Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - Jan 3
- How Great Our Joy
- It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
- I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version this morning but you should be able to follow along in any translation. Luke Chapter 2:8-20And 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.” 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!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.IntroductionI have a confession to make. Sometimes I like to turn on the TV to a movie or a show in a foreign language and then narrate what’s going on to my family.Needless to say my narration has nothing to do with what’s really happening and since it drives my kids crazy I don’t do it very often.The last time I did it I don’t remember their being a lot of Joy.The point is that words matter when you’re watching TV but they matter even more when reading Scripture so we shouldn’t just make up stuff.When an angel appears to the shepherds, he makes an announcement that he says is “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” So we know that the message that comes next is extremely important.If we want to have this joy talked about we need to make sure we understand the language especially of verse 11...For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Jesus is called Savior, Christ, and Lord and if we don’t understand the meaning of these words we might think the story is sweet and all but miss the whole point.So the main goal of this sermon is to be sure that we all “understand the language” of Christmas, because these three words are some of the most significant in all of Christianity.But if they are only “churchy” words that lose their meaning. Or, if we just try to guess what they mean since we don’t understand what is meant, we will miss much.Jesus is SaviorThe angels say that a “savior” has been born. This is not just another baby, not just another child who will grow into a man and wait for God’s salvation.He is God’s salvation—the savior who had been promised. He will save His people. This might seem obvious but it’s so significant.Jesus is called “Savior” only twice in the Gospels here and also John 4:42. The Samaritan woman at the well went and told everyone about Jesus...And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”Now what’s interesting is that the phrase “Savior of the world” was used more often in Roman times to refer to the Emperor than to a Messianic Savior.Roman emperors commonly ascribed the title “savior” to themselves and many Jews were looking for a political leader to deliver them from Roman rule, while others were hoping for a savior to deliver them from sickness and physical hardship.So, Jesus is the true Savior, but what are we told in the Christmas story that Jesus came to save us from? The angel in Matthew 1:21 came to Joseph and said...She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”Sin and eternal death are our biggest problems. And Jesus is the one, the only Savior who can deliver from sin and death.John 3:17 says “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”John 5:25 says “an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”John 6:50 says, “Jesus is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”So, Jesus isn’t just one of many Saviors, He is the one and only savior of the world come to save us from our sins.Jesus is ChristChrist isn’t Jesus’ last name, it is a title that means “anointed one” and is the Greek version of the Hebrew word “Messiah”.The baby Jesus is not just someone who will grow up to try to save God’s people—lots of leaders had been trying to do that for centuries with no luck.The baby Jesus is not just someone who will save on his own power, this baby is God’s solution to the problem. This is the Messiah promised thousands of years ago. This is God’s chosen, appointed leader for His people.Jesus is the Messiah, the one anointed, set apart, by God for a special purpose.So what was Jesus anointed to do?Jesus answered this question himself in Luke 4. In that passage Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath and he was asked to read the scriptures. He stood up and read from Isaiah 61:1 saying...“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”Jesus, anointed by the Spirit of the Lord, is the One chosen to preach the gospel, proclaim liberty, heal the blind, free the oppressed, and proclaim the “favorable year of the Lord.” In short, Jesus is the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah of Israel.The coming of Jesus Christ into the world ushered in the “favorable year of the Lord.” The time of God’s grace, redemption, and deliverance is now at hand, and all are invited to come to Christ in repentance and, by faith, receive the gift of eternal life as it says in 1 Timothy 1:15 “It is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”This is where true joy comes from.Jesus is Savior. He saves us from our sins. Jesus is Christ, the Messiah, the one God has specially anointed to save...so we know He can do it.Lastly...Jesus is LordThe word Lord, kurios in Greek, is the twenty-second most common word in the NT and the third most common noun only following after the words for “God” and “Jesus” themselves.Kurios can mean lord, master, or even sir as it is translated in John 4:11.The woman at the well said to him “Sir, [kurios] You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?”In the Greek OT, however, kurios was usually used to translate two significant Hebrew words: Yahweh, the personal name for God; and adonai, a title of respect and honor. As a result, two important ideas from the OT carry over into the NT’s use of kurios: lordship and deity.Jesus is God and demands absolute loyalty to himself as Lord.John 14:21 says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”Luke 6:46 says, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”So this baby is not just someone sent, or set apart, by God, He is God. He is the Lord Himself, the King. He is the leader, the ruler and he means for us to obey him.Jesus is Savior, He is Christ, and He is Lord.Conclusion (Luke 2:12-20)And as I said before, these types of words had been used by Romans to describe Caesar Augustus when he took the throne in Rome. Listen to this description of Caesar Augustus made in 9 BC...“The most divine Caesar…we should consider equal to the Beginning of all things…for when everything was falling into disorder and tending toward dissolution, he restored it once more and gave the whole world a new aspect; Caesar…the common good Fortune of all…The Beginning of life and vitality…All the cities unanimously adopt the birthday of the divine Caesar as the new beginning of the year…Whereas the Providence which has regulated our whole existence…has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us the emperor Augustus…who being sent to us and our descendants as Savior, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and whereas, having become God manifest, Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times…the birthday of the God Augustus has been for the whole world the beginning of good news concerning him.” (The Priene Inscription, written 9 BC)So, in contrast to the good news about Caesar Augustus, Luke 2 is about the Good News of Jesus who is the only true Savior, Christ, and Lord.The point of Luke 2 then is to tell us not to put our hope in earthly leaders. All of the Caesar’s of this world will disappoint no matter what they promise or what great titles we give them.Don’t put your hope in Caesar, or his modern equivalent. Put your hope in the true Savior, the Messiah, who is your God and Lord.This is where real joy comes from and it’s what we should be the most vocal about.The shepherds’ reaction to this “good news” was to go find the baby. And once they do, they can’t stop talking about Him.When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.Who did they make known the statement to? To everyone that would listen.The shepherds told everyone what they had seen and what the angels had said which was, “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.And all who heard, at the very least, wondered at these things but the Shepherds who believed they were true were filled with joy.And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.When you understand the language and you know how significant this birth is, it’s hard to keep quiet about him and it’s hard not to be joyful.May 2021 be a year of joy and a year of renewed effort to tell the whole world about Jesus.
- Joy to the World
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