Summary: 1. Our hope comes from the work of God. 2. Our hope comes from the wonder of God. 3. Our hope comes from the will of God.

Let Christmas Put Hope in Your Heart

Luke 2:1-14

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 23 2012

*People cannot make it without hope. A former instructor for the Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Unit explained this in what he called “The Rule of Threes”:

-“You can survive 3 weeks without food.

-3 days without water.

-3 hours without shelter.

-And 3 minutes without air.

-But you cannot survive 3 seconds without hope.” (1)

*People can’t make it without hope. But Christians, we have hope. And one of the best things about being a Christian is that no matter how bad things may get in our lives.

*We have hope. Where does it come from?

1. First: Our hope comes from the work of God.

*And we can see some of the ways God works in vs. 1-6:

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 Bethlehem; (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.

[1] These vs. remind us that God works through ordinary circumstances.

*God wanted His Son to be born in Bethlehem. And He used the most ordinary circumstances to get Him there: A census for taxes.

(Note: I held up a 1040 Tax Form, and said:)

-God can use this to give glory to His name? -- Yes!

-God can use this to give guidance to His saints? -- Yes, of course!

*God can use:

-Your taxes.

-A traffic jam.

-A new job.

-A stopped up drain.

-A broken shoe-lace.

-A chance meeting at the store.

*God can use the smallest thing to change your life forever, because He is in control. That decree from Caesar Augustus had to go out at just the right time. And it had to pass all the way across the Roman Empire by ship and horseback, at just the right time.

*God works through ordinary circumstances.

[2] And He works in the lives of ordinary citizens.

*God worked in Joseph the carpenter, and Mary, the Jewish girl. But He also worked in the lives of the shepherds we see in vs. 8-9:

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.

*Who were these shepherds? -- Brian Bill gave some important background on the shepherds, when he said: “Throughout the history of Israel, shepherding was a noble profession. Abel was the first to have this job, followed by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and of course, David.

*But by the time we come to the first century, shepherding had lost its luster. Shepherds made up the lowest class of people, coming in just ahead of lepers.” (2)

*Alan Perkins tells us that: “Shepherds were borderline social outcasts. Since they were constantly on the move to find new pasture for their flocks, they were looked on with suspicion. Kind of the way people today might look at gypsies, or carnival workers. Shepherds were often accused of being thieves. If something came up missing, it must have been those shepherds. They weren’t allowed to give testimony in court, because their word wasn’t considered trustworthy.

*And on top of all that, they really didn’t have much contact with other people.-Most of the time, they were ‘living out in the fields.’ This was not a 40-hour a week job. They didn’t come home at night. They were with the sheep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” (3)

*They worked all night, but as Ron Mehl points out: “God works the night shift!”

-So, these shepherds remind us that God hasn’t forgotten us.

-God hasn’t forgotten you!

*And if He could work in those shepherds’ lives, He can work in our lives too.

-Our hope comes from the work of God.

2. And from the wonder of God.

[1] Think about the wonder of His glory.

*We get a taste of God’s glory in vs. 9-14, where Luke says:

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.

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