Dec 24 2018 - BibleGeek Advent - The Exciting Conclusion!
6th January 2019
We had our Christmas caroling time Sunday morning… - so tonight, we’ll have the final message in our (BibleGeek) Advent series
Lord, thank You for this opportunity to celebrate Christmas together – You were born a king for all of us – Lord, at Your birth – Sometimes we sing the carols and miss how deep, meaningful, truthful, and even theological they are. Help us to see You in a brand new way – as Lord, at Your birth.
Christmas Eve Quiz: - You won’t be graded.
THE GOOD NEWS
____________ ____________, SON OF GOD, OUR SAVIOR, HAS BROUGHT PEACE TO THE WHOLE EARTH.
The proper answer, before Jesus’ birth, would be Augustus Caesar. The reason I say that – that was the good news proclamation sent throughout the world in 18 BC. These very words! These very words that we see brought up in the story of Luke.
As we read our Bible stories, there is a tendency to Disney Fairytale them – but they were real people, living in a real world with real conflict. There is a context for everything that is being said. If we can get past all the Disneyfying of it, it is an incredible story of how God chose to become one of us – and it is amazing!
Luke 2:1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes.
Real world! It is always about taxes with the government, isn’t it! God takes something as THAT to use – to bring about His own story into our world!
2 This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 Everyone went to his own town to be registered. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David.
What Luke is doing – if you have been with us for the past 4 weeks, Luke is connecting Jesus with King David to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of the story of Israel. He is also setting the stage for the words of the angels to the shepherds.
5 He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger (feeding trough), because there was no place for them in the inn.
Now, last year in the Christmas sermon, I went into deep detail about what the inn was like – and you can go back and watch that on our website. Let me say this – the truth is often not what we have seen in the stories all these years! So if you want to keep that vision in your mind, don’t go back and watch that!
When God became a baby, He chose a very humble birth for himself!
When a baby is born to royalty – like in England – it is an enormous thing.
When Simba was born – he was held up to all the creatures of the jungle – and they all bowed down.
But when God is born, it is a lowly place, and that shows His humility and meekness.
Luke gives us an upside down God – so we can live an upside down life. The way the world thinks about things – and what we perceive to be reality – when God enters the picture, that all gets turned upside down.
We talked about how God honored Mary in her humility – the Most High God is the most humble.
God honors the lowly – we see His heart in how He chooses to come into the world.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
Matthew tells the story of the Magi – because Matthew’s point is to show that Jesus comes for the Gentiles. Luke chooses shepherds. They are kind of the lowest class in Israel.
Philip Yancey : Illiterate hirelings who watch the flocks of other nobodies. They were lumped together with the godless, restricted to the outer court – fittingly, it was to them that God was revealed as the one who would be friends of sinners.
As we go through Luke’s gospel, the heroes are the ones who were marginalized, outcast, the lower class. That is just how he writes it.
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
Every time someone sees an angel – it is another worldly spiritual being – and the atmosphere parts and a being speaks to you – they are terribly afraid.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news (gospel) of great joy which will be for all the people;
This angel that is speaking is in contrast to the proclamation of the Roman good news. It goes against how the world views how things ought to be. In many ways, this is a protest. For ALL The people – every class and race and position of person – for Gentile and Jew, male and female, slave and free – barbarians – the worst of the worst – God is calling them all together.
Israel had believed that God chose them as special and everyone else was BAD! You were not allowed to be part of things. The sad thing – that has been part of the history of the world – from Nazi Germany to Apartheid in South Africa – and unfortunately – this has crept into the church. One person should not be lifted above another because of who they are or what they look like – And Christ came to change all of that.
11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
To be the Messiah – to come as the king in the line of David to bring the entire world into relationship with God.
Glory to the newborn king! This, This is Christ, the King! Even the Little Drummer Boy – to see the newborn king!
This is all in opposition to Caesar.
Christ the Lord! Caesar is not!
When we say Christ is Lord, we are saying everything else is not!
What the angel is saying is a social/cultural/political statement – God being born poor, lowly, in an out of the way place. Think about making a social statement: taqking your life and making it the lowest!
12 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.“
Here we have the mission again – on all the earth, peace for all people, with whom He is pleased!
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
In the Old Testament – God was to be feared – unapproachable – they would be struck dead to come up on the mountain! But all of a sudden – God comes in a way that humanity can relate to in a totally approachable way. What we see on Christmas – We see God in a new form – in a way He had never been seen before – but in His most natural way.
When He first appeared to Moses – a burning bush!
Joshua – a warrior with sword drawn!
Sacrifice to Him, or things will get worse and worse, was the way of the Old Testament – but now comes the upside down God.
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
I’m going to close with Paul’s words – I will read it out of the New Living – as a different twist!
Phil. 2: 3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
This is the attitude of humility we all ought to have.
6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What this tells us – Paul takes this baby being born – and moves rapidly to say that this is the God that every knee will bow to. They will not bow to God in the form that we might see in ancient history – but ultimately – it will be to this humble God who set aside everything – this approachable God we can know and love. When we really know Him, we will be so drawn to Him, and in love with Him. So comfortable and at peace with Him – so different from how we feel today – we think we are not good enough or right enough – we just don’t understand Him – but in the end, we will be like the shepherds – who walk in and there will be a baby! Like having a grandbaby – you are just drawn and we will all be drawn to Christ.
Help us to see You anew this Christmas, that we might know Your love for us -