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Sequim Community Church, Wa 98382
Dr. Scott E. Koenigsaecker
Luke 2:8-20 ~ December 19, 2010

A. We live in the age of instant communication.

B. God's personal communication with us is waiting for our response..
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

C. Our passage this morning is about responding to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into the world.

I. HOW DID PEOPLE RESPOND?

A. The shepherds were afraid.
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." Luke 2:9
· Not their final response: "The shepherds returned, glorying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen..."
Luke 2:20
B. The people were amazed.
"...and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." Luke 2:18

C. Mary admired the miraculous coming of Jesus.
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

II. HOW WILL WE RESPOND?

A. Some people take cover.
"Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life." John 3:36
· Some people deny or avoid the reality of Jesus:
Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about His coming
Jesus really lived
Jesus lived an exemplary life
Jesus died and resurrected
Jesus transforms lives

B. Some people do take notice.
"The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems...." Matthew 13:20-21

C. Some people take it to heart.
"For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
Romans 10:13
"To all who received Him, He gives the right to become children of God. John 1:12
· How to take Jesus to heart this Christmas:
We need to identify ourselves with Christ.
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
Luke 10:10
We need to be invested in knowing and following the Bible.
"You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings." John 8:31
We need to be imitators of Jesus Christ.
"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:37-39

This is the English Transcript

More than ever before

we live in a time of instant
communication

with those around us

perhaps

The apex of that

reality has to do with social
networking

Like Facebook

I was intrigued by some of the facts that I
learned about

the Facebooking social network

how many people do you think in the
world have Facebook pages

four hundred million

people have

Facebook pages

and on those pages

There are all over five billion pieces of
information

over five billion

the average person

checks their Facebook page twice a day

and they spend on those

two occasions in front of their computer

a average total of fifty-five
minutes

the average number of Facebook friends
that a person has is

a hundred and thirty

I mentioned that to Grace yesterday

she has a few more than that on her page

but that makes up for the fact that the
old man still doesn't have a Facebook

page

other than the one linked to the church
so she could have my

one thirty

you still have more than two
sixty don't you yeah a few more than that

and what we like about all of this
is that we can

communicate

back and forth

with those that we

call friends those family

those

close at hand those on the other side of
the world

Christmas is about

responding to God's communication to us

look at verse eleven of our scripture
passage

Today in the town of David a savior has
Been born to you

he is Christ the Lord

yes the arrival of Jesus is to you Yes
it's a personal communication to you

even though it was to the entire world
it was also to you

and the key is

how are we going to respond to that very

personal message

personal reality that

Jesus Christ has come

to our planet

well before we figure out our response
let's take a moment and look at how

those in the initial arrival how
did they respond

the first group of those that responded
were the shepherds

I can tell you they were afraid

now I don't know how you would feel if
you were walking

you know down the street and all
the sudden a bunch angels showed up

that might be

at least surprising to you

if not

you know it's something that
terrified you a little bit and the Bible

says that they were terrified

an angel of the Lord appeared to them in the
glory of the Lord shown around them and

