The Night Heaven Visited The Earth
by Rev Charles Bronson
Key Verse: Luke 2:1-20
Intro: Ill. A visitor to Cornwall in England commented that "John Wesley passed through these parts 100 years ago." Well, Jesus passed through these parts 2,000 years ago and the world has never been the same.
Now, we would all have to admit that Christmas has been ruined and perverted by an unbelieving world. It seems that Praise has given way to Party, the Savior has given way to Santa, Glory has been exchanged for Gifts and that Bows have been replaced by Bows.
But, I would like to remind you this morning that the Christmas season is a whole lot more than boxes, bows and ribbons. It is more than trees, tinsel and lights. It is certainly more than reindeer, rooftops and Ho, Ho, Ho’s.
I know full well that people are going to do as they please and they are going to follow all their little Christmas traditions, but I would like to remind everyone under the sound of my voice today that "It Wasn’t Santa Claus Who Came To Town that first Christmas."
Allow me to refresh your memory about what really happened that first Christmas day.
I. (v.1-5) A PROVIDENTIAL DECREE
(Caesar Augustus issued his decree for the taxing, not as a lucky coincidence that resulted in Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Neither was it a mere inconvenience for the people of Israel. Rather, it was divine providence that caused this imperial decree.)
II. (v.6-7) A PROMISED DELIVERY
- The Promise – Micah 5:2 – Micah declared that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem! This promise was given 700 years before the birth of Christ and foretold His birthplace. (Ill. Many in Jesus’ lifetime did not understand – John 1:46; John 7:41-42.)
- The Problem – The prophet said Messiah would come from Bethlehem, but Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. It probably never entered into their minds to go to Bethlehem. (Ill. Travel was hard and treacherous in those days. An 80 mile trip would have been terribly hard on an expectant mother.)
(Ill. Joseph was of the house of David, Luke 1:27, Bethlehem was the city of David. God arranged all these things to ensure that His Son would be born in the right place at the right time.) (Ill. He even used a pagan emperor to do His will!)
III. (v. 8-20) A POWERFUL DISPLAY
- The Place Of His Birth
The manger was a feeding trough. The King of Kings was born in a manger! Why? Two Reasons.
1.) The immediate reason: That some old shepherds might find Him.
2.) The eternal reason: That some old sinners might be able to identify with Him and approach Him for salvation! (Ill No room in the Inn – Speaks of the rest of His life – John 1:11. Many still have no room for Him in their lives today! Do you – John 1:12?)
- The Picture In His Birth
Ill. Swaddling Cloths – Swaddling = "bandage". These baby wraps prefigure His death and burial. Why did Jesus come? He came to die for you and me!
- The Purpose In His Birth
(Ill. John 19:37) The purpose in this birth was the salvation of the soul of man. Jesus was a baby born to die. (Ill. He had been the expectation of mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden – Gen. 3:15. Every lamb, ram, goat, bird, etc., that had been sacrificed down through the ages pointed to this special birth.)
(Ill. He is why: Noah built an Ark, Abraham built an Altar, Moses built a Tabernacle, Solomon built a Temple, God built a hill called Calvary!) (Ill. He came down to be our Savior – (Ill. Prince Edward and his visit to an army hospital in WWI, to visit 36 wounded soldiers.) There was a great purpose – YOU!
(In the birth of Jesus, the power of God was on parade before the eyes of men.)
- v.8-12 – The Power Of God’s Grace
Ill. Shepherds were outcast by society as vile and filthy; outcast by religion as defiled and unfit to worship. However, they were chosen by Almighty God to hear the first birth announcement.
(Ill. He didn’t give them a cigar!) Ill. How appropriate that the very men who raised the lambs for the Temple sacrifices were the first to meet the Lamb of God. (Ill. God came there first because of pure grace – Eph. 2:8-9)
- v.13-14 – The Power Of God’s Glory
Ill. The pure praise of the angels. They praised Him because they are programmed to. We should praise Him because of who He is and what He has done for our souls! (Ill. The angels praised God at Creation – Job 38:7; as they beheld His wonderful works, they praised Him – Rev. 7:11-12.
Now, when they see God step off the throne and be born as a baby in human flesh, their song reaches new heights.) If they can praise Him for what they can see God do, then we should praise Him for what He has done in our hearts – Psa. 40:1-2.
- C. v.15-20 – The Power Of God’s Gift
Ill. The shepherds came and worshipped the baby and were forever changed by their meeting with Jesus. They came out of curiosity and left rejoicing in the glory of eternal life. They came wondering what they would find, and they left witnessing about the One who had found them. (Ill. The power of God in changing lives is glorious – 2 Cor. 5:17!)
What are you looking for this Christmas? If it is some material thing that you are dying for, then you will probably be disappointed, even if you get it. If, however, you are seeking the Christ of Christmas, you will never be disappointed. He is still found of all who seek Him, and He still changes all who meet Him.
No, it wasn’t Santa Claus who came to town that first Christmas. It was Jesus! He is still here, looking for all who have room for Him in their lives. (Ill. Wally the inn keeper, and you can have my room!)