The Birth of the Gospel

15/12/2019 13:26

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Date: 12 December, 2019
Text: Luke 2
Title: The Gospel is Born
 
Introduction:
 
ill. Birth stories are interesting.
My wife and I have had the joy of being blessed by God with 6 children. Each one of them has been born (obviously) and the circumstances around the birth of each one of them has been interesting.
1.) Kay Lee - born 5 days after moving from NYC to Goodells, MI.
2.) Benson - born on Father's Day at 6:00 AM, I taught teen SS, led singing, had another young man preach at the nursing home, I preached the PM service.
3.) Logan - born 13 days before we started full time deputation in a mobile caravan.
4.) Parker - born on deputaton - we cancelled one meeting and then drove 2 days to Colorado for an 8 day missions conference beginning when he was ten days old.
5.) Nelson - We moved internationally - If Katie had been a week further along the airline would not have allowed her to fly. He was born 27 days after our arrival.
6.) Mac - was the easiest, he was 2 months old when we traveling all over the US on a 6 month furlough.
 
 exp. Birth stories are interesting expecially when they are combined with extra life circumstances taking place. THAT IS THE CASE IN THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD. The extra uncontrollable life circumstance - in the providence of God - is a Roman census and the consequent travel. Rome was at the peak of her power controlling all the known world at that time even reaching to Britain. 
ill. Hadrian's wall began in AD 122. (Jesus likely died AD 30, if so he died on 7 April, (passover).)
 exp. Rome had a long reach and a census would both allow her to know her strength and the strength of the Jews in Israel expecially those in the kingly line of David.
 
text:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
exp. Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth (Galilee region) they traveled to Judea to the city of Bethlehem.
 
 text: 4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
exp. Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, he was the legal father of Jesus. This census would demonstrate conclusively that he was in the Davidic line.
 
text: 5  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 exp. Betrothal/ Expousal is different from our modern engagement. It was a legal marriage although the consumation of that marriage had yet to take place. Joseph and Mary were legally husband and wife although the marriage had not yet been comsumated. Mat 1:25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
 exp. Every birth is a joyous occasion but no birth can compare to the JOY of the birth of Jesus.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS IS THE BIRTH OF THE GOSPEL.
exp. Gospel is not a genre of music. The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION by grace through faith in Jesus.
 
Jesus birth story is precious not only because of WHO HE IS 
but WHAT HE WOULD ACCOMPLISH FOR MAN'S SALVATION.
 
Our focus this morning is on what He would do, 
as we focus on the Gospel in the story of His birth.
 
I. The Son of the Gospel!
exp. There would be no GOSPEL without the virgin birth of God in the flesh.
Isa 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.
def. Immanuel - God with us.
Isa 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
 text: Luke 2:6  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 ill. Nativity in Edinburgh - beautiful large nativity in front of the New College overlooking Princess St. Gardens, and just below the castle.
exp. The stable scene is romantic and beautiful to us. To the family of Jesus it was....
1.) An inconvenient place to give birth. (inclimate, unsannitary, inhumane)
2.) A place with little privacy from animals eyes or the ears of men.
 ill. Those who have been on the maternity ward know that it is not a quiet place. Mary could hardly be expected to have been silent in the birth of her son. The inn would have been aware that a birth was taking place in the stable. Perhaps they had a bit more privacy there than in the inn.
 note: Jesus (God in flesh) was a little new born baby brought into humbling circumstances.
ill. Have you seen a new born baby recently? Those little hand (smaller than the palm of half a man's hand and feet a couple inches in length.)
ill. Speaking with Jamie Cooling about that first trip home from the hospital and the fear of driving with that precious package in the back.
 question: Can you imagine the feeling of Mary and Joseph as they held the Lord Jesus?
note: Within that tiny new born sons body was all of the power of the Gospel.
ill. Joseph and Mary knew that this was man was the Saviour - Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
 Philip Brooks Christmas carol: O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years. Are met in thee to-night. 
app. Joseph and Mary, possessed the Son of the Gospel. Do you? 
 ill. Handing out literature on Princess St. and hearing, "I'm ok." They didn't know what I was offering to them. But, without the Son of the Gospel - you're not ok. 1Jn 5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
 
