Sermon #13 Luke Sermons
Title: The Message
Of THe Incarnation
Text: Luke 2:8-20
Subject: The Angelic Announcement of Our Savior’s Birth
Date: Sunday Evening – September 26, 1999
Tape # V-46b
Readings: Office: Ron Wood Auditorium: Merle Hart
The incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is an undeniable fact of history. Let carping scoffers say and do what they will, it is a fact that cannot be denied. Yet, it is a fact the meaning of which very, very few understand. The meaning of the incarnation can be understood only by those who are taught of God. All spiritual knowledge comes by divine revelation. Those who are taught of God are well taught. But until a person is taught of God he cannot know, discern, or understand anything spiritual (1 Cor. 2:12-14).
With that fact in mind, I want you to hold your Bibles open on your laps at Luke 2; and, as I attempt to show you the meaning and message of our Lord’s incarnation from this passage, may God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher.
I. First, in verse 8, let me call your attention to THE MEN CHOSEN.
The first announcement of Christ’s birth did not come to the princes, priests, and educated men at Jerusalem. God passed by the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, and made himself and his word known to a few weak, uneducated, insignificant, poor, despised shepherds. Here we see something of God’s method of grace.
A. God is no respector of persons.
It is his common method of operation to pass by the high and mighty, and choose the poor and lowly. He normally passes by the wise and prudent, leaving them in the confusion of their imaginary brilliance, and reveals his grace and glory in Christ unto babes.
This is God’s common method of operation in all things. He chooses the most unlikely vessels to be vessels of mercy, and the most unlikely instruments to be the tools with which he performs his wondrous works.
· Poverty is no barrier against grace.
· Lack of education, or even natural ability, is no barrier against usefulness. – Moses.
B. Honest labor is no barrier to divine worship.
Really, there should be no need for that statement; but there are some who seem to think that piety is sitting at home, reading their Bibles, studying theology, and letting other people assume their responsibilities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our Lord teaches us plainly that men and women who neglect their families and responsibilities in the name of worshipping and serving God are liars and hypocrites who have denied the faith.
He who worships God best does so as he serves him in this world. Honest labor is no barrier to holiness. Diligent work is no hindrance to divine instruction.
· Moses was keeping sheep when God appeared to him in the bush, and called him to be a prophet.
· Gideon was threshing wheat when the Lord called him to deliver Israel.
· Elisha was plowing the field when the Lord God made him a prophet.
In fact, I cannot find a place in this Book where any man ever volunteered to be a prophet, except a false prophet.
II. In verses 9-14, Luke tells us about THE ANGELIC MESSENGERS who were sent of God to announce our Savior’s birth.
First, we are told in verse 9 that the angel of the Lord appeared. Then, suddenly, a great multitude of angels appeared. The language of the texts seems to suggest that all the hosts of heaven, all the angels of God, suddenly flew like a bolt of lightening to join in the praise of the incarnate God (Heb. 1:6).
The first worshippers of the incarnate God were not the sinners he had come to save, but the angels of God who had never sinned. No doubt, there is much more here than I have been able to grasp; but when I think of the entire hosts of heaven rushing to the earth to worship our Savior, as he comes into the world, two things are obvious.
A. What great interest the angels of God have in the person and work of Christ!
B. How greatly the angels of heaven must love God’s elect!
· Protecting Us Before Conversion (Heb. 1:14)
· Rejoicing in Our Conversion (Lk. 15:10)
· Meeting with Us to Learn of Redemption (Eph. 3:10)
· Gathered with Us in Glory (Heb. 12:22-24)
III. Third, I want us to see and understand The Message Of The Incarnation set before us in verses 10-14.
A. The message of the incarnation is a message of “good tidings.”
The gospel of the grace of God is not good advice. It is good news, “good tidings.” The coming of Christ to save his people reveals the good will and amazing love of God to us. The good tidings of grace declare that all the law and prophets are fulfilled in Christ.
B. These are “good tidings of great joy.”
· Not carnal, but spiritual
· Not pretended, but real
· Not temporary, but lasting
· Not small, but great, even joy unspeakable, and full of glory
C. The good tidings of grace proclaimed in the gospel are “to all the people.”
Without question, these words, “which shall be to all the people,” do not mean all without exception. The gospel does not bring joy to all men (Herod – The Scribes, -- Pharisees, -- Dadducees). To some it brings greater condemnation. To the reprobate and unbelieving, it is a savor of death unto death. But it does bring this great joy to…
· All Nations.
