Bethel Baptist Church
20.12.20 Morning Worship
      • Matthew 1:18–23ESV

  • As the Sunday before Christmas let’s turn our Bibles to Luke 2.
    This morning I’d like to tell you about a 16-year-old boy who did not know Jesus,
    and what he thought about Christmas.
    This boy grew up in a home that did not talk about the Bible or spiritual things.
    The Bible was a dusty book on the shelf.
    His Christmas was like most secular Christmas celebrations.
    He pretended to believe in Santa Claus for his little brother.
    He enjoyed the pies his mom made.
    And he enjoyed the ham and turkey feast that happen every year when his whole extended family got together.
    It was an exciting way to have Christmas, at least as a lost boy.
    And sometimes at Christmas he would pass by a little Presbyterian Church that put out a nativity scene on their front lawn.
    And he had no idea why they did that for.
    Why do Christians celebrate the birth of a baby on Dec 25th?
    Or who was this baby?
    He had no idea.
    But then one year, that’s now 17-year-old boy became a Christian.
    Someone explained to him the Romans Road of salvation.
    The Romans Road is a list of verses in Romans that share the Gospel.
    And he came to believe that Jesus came to die for his sins.
    That first Christmas as a Christian, he now understood
    why Jesus was born.
    And who Jesus was.
    It was the first time in his life.
    It was his first true Christmas.
    But he did not fully understand how he should respond to that birth.
    I must confess, I was that 17 year old boy once.
    And I ask the question-
    How should we respond to Christmas?
    Today we are looking at a passage that will certainly tell us why Jesus was born and who Jesus is.
    But it also will show us how to respond to that birth.
    Luke 2:8–12 ESV
    And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
    Luke 2:8-12 describes -
    A single Angel, reflecting the glory of God, coming before some shepherds, and giving them good news of great joy.
    They announced the birth of the long awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world.
    The Who and why of Christmas.
    And our story could’ve ended their.
    And that would’ve been a powerful message.
    But that is not the end of this announcement.
    After the single angel announces the birth of Christ,
    a multitude, host, or army of angels appeared.
    Saying this -
    Luke 2:13–14 ESV
    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
    I would like to focus this morning on what the multitude of angels were telling us.
    And I believe that these angels are modeling for us - how we should respond to the birth of Jesus.
    After all - this is the combined response of this Angelic host.
    How should we respond to the birth of the Savior?
    From Luke 2:14 I challenge us that-

    We should respond to the birth of Christ with praise and peace.

    I would like to ask you two questions this morning regarding your response to Christ’s Birth.
    Two questions that come directly from the mouths of the Multitude who announced Christ’s birth.
    (1) Does the birth of Christ lead you to praise God?
    (2) Does Jesus give you peace?
    Let’s first consider,

    (1) Does the birth of Christ lead you to praise God?

    Every day, every moment we are making moral decisions.
    That is why I laugh at he cliche, don’t judge me.
    Because we all are making judgments, all day long.
    Being in cowboy country, you probably find this humorous.
    When I was in Hawaii, I went to the beach one day, and I watch this 18 year old kid - walking across the beach.
    Nothing abnormal about that - except he is wearing ironed blue jeans, a tucked in plaid shirt, boots, and a big cowboy hat.
    Which might not be odd in Wyoming, but it is hilarious in Hawaii.
    I guarantee - 95% of the people at the beach that day got a little chuckle that day.
    We make judgments all the time.
    It is part of being made in the image of God
    We are moral beings.
    And whether we realize it or not,
    Everyone of us are making a moral decision about the birth of Jesus.
    Perhaps you were like me, not really understanding why Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas.
    My judgement for a time, was to not believe that the birth mattered. If I did believe it mattered, it would have captured my attention.
    But it didn’t.
    I was unwittingly making a moral decision.
    Others know why Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, but reject it - not believing Jesus was truly the son of God.
    Again a moral decision.
    Yet still others, know and believe in the birth of Christ. They understand the Nativity, believe in the nativity, but their Christmas is strangely absent of praise.
    Unlike the person ignorant if it’s meaning, these people know and believe. But just like the ignorant person, the birth fails to capture their attention like it should.
    Again a moral decision.
    And finally, there is what I hope to challenge you to this Christmas. You know and believe in the birth of Christ, and it is the subject of praise in your life. Especially at Christmas.
    Christmas for this person is about worship and praise of God, who sent his son, to do amazing things.
    The question is - which are you?
    Look at Lk 2:14 again, and consider what the angels proclaim at Christs birth.
    Luke 2:14 ESV
    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
    I would challenge us - that Praise ought to be a part of our Christmas.
    A right moral response to the birth of Christ, is to overflow in praise to God.
    How do you praise God for the Birth?

