I love breaks to study all the more....sermon post: Luke 2:8-20


It is a rare opportunity but when it comes I love it.  We have a Missions Focus Sunday at the church this Sunday so I have two weeks to prepare for my next sermon.  I almost feel this would be ideal on a regular basis but I make the most of the time when I get it.

The sermon title for last Sunday was "Cue The Shepherds!" and the picture above is of a sheepfold in the fields which is used for the evening gathering of the sheep.  How many times I have "cued the shepherds" in a Christmas pageant to come to the manger but the shepherds that night didn't need to be cued.  They were in haste to find the Babe wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  The angel had said, "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2.11, LSB).

It was a five point sermon.

1.  We marveled at the layering of the Bible.  It just keeps building upon itself as we study it throughout our lives.

2.  We noted the pattern we called the angel protocol.  The wow appearance, the tremble, the "fear not," the message and the sign.  You can walk it through with Zechariah, Mary and the shepherds.

3.  We looked at the titles of Jesus given by the angel to the shepherds.  Jesus is the Savior, the rescuer/the deliver.  Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one to come/the Messiah.  Jesus is Lord, master, "he to whom a person or things belongs and about which he has power of deciding" and translated with the word for God in the Old Testament.

4.  We learned from the shepherd's response and its similarities with Mary's.  You hear the message of God; you believe and take it in as truth; you submit or bow to it with repentance; you rise in obedience to take your first steps in holiness; and you give praise to God in worship.

5.  We focused on what we are saved from?  The why Jesus came.  The images we create of Christmas are sometimes so perfect that it overshadows the serious business of Jesus' coming to deal with our sins.  We are saved from the wrath of God.  Our default position is sinners headed to hell, but because the grace, mercy and love of God, He sent His Son to be the Seed spoken of in the book of Genesis 3:15.

The highlight of the sermon for me was talking of the shepherds' status at the time of Jesus' birth.  They couldn't even testify in the court of law because they were thought to be so untrustworthy and ignorant but this message to testify that the coming Messiah had come was given to them.  

The shepherd's status had fallen so far from the days of Joseph, Abraham, Moses and King David.  God used shepherds to be His instruments of deliverance.  Our status of ones who follow Jesus, Christians, has fallen in our day.  But...Jesus didn't toss aside the position of a shepherd because it was despised but rather identified Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.  We who identify as Christians need to do the same in a society that doesn't value the words of God that we hold on to.  We should not toss aside the position of Christian to find something that the culture would find more appealing.  We need to soldier on bearing the name of the One who died on the cross for our sins and rose victoriously to verify our eternity with Him.  



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