II. The servants of the Gospel!
exp. I think the word servant rightly describes the characters in another main scene surrounding the birth of Jesus. We've gone away from the city into the surrounding countryside. 
 ill. We looked from this hillside down to Bethlehem, now in the central West Bank of Palestine.
A. The servants of the Gospel were lowly.
8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, 
exp. It's interesting how often God chose shepherds in the Bible.
 ill. Moses was a Shepherd.
ill. Jacob and his family were shepherds. He started by keeping Laban's flock.
ill. David was a Shepherd.
exp. His older brother, Eliab didn't think much of his responsability as a shepherd.
1Sa 17:28  And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
exp. We ought to rejoice tonight that the servants called to attend the birth of the Gospel were not kings and princes but shepherds.
 app. The Gospel is best adorned by men like her King Jesus -  lowly servants - like King David who never forgot his humble beginning as a shepherd - Psa 34:6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
(THE SERVANTS OF THE GOSPEL WERE LOWLY)
B. The servants of the Gospel were awake.
keeping watch over their flock by night.
exp. These were awake - they were men of activity who took their lowly service with a sense of great responsability.
 ill. Parents know what it is to have to sit up for a night watch carying for a baby or a sick child. We have all done so occasionally.
exp. These men worked the night watch every night and had to remain AWAKE and vigilant. 
To sleep would endanger their flock and their livelihood. 
These servants of the Gospel were men of activity (alert and ready). 
note: Their alertness at the first coming of Christ reminds us that we need to be awake at the second coming of Christ.
 ill. Jesus instruction to his disciples to be AWAKE at his coming. Luke 12:36-40
36  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
39  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40  Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
app. The Gospel is best adorned by men of AWAKE and actively serving. Those called to witness the first coming of Jesus would not fail in the responsability they were given. 
Pro 20:6  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find
(These servants of the Gospel were faithful men of activity and humility.)
C. The servants of the Gospel were anticipating.
9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
exp. The messenger of God has appeared to these servants and the radiant glory of God has lit up the nightsky. His appearance is startling but apparently his message is not. 
 question: Can you imagine what it must be like to be alert in a dark field and to suddenly have a radiant angel of God - perhaps hovering with his wings over you.
1.) Angels do have wings. God had angelic images pu over the mercy seat in the tabernacle.
Exodus 25:20  And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
2.) These angels depart into heaven.
note: Here we have one angel, but the host of angels is coming. Our text says, "As the  angels were gone away into Heaven."
exp. Can you understand why these courageous shepherds "were sore afraid?"
  - Add to this understanding of their fear the sense of the Holiness of God that just broke into their human environment.
ill. Like Isaiah's vision - Isaiah 6
1  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
 exp. These Servants to whom God chose to reveal His glory would respond in a similar fashion to the Holy revelation they were given. 
statement: BUT I BELIEVE THEY WERE ANTICIPATING HIS COMING.
 conjecture: Have you ever wondered what was taking place just before this heavenly intrusion?
- Shepherd, "Surely the messiah is coming soon. God has not given any new written revelation in 400 years. Wouldn't this be an amazing night for the Messiah to be born. You know, the messiah is to be born in Bethlehem.
Mic 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.
app. I believe these servants of the birth of the Gospel were awake to the Messiahs coming.
Their suprise was the glory not the Gospel. 
Are you anticipating the second coming of Jesus as they anticipated his first coming.
 transition: The servants of the Gospel were men of humility, activity and aware. 
 
