Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 25 Dec 2015
1 And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.
3 And all went to be registered, each to his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee to be taxed (out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David).
5 And he took Mary his betrothed wife, being with child.
6 And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled.
7 And she brought forth her son, the First-born, and wrapped Him, and laid Him in a manger– because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And in the same country there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid.
10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger.
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 happened as the angels departed from them into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Indeed, let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened, which the Lord made known to us.
16 And hurrying they came and sought out both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.
17 And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard marvelled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds.
The birth of Jesus is the beginning of the Good News published throughout the world. In Rome Caesar Augustus ruled the whole known world. He was a raw heathen. He knew nothing about the Messiah. He knew nothing of the prophecies about the birth of Christ. But God ruled that he should have the census so the Saviour could be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were in Nazareth. But because of the census they had to go to Bethlehem. Do you see God’s might? Nothing is impossible with God. Other people could have complained at the injustice that Mary had to travel all the way to Bethlehem at her late stage of her pregnancy. But Mary and Joseph did not fight against it but bowed to the law. And through that God’s will was done and the prophecies were fulfilled, even as Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
When they got to Bethlehem no room was found for them to stay, and they had to go down into the cow-shed. The world did not accept Him. There was also no midwife, no doctor to help her. But God was with her and the Child was born. She didn’t even have a mattress for the baby. So Jesus was born and placed in the straw manger of the cows. This was the greatest event in history and yet He was born in this manger.
There were also shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. Then a very important angel appeared to them to tell them of what had taken place. And with this angel were a multitude of angels rejoicing and sharing the matter. It does not say that this host of heaven sang the news but spoke it. Imagine what it must have sounded like! And they brought the wonderful news that Jesus the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. This was the most powerful sermon ever preached, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The shepherds were not like the scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem who knew exactly where the Messiah would be born, but not one of them went there; it didn’t reach their hearts. Not one of them were moved to go and see for themselves. They were simply like road signs that point in the right direction but do not go themselves. The knowledge of the truth is not enough. You must be in the truth.
If you want to meet with Jesus Christ, you must be in that place which He has appointed.
There are so many promises in the Bible, but unless you fulfil the conditions none of those promises will be fulfilled. You might pray for your country or family, but nothing will happen unless you fulfil God’s conditions, parting from sin. Every promise in the Bible has a condition, and unless you fulfil the condition the promise won’t be fulfilled.
When the shepherds saw the Child as the angels had told them, they worshipped Him and believed and proclaimed the message. It was their day of salvation.
Have you seen the Messiah, the King of kings? If you bow at His feet, admitting you’re a sinner, you will be saved, but if not your haughtiness will send you to hell.