Reclaim the Glory of God
* Unapologetic preaching of God's Word
* The Unashamed Adoration of His Son
* The Unceasing Prayers of His People (1 Thessalonians 5.17)
* The Bold Demonstration of God's People --
2. Black Death/Bubonic Plague
In the early 1330s an outbreak of deadly bubonic plague occurred in China. The bubonic plague mainly affects rodents, but fleas can transmit the disease to people. Once people are infected, they infect others very rapidly. Plague causes fever and a painful swelling of the lymph glands called buboes, which is how it gets its name. The disease also causes spots on the skin that are red at first and then turn black.
Since China was one of the busiest of the world's trading nations, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak of plague in China spread to western Asia and Europe. In October of 1347, several Italian merchant ships returned from a trip to the Black Sea, one of the key links in trade with China. When the ships docked in Sicily, many of those on board were already dying of plague. Within days the disease spread to the city and the surrounding countryside.
By the following August, the plague had spread as far north as England, where people called it "The Black Death" because of the black spots it produced on the skin. A terrible killer was loose across Europe, and Medieval medicine had nothing to combat it.
In winter the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas--which were now helping to carry it from person to person--are dormant then. Each spring, the plague attacked again, killing new victims. After five years 25 million people were dead--one-third of Europe's people.
People came up with crazy ideas as to the cause and cures.
* Air was polluted and the bad air caused the disease. Therefore, carry flowers to prevent it. If someone was infected, doctors would sprinkle flower petals on them in order to clear the air. Some were taken to flower beds for healing or if too ill to go, flowers were brought to them.
* When close to death, the patients would cough up a black phlegm; so, they tried to get patients to cough it up sooner, thinking it would cure them. They would feed them spoons full of ashes so they would cough and sneeze.
* Neither worked and the children came up with this Rhyme:
A pocket full of posies;
We all fall down.
The last two lines:
Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush!
We've all tumbled down
* People are dying (eternally) and do not know the reason or the solution
* You know why and what -- Sin/Knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection
3. Write names of some people you know that are without Christ -- PRAY for ways to get gospel to them
4. Luke 2.8-20
5. Bold Actions around the Shepherds:
I. The Bold Exclamation of the Angels -- 2. 8-14
A. A Partnership with God in Announcing the Birth
1. Angels = Messengers (can be People or Angelic Beings)
2. A Great Mystery -- the Redemption of ALL Men -- Ephesians 3.7-12
7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
3. Unseen and then Declared -- first by Angels then by Men
B. A Proclamation of God's Glory
1. The Same thing today
2. WE are the witnesses to God's actions in our world
3. WE have a bold message
II. The Bold Examination of the Shepherds -- 2.15
A. God Invites Our Examinations -- Luke 24.39-40 (also Thomas)
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.