 
III. The summary of the Gospel.
10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: 
exp. This phrase by the angel was one often used by God and His messengers. 6 times in our red letter edition - these words are printed in red because Jesus said them.
note: This angel wasn't coming in wrath. He was coming in mercy.
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
 exp. Jesus didn't come to destroy. He came to rebuild. 
 - The proceeding verse is the best summary of the Gospel in all of the Bible. 
16   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A. The messenger of God declared that this was the Gospel.
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
ill. If you are a conservative or pro-Brexit, and pro-democrarcy, you awoke on Friday morning to good news! The conservatives have their largest majority since 1980.
 exp. The Torries are celebrating the good news. In Scotland theTorries and the SNP are celebrating the good news. (But not celebrating together.)
 note: You may have been disappointed in the election - BUT ALL OF US KNOW WHAT IT IS TO HEAR GOOD TIDINGS.
ill. I remember when we were going to let our children know that Katie was pregnant with Mac, we let Nelson take the good news upstairs to the rest of the kids.
 exp. GOOD NEWS IS REFRESHING.
Pro 25:25  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
question: What news could compare with the news that the SAVIOUR OF MANKIND, THE REDEEMER, had finally (by man's concept of time) been born in Bethlehem.
  note: This ADVENT of Jesus was SO INCREDIBLE HEAVEN CAN'T CONTAIN ITSELF.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
exp. Men who blaspheme God and curse the reality of an eternal hell chose to ignore that GOD WILL IS "GOOD WILL." 
Those who reject the gracious hope of Jesus receive the just damnation from Jesus. 
BUT THEIR REJECTION DOES NOT NEGATE THESE GOOD TIDING OF GREAT JOY!
B. The messenger further declared that it was for ALL of mankind.
which shall be to all people.
ill. Giving out leaflets near the Christmas markets on Monday. An older lady kindly gave it back to me and said, "I am a Jew." I said, "My Lord is a Jew." She said, "Jesus was a Jew."
John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
ill. We've just seen an election take place where antisemitism was a big talking point. 
exp. Christians of all people ought to have a special affection for the Jewish people. 
- We have a Jewish Bible.
- We serve a Jewish Lord
- We have a coming Jewish King who will reign in Jerusalem.
- A Jew is nothing less than a child of Abraham. And so is every born again child of God.
Rom 4:16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
 app. The promise of everlasting life and imputed righteousness - WHICH WE RECEIVE BY FAITH IN JESUS - all began with Abraham. THIS GREAT GIFT IS FOR ALL PEOPLE! JOY!
 
IV. The significance of the Gospel.
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
ill. Girl cursing with Jesus name. She said, "Jesus Chris." I said, "Jesus is THE Christ."
 note: Christ - means Messiah, the deliverer. Jesus Christ means that JESUS IS THE MESSIAH!
exp. She probably does not realize what she has done. She has taken "the name" which represents the person - THIS PERSON IS GOD IN FLESH WHO CAME TO RESCUE MANKIND FROM THEIR SIN - and used their name wickedly.
 ill. British Cave diver in Thailand - who helped rescue boys - Elon Musk - court hearing. Sadly both men used language they ought not to have used towards one another. The cave diver says that he is trying to rebuild his life because of the misuse of his name. Why? Because your name represents who you are.
exp. Don't think for one second that taking God's name in vain is a little sin. It is one of the ten commandments and God knows that mankind does not think it is a big deal.
Deu 5:11  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
note: No other command has that additional truth, "For the LORD will not hold him guiltless...."
why? Because of the significance of the Gospel.
1.) Unto you is born this day  in the city of David a Saviour.
 exp. Those who curse with this name curse the man who was stripped naked on an old rugged cross because of their filthy wicked lives. 
Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2.) Which is Christ the Lord.
exp. Those who curse with his name reject HIS AWESOME IDENTITY AS THE ONE SENT BY GOD. Here God's Word emphatically declares Jesus is the Christ.
Luke 4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
28  And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29  And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
 exp. I've stood at the brow of that hill - much like the top of arthurs seat where they wanted to pitch him down - WHY - because he identified himself as the angel hear identified him as the Messiah.
app. The significance of the news on this day 2,050 years ago was that for the first time the Messiah was identified.
 
V. The sign of the Gospel.
12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
exp. This "out of this world" revelation would not be the only convincing proof of the truth of the angels message. The babe would be swaddled and lying in a manger.
 ill. When I went to Israel there were several times where I had to correct wrong imagery of what I read in the Bible.
- The tombs among which the demoniac cut himself were limestone caves. (not graveyard)
- Bible geography is smaller than I expected - Nazareth across valley from Mt. Carmel. Galilee region is all close together and sea of Galilee is a large lake.
- With regard to the birth of Jesus - the manger was actually a cut stone trough.
exp. Nativity scenes probably have hurt our concept of Jesus birth.
- The Bible does not say Mary road a donkey.
- The wisemen came when Jesus was a toddler "
- Joseph was told to flee with the young boy 
- The wisemen found the young family at a house.
Matthew 2:11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
 exp. The shepherds we rightly picture at the stable. They were given this precious information to lead them directly to the baby who was the Messiah.
app. The sign of the Gospel was signficantly the birth of the KING OF KINGS not in a palace or wealthy home, but in a lowly stable.
 
