Text: LUKE 2:1-22
Title: YOU CAN TRUST GOD WHEN....
Theme: The story of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christmas is fun time of year.
- I grew up going to Des Moines, IA every Christmas. Until we came to Scotland I had only missed one or two Christmas's in Des Moines. My mom has three sisters.
- All of our families (my mom's included) would travel to Des Moines every year and spend a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house. There would be close to thirty of us staying at a home with two toilets. (Pop up Caravan in the Garage.)
- They still go to Des Moines - and we get to skype with them there.
- Every Christmas Eve they have a candle light carol sing service. My grandpa is a shy Godly man - he stands and reads the Christmas story which we are going to look at this morning.
As we consider his passage this morning, I hope the Lord will encourage our faith. I want to preach a message this morning entitled, "You Can Trust God When....."
As we come throught this precious time of year in remembering the birth of our Lord - Let God strengthen your faith.
I. You can trust God when inconvenienced.
exp. Pulling our Caravan through Indianapolis, IN - (4 lanes or more of traffic on either side) car passed me pointing at the rear of my caravan. I got over to the shoulder and found that my tyre had disentegrated and that it was a miracle it was still attached to the trailer. (( That was inconvenient - we were heading to the BWM meeting in IN.)
question: How do your respond when life is inconvenient? The story of our Lord's birth begins with several invonveniences.
A. There was an inconvenient bill.
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.)
exp. This was hasty and unexpected. Everybody would have been burdened by this.
ill. Our first tax bill in the UK was for a year and a half and it was very large. It took all of our savings but we had enough to pay it.
exp. Joseph was a carpenter who had just taken a wife. Like all young married couples they wouldn't have had an enormous amount of money. Caesar Augustus wasn't known for his charity. This was a hefty financial burden upon this young family.
question: Did you know that God provided for paying taxes? (And you ought to pay them.)
ill. Peter and Jesus - Mat 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
app. We don't have time to go through principles of finance - we have been looking at giving in SS - but if we honor God with our finances we can trust him when we have an inconvenient bill. (We saw last week God provided gold, frankincense and myrh for this young family as they escaped into Egypt. You can trust God with inconvenient bills.
B. There was an inconvenient journey.
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
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. 90 miles isn't too great a distance for us today - unless I told you that you had to walk there or ride a donkey.
ill. Colorado is one of my favorite States in the US - I love the mountains. But, my wife doesn't like Colorado because every time I've taken her there she has been pregnant and struggled with feeling sick while traveling those roads.
question: How well do you handle unexpected travel plans? We often handle them with frustration and agravation.
ill. Traveling near Oban - taking a road to a castle - closed by an accident upon our return. Had to wait a few hours - but we weren't medivac'd out of there like the occupants of the car.
app. They had to go to Bethlehem - BECAUSE GOD'S WORD SAID THE MESSIAH WOULD BE BORN IN BETHLEHEM. God may redirect you because HE HAS A PLAN WHICH YOU ARE UNAWARE OF - You can trust God with an inconvenient journey.
C. There was an inconvenient time.
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
exp. Not only was there an inconvenient bill and an inconvenient journey - but Mary was pregnant and that baby was due at any time.
ill. We have a lot of baby stories - My wife moved over here the last week she could travel by plane. Nelson was born a little less than one month after our arival.
exp. You may find yourself saying at times, "Lord, it isn't a convenient time in my life to do this."
app. Again - God knew. This baby was going to be born in Bethlehem - because God would providentially have them there. They wouldn't be there because they lived there - but because taxes were due. YOU MAY NEVER KNOW WHY - BUT YOU CAN TRUST GOD WITH INCONVENIENT TIMES.
D. There was an inconvenient place.
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.
exp. "No Vacancy" "no vacancy" - I'm sorry we have no room in our inn. BUT MY WIFE IS PREGNANT. SHE HAS BEGUN LABOR. Perhaps I have a place.... but it is only where we keep our livestock.... We'll take it.... we must.
note: God doesn't apologize to Mary and Joseph for this inconvenient place - the shepherds would know this was the babe BECAUSE HE WAS BORN IN THIS AWFUL AND LOWLY PLACE.
app. You can trust God in an inconvenient place. You didn't plan on being there. You don't want to be there - BUT IT IS WHERE GOD HAS PUT YOU FOR A TIME.
TRANSITION: (THE REST WILL BE MUCH QUICKER....) YOU CAN TRUST GOD WITH INCONVENIENCE....
II. You can trust God to reveal himself to those who seek Him.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Question: Have you ever wondered, "Why shepherds?" Obviously shepherds go well with a child who is born in a stable. But, what was there about these men?
ill. We know from other Scripture of a godly shepherd who became a great king? King David
exp. How often David would look around at God's creation as a shepherd and see things that made him marvel at God.
ill. I don't believe these were wicked shepherds. I believe they were God fearing men. Perhaps they had a conversation going on that night something like this....
