Summary: While it is proper to pay special attention to these verses in December, it is equally true that they are important to us every day of the year. On any Sunday we could appropriately sing, “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!” At any time of the year we co
And Now, for an Important Announcement
Most church-goers dread announcements. Announcements are considered dull, but not this announcement.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child
I. It Was Personal—“to you.”
A. The shepherds were surprised at what they saw and heard. They did not expect to hear such songs or see such sights.
B. We are surprised that shepherds were chosen to receive this greatest of all announcements. We would expect that the heavenly choir would sing for a prestigious audience. Can you imagine the Metropolitan Opera putting on a performance for illiterate herdsmen?
C. We may never know why they were chosen, but the fact that they were chosen is a comfort to all of us ordinary people.
D. Paul suggests a possible reason in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. God often chooses humble things for grand purposes, and ordinary people to do extraordinary deeds.
It says this!
26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.
E. Now centuries later we must sill hear the message as a personal message. The fact that hundreds of years have passed and thousands upon thousands have heard must not diminish the impact of the message. It is still personal!
II. It Was Universal—“for all people.”
A. The fact that it was universal does not contradict the fact that it was personal.
B. It was personal in impact, but universal in scope. All people were to have the opportunity to respond individually and personally to a God who loves them individually and personally.
C. The fact that the announcement is universal destroys any ethnic pride that we may have.
D. This fact also makes us humble. God’s chosen people today are those who choose to believe.
E. It makes us evangelistic. God wants us to share the message with everyone
F. It gives us missionary zeal. God wants us to share the message in every place.
G. The apostle Peter learned that God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34, 35) His words “every nation” were the proper response to Jesus’ words “all nations.”
It says this!
34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right
III. It Was Timely—“today.”
A. Spiritually it seems that every Christmas we are celebrating the birth of Christ for the first time.
B. Nationally and internationally we seem to need Christmas especially at this time.
C. Perhaps in your life Christmas has special meaning this year.
D. We must never be content with simply recalling a past event.
E. The famous Christmas carol says “Be born in us today!”
IV. It Was Also Timeless—“a Savior.”
A. That’s what people needed then.
B. That’s what people need now.
C. That’s what people have needed in all the years between then and now.
D. That’s what people will need until the end of time.
It is never enough to just listen to the announcement even if we listen attentively. It is not enough to just listen to the announcement, even if we listen reverently. We must respond to this angelic announcement.