VI. The strength of the Gospel.
15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
exp. This good news was factual and proveable for those who would investigate it's claims. These shepherds were quick to do so and REJOICED TO FIND THE GOSPEL WAS TRUE!
 note: Let us imagine that the shepherds met people along the way and told them what they were doing. These people instead of believing their words and sharing their interest said....
1.) You are wasting your time.
2.) You are a fool.
3.) Or their family said, "We forbid you to investigate this!"
exp. The Gospel wouldn't have changed. But, they may have let other things keep them from finding out the strength of the Gospel. IT WAS FACTUAL AND PROVEABLE TO THEM.
 Ill. My family listened to the testimony of Michael Germi. Iranian Muslim who converted to Christianity. In Iran people who convert to Christianity are killed.
ill. Testimony of Dr. Ben David Lew - Jew - they weren't allowed to use the name of Jesus - his family had a funeral for him after his conversion.
 exp. Both men let God prove to His revelation to them by the strength of the Gospel and they were converted.
app. Someone could be listening to this message, who has never tested the strength of the Gospel. Your family may not persecute you - but because someone would mock you if you went to church, read a Bible, started praying and seeking God - YOU HAVE REFUSED TO LET THE STRENGTH OF THE GOSPEL INTO YOUR LIFE BY GOING TO PROVE GOD'S CLAIMS. 
Jer 29:13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
 
VII. The saying of the Gospel.
17  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
ill. I can imagine what Bethlehem was like on this night. The shepherds don't wait until morning - the news is too wonderful! "when they had seen it, they made known abroad....and the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God...."
exp. This account is what man did when man first realized JESUS IS THE MESSIAH. He couldn't keep it to himself.
 app. Two hundred years later, what are we doing with the Good News? When you first got saved, you may have responded like the shepherds. But, what are you doing now? HOW CAN WE KEEP from telling others the GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS?
 
 conclusion:
 
EVERY BIRTH STORY IS EXCITING.
 
NO BIRTH STORY IS AS EXCITING AS WHAT IS BEFORE US TODAY. 
This is the story of the birth of Jesus and the birth of the Gospel.
 
Is the birth of Jesus exciting to you today
- Because of what it means for your salvation?
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord."
- Because of what it means for the salvation of others?
"Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
 
 
 
 
(To Be continued)
 
21  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
 
25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
 
 
36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

 

Date: 12 December, 2019
Text: Luke 2
Title: The Gospel is Born
 
Introduction:
 
ill. Birth stories are interesting.
My wife and I have had the joy of being blessed by God with 6 children. Each one of them has been born (obviously) and the circumstances around the birth of each one of them has been interesting.
1.) Kay Lee - born 5 days after moving from NYC to Goodells, MI.
2.) Benson - born on Father's Day at 6:00 AM, I taught teen SS, led singing, had another young man preach at the nursing home, I preached the PM service.
3.) Logan - born 13 days before we started full time deputation in a mobile caravan.
4.) Parker - born on deputaton - we cancelled one meeting and then drove 2 days to Colorado for an 8 day missions conference beginning when he was ten days old.
5.) Nelson - We moved internationally - If Katie had been a week further along the airline would not have allowed her to fly. He was born 27 days after our arrival.
6.) Mac - was the easiest, he was 2 months old when we traveling all over the US on a 6 month furlough.
 
 exp. Birth stories are interesting expecially when they are combined with extra life circumstances taking place. THAT IS THE CASE IN THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD. The extra uncontrollable life circumstance - in the providence of God - is a Roman census and the consequent travel. Rome was at the peak of her power controlling all the known world at that time even reaching to Britain. 
ill. Hadrian's wall began in AD 122. (Jesus likely died AD 30, if so he died on 7 April, (passover).)
 exp. Rome had a long reach and a census would both allow her to know her strength and the strength of the Jews in Israel expecially those in the kingly line of David.
 
text:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
exp. Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth (Galilee region) they traveled to Judea to the city of Bethlehem.
 
 text: 4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
exp. Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, he was the legal father of Jesus. This census would demonstrate conclusively that he was in the Davidic line.
 
text: 5  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 exp. Betrothal/ Expousal is different from our modern engagement. It was a legal marriage although the consumation of that marriage had yet to take place. Joseph and Mary were legally husband and wife although the marriage had not yet been comsumated. Mat 1:25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
 exp. Every birth is a joyous occasion but no birth can compare to the JOY of the birth of Jesus.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS IS THE BIRTH OF THE GOSPEL.
exp. Gospel is not a genre of music. The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION by grace through faith in Jesus.
 
