THE CALL OF CHRISTMAS - PT#1
Lessons from the Angels
* Did you know that Christmas is under attack? It’s subtle in some ways and “in your face” in others. Many retailers have attempted to remove “Christmas” from their advertizing in an effort, so they say, of not offending people. Candidly, as a subscriber to the AFA alert list, I have been kept in the loop about these actions and have personally sent nice but pointed emails to several vendors who have opted for the term ‘Holidays’ instead of “Christmas.” Now, we have seen this effort by secularists before as they have attempted to shorten ‘Christmas” to ‘Xmas.’ And believers responded by the “Keep Christ in Christmas” slogan.
* But how did it come to be that one of the most wonderful, happy, and joyous occasions has been almost hijacked? Has the world become so wicked that this is inevitable or is something more at play? That would be the easy answer, but it is probably not true as wickedness has always been with us. We might find the answer inside the collective body of believers.
* The life of a believer is a life upon which God has placed demands. God sent Jesus into this wicked world that we should be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in this dark world. We are called to make a difference and no other time is this truth more at the forefront than at Christmas time. Ours is a life of calling and when that calling goes largely unanswered, the world gets in trouble. All of “isms” can take over.
* Christmas reminds us of the “calls” we are given. Today, we begin a 3-part series entitled, “The Call of Christmas.” We’ll talk about 3 players in this original Christmas story. Today, let look at Angels.
* Consider this with me, “the most important announcements in all history” God seemed to entrust to angels. When Abraham had Isaac on the altar, it was an Angel of God which spoke to Him and stopped the sacrifice. Moses approached the burning bush in Exodus 3 and it was an “Angel” who spoke. When Lot made the bad decision to reside in Sodom and things got dangerous, it was Angels who came to the rescue and told them to leave. Who was it that gave Gideon the call? It was Angels. And in our text we see it was those same messengers given the honor and responsibility of announcing Jesus’ birth. In fact, that Holy night, there was seemingly a flurry of angelic activity about the birth of Jesus.
* Based on the Angels, we must accept the honor & responsibility for announcing by our lips and lives that this is our Lord Jesus Birthday.
* Let’s learn a few lessons from the angels about our call of Christmas.
1) DISPATCHED FROM HEAVEN
* We have already said and illustrated that all through scripture the Angels are God’s messenger. The list could go on and on. God didn’t (and doesn’t) trust His announcement to just anyone. He only entrust it to those He have faith.
* In the days before electronic communication, a ruler would send someone to deliver a message; he would dispatch someone, or would send. On that first Christmas night, God dispatched the angels with the greatest story ever told.
* Just like the angels, every believer, that would be you & I, have been dispatched with a dispatch. Our message is this; God loved the word so much that He sent Jesus into the world to save the world from their sins. The reason we observe Christmas is because we celebrate the birthday of Jesus.
* One of the ways the Christmas Season gets hijacked is that people have not grasped its full and true meaning. Why? Those who have been dispatched have not conveyed the truth. When we make Christmas only about “family and friends”, it is we as God’s people who have opened the door for secularizing Christmas day. We must never forget that we are sent from Heaven just like the angels.
2) DELIVERED THE MESSAGE
* Consider the “Picture words” which the Angels used, “Good news, Great Joy, Today, Born, Savior, Christ, and for all. Every word carries a wanted and needed message. The Angels left no guess work in their words, they delivered the message clearly.
* Submit one reason our schools, society, and even churches are in such disarray & experiencing moral decay is because the true message remains “largely” undelivered. Here is the rub; “if God’s people don’t deliver the truth, the world will make up their own truth and this is exactly what we are seeing today. More than one God, more than one way, even more than one final destination; all of these are an outgrowth of the real message of.
* December 7, 1941 is a date that, as our President said, “will live in infamy.” It is the day which the USA was drawn into WW2 as Japan attacked “Pearl Harbor and killed 2000 American in about 90 minutes.” Although many articles have been written about this event, timelines offered to support the thesis of this book, a man named Mark Willey wrote a book entitled, “Pearl Harbor-The Mother of all Conspiracies.”
