Archive for December, 2013

Christmas, Pt. 9

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

Among the wonderful things that the angel told the shepherds in these verses, we find the angel telling them exactly where the child would be born: “…in the city of David.”  This had been prophesied many, many years before in Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

There are many things that we can now look back on as being fulfillments of ancient prophesies.  It’s easy to look back and see how these things happened, but I’m sure that it was a little different at the time.  I’m sure none of the people living back then (unless they had studied the prophecy) thought that the Saviour of the world would come to as insignificant a place as Bethelehem.  But that is where Jesus decided He would come to be born.  He put it down in the Bible for anyone to see, but, sadly, probably few did see it or pay attention to it.  It is the same with us today.  He has told us everything we need to know in the Bible, but so few people pay attention to it.

Let us draw even closer to Him and give even more attention to His Word this Christmas!

Christmas, Pt. 8

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

Today, as we continue through these two verses, we come to the little phrase “this day.”  The angel had come to the shepherds to give them the “good tidings of great joy” that “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour.”  The good news that the angel brought was very specific good news.  It was not just a general announcement of hope and happiness.  It was not a “someday” type of prophecy.  It was specific.  It was happening “this day.”

Our lives are lived one day at a time.  All we have is “this day.”  Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come.  But we have today.  II Corinthians 6:2 tells us “behold, now is the day of salvation.”  Many people try to avoid making a decision for the Lord by saying “maybe tomorrow.”  But this is the day of salvation.

Jesus didn’t come “someday.”  As the angel told the shepherds, He came “this day.”  We need to live each and every day as “this day.”

“This day.”  There were many verses and passages in the Old Testament that had foretold His coming.  The Jews had been looking for their Messiah for hundreds of years.  But “this day” had come.  This was the day that the Saviour was to be born.  Specifically, “this day.”

Christmas, Pt. 7

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

In going through these two little verses, we have seen some great truths about Christmas and about the coming of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, to Earth.  Today, we will look at two simple words from verse 11: “is born.”  It’s what celebrating Christmas is all about.  The birth of Jesus Christ is the only reason that we have for celebrating this whole Christmas season.  We are celebrating the birth of the Saviour.

But let us stop for a minute and think about what that statement means.  This God-man, Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe, was born.  He was born as a man.  He did not just appear.  He did not just “manifest Himself.”  He was born into the human race.  That thought never ceases to amaze me: God Himself would humble Himself and be born as a baby.  But His birth was important, and our birth is important.  Our physical birth gives us life, but He is involved in our spiritual birth.

This baby that was born on that night would, later in His life, tell Nicodemus “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”  Jesus humbled Himself to be born.  We must humble ourselves to accept this new birth that the Saviour offers.

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born.  Jesus was born that we might be born again.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Christmas, Pt. 6

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

Yesterday, we looked at the fact that these “good tidings of great joy” would be “to all people.”  The Saviour that had come that night would extend His offer of salvation to “all people.”  But the passage doesn’t stop there.

While He was bringing good tidings of great joy to all people, He was not going to be some impersonal “force.”  His offer of salvation was not just to all men generally, but to all men specifically.  Verse 11 begins by saying, “For unto you is born this day…”  This was going to be a personal Saviour.  This Saviour was coming and these good tidings of great joy were going to be to you.

Yes, this Saviour is coming to all people.  But, more specifically, this Saviour is coming to you.  These shepherds weren’t rich, powerful or important.  But they were people to whom this Saviour would come.  Think of what must have gone through their minds.  Of all men, they were probably the least worthy of this Saviour.  But He was coming, and He was coming to and for them as individuals.

This Christmas season, we can and should be thankful that our Saviour is a personal Saviour.  He came for me as an individual and He came for you as an individual.  “Unto you is born this day… a Saviour.”

Christmas, Pt. 5

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

Today, we will look at the last phrase of verse 10: “…which shall be to all people.”  These “good tidings of great joy” would be to all people.  This Saviour wasn’t coming for just a few people.  He wasn’t coming just for the rich or powerful.  He wasn’t coming just for men or just for women.  He wasn’t coming just for the Jews.  He was coming to “all people.”

II Peter 3:9 tells us “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”

Jesus came to all men.  This joy and salvation shown to the shepherds would be offered to “all people.”  Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life.”  He is the only way.  But He is the way for all mankind.  He is the way for any man who would turn to Him and accept Him.  There was a certain universal aspect of His coming.  He came to die for the sins of all mankind.  These “good tidings of great joy” truly were “to all people.”  What a wonderful message from a wonderful Saviour!