Jesus birth story is precious not only because of WHO HE IS 
but WHAT HE WOULD ACCOMPLISH FOR MAN'S SALVATION.
 
Our focus this morning is on what He would do, 
as we focus on the Gospel in the story of His birth.
 
I. The Son of the Gospel!
exp. There would be no GOSPEL without the virgin birth of God in the flesh.
Isa 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.
def. Immanuel - God with us.
Isa 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
 text: Luke 2:6  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 ill. Nativity in Edinburgh - beautiful large nativity in front of the New College overlooking Princess St. Gardens, and just below the castle.
exp. The stable scene is romantic and beautiful to us. To the family of Jesus it was....
1.) An inconvenient place to give birth. (inclimate, unsannitary, inhumane)
2.) A place with little privacy from animals eyes or the ears of men.
 ill. Those who have been on the maternity ward know that it is not a quiet place. Mary could hardly be expected to have been silent in the birth of her son. The inn would have been aware that a birth was taking place in the stable. Perhaps they had a bit more privacy there than in the inn.
 note: Jesus (God in flesh) was a little new born baby brought into humbling circumstances.
ill. Have you seen a new born baby recently? Those little hand (smaller than the palm of half a man's hand and feet a couple inches in length.)
ill. Speaking with Jamie Cooling about that first trip home from the hospital and the fear of driving with that precious package in the back.
 question: Can you imagine the feeling of Mary and Joseph as they held the Lord Jesus?
note: Within that tiny new born sons body was all of the power of the Gospel.
ill. Joseph and Mary knew that this was man was the Saviour - Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
 Philip Brooks Christmas carol: O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years. Are met in thee to-night. 
app. Joseph and Mary, possessed the Son of the Gospel. Do you? 
 ill. Handing out literature on Princess St. and hearing, "I'm ok." They didn't know what I was offering to them. But, without the Son of the Gospel - you're not ok. 1Jn 5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
 
II. The servants of the Gospel!
exp. I think the word servant rightly describes the characters in another main scene surrounding the birth of Jesus. We've gone away from the city into the surrounding countryside. 
 ill. We looked from this hillside down to Bethlehem, now in the central West Bank of Palestine.
A. The servants of the Gospel were lowly.
8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, 
exp. It's interesting how often God chose shepherds in the Bible.
 ill. Moses was a Shepherd.
ill. Jacob and his family were shepherds. He started by keeping Laban's flock.
ill. David was a Shepherd.
exp. His older brother, Eliab didn't think much of his responsability as a shepherd.
1Sa 17:28  And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
exp. We ought to rejoice tonight that the servants called to attend the birth of the Gospel were not kings and princes but shepherds.
 app. The Gospel is best adorned by men like her King Jesus -  lowly servants - like King David who never forgot his humble beginning as a shepherd - Psa 34:6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
(THE SERVANTS OF THE GOSPEL WERE LOWLY)
B. The servants of the Gospel were awake.
keeping watch over their flock by night.
exp. These were awake - they were men of activity who took their lowly service with a sense of great responsability.
 ill. Parents know what it is to have to sit up for a night watch carying for a baby or a sick child. We have all done so occasionally.
exp. These men worked the night watch every night and had to remain AWAKE and vigilant. 
To sleep would endanger their flock and their livelihood. 
These servants of the Gospel were men of activity (alert and ready). 
note: Their alertness at the first coming of Christ reminds us that we need to be awake at the second coming of Christ.
 ill. Jesus instruction to his disciples to be AWAKE at his coming. Luke 12:36-40
36  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
39  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40  Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
app. The Gospel is best adorned by men of AWAKE and actively serving. Those called to witness the first coming of Jesus would not fail in the responsability they were given. 
Pro 20:6  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find
(These servants of the Gospel were faithful men of activity and humility.)
C. The servants of the Gospel were anticipating.
9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
exp. The messenger of God has appeared to these servants and the radiant glory of God has lit up the nightsky. His appearance is startling but apparently his message is not. 
 question: Can you imagine what it must be like to be alert in a dark field and to suddenly have a radiant angel of God - perhaps hovering with his wings over you.
1.) Angels do have wings. God had angelic images pu over the mercy seat in the tabernacle.
Exodus 25:20  And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
2.) These angels depart into heaven.
note: Here we have one angel, but the host of angels is coming. Our text says, "As the  angels were gone away into Heaven."
exp. Can you understand why these courageous shepherds "were sore afraid?"
  - Add to this understanding of their fear the sense of the Holiness of God that just broke into their human environment.
ill. Like Isaiah's vision - Isaiah 6
1  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
 exp. These Servants to whom God chose to reveal His glory would respond in a similar fashion to the Holy revelation they were given. 
statement: BUT I BELIEVE THEY WERE ANTICIPATING HIS COMING.
 conjecture: Have you ever wondered what was taking place just before this heavenly intrusion?
- Shepherd, "Surely the messiah is coming soon. God has not given any new written revelation in 400 years. Wouldn't this be an amazing night for the Messiah to be born. You know, the messiah is to be born in Bethlehem.
Mic 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.
app. I believe these servants of the birth of the Gospel were awake to the Messiahs coming.
Their suprise was the glory not the Gospel. 
Are you anticipating the second coming of Jesus as they anticipated his first coming.
 transition: The servants of the Gospel were men of humility, activity and aware. 
 