* The theme of this book is that FDR actually baited Japan, withheld information from commanders, and literally set up our servicemen for that devastating attack on that Sunday morning. Is it true? I don’t know and probably few people have the evidence to prove this (one way or another). But if it is true, rightfully, some of us would be angry at the sacrifice OUR families made on that day. To think that the President of the United States possessed information which would have saved American lives and didn’t allow message to be told, can you imagine the depth of this crime?
* But what about the message “WE” have access to? The information we hold in our hands? The Hope, Freedom, and Security?
* Were I to ask, “How do we overcome Satan?” most would say by the “blood of the Lamb.” Did you know that this is only a “half truth?” Revelation 12:11 says, they overcome him by “the blood of the lamb AND the word of their testimonies.”
* This Christmas season we have friends, families, neighbors, and fellows workers who don’t have a clue and we are sent like the angels to deliver the message, we have been dispatched from Him.
3) DIRECTED THE ATTENTION
* Not only did they Deliver Message, but gave clear instructions on “how and where to find this baby?” Of all the things we do this Christmas season, Jesus should be our “center of attention” if for no other reason because this is His birthday. However, there are indeed many more reasons. Do you remember the words of the Angels to Mary, “You are to give Him the name Jesus and He will save His people from their sins.”
* Candidly for the believer, nothing should bring as much joy and fun as directing someone to THE one who can change their lives.
* I offer this question; where does your life, your words, and your actions direct people’s attention? The Angels told the shepherds, “Go to Bethlehem and THERE you will find Him.” Today, we can say, “Come to Him, because He’s waiting for you.” If we simply direct people’s attention to Jesus and deliver the message of the good news, He’ll do the rest. Remember His words, “IF I be lifted Up.”
4) DECLARED THE PRAISE
* It is obvious to me, that the angels were excited about Jesus. Only “ONE ANGEL” Delivered the message, but it’s almost like when came time to PRAISE, they all had to get involved. What a lesson for us today! The Angels couldn’t keep silent and we shouldn’t either.
* They sang “Glory to God in the Highest & Peace on Earth to men.”
* Personally, I would have loved to be out on that hillside that night because I love exciting light shows. Having seen and even produced light shows, I can say that the light show on the hillside this night would put every manmade light show to shame. When God does it.
* Have you ever considered what it takes to make the angels sing? Well, I can tell you what doesn’t make them sing…
* It’s not when people change churches
* It’s not when God’s redeemed fuss and fight
* It’s not when God’s people “kick” someone out of the body
* It’s not when “God’s people” have to have their way
* What really makes the angels sing is;
* When a lost people gets found and saved,
* When a person in darkness comes into the light,
* When a backslidden person repents
* When a lukewarm person gets a hot heart
* When God’s people decide to give God first place
* One of the great blessings in our life should be to offer Him praise.
5) DISPLAYED THE GLORY
* Look at verse 9 see what they angels did. They did it their way. They call is for us to display the glory in the way we should. How?
* The Angels showed the “glory” around or outside of them. Make no mistake this was GOD’S GLORY. For us, it begins inside. In the words of Jesus, we are to let our lights shine before men that they may see our good works so that they may see the “Glory” of the Father.”
* So if this is God’s plan and the lessons which we can learn from the angels what does this mean for us, collectively?
* I’ll suggest this means the world has to see something different in us because they are getting enough of the “same ole” from society. Somehow we must let them see the “Glory and Wonder” of God in our lives. Admittedly, the world doesn’t seem to see this in those who say they are believers.
* I will also suggest that we need to demonstrate a renewed commitment to our Lord and His Church. This commitment must result in faithfulness, participation, service, and attendance.
* In the OT, why did Moses’ face shined with Glory of God? Because he met with God privately. This bleeds into our personally call.
* I’ll suggest that personally we need to grasp 3 Principles:
* 1) We will only display His glory when we meet Him in true worship.
* 2) He will only meet with us when we are cleaned by repentance.
* 3) He will only meet with us when with our hearts, minds, & soul we come.
Christmas calls us, but it doesn’t call us to make our celebrations only about “Family and Friends.” At the risk of being mauled, that is a very popular and secularists’ attitude. The attitude of the believer is that this special day is all about Jesus, the one who came to save His people. Will you let Him save you?