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Let the Lord Move You this Christmas

Notes & Transcripts

Back to the Best of Christmas

Part 3: Let the Lord Move You this Christmas

Luke 2:6-20

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 25, 2011

*I sure am glad that you are here this morning. Some of you have travelled a long way to get here. Christmas is a time when people are on the move.

*I remember, years ago, driving to Georgia, all night long in a tiny Ford Escort. Our luggage and Christmas presents were on top in a carrier we borrowed. Becky and Eric were laid out in the back with the seat folded down.

*The longest Christmas trip from home started on Dec. 21, 1968. That’s when Apollo 8 took off for the Moon. They reached lunar orbit on Christmas Eve.

*That evening astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders did a live TV broadcast, showing pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from Apollo 8. They read part of the creation story from Genesis 1. Then Frank Borman said, “From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you -- all of you on the good Earth.” (1)

*Christmas is a time when people are on the move.

-And this Christmas, God wants to move you to a new place in life!

1. First, God wants to move us from ordinary living to extraordinary living.

*The shepherds remind us of this truth in vs. 8&9.

8. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

*It started out as an ordinary turn on the night shift. And these shepherds were just doing their job, when God broke through in an extraordinary way!

*I like the way Max Lucado described it: “An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an ‘extra' on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed, the sheep would have been forgotten, and the shepherds would have (worked) the night away.

*But the black sky exploded with brightness. Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was (half) asleep, the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an (angel).

*The night was ordinary no more. The angel came in the night because that is when lights are best seen, -- and that is when they are most needed.

*God comes into the common for the same reason. God often chooses to do his greatest work through people or things we normally think of as weak or unimportant.” (2)

*To God, nobodies are somebodies! -- And He wants to move you from ordinary living to extraordinary living.

-But are you looking for the Hand of God to be at work in your life?

-Do you have a sense of wonder?

*James Garrett tells about a little girl who was dressed as an angel for the Christmas program in her church. And the director told her to come down the center aisle. That’s when the little girl asked: “Do you want me to walk or fly?”

*And Garrett said, “You feel as though she almost could have flown. Don’t ever lose the wonder and mystery of Christmas.”

*“Every year,” he says, “I’m reminded of those words of the late Peter Marshall: ‘When Christmas doesn’t make your heart swell up until it nearly bursts and fill your eyes with tears and make you all soft and warm inside then you will know that something inside of you is dead.’” (3)

*Look for the Hand of God to be at work in your life. Get a sense of wonder, because God wants to move us from ordinary living to extraordinary living.

2. But He also wants to move us from fear to faith.

*That’s what God did for the shepherds in vs. 9-10.

9. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

*“The angel of the Lord came before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.”

-Of course they were afraid!

-But God says: “Fear not. -- Do not be afraid.”

*Well, why not, God? -- Why shouldn’t we fear?

10. . . (Because) “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

*And when Christ came, He came to stay, for His Spirit is here today. And He is living in the hearts of all who believe.

-As the angel told Joseph back in Matt 1:20-23:

20. . . “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

21. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

23. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

*Jesus Christ is still Emmanuel. He is still “God with us”. And when we realize this, it helps to take away our fear.

*Phyllis Martin was a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, on the day when storm clouds and strong winds came up at Alpine Elementary School. Then the P.A. system blared out a tornado warning. So they rushed the children to the basement, where they lined the walls and huddled together in fear.

*To help ease the tension, the Principal suggested a sing-along.

-But the children began to cry, and were close to panic.

*Then one of the teachers with strong faith whispered to the child closest to her, “Kathy, I know you are scared. I am too, but aren’t we forgetting something? There is a power greater than any storm. God will protect us. Just say to yourself, ‘God is with us.’ Then pass the words on to the child next to you. And tell her to pass it on.”

*Suddenly, a sense of peace and courage settled over that dark, cold basement, as each child whispered those powerful words, “God is with us.” “God is with us.” “God is with us.”

*And Phyllis said, “I could hear the wind outside still blowing with such strength that it literally shook the building. But it did not seem to matter now. Inside the fears subsided and tears faded away.

*Through the years I have remembered those calming words. In times of stress and trouble, I have been able again and again to find release from fear or tension by repeating those calming words: God is with us! God is with us!” (4)

*God wants to move us from fear to faith.

3. But He also wants to move us from condemnation to salvation.

*In vs. 11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord

*Those shepherds needed to be saved. And for the most part, nobody cared about them.

*Paul Decker says that the shepherds were a fellowship of the forgettable.

-They had no status in their culture.

-They were uneducated, smelled lousy, and were considered to be low-class.

-They had a dead-end job with no hope for advancement.

-They had little chance of doing anything different the rest of their life.

*They were considered to be outcasts, misfits and spiritually unclean.

-They couldn’t participate in feasts and holy days.

