Sunday, December 27, 2020

"What the Angel Said" by Joel Michaels [LEFC Sermon Notes]

"What the Angel Said"
Joel Michaels
Luke 2:8-20

A simple message with big meaning!

Read with me Luke 2:8-20.

We just read, what I hope, is a very familiar story.  It was a portion of Luke's gospel telling us about the birth of Christ.  The Christmas story.  I want to focus on just a small portion dealing with the shepherds and the angel, what that discussion was and what it means.  We have two participants, the shepherds and an angel of the Lord.  We know what a shepherd is, but what about an angel.  The word angel simply means “messenger” in this case it's just not a messenger but a messenger from the Lord. An angelic being with something to say.

I want to focus on verses 8-11 especially verses 10 and 11 and the massive implications of what the angel is saying.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town  of David a Savior has been born to you:  he is Christ the Lord.”  (NIV)

Lets start with verse 10.

The shepherds are scared but the angel has some good news.  Not just good news but good news of great joy.  It's 2020 sometimes good news is hard to come by.  You know what, I bet these shepherds needed some good news too.  They are people and people have problems and stress and anxiety.  They needed this good news of great joy.  But, what I want us to notice is who exactly it was for.  Who was it for? “all people”.  Who are all people?  Shepherds in a field outside Bethlehem? Jerusalem maybe? Yes, but for all people.  Israel, Chad, New Guinea, Mexico, United States, State College, Lanse.  People in every corner of the earth.  Also, for all time.  It is for shepherds 2,000 years ago and  for you and your great, great grand kids and their kids.  The good news of great joy is eternal for all people, it doesn't diminish or fade.  Past, present, or future.

I guess we better find out what this great news is and what this angel of the Lord had to say.

Let's read verse 11 again.

“Today in the town of David” a baby has been born. A town called Bethlehem “the house of bread” is what that means if you want the origin,  also known as Ephrathah, the town where David was born.  This part should sound familiar.  Pastor Matt taught about this a couple of weeks ago in Psalm 132.  If you missed it go check it out on the church website.  It will help you start putting this Christmas story and this good news together.

Anyway, the angel says a baby has been born.  Not just a baby, but what? A Savior.

Let me stop.  This is what I want us to get, these next three things mentioned in verse 11.  This is what the angel was saying, the point of this great and wonderful message sent to the shepherds and to us.

So first thing a Savior. “ A Savior has been born”.

What is a savior? If you want to define the word you could say a deliverer, a healer, and a rescuer.  Somebody who saves you.

If you are in Luke 2 look over in Luke 1: 68-75.  This is Zechariah's song.  John the Baptist's dad had something to say about this Savior.  You see words like redeemed, salvation, mercy and rescue.  Those are things a savior does.  Zechariah is talking about this same person the angel is.  Jesus.  A  rescuer from enemies.  A deliverer, not only does he rescue us from our enemies, he delivers us from ourselves our own sins.  We see the redemption and mercy.  And we see the promise to Abraham to do these things.  Look at verse 74 this savior will enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness.

Who is this Savior for?  All people.  That's what the angel said. The opportunity of being rescued, redeemed and delivered is for all people.    How does this baby in Bethlehem do this?  Look at the end of this Gospel of Luke you find the cross, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.  Look at the end of your Bible.  What do you find? Revelation.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Don't miss the point of Revelation, it is about Jesus.  It is part of this same proclamation, Jesus' saving work continues for his people.  

A Savior is something these shepherds needed and so do we.  Our family needs it, our friends need it,  the total stranger needs this Savior.

The second thing we want to look at is, the angel reports is he is the Christ (Christos) in the Greek or Messiah in the Hebrew.

What does Christ mean?  In a general sense it means an anointed one, or a consecrated one,  somebody who has been declared sacred.  Along with that it gives you a sense of a job, a purpose.  The person anointed  has something to do.  This Child announced to the shepherds has an anointing and a  purpose.

Let's back up a little for some context and precedent.  

There were 3 main groups anointed or consecrated with oil in the Old Testament. Prophets, kings and priests.  If you want a few examples try 1 Kings 19:16 and Exodus 40:12-14.  Each had a God given job and a purpose.  

Now we have the angel proclaiming this child is Christ.  Capital C.  The Christ.  It is a simple word, Christ, but it has meaning.  This is what the the Old Testament was trying to tell us.  This is the promise made to those Old Testament guys, remember David.  Psalm 2 from last week with Pastor Matt.

Lets think about this a minute.

Jesus is the anointed prophet.  Prophets proclaim the Word of God.  Prophets and their words have to be true if they are not true then you are not a prophet.  Jesus' words are true and he backs it up with his life.  Jesus himself proclaims “ I am the way, the truth, and the life.” in John 14:6.  I said a prophet proclaims the Word of God.  Jesus takes this a step further.  Look at John 1:14.  This is John's Christmas story.  Maybe you didn't know the Gospel of John had a Christmas story but here it is.  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  There it is, John's Christmas story.  What does it say?  Jesus is not only proclaiming the Word of God, he is the Word of God and he has come. Jesus is a prophet on a level the world has never seen.

Jesus is the anointed priest.  If you want to find out about Jesus as the great high priest, Hebrews is the place to go.  Hebrews 4:14 says Jesus is the great high priest.  Hebrews 4:16 says “ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  In the Old Testament the priests were the only ones who did sacrifices and entered the holy places.  Now through Christ (Jesus) we have access to God.  We can have confidence, to receive mercy and grace because of the Anointed One. It's almost unbelievable that we can approach God but we can and he wants us too.

 Jesus is the anointed king.  Just like the Old Testament kings, Jesus is anointed king.  The one on the throne who rules.  Sorry to disappoint but there are no election cycles, voting or politics when Jesus rules.  He has the say and final decision.  He is a king.  Look at Rev. 19:11-16 “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”.  No questioning those words, that is a statement that has power that is unimaginable.  Jesus is everything earthly kings aren't because of their falleness and sin.  He is righteous, true, good, kind, loving.  Don't miss the righteous part.  Like a good king he does not tolerate evil.

What was the angel telling the shepherds to go see?  Christ.  The Prophet, The Priest, The King not anointed by man with oil, but by the Holy Spirit (check out Acts10:34-38).   It was Jesus the baby in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.  If you are reading or watching this today it is the same Christ, the same Jesus.

One more for you.

The angel says he is the Lord.  He is the one who is supreme, who is overall, total authority, the creator.  This little baby the shepherds are to go see, the good news of great joy the angel is proclaiming is the Lord.  These shepherds will see the Creator who created them.  They get to look at the one who knitted them together.  The Alpha and Omega.  Pastor Matt has been leading us through the Psalms, and I want to give you a portion of my favorite Psalm.  Psalm 139:13-16. Jesus was there when we were put together.  This child is God, John 1:1 “The Word was God.”  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  “ In the beginning GOD” That was the message the angel was bringing.

That is a lot in the few words the angel spoke.  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”  Remember those words were for all people.

2020 by most accounts was not a great year and we have no idea about 2021 or 22 or beyond

We have a Savior.

We have the Christ.

We have the Lord.

That sounds like hope to me and a bright future.  Listen to what the angel said.

We have Jesus.

Merry Christmas and a hope filled New Year!