"See that sleeping city down there? Do you remember that OT Scripture that says the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem? Wouldn't this be an incredible night for the Messiah to be born? The stars are so amazing and it is so quiet on the hillside this evening. I feel almost as if something is going to happen."
note: We know that God says that he will be found of those who seek him. I believe these men were deeply interested in the Messiah's arrival.
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
app. You may be "lowly" but God doesn't care. What he cares about is helping those who seek Him to find him? You can trust Him to help you - if you will seek after Him.
TRANSITION: YOU CAN TRUST GOD WITH INCONVENIENCE, ...TO REVEAL HIMSELF....
III. You can trust God when you are afraid.
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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
exp. The supernatural has just broken into the natural. One angel of God has appeared and it is no longer dark - the glory of God has lit up the field and the sheep are starting to stand up trying to understand what is taking place.
illustration: There are some scary things that people have to face as God begins to reveal himself to them.
1) There is a God to whom I must give an account.
2) I'm a sinner who has offended a Holy God.
3) Hell is real and I'm going there.
4) I was wrong in my unbelief and if I don't change I will be punished.
5) My "religion" was a false religion which violated God's Word.
app. God would say to you in the midst of all that - fear not. The shepherds could I suppose have paniced and fled the field. But they faced their fear and received revelation from God.
TRANSITION: You can trust God when inconvenienced, ...to reveal himself, ...when you are afraid....
IV. You can trust God when He declares truth about salvation.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
exp. The angel has just said the most profound - life giving truth - which has never been heard by mankind. The Saviour - the Messiah - the Lord has just been born today in Bethlehem - HE WAS BORN FOR THEM. "UNTO YOU IS BORN"
ill. I will often hear unbelievers say, "It isn't for me." "It's not my thing." NO - BUT IT IS AND IT CAN BE. Why don't you just believe God for once in your life and accept what he says about salvation.
app. If an angel stood before you and declared it - would you believe it? God is as clearly declaring in our presence this morning - THE VERY SAME TRUTH. You can trust God when he declares truth about salvation.
TRANSITION: You can trust God when inconvenienced, ...to reveal himself, ...when you are afraid....you he declares truth about salvation.
V. You can trust God when your faith is small.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
exp. Do you need some encouragement shepherds? Here is a sign. He is wrapped in grave clothes lying in an animal food trough.
note: God isn't opposed to encouraging faith in those who are sincerely needing their faith encouraged.
ill. Gideon - are you afraid? Go down and listen at the enemies tent.
Judges 7:10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
app. I don't believe anyone who sincerely seeks Christ will lack what is needed to come to faith. "If ye seek me ye shall find me if you search with all your heart." God may do something special to encourage your faith - but you need to respond to the revelation which God has given....
VI. You can trust God when you begin a spiritual journey.
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.
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.
exp. I imagine that the hillside was earily quiet as the curtain came down on the heavenly play that was before them. I don't know how long they sat in silence before someone said, "Let us go...." but they knew that God was leading them on this spiritual journey.
ill. It takes a lot of courage to begin a spiritual journey - "I have tried to come for the last 6 Sundays and today I decided I would just do it." (Unfortunately he didn't keep coming.)
app. You may not feel qualified or ready to really seek God. But, when God reveals truth to you - you need to respond to the truth he has given. You need to travel in His Word and keep following after Him. You can trust God to help you - if you step out BY FAITH to follow Him.
TRANSITION: You can trust God when inconvenienced, ...to reveal himself, ...when you are afraid....you he declares truth about salvation, when your faith is small and you begin a spiritual journey....
VII. You can trust God when you begin to share your "new" faith in Him.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
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.
Exp. They could not deny the verification of the truth that they had recieved. They knew that Jesus was the Messiah and they were unashamed to declare it thoughout their community.
question: How could you possess such amazing news - which God had entrusted to you - and not DECLARE IT TO EVERYONE?
quote: Robert Moffat - (Ormiston, Leith) "Oh! Christians of England, can you as subjects of divine love, as possessing the blessed Gospel of the Son of God, and as holding his last commission from the Mount of Olives to publish it to the ends of the earth, - can you gaze on these fields of human blood, these regions of unutterable woe, without emotion? Ah! brethren, could you behold the scenes your missionaries witness, you would wake up with a power of pity which would impel you to deeds of compassion, compared with which your past exertions would appear as nothing."
app. If you really believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that in believing in Him you have received life through his name.... why don't you tell someone about it?
I love this passage of Scripture and can hear by grandpa reading it.
God wants us to trust him this morning.
Are you trusting God with inconvenience? This story is full of inconveniences and yet it was God's perfect plan.
You can trust God to reveal himself to you if you are seeking him.
You can trust God when you are afraid? Maybe because you are hearing God's truth and it scares you.
You can trust God when he tells you truth about salvation.
You can trust God when your faith is small.
You can trust God when you beging a spiritual journey.
You can trust God when you share your new faith in Him.
Don't let Christmas go by without being reminded to put your trust in Him.