Summary: In this Christmas Day message, we see how the angels appeared to the shepherds, who were afraid when they saw them and teh glory of God. The angels tell them to not be afraid but to joyful.
1. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
2. It is with these words that the first newscast was made to the world about the greatest event that has ever taken place.
3. It is with these words that God speaks to us today to announce again the good news which we celebrate together.
4. This morning God comes to us, to each one of us and tells us that Jesus is born.
5. How do we react to this news? With fear or joy?
6. If not today - there will be day when Christ comes again and on that day you will feel either fear or joy?
1. The shepherds were the ones to whom the news was given - perhaps God thought they would be able to identify with Christ, the great shepherd. Before they even heard a word, they were terrified. Why? The glory of the Lord shone around them.
2. We might be indifferent to news but if we experience His presence we will react.
3. Each announcement of the birth of Christ results in fear: Zechariah was "gripped with fear" when he saw the angele (1:11), angel tells Joseph "Do not be afraid", and Mary was troubled or afraid.
4. Whether we admit it or not mankind, each one of us has a deep fear of God, and while that includes a sense of awe or reverence, it means more
a. We are alarmed at His presence because God’s glory reveals who He is? Reveals His holiness and righteousness.
b. We may admire those who live a very good and holy life but don’t really like to be with them. In their presence, we become conscious of our own shortcomings and sin.
c. In light of His glory each blemish is seen clearly and along with this comes a sense of guilt.
d. Like Isaiah (6:5) we say "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean.."
e. How would you feel if He came to your home in form of person and said he was going to live with you for a few days
i. Would you be a little concerned about what He would see and hear?
ii. Would you change anything about how you live or just continue with your normal routine?
5. The angels tell us why we can turn our fear into joy. "I bring you good news of great joy" Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
6. And he has come to turn your fear into joy so that you will be able to rejoice in the presence of God.
7. How does Jesus do this? "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
a. A song of praise but more than that it is a proclamation of why Jesus came - what the results of His coming will be.
8. There are 2 reasons why Jesus came - 2 reasons why we can rejoice.
9. First - Jesus came to bring glory to His Father. John 17:4
a. Although God’s already possess all the glory, we glorify by recognizing who he is, worshiping Him, doing His will and revealing His character to others. (John 1:18)
b. Jesus comes to us and says "I am with you. I come and bring you God’s glory and I enable you to rejoice in it." "I come to reveal that God is holy but that he is also merciful and gracious. I die for you to show His great love for you". That is also part of His glory.
c. And because I have done this, (through HS) you also have the glory of God in you. (2Cor 4:6-7). You also are able to reveal His love and character.
d. So we need not fear God’s glory if we trust in Christ for the opposite of fear is to trust.
10. The second reason we rejoice is given in the second part of verse - "and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests".
a. Some versions and some songs such as "Glory to God" translate this into two parts "peace on earth" and "goodwill to men"
b. This suggests peace and goodwill to all - we may wish for these but this is not what passage says.
c. Peace to those who are His children, who have been called according to His purpose.
d. When we think of peace we think of the end of fighting. The coming of Christ brings peace