Sermons

Summary: The Third sermon in the Advent series,

December 11, 2005

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS...The Gift Of A Sign

Introduction:

- Everyday we see signs all around us - to give us direction; instruction; information; even warnings.

- Sometimes those signs are clear, maybe too clear:

On a helmet mounted mirror used by US cyclists - REMEMBER, OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE ACTUALLY BEHIND YOU.

On a Sears hairdryer - DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING

On an American Airlines packet of nuts - INSTRUCTIONS - OPEN PACKET, EAT NUTS

-- sometimes they are not so clear:

On a packet of Sunmaid raisins - WHY NOT TRY TOSSING OVER YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST CEREAL?

On a Taiwanese shampoo - USE REPEATEDLY FOR SEVERE DAMAGE.

On a Korean kitchen knife - WARNING: KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN

- On that first Christmas night the angel’s instruction was very clear: “This will be a SIGN to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

- God gave these men a great gift that night -- the gift of a sign that would change their lives forever.

- God still gives us signs today. He gives us signs through the witness of His WORD; The witness of His SPIRIT; The witness of His SERVANTS; The witness of His SUPERNATURAL POWER; the witness of CREATION -- to name a few.

- Unlike some of the things you may find under your tree this Christmas, God’s gifts always have a purpose!

- Through the experience of the shepherds, we discover the great purpose behind the signs that God gives to us...

1. God gives us signs so we can FIND Him. v.16

- If it were not for the sign that the angel gave them, the shepherds might have missed Jesus.

- After all, if you didn’t know what you know now, where would you look for a Saviour? In a manger? Doubtful!!

- However, the shepherds indeed sought and found a humble Saviour, born in humble surroundings, that the most humbled of humans could find Him and draw near to Him.

- There are things about Christ that are a mystery to our finite minds but He has not made himself too mysterious to be found by those who earnestly seek Him -- Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

- If you have a heart that seeks after Christ, you will find signs all around that will tell you He is nearer than you think!!

2. God gives us signs so we can FOLLOW Him. vv.17; 20

- As with anyone who seeks after Jesus with an open heart, I’m inclined to believe these shepherds were transformed as they stood beside His manger.

- The shepherds became the sheep who, from that point on, would follow the “Good Shepherd”

- Their behaviour alone bore witness to such a transformation -- their probable exchange of idle gossip and dirty jokes transformed into shouts of praise and of glorifying God.

- In the same way, God gives us signs that help us to discover His will for our lives -- things we must change or areas where we must remain faithful and steadfast.

3. God gives us signs to strengthen our FAITH in Him. v. 20

- The shepherds went on their way with a confidence that the God whom they had encountered that night was true to His Word. They found everything in fact to be consistent with what they had been told.

- This does not imply that our faith is dependent only upon what we see. For that is not faith at all.

- In fact Jesus confronted those who demanded signs to affirm His authority because they asked out of a spirit of DOUBT

- However, God has a long history of affirming His authority to those who ask out of the DESIRE to truly know Him and who follow Him by faith...

Moses: “...show me your glory...” Exodus 33:18

Israelites crossing the Red Sea: “...when the

Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed

against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord

AND PUT THEIR TRUST in Him...” Exodus 14:31

Jesus turning water into wine: “This, the first of

His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in

Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and HIS

DISCIPLES PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM.” John 2:11

- When you place your faith in Christ, He rewards that faith as He confirms His word in your life over and over again.

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