Luke 2:8-12 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
There are some Christians being tricked into condemning the celebration of Christmas. Though there are some pagan roots to some of the traditions, we are commanded to celebrate those Biblical principles. It is right to celebrate the coming of Jesus, the singing of the angels, the shepherds’ actions—worship and rejoicing, the wise men and their worship, gifts.
The wise men were the elite of the world. They were the ones who anointed kings! They understood the studying of prophecy and followed the star. Matthew focused on the wise men because he was writing to the Hebrews, showing that Jesus was of the lineage of David and was their Messiah. He talked about the gifts, gold (offered to kings), frankincense (offered to priests), and mir (a spice reserved for death, the embalming spice of that day). Those wise men not only recognized him as a king, a priest, and the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
Luke wrote to the Gentiles, the Greek church. In order to get the information that he wrote, he traveled and had a personal interview with the various people involved. He focused on the shepherds. If God would celebrate the birth of the Messiah, announcing it with stars, angels, and prophecies for thousands of years, we must celebrate this, not just at Christmas, but all year-long.
It’s atheism and communism that want to turn out the lights of Christmas. Tell the world, He is born. There is a Savior for the world.
Verse 12, ‘This shall be a sign unto you…’ God got their attention through a star and then angels appeared and spoke to them and sang praises to God.
It’s a wise thing to seek Jesus. You won’t be disappointed if you spend your life seeking Him.
There would be a babe in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This was a sign to the shepherds, not the wise men. Swaddling clothes are strips of clothes to comfort a newborn baby. They still do it today, wrapping their babies up tight. Babies are comforted this way.
It wasn’t in kings’ homes they did this, it was in commoners’ homes. ‘Unto YOU is born in the city of David today.’ Little Bethlehem, a small village was where Jesus was to be found. In a feed trough, a manger, was where Jesus was lying. This was a sign for the shepherds. Shepherds were the outcasts of society. They were smelly and considered lowly. Because of the weather during these months, the shepherds brought their sheep in closer to the towns because the rains caused the grass to grow well during that season.
The angels showed up and the shepherds were scared. Every time angels appeared, they always had to say, ‘Fear not.’ It was good tidings those angels brought. God robed Himself in flesh and came to a humble place. He not only came for the elite, but also the lowest of the low. He is to the outcast as much as He is to the kings. He came not only to cities, but to a tiny village.
Thank God, He came to the kings and the poorest of the poor.
What a sign, dressed in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger!
He is the Alpha and the Omega and the whole rest of the alphabet. He not only came to kings and the poorest of poor, but everyone in between.
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
It was the custom of Semitic kings to give themselves five throne titles as descriptions of their reign. ‘Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’
There is a special word in that verse that includes everyone, not just kings, but all people. The word is ‘us’. It was for YOU that Jesus came.
You are His reason for the season!
Why did Jesus come? What was it that He came to do for us and in us?
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
We stop at verse 16, but God goes on. Jesus didn’t come to condemn. He came to save!
There are those who justify themselves and judge and condemn, but that’s not Jesus. It’s by humbling ourselves and repenting that we can be saved. The world is already condemned. We have already condemned ourselves, but Jesus came to lift us up. There is a big difference between condemnation and conviction.
Condemnation pushes you down. You’ve failed. That’s all, stay down. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘Get up, take another step. Go and sin no more!’ You are lifted up out of your sins and given the power to sin no more. ‘It’s not I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.’
Unto US a child has been born. That ‘us’ includes you!
1 John 3:5 “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
He came to take your sins away, not leave you! God’s grace teaches you to abstain from evil, to live godly. It depends not on your effort, but on His Spirit in you.
It’s not just the death, but the burial, and the rising from the dead. There must be a burial of the corruption. Then, there is a resurrection from the dead!
In Him is no sin.
Gal 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
It’s not the water that does it, it’s the Name of Jesus being applied to your life through water baptism in His Name. That’s how you get buried with Him in baptism.
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
He is our advocate, our substitute for our sins and the sins of the whole world. It is unto Us.
1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
The ‘eth’ in committeth is continual. If you keep committing sin, you’re deceiving yourself. If you are honest with yourself and God, He will forgive you and cleanse.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Mark 1:24 “Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”
The devils knew what Jesus came to do.
Heb 2:14-15 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
You can be so in Christ that you don’t have to fear death!
Jesus will deliver you from the fear of death! If you’re afraid, you need to get in Him and He will deliver you!
Rom 8:15-16 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
We are His children! He loves to hear us say, ‘Father!’
Luke 12:49-50 “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”
Jesus wants to baptize with fire, not judgement, but the fire of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:”
John 7:39 “(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Jesus came to us—YOU!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Evangelist and Missionary Monty Showalter.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!