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Luke 2:1-20

He was Born a Savior

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • December 25, 2016

Luke 2 tells the story of the birth of our Savior; coming to the world as a helpless babe, and fulfilling God's prophecy. This story helps us understand that God works supernaturally through natural means to fulfill his purpose and plan. They are also a reminder that God is answering man's greatest need in bringing light to a lost, lonely, and broken world through the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

He was Born a Savior

Luke 2:1-20 
 
This is the scripture we most associate with the celebration of Christmas. We love this story because it gives us a picture of what was happening in the world and the need that we have for a Savior. This chapter puts it all in context for us and helps us understand the greatness of God in meeting our greatest need.
 
A decree went out from Caesar Augustus. Who was Caesar Augustus? Many consider him the greatest of all the Caesars. He was chosen by Julius Caesar to succeed him when he adopted him in his will. He was born by the name Octavian which simply means, “Eighth,” but because he had been adopted by Julius Caesar, he was given the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian. However, the title of “Emperor” was not enough, so the Senate sought a more regal title for him. "King" was not sufficient, so the title Augustus was chosen for him, which means, “Majestic Grandeur.” The Roman senate voted that he was a god. They even named a month on the calendar after him – August.
 
Among Roman rulers, only Julius Caesar and Augustus had months named after them permanently —though this wasn't for lack of trying on the part of later emperors. For a time, May was changed to the month of Claudius and the infamous Nero tried to April to Neronius. But these changes were short-lived, and only Julius and Augustus have had two-millennia-worth of staying power.
 
To God Almighty, however, the great Caesar Augustus would have been just "Little Caesar." God used him for His purposes; to move Mary in her third trimester to Bethlehem so the prophesies of Christ’s birth would be fulfilled. Jesus, seemingly born in obscurity, would be the Savior of the world, but what was to become of Little Caesar?
 
Isaiah 40:17, 23-24, All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless… It is He who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, and He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.
 
When you see God moving through declarations of an Emperor that causes a terrible inconvenience to a very pregnant young woman not wanting to travel, but needs to travel in order to fulfill the prophecies and purposes of God, it helps us understand that God works supernaturally through natural means.
 
These verses in Luke chapter 2 are a reminder again that God is answering man's greatest need in bringing light to a lost, lonely, and broken world.
 
I. Our Savior was Born Unto Us
  • Vs 11 – “Unto you is born a savior.” 
  • Man was born separated from God, lost and without hope. We were born in a world of darkness and sin so God sent Jesus to you, personally. “God loved the world so much He gave His only begotten Son…”
Illus – The words to “Joy to the World” are so right…Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room…
 
A. Do not be afraid
 
  • Fear is the opposite of faith…there were many reasons to be afraid in that day;
    • Herod was on the throne; a cruel and vicious man.
    • The Roman army was occupying Israel.
    • Darkness and oppression sat like a heavy cloud over the nation.
Illus – You can feel oppression. I remember my first trip to Russia, the oppression felt like a heavy cloud.
  • There are many reasons to be afraid in our day as well;
    • The rise of ISIS and militant Islam.
    • The world is getting more dangerous by the day.
    • Tensions are growing with Russia and China. The world economy is shaky at best.
    • There are wars and rumors of wars.
Illus - You might be saying, “Man, this is encouraging, pastor, and a very Merry Christmas to you as well! I’m glad I brought friends.”
  • The point is that God is doing something about it. Jesus is the answer to fear, to troubles, to hopelessness and darkness.
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
 
B. God is now with us
  • The prophet Isaiah wrote that the Messiah would be called, “Immanuel,” -- God with us. Amazing. Why would God be with sinners? Because He loves them!
  • The fact that God is with us is the hope of life and the answer to fear.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

  • Do you believe that? Do you believe that God is for you and that God is with you wherever you go?
  • If you do, you’ll walk in confidence and strength.
Illus – We used to sing a praise song with powerful words …
“I have redeemed you I have called you by name, child you are mine.
When you walk through the waters, I will be there, and through the flames; you’ll not – no way – be drowned, you’ll not – no way – be burned; for I am with you.
Fear not, for I am with you, fear not.”
 