-They were known as thieves.

-And their testimony was never allowed in court because they were so unreliable.” (5)

*For the most part, nobody cared about shepherds. But God cared!

-God cared so much that He came into this world as a little baby.

-God cared so much that He sent the good news of the Savior first to a bunch of smelly shepherds.

-God cared so much that He even died on the cross to take the punishment for their sins, -- and for our sins.

*The shepherds were sinners, but so are we!

-They needed a Savior, and so did we.

*Jesus Christ died on the cross for us too, and He rose again from the dead.

-So, the real message of Christmas is this: Jesus Christ has already given His life for you. And He will give you eternal life if you will open your heart to receive Him as Savior and Lord.

*The greatest gift you could ever receive at Christmas or any other time is salvation from the Lord. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)

*God wants to move us from condemnation to salvation.

4. But He also wants to move us from sadness to gladness.

*In vs. 10 the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

*Then in vs. 13&14, a multitude of the heavenly host praised God and said: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

*“Good tidings of great joy!” -- “Peace on earth.” “Good will toward men.”

-God wants to move us from sadness to gladness.

-God wants to move us to the place of joy.

*As Ray Ellis once said: “Our goal this Christmas Season is to go from Humbug to Hallelujah!” (6)

*But we face all kinds of obstacles to our joy.

-Some of us have lost loved ones in recent weeks or months.

-The first Christmas without them is always tough.

*Some of us are in chronic pain.

-Some of us are facing surgery.

-Some of us are having family problems.

-Some are worried about our children.

-Some are worried about our parents.

-Some of us are worried about our bills.

-Some of us are worried about our jobs.

*And there are many more troubles I could mention. Where can we find joy?

-The shepherds found it in a miraculous new baby, lying in a manger in Bethlehem. And we can find joy in the same place!

*There is joy in the Christ of Christmas! -- That’s why in vs. 20, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.”

*Christian, if your “joy tank” is empty this morning (and sometimes it will be), I encourage you to pray the same prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51:12. “Lord, restore unto me the joy of Your salvation. . .”

*Pray that prayer, because God wants to move us from sadness to gladness.

5. But He also wants to move us from a pointless life to a heavenly purpose.

*We see this truth in vs. 15-18:

15. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."

16. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

17. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

18. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

[1] God wants to give us a heavenly purpose. And a big part of that purpose is seeking God.

*We need to seek the Lord like the shepherds did in vs. 15-16. In vs. 15, they followed God’s guidance. “The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

*God guided them by an angel, and He will just as surely guide us by His Word.

-Also notice that the shepherds searched for the Lord with passion. In vs. 16, they came “with haste.”

*Getting close to Jesus Christ was the most important thing in their lives. And they knew it! -- We should know it, too.

*They searched with passion. And they didn’t give up. They kept searching until they found the Lord. And day by day, so should we, because He will be with us in every situation.

[2] God wants to give us a heavenly purpose. That means seeking God. But it also includes sharing God.

*When the shepherds found the Savior, they just couldn’t keep the good news to themselves. They had to tell everybody they possibly could.

-We see this in vs. 17&18:

17. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

18. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

*God gave them a testimony, a story to tell, a message to share.

-And if you know Jesus Christ, He has given you a message too!

*Tim Tebow has taken a lot of heat lately about his up-front and outspoken witness for Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that Tim both knows and loves the Lord. Jesus is number one in his life.

*Now Christians, I don’t think any of us will ever be able to play football like Tim Tebow. But we can and we should follow his lead on sharing the good news about Jesus Christ.

-That’s where the Lord wants us to be.

-It’s a big part of His heavenly purpose for our lives.

*So let the Lord move you today...

-From ordinary living to extraordinary living...

-From fear to faith...

-From condemnation to salvation...

-From sadness to gladness...

-And from a pointless life to a heavenly purpose.

*Let the Lord move you to a new place in life.

-We can get started right now by going to God in prayer.

1. Author/Curator: Dr. David R. Williams, NSSDC, Mail Code 690.1 - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD 20771 - 1-301-286-1258 - NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck, edwin.j.grayzeck@nasa.gov - Last Updated: 25 September 2007, DRW (Found at nasa.gov)

2. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Touch the Forgotten” by Paul Decker - Luke 2:8-20

3. James T. Garrett, “God's Gift”, C.S.S. Publishing Company, 1991 - (Found at Sermonillustrations.com - 12212003)

4. Rod Wilmoth story - Source: Sermonillistrations.com sermon “Advent 2 - Won’t You Let Him into Your Celebration?” by James Moore - Matt 1:18-25

5. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “Touch the Forgotten” by Paul Decker - Luke 2:8-20

6. SermonCentral sermon “Advent, a Time to Value Relationships” by Ray Ellis - Matt 1:18-25

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