THE THREE GOD ENCOUNTERS SURROUNDING THE BIRTH OF JESUS
LUKE 1: 5-25, 26-38; LUKE 2:8-20
MESSAGE:You are favored of God.
III. THE SHEPHERDS
GCC MESSAGE: Christmas Day 25th December 2014
READING: LUKE 1: 26-38
The Birth of Jesus has many amazing stories each of them with a unique blend. On this Christmas day we are going to look at three encounters surrounding the birth of Jesus. Each of them different and unique, different age groups, different social status, and a unique place in life. One couple very old and another just beginning life, one was religious while others were common people going about their usual work but each encountered God at the coming of Jesus. This clearly shows that our God identifies all kinds of people.
I. ZACHARIA AND ELIZABETH
Priest. God fearer. Advanced in years. Status: Upper class in society, Educated, respected.
ISSUES. Had prayed for very long and had almost given up, he actually doubted the angel’s message.
When God came through to Him, he never recognized that his time for a Child had come. When the promise was declared, he was full of unbelief yet God came through with his promise.
LESSON: It is not all about us, about Him and Him only.
MESSAGE: GOD ANSWERS PRAYER.
II. MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS
YOUNG GIRL. It is believed she was only 16 years old. She was a lady and not a man. From humble family not much income, the fiancée was carpenter, humble means probably with not much education. God fearing.
She asked: How will this be? The Holy Spirit will overshadow you.
Message: “37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant  of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” ESV Bible.
GOD REVEALED IN THE CONCEPTION AND BIRTH THAT: He is God and nothing is impossible with Him.
He is a God who specializes in doing the impossible. He was declaring that the coming of Jesus was opening a new way where God was going to engage with humanity in supernatural ways and he began by bringing to earth his son through a young and virgin girl in a miraculous way. Indeed this opened a new era in human history, the God who works amongst his people doing what they cannot humanly understand.
Christmas reminds us that this Christian faith is not like any other faith, it is a faith where the impossible becomes possible. Where barren people can get babies, where a virgin can give birth and where human kind encounters God in action.
MARY’S RESPONSE: LET IT BE.
I cannot understand it, it does not make biological sense, it does not make scientific sense, but if it is God who has said it, then I believe it.
It is that attitude that set this young girl apart from all other people on the planet, she said, I am going to trust you God, I am going to believe you my God and I am willing to carry the seed of the baby who was to become the Savior of the World.
MARY WAS A WOMAN OF FAITH, FAITH IN GOD AND FAITH IN THE PROMISES OF GOD.
By faith before she even saw the baby she burst out in song, praising God by Faith.
Many of us we only sing after we have seen the miracle or the provision. For her she knew that God is who He said He is and He can be trusted.
This Christmas many of us have gone through a tough year, some have read the scriptures and have said are these words true, Yes they are true but faith and trust Says, I do not understand everything but I do know that God is real, let me trust His Words and let me praise Him, the reality will catch up with me as I praise my God.
Mary, What a woman!
WHAT ABOUT GOD?
He is a God who can entrust great things with simple people. He entrusted the whole plan of human redemption in the womb of a young lady. A simple lady, a girl from a humble family. Why?
That the whole world would know that He is God and He is not a God who shows favoritism, He can choose any one from any where from any family, to confound all of us to prove to us that: WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. THAT NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.
He can turn water into wine.
He parted the red sea and the people walked on dry ground.
He was saying that from this humble entry, will come His son, so that He totally disorganize the religious set up of the Jews which had become so comfortable with their status and had stopped believing in the power of God.
And through this young girl came Jesus, born in a manger, in poor part of town to identify with those despised in society.
HE IS A GREAT GOD.
LESSON IS: WHEN WE TRUST HIM, HE WILL ENTRUST US WITH GREAT THINGS.
III. THE SHEPHERDS
The Shepherds were grazing in the cold deep winter night. Shepherds were the lower class of society, they were liked for providing meat and wool to society but their job was respected. Whenever celebrations happened in the community they missed out for they had to provide protection for their flock. Whenever they surfaced on the streets it was easy to know who they are: the smell of sheep, not very clean and not used to being in the public they were always noticed by their uncultured manners.
But on this day the God of heaven, cares for the great and also has special interest in the lowly in society, He Decided to provide this news to this class of people.
MESSAGE: The Savior who has come is not only for the priests, the aristocrats, the famous.
He is also the Savior for the common, the despised, the poor, and those usually forgotten.
Luke 2:“10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ” ESV Bible.
His coming is Good News. The Gospel is good news to the poor.
He is also the Savior. He has come to save us from our sins.
He is the anointed one.
The angel shared the Gospel message to these forgotten, often despised people.
I do not know where you are this Christmas, may be your one of those often forgotten people, often despised people, often left behind people, one of those people usually do not care to include on the invitation list, you probably have never sat on a high table any where.
Today to us a child is born, His name is Jesus. He is declaring a different story for you.
He has come for you and he is ready for you, he is your Savior also, he is your future also.
He actually came to where you belong, in the common place.YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.
They acted immediately. Good news calls for immediate response. They went out to meet the Savior. You can also meet the Savior today.
FINAL RESPONSE: They joined in the Angel song.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP IS A RESPONSE OF THE PEOPLE WHO ENCOUNTER GOD.
THREE LESSONS FROM THE PEOPLE:
1. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER
2. GOD CAN BE TRUSTED AND HE CAN ENTRUST US.
3. GOD DESERVES OUR PRAISE.