Summary: Christmas Sermon on the Shepherds

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“What would you do if you saw an angel – Luke 2:8-19

Gladstone Baptist Church – 17/12/06 pm

1. The Shepherds were minding their own business. When the reality of that first Christmas was shown to them in spectacularly vivid colour. This is what it is like for many of us when the truth of God breaks through.

I want you to use your imagination here this evening. You are sitting out on a hillside around a small fire. It is small, because wood is scarce. The night is fairly cool because you are not far from the desert. The stars are out and the sky is looking absolutely brilliant. You are lying on your back looking up at all the stars when suddenly, you wet your pants because right in front of you in living colour was a brilliant light. An angel. Now most of you have never seen a real angel before, but you had seen plenty of images of angels – usually they involved pretty little girls in white dresses with wire shaped wings with stockings stretched over them. But this little angel was nothing like that at all. He was scary. He was brilliant – you could have been wearing a welding visor and still been overwhelmed with the brilliance of his light.

But when he spoke, all your fear melted away. Because he brought good news that would benefit the whole human race. He told you that this very night, in the town of Bethlehem, King David’s hometown, a saviour has been born. He was to be the long awaited Messiah.

What would it have been like for the shepherds on that lonely hillside that first Christmas evening. It would have been confronting I’m sure. They were minding their own business, but suddenly, their whole world was turned upside down as God revealed himself to them.

You know, that is identical to how many people describe what it was like when they become a Christian. They were going along in life fine – minding their own business – when – They came face to face with the reality of God with a capital GOD. When that happens to you, you can’t side step it and just go on. You can’t hide your head in the sand and wait for it to go away. You have to be honest enough to respond to it. What would you do if you were confronted this evening by an angel?

Tonight, I pray that if you have never been confronted by the reality of the Christmas story, that God makes it a reality for you tonight. It did happen – it is a historical fact. It did involve God – that is an undeniable fact. It demands a response – and for some that is a scary fact.

When I look at these shepherds being confront, I see 3 parts to their response and I think we can learn a lot from their response.

2. They went to find the promised king. They wanted to see him for themselves. To meet with him. To experience his life for themselves. He was their priority & their goal. They wanted to take a look.

Firstly, they went to investigate the claims of the angels.

We read in Luke 2:15-16

“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.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

These shepherds weren’t willing to trust any old stranger in ignorance – even if he did glow a bit. They wanted to find out the truth for themselves. In our world today, there are a lot of con men out there. I don’t know about you, but I get sick of getting bogus emails telling me to go to a bank I don’t even have an account at and confirm my credit card details or bank account details.

I got this one sent to me the other day – actually I’ve had it a couple of times over the last 5 or so years. This it what it promises …

Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter.

Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test. When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it. For a two week time period. For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you via email for your mailing address and then send you a check..

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