Parkland First Baptist Church
December 20, 2020
      • John 5.24ESV

      • Job 21–23ESV

      • Psalm 101ESV

      • Revelation 16ESV

      • Job 24–27ESV

      • Revelation 17ESV

      • Job 28–30ESV

      • Revelation 18ESV

      • Job 31–33ESV

      • Psalm 102ESV

      • Revelation 19ESV

      • Job 34ESV

      • Revelation 20ESV

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        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page
      • Download

        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page
  • The Background

    This is Christmas week.
    Do you ever feel that there is so much to get done that you’re afraid you won’t get it all done?
    That happens a lot at this time of the year.
    We’ve got shopping to do
    Wrapping presents
    Getting food ready
    Cleaning house for guest
    And the list goes on and on
    Now just imagine that you are 8 months pregnant and the baby is to be born in few weeks.
    You’ve just heard that you are required to take a 75-85 mile journey, up hill all the way, so you and your husband can register for a census leading to more taxes.
    You have the prospect of walking all that way or if you are lucky, you could ride a donkey.
    How do you feel now?
    That’s Mary’s situation on the Christmas celebration.
    We’ve been looking at the birth stories in the Bible
    We saw that God’s timing was perfect in the way the world was prepared for the Messiah’s birth.
    Matthew taught us that Jesus was the King of the Jews from the line of David fulfilling prophecy.
    Mark showed the reason Jesus came was to be the suffering servant who would extend salvation to all and bring in the Kingdom of God, though now and not yet.
    Today let’s look at the gospel of Luke
    Luke as a historian and physician looks at the birth from a human perspective as he reveals to us the humanity side of Jesus.
    He researched so he would get the facts right
    He was writing primarily to the Greeks or the Hellenistic culture therefore he wanted them to know what he is writing is true and that Jesus is the Savior for the world.
    With all that in mind, let’s look at our text today in Luke 2:1-20

    A Lowly Birth Verses 1 - 7

    Luke 2:1–7 CSB
    1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
    Luke is the only Gospel writer who related the events he recorded to world history.
    Since his account was addressed to a predominantly Greek audience He knew they would have been interested in and familiar with the political situation.
    The Romans ruled Palestine; Emperor Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, was one of the greatest of all Roman rulers.
    He ended the civil war in the land and brought peace (Pax Romana) and prosperity throughout the Empire.
    The Roman rulers were considered to be like gods, so Luke contrasted them with the tiny baby in a manger who truly was God in the flesh.
    A Roman census (registration) was taken to aid military conscription or tax collection.
    The Jews didn’t have to serve in the Roman army, but they could not avoid paying taxes.
    Augustus’s decree went out in God’s perfect timing and according to God’s perfect plan to bring his Son into the world.
    No one had a choice about participating in the census.
    Thus all went to their own towns to be registered.
    Luke is emphasizing the universality of the census, referring to “all the world.”
    He then narrows the focus to Syria in verse 2, which then prepares for the more localized focus in on Joseph, Mary, and the newborn baby.
    By doing this, Luke is drawing Jesus onto the universal stage of the whole world and the redemptive significance of the birth being not just for the Jews, but for all the world.
    In the story, Joseph obediently takes his family to Bethlehem, his ancestral home.
    Again, God is moving in history to accomplish His purpose.
    In doing so the divine purpose of the census allows Jesus to be born as prophesied.
    It was also the home to his ancestor King David who was promised to have an heir on the throne forever.
    Like David, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, he is of the house of David.
    Like David who was a shepherd, Jesus would shepherd the church as the Great Shepherd
    David received the throne of the nation, Jesus would take the throne as the King of Kings.
    David ruled for a fixed time, but Jesus would rule the Kingdom of God forever.
    God promised David a great son, that son now has arrived.

    Humility Before Glory Verses 6-7

    In simple language Luke presents the birth story saying that Jesus was born when the time was complete.
    He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, bands of cloth were used to keep a baby warm and give it a sense of security.
    Mary and Joseph accomplished the delivery themselves, otherwise a midwife would have wrapped Jesus.
    This was Mary’s firstborn, the child that the angel had promised would be the “Son of the Most High.”
    After the birth and after he had been cleaned and wrapped, Mary laid Him in a feed trough
    Despite popular Christmas card pictures, the surroundings were dark and dirty.
    Everything pointed to obscurity, poverty, and even rejection.
    Luke showed the King of kings born into poor humble circumstances - born as a human, born to serve.
    Nothing about this scene says “glory”.
    Before there is glory, there must first be humility.
    That is the way of the kingdom of God operates.
    The first will be last, and the last will be first (Mark 10:31).
    God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5).
    Humble yourself before the Lord, and in due time he will exalt you (Jas 4:10).
    In the kingdom of God, first comes humility then comes glory.
    We see this modeled for us right from the Savior’s birth.
    True greatness is not always visible greatness.
    The incarnation of the Son of God in an animal’s feeding trough puts our glory-craving hearts in check.
    How’s your humility gauge?
    Is it all about you?
    Who do you put first?

