Summary: Christmas 2007 message
During our morning service we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, so please keep that in mind as we study the Word together – I encourage you to listen for the voice of the Lord and respond as it directs.
Open your bibles with me to Luke Chapter 2.
Today, we celebrate together the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As a Christian, there ought to be no other day on our calendar (except for the date of your salvation), then when we recognize the day that God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to be born, who would one day die for our sins.
You see, we celebrate Christmas not around a man named Santa Claus – but around a man named Jesus Christ who is God incarnate – which means he is God, and came to Earth to dwell among us, and then offer his life as a living sacrifice.
Christmas is a joyous occasion – we need to get excited about it Saints – because of Christmas, the cross of Calvary is possible. Because of the sacrifice on the cross, we have salvation. If this does not make you excited, honestly I just don’t know what will.
Point 1 – Journey to Bethlehem (read v1-7)
Mary and Joseph were traveling together because they were being obedient to the leader of their land, Caesar. He had decreed that everyone shall register formally who lives in the land, most likely for tax purposes and to keep a record of who lives where.
If you remember a few weeks ago we discussed David fighting for his home town of Bethlehem (this was the “Mighty Men of God” message); Joseph was of the lineage of David (Matthew 1:16) – and so he had to travel to Bethlehem to register.
I want you to see that what is about to be fulfilled was prophetically told by Micah, who preached about the same time as Isaiah, but in different regions of the world. They are considered contemporaries, in that they both were given similar visions by God.
Go back a few books in your bible to Micah, Chapter 5:2-5 (READ)
Is not clear how God foretold everything to happen? Micah is not discussed much, but I wanted to show another instance of God giving the vision of His plan to this world.
When we think of the miracle about to happen … we must see these very important facts:
Jesus Christ left the splendor of Heaven to be born in a manger.
He was given to two God-fearing parents whose own obedience found favor with God.
He began His life rejected and cast out.
He came to this Earth not to be served, but to serve – to sacrifice freely.
Before we can really celebrate Christmas, we must understand also (even more importantly) that Jesus was there at the beginning (Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”). Furthermore, when God said “Let us make man in our image” in Genesis 2, He was not talking to Himself – but to His Son who was there – Jesus is at the center of it all!!
Although Mary and Joseph were going to submit to a census, the prophecy already told where the Savior would be born – and it was God who ordained this – not Caesar!
We should get excited to tell this story!!
But this night, held so much more in store for this world than we ever could imagine. We are about to see, how this baby is announced to the world.
Point 2 – A Triumphant Announcement (v8-14)
These humble men were tending to their sheep at night, when all of a sudden a bright flash of light shone around them and before them stood an angel of the Lord! Imagine yourself in this situation – you are doing your job, nothing out of the ordinary – just another cold night, when an angel appears before you!
There is a unique item to point out here … In the scale of jobs during this time, being a shepherd was the lowest of all jobs – even lower than a fisherman. They tend to animals, and nothing more. The Lord chose them to appear too because (remember) Jesus came to serve and not be served, and thus the angel appeared to the lowest (and perhaps the humblest) instead of the highest in authority of the day.
This angel announces the birth of the savior (Christ means Messiah). The angel says to look in the town of David, and everyone knows that David was from Bethlehem – and tells them exactly what to look for -- a baby wrapped in cloths and laying a manger.