Summary: Christmas sermon - in series. This is a look at the Shepherds and the reason to "fear not" at Christmas!
(Video - Skit guys - shepherd - First Christmas - 2:02)
Intro: All people. That means you too. Here at CCC, we want it to be very clear that we believe God has good news for all people.
If you read or watch what’s usually referred to as “news,” I’ll bet you’re with me when I say we could stand some good news in the world. Seems like news isn’t news, unless it’s foreboding, depressing or horrible.
The angel said he brought good news. That’s at the heart of this story in Luke 2 today. There’s good news to be shared. For a few weeks now we’ve been looking at different reasons that we have from the Christmas story not to be afraid. Today is really the culmination of all of it. The angel appeared to the shepherds and told them,
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
So, if I could give us all just one line to leave with today, it would include the title of this message: Don’t be afraid - there’s good news for everyone! Let’s just peruse that good news this morning and see what’s so good about it…
1. Good news without apology
No angel ever said, “I’m sorry!” He brought the message. That’s especially what angels do! The name “angel” means “messenger.” Angels deliver messages.
And when this angel shows up and scares the willies out of these shepherds, he doesn’t engage in apologies: “Oh, I’m so sorry. Sorry for scaring you! Sorry for being all shiny! Sorry for interrupting your break time!” No. These terrifying beings were how God chose to announce the birth of Jesus. Heaven’s wonder had just appeared on earth. It was appropriate that some more of Heaven’s wonder would be part of the announcement.
I’m speaking to people who are followers of Jesus right now.
When was anyone ever told to apologize for telling someone the good news about Jesus?
Ill - A few years ago, I sat in a room with fellow police chaplains downtown. We were defining and re-working our charter as a chaplaincy. About 20 of us sat around discussing our role as chaplains, when someone among the group, whose theology isn’t overly concerned with following the Scriptures, started to say we should be careful not to offend people when we go to help them. “For instance, we shouldn’t mention Jesus’ name when we pray. Some people might be offended by the name of Jesus. We should set aside our theology.” Several of the guys around me clearly disagreed. I sure did. I kind of thought that I was a representative of God to people when I took on the title “chaplain.” That day kind of marked the beginning of the Rockford Police Chaplaincy falling to pieces.
We should never speak the good news of Jesus apologetically.
Jesus said just the opposite. He doesn’t want you to be ashamed to speak up for Him.
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
If the message we had to share was all doom and gloom, I’d be ashamed of it. If the message we have to share was based on a Bible that contains errors, or if the message we shared was that only certain people can be saved, or if the message we shared was that you have to work real hard to earn your way into Heaven, or if the message we shared was that God makes mistakes or that there’s really no difference between right and wrong, or that Jesus was just a good man, I’d be ashamed of that!
But that’s not the message we get to share! We have a message that’s good news! Why would we ever hesitate to share it? You just won the lottery! It’s a ticket worth 100 mil! And you also have a 2nd ticket. It’s also worth that much! But you can only win it once. For it to do any good, you’ll have to give the 2nd ticket to someone else. Would you share the 2nd ticket with someone you cared about? Or would you go, “Oh, I don’t know if I should tell him or not!” That’s the position we’re in once we cross over from death into life in Jesus Christ. Good news without apology! For most of us, the only apology we should have is that we haven’t spoken more freely about it before!
Christmas makes such an easy time to talk about Jesus. And you don’t have to be belligerent or snarky to do it. Just because so many other people are tiptoeing around it all doesn’t mean you have to! Go ahead and say “Merry Christmas!” Go ahead and talk to someone about what you’re doing to celebrate the way God came and lived among us! Go ahead and put a cross in your window or yard! Invite people to come worship with you Tuesday night at 5!