Scripture: Luke 2:8-20
I. You respond in faith when you hear well.
A. The message of the angel to the shepherds is found in vs. 10-12. This is great news. It is news that would bring joy to all of the Jewish people. How did the humble shepherds respond to this news? They heard the good news well, and they responded with faith. They believed what the angel said. Verse 15 gives us the response of the shepherds. “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” The shepherds had faith that what the angel said was true. They went with haste (vs. 16) to see Jesus and meet Him. Another good example of hearing well is Mary, Jesus’ mother (vs. 19). She treasured the words the shepherds spoke about Jesus, and she pondered their words in her heart.
II. You respond in faith when you make peace with God and people.
A. In verse 14 we read, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” What kind of peace are the angels talking about? The Bible’s consistent teaching is that the most fundamental and important peace is peace with God. Peace comes to those with whom God is pleased (vs. 14). Peace comes when we receive God’s mercy. We need to believe then what Jesus has done to bring us peace with God. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Once you are at peace with God, you have learned how to love people without needing to be in control. The world needs less anger and more peacemakers. We have faith in Jesus when we live at peace with God and with other people.
III. You respond in faith when you lose your fear.
A. When the shepherds first came into contact with the angel in vs. 9, the glory of the Lord shone around them. This spectacular, glorious light let the shepherds know that they were in the presence of God the king. And when the shepherds knew they were in the very presence of God, what did they feel? They were filled with great fear (vs. 9). But what does the angel say to the shepherds in verse 10? Fear not! The angel goes on to say, “Don’t be afraid. I am bringing you a message that will drive out your fear and replace it with joy.” 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” When you know that you are loved by God, all the fear gets driven out of you. What replaces the fear? Joy. The joy of being loved by God.
IV. You respond in faith when you perceive the good news.
A. We don’t really use the word behold (vs. 10) these days. It’s a word that means to see or to look. The word behold is usually used when you are looking at something remarkable or impressive. Notice what the angel is saying in Luke 2:10. Behold, Jesus. Look at Him. Really see Him. Take the time to perceive how remarkable and impressive He is. If you will perceive how great Jesus is, then you will be free of your fear, and you will have joy instead. What makes Jesus so great? The good news that the angel announced in verse 10 is that Jesus is your Savior. You cannot save yourself. You need Jesus to save you. The angel also announced that Jesus is Lord. He is King over all things – including you and your life.
You grasp the true meaning of Christmas when you put your faith in Christ as the shepherds did.
The Gospel of Luke
Commentaries on Luke by Darrell Bock and David Garland
“Hidden Christmas” by Timothy Keller
Sermon DISCUSSION Questions
1) How well do you usually listen to people? To God? How do you know when you have listened well to a message from God?
2) The message of Christmas is a message of peace on earth. How does one gain peace with God? Does peace with God come from something you do or something you believe?
3) The shepherds first experienced fear in the presence of the angels and God. How did they lose their fear? And what were they given in place of their fear? Have you experienced the gift that the shepherds were given?