CHRISTMAS FROM THE FOUR GOSPELS
The Birth Of Hope
A. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Ephes. 2:11-13
1. Having no hope – what a depressing phrase
a. It is the reason many seek counseling, they have no hope, they see no way out
b. Many despair of life and some even take their lives because they have no hope.
2. No hope – it would be a sad day, in deed, if we could not find hope – but don’t despair
a. In this season of Christmas we celebrate the one who came to give us hope – in fact you might even say that in the manger we see the Birth of Hope!
b. The birth of Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah came that we might find hope – that we might be drawn back to God
3. As Paul wrote, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (v.13)
B. This morning I want us to look at Hope – Hope with a capital “H”
1. Our scripture passage for this morning is Luke 2:1-18
2. It this passage we can gain a wonderful look at The Birth Of Hope – We will look at
a. The Essence Of Hope
b. The Substance Of Hope
c. The Proclamation Of Hope
May God grant us a hope that goes beyond this world – one that spans the eternal ages, as we find it in the one whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas – Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
As we consider the Birth of Hope, let me begin this morning by looking at
I. THE ESSENCE OF HOPE, Luke 2:1-7 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. This essence begins with
A. The Prediction - I love the words, It came to pass…. (v. 1)
1. For years prophets of God had spoken concerning the coming Messiah
2. Three of which have direct bearing on our topic this morning
a. First, this hope would be of the lineage of David, found in 2 Sam 7:12 and Micah 5:2
b. Second, this hope would be born of a virgin, stated in Isa 7:14 c. Thirdly, He would be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2
3. These predictions, some almost 1000 years old, were brought to pass with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem that first Christmas morning!
B. Then there is the Passage, the trip to Bethlehem - 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (vv.4-5)
1. The Decree from Cyrenius was God’s way of placing His servants where He wanted them, when He wanted them
2. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles as the crow flies – figuring 20 miles a day and depending on the route, it could have taken anywhere from 4 to 7 days
3. For a pregnant woman, close to her delivery date, this would have been a hard trip and could have induced labor
4. But we must remember God is in charge of not only the heavens and earth, not only of rulers, but of the womb also, & His timing is always impeccable!
C. And this brings us to the Person, the real Essence of Hope: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
1. Matthew adds, he called His name Jesus
2. It seems rather simple, even backwards, to have the king of the universe come to man in this fashion
3. Then again, who of us has had legions of angles proclaiming our birth?
4. This was no mere mortal. This was Jesus, Immanuel, God with us - what an event: celebrated with praise to God and thoughtful worship
D. This Christmas lets take time to Praise God for His Son – the Hope of the Nations!
1. Let’s worship him as the church, as families and as individuals
2. Let us take our cue from the angels and lift our voices of to give Him praise and glory.
3. Jesus is the Essence of Hope.
This brings us to
II. THE SUBSTANCE OF HOPE, Luke 2:10-14 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. In these 5 verses we can see at least three things that are the substance of Hope
A. The greatest of these is SALVATION! - For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (v. 11)
1. From the fall of Adam and Eve this world laid waiting for the one whom God would send to redeem us from our sin.
2. You see when they sinned that nature and the sentence of death came upon all men
- Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
3. And according to Rom 6:23, John 3:18 & 36 without the Savior we have nothing to look forward to but condemnation, death and eternal wrath!
4. But (sometimes a “but” can be good) John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
5. This morning you can know the real substance of Christmas – the gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ!
6. Agree with God that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead, turn from your sin and ask Jesus to save you
a. If you do this, here is the testimony of Scripture found in Rom 10:9 & 13
b. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
B. With salvation comes two other blessings that make up the Substance of Hope
1. The first I would like to mention is PEACE
a. The angels proclaimed Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (v. 14)
b. This peace is two fold
1) First, it is peace with God
a) We are no longer at odds, at war if you will, with God
b) God has brought us from the side of the devil and into His family – into the family of God
c) We no longer have to worry about God’s wrath or hell! Praise the Lord!
2) This then allows us to know the peace of God
a) An inner sense that all is okay – God is in control and I need not worry or fear
b) In fact the angels told the shepherds, “Fear not”
3) If this world is looking for anything these days, it is peace and it will be found in Jesus Christ, the Son and Savior of God!
2. Not only do you receive peace, you also gain joy
a. Look at the proclamation: I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (v. 10)
b. This joy is more than passing happiness – it comes from a steadfast knowledge that everything is right with God and that He has chosen us to be a light in this dark world of sin.
c. Joy is beholding our Savior and knowing our sins are forgiven and life in this world has meaning – living for Him
d. This is the Substance of Hope!
C. Do you have the substance of Hope: salvation, peace and joy?
1. Are all found in the Essence of Hope – Jesus Christ
2. Do you know Jesus as your Savior – without Him its not Christmas – it is just the holiday season.
3. Do you want real peace and joy? It is found in Christ
4. Christian, if you know Christ as your Savior, but do not have the peace and joy I’m talking about you need to address your relationship with the Savior of the world – and you can do it this Christmas
5. What a Christmas present: salvation, peace and joy all in one person – Jesus!
With the Essence and Substance of Hope explained and received we now move to
III. THE PROCLAMATION OF HOPE, Luke 2:17-20 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
A. When the shepherds had experienced what the angles had told them, they proclaimed it to others: they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
1. They spoke of the Savior
2. How can we do any less?
a. Those of us who have experienced the saving grace of Jesus
b. Those of us who have this peace and joy
c. Those of us who at Christmas, celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world to save mankind.
3. We need to proclaim the gospel and make it known both at home and abroad for it is the message of Hope that we proclaim.
B. But it all starts within our own hearts.
1. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (vv. 19-20)
2. Folks it can all start right here, right now.
3. Would you open your heart to Him?
4. Would you be the messenger of the Proclamation of Hope?
A. This Christmas celebrate the Birth of Hope – Jesus Christ
B. In Him we find salvation, peace and joy
C. And Let’s proclaim this message of Hope to a world in need