· All God’s Elect.
· All Needy Sinners.
D. The message of the incarnation is the proclamation of the sovereign Lord who has come to save his people from their sins.
1. The “you” unto whom Christ was born, whom he came to save, is God’s elect, his people, the seed of Abraham.
2. This One of whom we speak is “a Savior.” – A Savior is one who saves!
3. Our Savior is the Christ. – God’s anointed!
4. This man who is our Savior, anointed of God, is himself the Lord.
· The Lord our God.
· The Lord our Righteousness.
· The Lord of All.
Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
E. The message of the incarnation, the message of the gospel is the revelation and declaration of the glory of God in Christ.
The psalmist declares that his glory is great in salvation, and it is! The gospel is called “the gospel of the glory of God.” We see the wisdom and power of God in creation. We see the justice and truth of God in the law. We know something about the holiness and righteousness of God by nature. But the glory of God is nowhere seen, as it is revealed in the coming, obedience, and death of Christ as the sinner’s Substitute.
Only in Christ crucified do we see how God can be both a just God and a Savior (Isa. 45:20; Rom. 3:24-26). Only at Calvary do we see all the infinite perfections of God’s glorious, holy Being in complete and perfect harmony.
· His wisdom and prudence in the scheme of redemption.
· His mercy, and love, and grace in giving his Son to be our sin-atoning sacrifice.
· His justice and truth in the execution of the Redeemer.
· His immutability and faithfulness in forgiving sin for Christ’s sake.
God saved us for his name’s sake (Ps. 106:8; Eph. 1); and he shall show forth the greatness of his glory in us in the last day (Eph. 2:7).
F. The gospel, the message of the incarnation, is the proclamation on earth of peace. – “on earth peace.”
The gospel nowhere promises political peace, civil peace, domestic peace, or carnal peace of any kind. Just the opposite. Our Lord said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” The peace which has come to the earth is Christ himself, who is our peace (Eph. 2:14).
1. Jesus Christ our Lord, our Daysman, our Mediator, our Substitute has made peace between the holy God and fallen sinners, by the blood of his cross.
· Legal Peace
· Lasting Peace
2. Christ, who is our peace, gives us peace, peace that passeth understanding.
· The Peace of His Pardon
· The Peace of His Providence
· The Peace of His Presence
3. The Lord Jesus Christ establishes and maintains peace between men (Col. 3:10-11).
G. The message of the incarnation is God’s “good will towards man.”
The Holy Spirit does not leave us to guess what that good will of God toward man is. This is not a book in which we must fill in the blanks. God the Holy Spirit tells us exactly what the good will of God is (John 6:37-40; Eph. 1:3-12).
IV. Look at verses 15-19 for just a moment, and let me say something about The Obedience of Faith exemplified in these shepherds.
They had God’s Word. Their duty was plain. No doubt, the messengers were unusual. The message of God was given in an unusual way. Yet, without a moment’s hesitation, without the least hint of doubt or question, they did exactly what God told them to do.
When our path of duty is clear, when we know what the will of the Lord is, when we know what he would have us to do, we must not confer with flesh and blood. Obedience is always right.
These shepherds did not stop and say to themselves or one another, “Who will take care of our sheep? Someone must keep them from the wolves.” They left their sheep in the care of him who told them to go to Bethlehem. Let us do the same.
God has called me to preach the gospel. That is my responsibility. I am his servant. If I would serve him faithfully, I must leave the care of my family in his hands.
One of the old writers said this, with regard to this matter of doing the will of God. He wrote this in a letter to some friends who had been imprisoned in England for worshipping God. – “He will take heed that all things shall be well. He will help the husband. He will comfort the wife. He will guide the servants. He will keep the house. He will preserve the goods. Yea, rather than that it should be undone, he will wash the dishes and rock the cradle. Cast, therefore, all your are upon God.”
V. Now, let’s look at verse 20, and I will show you The Journey’s End.
Oh, what a glorious end our end shall be! The journey that is begun in faith will end in praise!