Summary: Last of this Christmas series, this one about non-believers imitating the shepherds by checking out the message of the angels, and believers imitating the shepherds by spreading the word about Jesus.
The Four “M’s” of Christmas
Part 3 - The Mandate
December 28, 2008
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
It’s now the Sunday after Christmas, and I had originally intended to give this message last week and to give last week’s message the week before, but of course, the blizzard came and everybody’s plans changed!
But to be completely honest, I think that last week’s message and this week’s actually fit better the way it’s going that the way I had planned.
It’s not the first time I’ve had something ready to go only to find out that this wasn’t the time for that particular message, so I’m not taken totally by surprise by it.
It’s only been the last few years that I’ve really started wondering what we could learn from the Christmas story that would give us direction for life, even though the story isn’t necessarily about us.
I knew, just like you, that the story wasn’t just there to entertain us, or even just to inform us about the facts surrounding Jesus’ birth.
I’ve believed for some time that the purpose of the Scriptures isn’t to inform us, but to transform us to be more like Jesus.
But is that true of all of the Scripture? And in particular, is it true of the Christmas story?
If so, what about it could be life-changing for me? For us as a church?
Well, I think that you will find that there is plenty in there, and this passage we’re looking at today is no exception.
My hope is that as we look at this story of the shepherds, you will see something that God has for you that you can take with you and put into your life even today.
God: Our passage today is Luke 2:8-20 (p. 725) –
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly 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."
15 When 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."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The shepherds are some of my favorite people in the whole story of Christmas.
They weren’t anyone special. They weren’t the religious leaders, they weren’t the royalty, they weren’t the governmental leaders.
They were just plain folks like you and me. They were blue-collar, hard-working people who minded their own business and lived life one day at a time, with probably few big dreams and ambitions in life.
In a survey, nearly a third of those questioned stated that, of all the persons mentioned in the Christmas story, they identified the most with the shepherds. They were your average, ordinary, everyday working people and were invited to see the birth of the King of kings! (Sermoncentral.com. Contributed by Robert Leroe)
These poor shepherds were chosen to be among the first to see the Savior.
And they took the opportunity. They jumped all over it. They wanted to see this awesome thing that they had just been told about.
I don’t know about you, but my mind would have been hurting just trying to take in the fact that angels had just appeared, much less try to figure out what they were trying to say we should check out.
But apparently these guys didn’t think twice. They heard the message and they went to see what it was all about.