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luke 2_1-20 Hope to the forgotten

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Hope for the forgotten
xxxx Luke 2:1-20

The children’s play had something in common with the events of that first Christmas.

The key individuals in both stories were people that had been forgotten

People that had great needs

I would like to focus a moment on one group especially.

Let’s reflect a moment on the shepherds that experienced that amazing event.

They were a people who began a forgotten people, but in the end they were a people who were transformed.

They illustrate to us the truths of Christmas. Every person can find hope in the one who was born that day.

I.       A Need for hope

A.     A Time of general upheaval

(NIV) Luke 2 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

3And everyone went to his own town to register.

1.      Governmental intervention – precursor to taxation

2.      Travel for registration

3.      Hectic crowds

4.      Family reunions

B.     A Life of isolation

Luke 2. 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

1.      Occupational reality

a)      out in the fields

(1)   December (since 4th century)? – often mild – protected area of Shepherd’s Field
(2)   Let flocks stay out at night

b)      Busy – continuous condition - watches

c)      If December - Passover lambs – priests' flocks – special attention

2.      Social condition

a)      Marginalized  -  Unclean – animal contacts  -  Excluded – viewed as not as good

3.      Personal situation

a)      Alone

(1)   Each watch

b)      Night  - endless hours  - within sight of celebrations

APPLY THIS TO US

II.    A message of hope

A.     A Spiritual intervention

(NIV) Luke 2 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,

1.      "arising stood before them" – perhaps standing in mid air

2.      Powerful – not effiminate

3.      Glistening – brilliant – shikinah glow – first in over 500yrs

B.     A Reaction of terror

(NIV) Luke 2 9…and they were terrified

1.      Hebrewism – feared a great fear - emphasis

2.      Natural reaction

a)      Dark to light   sinfulness of man – presence of God

C.     The encouragement of good news

(NIV) Luke 2 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

1.      Comforted their anxiety – stop being terrified – no longer a need to fear

D.    A solution to the real personal need

(NIV) Luke 2 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

1.      Reason for birth is personal - Savior - Biggest need – save from their sin

2.      Their Lord God – one created for

E.     A message demonstrating the greatness of God

(NIV) Luke 2 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

1.      Unlikely approach for the Messiah’s entrance

2.      Birth brings Glory high esteem to God

3.      Birth brings peace on earth to some men

a)      More than mere external security – reconciliation with God

b)      Peace belongs to those who have God's favor – made a way to receive it

III. A required response to the message of hope

A.     A Personal response

(NIV) Luke 2 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

1.      Not even the angels mattered anymore

B.     A Priority response

(NIV) Luke 2 16 So they hurried off

1.      Urgent – nothing else mattered

C.     A Rewarded response

(NIV) Luke 2 16 …and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

1.      Diligent search  - Found what was promised

D.    A transforming response

(NIV) Luke 2 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

1.      Recognized the significance -  Had to tell others the big news

2.      Impacted those told

3.      Returned to normal life – but different

4.      Now had life in perspective

a)      The Lord is at work and always has been – regardless of how it seemed

b)      The Lord is worthy to be praised – His work glorifies Himself / benefits them

c)      The Lord is concerned about them and has come to deliver them

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