Christmas, Pt. 4

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

We have looked at the fact that it was an angel who brought these great tidings to the shepherds.  We have also seen that the first thing they said to the shepherds was to “Fear not…”  These were not tidings of fear, but “good tidings of great joy…”  It is the “great joy” that we will look at today.

The whole ministry of Jesus Christ brought joy to people.  Think of the people who were healed of various diseases.  Think of the blind who were made to see and the deaf who were made to hear.  Think of those possessed by devils who saw their lives restored to peace and sanity.  Think of those who had loved ones who had died and saw them brought back to life.  All of those people doubtless had “great joy” after meeting Jesus.

But even more important than great joy over some physical benefit was the great joy experienced over meeting the Saviour.  These people found the One Who could forgive their sins and give them a true “great joy” coming from their hearts.  That is the kind of “great joy” that we have found in coming to Christ.  Romans 5:11 tells us “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  It is through Jesus that we have truly have great joy.  The angel announced it many years ago, and we are still receiving it today.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Christmas Hymn)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1864)

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on tis way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.”

The pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Some songs have verses that are more or less independent of each other.  Other songs (like this one), tell a story from verse to verse.  I have always liked the progression of the thoughts in this song.  It starts out acknowledging the beautiful message of the bells on Christmas Day and how they represent “peace on earth, good will to men.”  Then the author adds a touch of despair in the next to last verse after looking at the world around him and seeing no peace on earth and very little good will to men.  But the last verse ends with the enduring promise of Christmas: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.”  There may not be much peace on earth right now, but Christmas reminds us that it is coming and that it is coming in the person of Jesus Christ!

Christmas, Pt. 3

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

After telling the shepherds to “Fear not…”, the angel went on to say “I bring you good tidings of great joy…”  The shepherds were coming with good tidings.  They weren’t coming with a message of judgment and chastisement.  Those messages would come, and we have them written down for us in the Bible.  But on this day, it would be “good tidings of great joy.”  The sinless Son of God was coming to die for the sins of the world.  He was coming to be a Saviour for all of mankind.

Proverbs 25:25 says “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”  In this case, the “far country” could be thought of as Heaven.  That is where the angel came from and that is where the Lord Jesus came from.  This was indeed going to be “good news from a far country.”

The word “gospel” means “good news.”  We have the gospel.  We know the gospel.  We have the same “glad tidings” that the angel was speaking of.  Romans 10:15 speaks of those who know this gospel and who tell others about it:  “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Let us, in this Christmas season, be thankful that we have received these “good tidings!”

Christmas, Pt. 2

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

We looked yesterday at the fact that it was the angel who brought the news of this newborn King to the Earth.  Today, we will start to look at the message that the angel brought.  “Fear not…”  The first thing that the angel said was to “Fear not…”  No doubt these shepherds, being confronted with a talking angel and the glory of the Lord shining about them, were afraid.  But the angel told them not to fear.

Fear has been with us as long as man has lived.  All of us, at one time or another, have known fear.  As we look at the world around us, we can see plenty of things that would give us cause for fear.  But Jesus did not come to scare us; He came to save us.  John 10:10 tells us “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus came to conquer fear.  He came to give us forgiveness, salvation and hope.  When we come to Jesus, we often come in fear, but He always gives us comfort and has whispered “Fear not” to many people throughout the years.  The first thing the angel said was “Fear not…”  We would be wise to listen.

Christmas, Pt. 1

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.

Luke 2:10-11

As we once again enter the Christmas season, I would like to spend the next several days looking at these two verses, which I believe give us the best summary in the entire Bible of just what Christmas is all about.

“And the angel said unto them…”  The first thing we notice about these verses is that the whole proclamation was given by “the angel.”  This was not going to be anything normal.  Billions of babies have been born on this Earth, and very few of them have had angels announce their birth.  This was going to be a miraculous birth of a miraculous Saviour.

This was not a birth to be announced in the local newspaper.  This would be a birth announced by Heavenly beings.  The great Christmas song “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” tells of the message that this angel was bringing.  This was not just another birth.  This was the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who would be the Saviour of the world.

He did not come from natural means.  He came from Heavenly means.  He did not come from earth.  He came from Heaven.  Everything about Him was supernatural, from His birth to His death and resurrection.  His entire life was supernatural, so what other way could there have been to announce the birth of this baby boy?  The angels from Heaven announced it.