    (a) Recognize the Awesomeness of the birth.

    You recognized who this baby is.
    - He is God, in the flesh. (Matthew 1:23)
    Matthew 1:23 ESV
    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
    David said this about God’s work in his life -
    Psalm 8:4 ESV
    what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
    And yet, Luke 2 describes God taking on flesh.
    That is amazing, that Jesus left the wonder of Heaven, to take on fallen, broken, created flesh.
    - He is the Savior of the world. (Lk 2:10-11)
    Luke 2:10–11 ESV
    And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
    What does it mean that Jesus is the Savior?
    John the Baptist says it really well.
    John 1:29 ESV
    The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    Jesus is one who is one who save us from our greatest suffering.
    The curse
    and Judgement
    Of sin.
    But not only does is he the savior, but also -
    - He is the Christ who will usher in the New Heaven and New Earth. (Isaiah 65:17-19)
    Why does Luke emphasize Jesus as “Christ the Lord”?
    Because he is emphasizing - that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah.
    The one who reverses the effects of the fall.
    Revelation 21 talks a lot about this, but Isaiah 65:17-19 is the promise that the Messiah will do this.
    Isaiah 65:17–19 ESV
    “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
    When you understand the who Jesus is,
    I think you can’t help but become in awe of God’s work and the birth of this child.
    Suddenly, Praise to God in the highest seems to make a lot of sense.
    I also think a careful examination of the birth, you will come to -

    (b) Believe you are favored by God through Christ.

    And thus, the most natural, genuine response, is to overflow in Praise.
    That is what the Host of Angels did, and that what we also ought to do.
    We ought to respond to the Birth with praise.
    But how else ought we to respond to the birth?
    Luke 2:14 ESV
    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
    The Heavenly host declared that this baby would bring us peace.
    Doesnt’ Peace sound nice?
    I ask you -

    (2) Does the birth of Jesus give you peace?

