Summary: This is the 4th in a series of sermons called Be Ready .... Be Ready for God Encounters. This message concentrates on the Shepherds' Encounter
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
Theme: Be Ready …
Title: Shepherds in their Fields at Night
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
All month long we have been looking at God Encounters.
We have been looking at these amazing times in people’s lives where they have either encountered God directly, one of His angels or have been the recipient of a supernatural event.
One of the biggest lessons we are to learn from all of this is that we must begin to realize that having an encounter with the LORD is something that is not to be seen as unusual or infrequent in this present age of the Holy Spirit. Instead, we are to see God encounters more in the line of God walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve on a regular basis. We are to understand that we can have God encounters at any time.
God encounters are those times that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through a variety of ways - ways that include angels, visions, dreams, revelations from His Word, through acts of nature and a number of other ways. There is no limit to the way that God can speak to us.
We need to always remember that if the Incarnation of Christ teaches us anything and the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit shows us anything it is this:
+We serve a God who wants to be involved in our lives on a daily basis.
+We serve a God who wants to shop with us, ride in the car with us, go to school/work with us, clean the house with us and enjoy a walk outside with us.
+We serve a God who seeks to speak to us in all manner of ways – both through His direct words and through His Written words.
+We serve a God who likes to center His day around what we are doing.
Now, you may ask how can God do that?
How can He center His day around what I am doing while at the same time center His day around what you are doing?
I don’t know – all I know is that the Bible tells us that God is the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY and He is able to do that. He is able to be with all of His Creation at any time.
+And while I don’t fully understand it I do rejoice in the fact that right now God can be with us here and with another congregation half a world away.
+I rejoice in the fact that God can be with us here and with a single solitary person sitting in a prison cell who has been imprisoned for their faith.
+I rejoice that God can be with us here and at the same time be with someone in a nursing home, a couple who are shut-in or those who are laying in their hospital beds.
+I rejoice in a God who loves us so much that He always wants to be in our midst.
This morning, our story is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible at this time of the year.
+Back on Christmas Eve, 1906, wireless operators working on ships off the New England coast not doubt were wondering if they were having a supernatural God Encounter. Out of the midst of Morse code dots and dashes beeping through their headsets came the sound of a voice reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke (Reginald Fessenden) and a violin playing "Silent Night." It was the first time in post-Flood history that the sound of a human voice had been sent over the air waves. The voice wished them a merry Christmas, and then the dots and dashes started up again.
+Since 1965 all over the world people have enjoyed listening to Linus van Pelt share the Christmas Story in the animated presentation of Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
I would assume that in the majority of churches/worship settings this morning and in homes all across the world on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this passage is the one most people will read. And why should it not be? It is an amazing passage that the Holy Spirit led Dr. Luke to put down on parchment.
So, with all of that in mind let’s look at these shepherd’s God encounter and see what they have to say to us this morning.
I. Be Ready … To be Lifted Up
There is a lot written about what had happen to the position of being a shepherd by the time Jesus was born. Many believe what was once a prized position had fallen down to one of the least desired blue collar jobs of the Middle East. Only those who had to take out the trash and get rid of the dross from the metal works had a worse job.