 
III. The summary of the Gospel.
10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: 
exp. This phrase by the angel was one often used by God and His messengers. 6 times in our red letter edition - these words are printed in red because Jesus said them.
note: This angel wasn't coming in wrath. He was coming in mercy.
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
 exp. Jesus didn't come to destroy. He came to rebuild. 
 - The proceeding verse is the best summary of the Gospel in all of the Bible. 
16   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A. The messenger of God declared that this was the Gospel.
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
ill. If you are a conservative or pro-Brexit, and pro-democrarcy, you awoke on Friday morning to good news! The conservatives have their largest majority since 1980.
 exp. The Torries are celebrating the good news. In Scotland theTorries and the SNP are celebrating the good news. (But not celebrating together.)
 note: You may have been disappointed in the election - BUT ALL OF US KNOW WHAT IT IS TO HEAR GOOD TIDINGS.
ill. I remember when we were going to let our children know that Katie was pregnant with Mac, we let Nelson take the good news upstairs to the rest of the kids.
 exp. GOOD NEWS IS REFRESHING.
Pro 25:25  As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
question: What news could compare with the news that the SAVIOUR OF MANKIND, THE REDEEMER, had finally (by man's concept of time) been born in Bethlehem.
  note: This ADVENT of Jesus was SO INCREDIBLE HEAVEN CAN'T CONTAIN ITSELF.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
exp. Men who blaspheme God and curse the reality of an eternal hell chose to ignore that GOD WILL IS "GOOD WILL." 
Those who reject the gracious hope of Jesus receive the just damnation from Jesus. 
BUT THEIR REJECTION DOES NOT NEGATE THESE GOOD TIDING OF GREAT JOY!
B. The messenger further declared that it was for ALL of mankind.
which shall be to all people.
ill. Giving out leaflets near the Christmas markets on Monday. An older lady kindly gave it back to me and said, "I am a Jew." I said, "My Lord is a Jew." She said, "Jesus was a Jew."
John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
ill. We've just seen an election take place where antisemitism was a big talking point. 
exp. Christians of all people ought to have a special affection for the Jewish people. 
- We have a Jewish Bible.
- We serve a Jewish Lord
- We have a coming Jewish King who will reign in Jerusalem.
- A Jew is nothing less than a child of Abraham. And so is every born again child of God.
Rom 4:16  Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
 app. The promise of everlasting life and imputed righteousness - WHICH WE RECEIVE BY FAITH IN JESUS - all began with Abraham. THIS GREAT GIFT IS FOR ALL PEOPLE! JOY!
 