C. This is good news of great joy
  • The angel was not just bringing good news, but good news of great joy.
  • When fear has been relieved, when troubles have been answered, joy is the proper response. Their great fear changed to abounding joy.
Illus – When I was 21 years old I was angry at life; angry with God and angry at my father. But God brought a word of correction– “I will be a father to you like no earthly father could be; I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will always be with you and bless your life.”
  • Some people have lost their way and need to know again that good news of great joy has come to our dark world!
  • It’s having the right perspective that brings joy. 
  • There’s always something to complain about, there’s always something wrong; but the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Nehemiah 8:10, Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Illus – Somehow, we’ve lost the concept of joy. Perhaps it’s been replaced by the pursuit of happiness.

  • There is a great difference between happiness and godly joy. Happiness is “a mental state of positive emotions.” Godly joy is the spiritual state of having hope and trusting in God’s promises.
Illus – Godly joy happens when hope is born out of faith. You could lose a love one, but when you know he or she is in the presence of the Lord, hope is born.
  • Losing our daughter was the most difficult days of our lives. I’ve carried deeper grief than any time in my life.
  • But there is a deep-seated joy, a peace that passes understanding when you know your loved one is in the presence of your Savior.
  • Spiritual joy is different than happiness
  • It comes when hope is born out of faith.
II. He was born a Savior
  • The angel didn’t say, “I bring you good news of great joy, a politician is born unto you, or a computer scientist, or an economist is born unto you.”
  • God knew our greatest need was for a Savior. He gave the greatest gift because that gift met our greatest need.
Illus - We live in blessed times and many people receive things they don’t need. People used to give socks or a new t-shirt. Now we give Mango Papaya bath gel. When I was growing up… when I was growing up, we got one toy. I love the story Michael Jr. tells about growing up poor and wanting an action figure for Christmas and his dad giving him Invisible Man.
 
Illus - Someone from church brought a box of oranges. I still love oranges at Christmas (especially when they’re dipped in chocolate).
 
Illus – Have you ever received a gift that you really, really needed, but couldn’t afford? That’s what God did for us.
 
A. He will save from sin
  • Christians use the phrase, “Are you saved?” But the real question is, “Saved from what?”
  • This was the word given to Joseph in a dream.
  • He will save people from their sins. That is our greatest need; to be saved from our sins.
Illus – God must save us from our sins because without Christ, we will drown in them.
 
Illus – Look to Him, there is no other. Do you remember the old story about the guy in a flood who refused help because he is convinced that God would save him; but then he dies in the flood, goes to heaven and says, “God, why didn’t you save me?”
  • If you don’t receive the gift God sent, you can’t say to God, “Why didn’t you save me?” He’ll respond, “What are talking about, I sent you My Son, what more did you want? He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.”
 
Acts 13:38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things…”
 
Illus - When you give a gift on Christmas morning, it’s personal. You write, “To… From…”
 
B. He must be born in each person’s heart
  • He is given to the whole world, but He must be received one heart at a time.
Illus – Can you imagine Christmas morning getting a gift and then refusing to open it? --- And you can’t afford it; and it’s the very thing you need…
 
John 1:12-13, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
 
Illus – It’s as though God were saying, “Open this gift! You’re going to love it. It’s the most amazing gift, do you know what’s in that box?
    • A certificate of adoption.Forgiveness of your sin…
    • There’s more, look deeper!!
    • The righteousness of God in Christ Jesus…
    • There’s still more, look deeper…
    • He’s excited for you to open His gift, He wants you to have it!!
C. He is God’s only answer
  • There is no other. Why would anyone want another? What an amazing gift.
  • There can be no better news than what He brought to man.
  • There can be no better provision for our sin; taking our sin upon Himself; giving us His righteousness.
Acts 4:12, There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
  • Jesus is not only God’s Word to man, He is God’s complete and final Word to man.
  • Would you open your heart? Would you say, “I want the deeper things that God has for me I want every part of the gift that He is given.”

Luke 2:1-20    NASB

1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
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