Sermon Overview & Prayer: "The Nightshift"
PRAYING THE SERMON
“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.”
J.I. Packer – It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. The Incarnation is in itself an unfathomable mystery, but it makes sense of everything else that the New Testament contains.
So, the decree of Augustus [that all the world should be registered] was the means of placing Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem for the fulfillment of this ancient, accurate, authoritative prophecy. (Micah 5:2)
Lord, let me never forget, and always trust, that behind every event of history – past, present, and future – is the perfectly wise and infinitely loving God, who is working all things for your glory and for the ultimate good of your people. May your sovereign rule and purposes sustain my heart in a place of continual, peaceful anticipation.
Phil Ryken – Shepherds were outcasts…they did not enjoy a very good reputation in their day.
Why are these guys the first names on the list to hear this announcement? Because this announcement is “good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.” And these guys represent “all people.”
Father, when I consider the miracle of the incarnation and the birth and need of a Savior, help me to view myself and others, not on the basis of status or station, class or culture, rank or race, but on the basis that God so loved...the world!
In order to “get” Christmas and experience this great joy, you must realize the ultimate purpose of his birth for you and me was his death for sinners like you and me. Christmas disturbs before it comforts because the birth of this baby was necessary only because of our sin.
Each year Christmas, rightly understood, confronts us and reminds us that we are unable to save ourselves and that nothing less than the death of the Son of God on the cross for our sins could save us.
William Smith – When I look into the manger, I come away shaken as I realize again that he was born to pay the unbearable penalty for my sin.
Father, thank you for the vivid reality that the baby lying peacefully in a manger is none other than the Savior nailed agonizingly to a cross; and for the reminder that my sin required both. And thank you that the gospel does not leave my heart in a place of grievous condemnation, but lifts me to joy-filled gratitude for the gift of complete cleansing and forgiveness through the blood of the One born to die. May my heart of gratitude fill my voice with praise!
The angelic announcement is good news of great joy that God has graciously provided the Savior, who is Christ the Lord, to save us from sin and judgment and restore peace with God.
These guys represent sinners like you and me, and inform sinners like you and me, that we are among the unlikely guests invited to celebrate the birth of the Savior who will rescue us from God’s wrath.
Lord, please give us opportunities to add our voices to the angelic announcement of a Savior! Provide us with questions, comments, topics of interest or comments of care, that allow occasions of introducing the true meaning of Christmas. As the world around us longs for hope and peace and some basis for joy, open doors for us to share the gift of the gospel, by which lost and longing souls can truly experience all!
J.I. Packer – The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later, he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear.
Heavenly Father, may the glorious news that unto us was born a Savior, inform and inspire not only a season, but every day that we live, as we await the most glorious of celebrations –the day that we behold Him face to face!
OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
In this series of sermons throughout Advent, we will be trying to better understand and give thanks for God’s orchestration of Unlikely Christmas Guests. First on that list: the shepherds. Why did God choose unclean shepherds as the first to hear the heavenly announcement of Jesus’ birth? So that we all, as unclean sinners, might see the love of God on display in the birth of the Christ. Just as God sought out these lowly shepherds, so now he seeks us lowly sinners saying, “For unto you”!
- How could you use these verses to reshape your excitement for sharing the Good News!
- In verse 11, by assigning unique titles to Jesus, Luke draws our attention to the eventual death of our Savior. Did you expect our Savior’s death to loom over his birth narrative? Furthermore, does seeing how Jesus’ death looms over the beginning of Luke’s gospel change the way you read the rest of his gospel?
- Imagine being one of the hearers mentioned in verse 18. How would you have reacted if a few unsightly outcasts told you angels from God came to announce and lead them to the Savior of the world?
- “For unto you”! How do these 3 precious words motivate you in prayer and/or praise?
The sermon overview and discussion questions were written by Austin Jones.