IV. The significance of the Gospel.
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
ill. Girl cursing with Jesus name. She said, "Jesus Chris." I said, "Jesus is THE Christ."
 note: Christ - means Messiah, the deliverer. Jesus Christ means that JESUS IS THE MESSIAH!
exp. She probably does not realize what she has done. She has taken "the name" which represents the person - THIS PERSON IS GOD IN FLESH WHO CAME TO RESCUE MANKIND FROM THEIR SIN - and used their name wickedly.
 ill. British Cave diver in Thailand - who helped rescue boys - Elon Musk - court hearing. Sadly both men used language they ought not to have used towards one another. The cave diver says that he is trying to rebuild his life because of the misuse of his name. Why? Because your name represents who you are.
exp. Don't think for one second that taking God's name in vain is a little sin. It is one of the ten commandments and God knows that mankind does not think it is a big deal.
Deu 5:11  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
note: No other command has that additional truth, "For the LORD will not hold him guiltless...."
why? Because of the significance of the Gospel.
1.) Unto you is born this day  in the city of David a Saviour.
 exp. Those who curse with this name curse the man who was stripped naked on an old rugged cross because of their filthy wicked lives. 
Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2.) Which is Christ the Lord.
exp. Those who curse with his name reject HIS AWESOME IDENTITY AS THE ONE SENT BY GOD. Here God's Word emphatically declares Jesus is the Christ.
Luke 4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
28  And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29  And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
 exp. I've stood at the brow of that hill - much like the top of arthurs seat where they wanted to pitch him down - WHY - because he identified himself as the angel hear identified him as the Messiah.
app. The significance of the news on this day 2,050 years ago was that for the first time the Messiah was identified.
 
V. The sign of the Gospel.
12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
exp. This "out of this world" revelation would not be the only convincing proof of the truth of the angels message. The babe would be swaddled and lying in a manger.
 ill. When I went to Israel there were several times where I had to correct wrong imagery of what I read in the Bible.
- The tombs among which the demoniac cut himself were limestone caves. (not graveyard)
- Bible geography is smaller than I expected - Nazareth across valley from Mt. Carmel. Galilee region is all close together and sea of Galilee is a large lake.
- With regard to the birth of Jesus - the manger was actually a cut stone trough.
exp. Nativity scenes probably have hurt our concept of Jesus birth.
- The Bible does not say Mary road a donkey.
- The wisemen came when Jesus was a toddler "
- Joseph was told to flee with the young boy 
- The wisemen found the young family at a house.
Matthew 2:11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
 exp. The shepherds we rightly picture at the stable. They were given this precious information to lead them directly to the baby who was the Messiah.
app. The sign of the Gospel was signficantly the birth of the KING OF KINGS not in a palace or wealthy home, but in a lowly stable.
 
VI. The strength of the Gospel.
15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
exp. This good news was factual and proveable for those who would investigate it's claims. These shepherds were quick to do so and REJOICED TO FIND THE GOSPEL WAS TRUE!
 note: Let us imagine that the shepherds met people along the way and told them what they were doing. These people instead of believing their words and sharing their interest said....
1.) You are wasting your time.
2.) You are a fool.
3.) Or their family said, "We forbid you to investigate this!"
exp. The Gospel wouldn't have changed. But, they may have let other things keep them from finding out the strength of the Gospel. IT WAS FACTUAL AND PROVEABLE TO THEM.
 Ill. My family listened to the testimony of Michael Germi. Iranian Muslim who converted to Christianity. In Iran people who convert to Christianity are killed.
ill. Testimony of Dr. Ben David Lew - Jew - they weren't allowed to use the name of Jesus - his family had a funeral for him after his conversion.
 exp. Both men let God prove to His revelation to them by the strength of the Gospel and they were converted.
app. Someone could be listening to this message, who has never tested the strength of the Gospel. Your family may not persecute you - but because someone would mock you if you went to church, read a Bible, started praying and seeking God - YOU HAVE REFUSED TO LET THE STRENGTH OF THE GOSPEL INTO YOUR LIFE BY GOING TO PROVE GOD'S CLAIMS. 
Jer 29:13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
 
VII. The saying of the Gospel.
17  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
ill. I can imagine what Bethlehem was like on this night. The shepherds don't wait until morning - the news is too wonderful! "when they had seen it, they made known abroad....and the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God...."
exp. This account is what man did when man first realized JESUS IS THE MESSIAH. He couldn't keep it to himself.
 app. Two hundred years later, what are we doing with the Good News? When you first got saved, you may have responded like the shepherds. But, what are you doing now? HOW CAN WE KEEP from telling others the GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS?
 
 conclusion:
 
EVERY BIRTH STORY IS EXCITING.
 
NO BIRTH STORY IS AS EXCITING AS WHAT IS BEFORE US TODAY. 
This is the story of the birth of Jesus and the birth of the Gospel.
 
Is the birth of Jesus exciting to you today
- Because of what it means for your salvation?
"Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord."
- Because of what it means for the salvation of others?
"Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
 
 
 
 
(To Be continued)
 
21  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
 
25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
 
 
36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.