    One of the long debated questions of this passage,
    has been - What peace are the angels talking about?
    All agree that at the very least this is talking about -
    - Peace with God. (1 Jn 2:2, Col 1:22)
    What problem does every person face because of Sin?
    They have no peace with God.
    Sin causes two issues in our relationship with God.
    The First, We have sinned against God and his judgement is coming.
    A good just God will judge sin.
    “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13)
    Psalm 5:5 ESV
    The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
    So our sin causes God to judge us.
    But Jesus brings peace with God.
    1 John 2:2 ESV
    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
    Propitiation is word that means that God’s perfect anger over sin, is satisfied.
    Jesus makes peace with God for us.
    But the second problem in our relationship is US.
    We have chosen to be enemies with God.
    Colossians 1:21 ESV
    And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
    This passages teaches us, that it is not just God’s anger over sin that separates us.
    But we ourselves are fighting God.
    Before Jesus
    We resisted what is good and right, and many of us also resisted the truth about God and our sin.
    We declared we were good people rather than sinners in need of grace.
    We declared we knew better than God, and did what was right in our own eyes.
    In fact, for many we scoffed at the idea of God and the Savior.
    But notice what the next verse says.
    Colossians 1:21–22 ESV
    And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
    Through death, Jesus causes us to choose peace with God rather than war against God.
    To say it this way,
    Jesus reconciles God to man.
    And man to God.
    The two problems that sin caused in our relationship with God.
    Jesus gives us peace with God.
    I would contend however, that Luke and these angels are announcing the great theme of the New Testament - peace.
    Jesus Christ certainly brings us peace with God,
    but if you trace peace in the New Testament.
    You quickly learn that Jesus has provided far more than simply peace with God.
    I believe this is a general announcement of what the life and death of Jesus will bring - Peace in every aspect of our lives.
    As we consider this general announcement, that prince of peace has been born -
    What other peace does Jesus provide?
    Let me consider a few this morning.
    Christ gives us -
    - Peace with our circumstances. (Phil 4:6-7)
    Many people live in a constant state of
    Feeling crushed.
    driven to despair
    and utterly destroyed.
    For many people, life is a perpetual meat grinder, who is always crushing us.
    But the Christian - finds peace in Christ, through his circumstances.
    Philippians 4:6–7 ESV
    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    The birth of Jesus gives us a shelter in the time of storm.
    A source of peace, in the midst of turmoil.
    Further, the birth of Christ makes us -
    - Peace In Our Relationships. (Mt 5:9, 1 Pe 4:8, Ro 12:18-21)
    When we talk about sin, we sometimes forget who often suffers the most over our sin.
    If you take the various lists of sin - Colossians 3, Galatians 5, and Romans 1.
    Those sins - always have people at the other end.
    They are the victims of our sin.
    But even further, since we are all sinners - the means we are trapped in a cycle of hurting each other.
    After all, it has been said that marriage is all love and war.
    But Jesus taught -
    Matthew 5:9 ESV
    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    To be a child of God, we are to be peacemakers.
    We find peace with others.
    We let love cover a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
    The Christian is blessed to live in a life of peace with others, rather than war.
    And finally, Jesus birth offers us -
    - Lasting Peace. (Rev 21)
    How would you define peace?
    Peace in some ways can be defined as the absence of trouble.
    - What I would suggest is that Jesus will bring lasting or ultimate peace.
    - Literally, the absence of trouble and trials.
    Many politicians have tried for peace in our times,
    but peace always seems to be elusive.
    One day Jesus will establish a New Heaven and a New Earth - in which the first time in human history - we will experience lasting peace.
    And Revelation 21 gives us an incredibly of what Jesus will do.
    Revelation 21:3–5 ESV
    And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
    Jesus will give us lasting peace.
    I challenge - to live out the peace that Christ offers.
    So I ask you this morning,
    Does the birth of Christ lead you to praise God?
    Does the birth of Jesus give you peace?
    This morning - we have considered
    How should you respond to the birth of Christ?
    We are all responding to the Birth.
    None of us are free from moral judgement.
    Whether we
    Ignore it.
    Reject it.
    or praise God for it.
    We all are making a choice - in how to respond to Christmas - the Birth of Jesus Christ.
    And I challenged you to consider the host angels as a helpful example.
    Any time a multitude angels announce something in our Bibles, that is something to pay attention to.
    Luke 2:14 ESV
    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
    The Awesomeness of the Birth of Christ should lead you to praise God.
    You are literally favored by God to know Christ.
    The message and work of Christ should lead you to look to the peace found in this child.
    I hope this Christmas - you are responding to the Birth with praise and peace!
    a) What is unique about the angelic host and how should we respond to their unified praise?
    b) Why does God deserve praise for the birth of Christ? How have you praised God during Christmas?
    c) In what way is the birth an announcement of peace? How does Jesus bring peace to your life?
    f) Does your response to the birth match the exuberant response of the angelic host?
      • Luke 2:8–12ESV

      • Luke 2:13–14ESV

      • Luke 2:14ESV

      • Matthew 1:23ESV

      • Luke 2:10–11ESV

      • John 1:29ESV

      • Isaiah 65:17–19ESV

      • Luke 2:14ESV

      • Psalm 5:5ESV

      • 1 John 2:2ESV

      • Colossians 1:21ESV

      • Colossians 1:21–22ESV

      • Philippians 4:6–7ESV

      • Matthew 5:9ESV

      • Revelation 21:3–5ESV

      • Luke 2:14ESV

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