    Glory in the Highest Verses 8-20

    Luke 2:8–20 CSB
    8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! 15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
    We do not see the glory of this passage until we learn what the shepherds learn.
    They are out at night keeping watch over their flock (v. 8).
    This is not glorious work.
    This is not the best shift.
    Shepherds had bad reputations.
    The nature of their work meant they could not observe Israel’s ceremonial laws.
    They were considered unreliable and could not give testimony in the law courts.
    They were a despised class of people.
    On that night “an angel of the Lord stood before them” (v. 9).
    The dark night runs away from the shining light of God’s glory.
    And they were filled with fear; awe and reverence grip their hearts.
    To these lowly men, the angel gives the highest theology (vv. 10-12).
    These despised shepherds are the first to receive the announcement of the gospel.
    These men are the first to learn of “great joy for all the people.”
    Not the powerful, the rich, nor the religious elite, but the shepherds.
    They understand that the gospel is not just for Israel but for all the nations, that all may have this joy.
    These despised men hear the most wonderful thing about how this joy comes.
    It comes through the birth of “a Savior . . . who is the Messiah, the Lord” (v. 11).
    This is the only time in the Gospels this phrase is used.
    It’s the only time we see all the titles of Jesus brought together—Savior, Messiah, Lord.
    He will save his people from their sins.
    Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah promised to Israel.
    And most amazingly of all, he is Lord.
    He is God.
    He is Maker of all.
    He is Ruler of all.
    The angels not only give the gospel to the shepherds; they give the true identity of Christ.
    It seems God believes high theology should be given to low people.
    That’s why we want to teach as robustly as we can the deep truths of God.
    We do not want to be unnecessarily complex.
    The angels speak plainly here, but they use plain speech to convey deep truth.
    That is what preaching should do.
    It’s what it should do for poor and despised people.
    Nothing about poverty prevents people from knowing God well.
    Nothing about class determines what people can afford to know about God.
    The truth is that Luke shows us that the poor receive it, not the educated, powerful, and rich.

    Praise To God! Verses 13-14

    When the angel had finished delivering the gospel to the shepherds, the angelic choir came on for a closing hymn
    One of the angels’ key roles is to offer continuous praise to God.
    The arrival of God’s Son on earth caused the “armies of heaven” or “heavenly host” to join in an anthem of praise to God.
    Rarely did more than one angel come; at this great event, however, all the angels joined together, praising God.
    The “heavenly host” refers to a select group of angels that serve God.
    Doing here in the fields what they do in heaven - Praise God
    The story of Jesus’ birth resounds with music that has inspired composers for two thousand years.
    “Glory to God” focuses the praise on the one who set these events in motion, the one who controls all events on earth.
    He is “in the highest heaven” and is sending peace on earth to all whom [he] favors.
    The peace referred to is the peace that only the Messiah can bring—not peace after war or conflict, but peace between sinful humanity and the holy God.
    Those whom God favors are those to whom he will graciously reveal his truth.
    The emphasis is on God—he is to be glorified, and he will bring peace to those whom he chooses.
    The entire “good news,” brought to humanity through the birth of Jesus, came by God’s decision and grace alone.

    The Shepherd’s Reaction Verses 17-20

    After their anthem of praise, the angels went back into heaven, and the shepherds wanted to go and see this thing that has taken place.
    Obviously the Lord (through his angels) had given them a special message, so they went with haste into the village of Bethlehem to find a baby “wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (2:12).
    They were not disappointed, for they found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger, just as the angel had said.
    The shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said—thus becoming the first witnesses of the gospel message.
    They told about the child and all that the angels had said about him, and all who heard … were astonished.
    Most likely, “everyone” and “all” refer to the people at the inn or the place for caravans to stay.
    Everyone was astonished at the shepherds’ story.

    What is Your Reaction?

    Although our first picture of Jesus is as a baby in a manger, it must not be our last.
    The Christ child in the manger has been made into a beautiful Christmas scene, but we cannot leave him there.
    This tiny, helpless baby lived an amazing life, died for sinners, ascended to heaven, and will come back to this earth as King of kings.
    Christ will rule the world and judge all people according to their decisions about him.
    Do you still picture Jesus as a baby in a manger—or is he your Lord?
    Don’t underestimate Jesus. Let him grow up in your life.
    Because of the manger we have been redeemed and like the shepherds we need to tell all we know.
    These shepherds told everyone who would listen all that they had heard and seen.
    Often people who try to tell all that they know are politely avoided.
    It can be boring to listen to someone who never stops to take a breath.
    But in the shepherds’ case, people listened, because:
    Shepherds were not supposed to know much, and these shepherds had startling information.
    The message was revolutionary, breathtaking, and transformative. It changed listeners’ lives.
    The shepherds spoke from the heart, and their words connected to the deepest needs of others.
    When you tell about Jesus, start with what you know best: your life experience.
    Tell the story of God in your life.
    You don’t need to embellish, but don’t hold back either.
    Your words will change many, and God will use you to change the world.
    Think of 1 person to share this story with, tell I asked you to do it.
      • Luke 2:1–7CSB

      • Luke 2:8–20CSB

      • Download

        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page
      • Download

        Worship Service

        November 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
        If you are unable to join us in person, then watch us on our Facebook Page

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