they were terrified

now I think there are people who are

a little terrified a little afraid a
little worried

about the declaration that

God loves them and God wants to be in a
personal relationship with them

and I think the reason for that

is that we're all a little worried

that we're not doing what we're supposed
to be doing

and somehow God's going to be mad at us
now maybe the shepherds were

terrified because they read that bumper
sticker

the one that says

Jesus is coming back look busy

isn't it interesting we all have a
little intrepidation when it comes to

the

that the second advent of Jesus the
return of Jesus

because well we're a little worried we're
not going to shape up very well

that maybe we're not doing as good a job
that we ought to be doing

at following Jesus and so

we've got some feelings of guilt and
inadequacy that we want to push on to

our relationship with Jesus

who pushed that onto

the Christmas message

and instead of embracing that we're a little
worried about it

concerned

about our relationship with Jesus

great thing about the shepherds

Is that wasn't really their final response

even though they started out a little
terrified

Once they saw Jesus

once they were able to grab a hold of
the whole message and the

the reality of it all what was their
response

Verse twenty

the shepherds returned that was from
seeing

Mary and Joseph and Jesus

Glorifying and praising God for all the
things that they had heard and seen

the second group

were all the people

the general populous of the people
around the birth of Jesus were amazed

by the arrival of Jesus there even a
little surprised

and all who heard it were amazed

at what the shepherds had said to them

they were amazed they didn't know Jesus
was coming

The Jews knew that and even a lot of
the Jews were surprised

Weren't they? yes

well if you were a gentile then you really
were surprised to hear even though

you're supposed to be getting prepared
for the coming of the messiah

and they were quite amazed at the
whole thing what happened is

the arrival of Jesus got people

thinking and talking

about messiah about the kingdom of God

about

God's love for them

about

humanities eternal purpose on this
planet

that's a good conversation to have it's
interesting

we assume a whole lot

when it comes to that conversation in
this day and age

and I think we need to reconsider that

there are now two generations removed

from the church anybody

pretty much anybody under the age of
forty

uh

there's a better chance not

they've not gone to church and they've
not read the Bible

that they don't know

the Christmas message

they don't know why we're doing all the
lights and all the gift giving and all

the celebration

they just don't know

they've maybe heard

A thing or two

but they've just kind of lumped all of
that into the holidays

or into the

solstice celebration which of course you
know it's coming up

we can't assume that everybody knows if
people are not amazed

it could very well be because they've
never heard

because when we really hear about God's
love when we

really understand the arrival of Jesus

God in human form that is an amazing
historical reality

third group

represented by Mary

Mary is the only one that wasn't
surprised by the arrival of Jesus

go figure

she had been expecting his arrival

and so how did she respond

she responded with great admiration

but Mary treasured

up all of these things and
pondered them in her heart

she wasn't surprised by the arrival of
Jesus and as he arrived

she had great admiration because

God

was doing something

supernatural

God was doing

something very practical

God was communicating his love and his
purpose personally

In Jesus Christ

how are we going to respond

to that reality to that message

well I know that there's one group of
people around

they're a little bit like the shepherds
they're afraid and they're trying to

take cover

they're trying to avoid the conversation
about Jesus especially at Christmas time

I got in one of those

well you could call it a conversation

you could have called it the debate

you could have considered it a little
bit of an argument

we were going back and forth about

Christmas and Jesus

you know at

one point I

said something that they didn't like

and they were a little

taken aback that I would say something
so stupid I think was the word that he

used

Right when people say that I always
like to look at them and say

that's doctor stupid to you

excuse me

and isn't it interesting how many people
are trying to just avoid the whole thing

they want to deny

or avoid it

but you cannot deny and you cannot
avoid

the arrival of God to this planet

you can't

how do we know Jesus was the messiah
this book

historical fact

as I

often like to point out

how many of you ever met George
Washington

Well we have some old people in this
service

see I got you awake now don't I

you're getting a little lulled to sleep
there now I know you're all awake

you

Believed that George Washington

lived but you never met George
Washington how do you know that

historical fact

we know that

that Jesus came to this planet by
historical fact

the Bible as well as other

secular historians

noted the fact that Jesus was born

that Jesus

Lived that Jesus died that Jesus resurrected

we know enough about how Jesus lived
and what he said

that we know that he lived an exemplary
life

we know that

Jesus died on a cross and that he

resurrected

I know some people think well
he just was

kind of drugged and they put him in the
tomb then He

Woke up

and then he was able to move

the

One ton plus rock

out of the way

all by himself

and that he was able to in his weakened
state

overcome the two defensive tackle
Roman guards

that were placed there

No he had to resurrect there's

no other

reasonable explanation

and then there's changed lives

what can you say about that

when I sat in the Bible study and raised
my hand

You know

I did have some

intellectual questions to figure out but
you know in that moment I knew I was

different

and it didn't really matter about
all the theology and all the biblical

evidence

I just knew personally that

that I raise my hand and I was a
different person

A little parallel of that is

you know what happens when you

see someone that you're in love
with

you see that person you're in love with them
and

you can

keep that feeling

you can take that to the bank in
your relationship

and that is

historical and real

as anything

well you add that all together and

I don't think you can deny it I don't
think you can avoid it

you can try to take cover from it

for a while but

you can run but you can't hide

when it comes to God's love

the reality of

his plan and purpose in your life

that

he definitely has a desire to spend
eternity with you

the second group

kind of like the people and those are the
people that take notice

you know they have noticed

Jesus they get talking about him
which is a good thing but then

in the end they don't really

get on board they don't really

live out what it means to have

Jesus be the messiah of their life

It's a little bit like the second group of

seeds mentioned in the

Parable of the sower

Matthew thirteen

the seed on the rocky soil represents
those who hear the message

and immediately receive it with joy

but since they don't have deep roots

they don't last long

they fall away as

they have problems

and the truth is that

most people fall away from the faith

having to do with problems

problems in their own life problems with
what Jesus

has a tendency to say to us

in his commands

and instruction

We're willing to kind

of make sure we've got our fire
insurance

Were going to spend eternity with him but then
we want to just go back to doing our own

thing

living as though we're truly the leaders
of our own life

that we somehow command our own

destiny

it's good to thinking and talk about Jesus

in fact if you come this morning and you
haven't been in a long time good for you

it's not about this

but Jesus does have an invitation to be

The Lord

as well as the savior of our life and he
wants to lead us

each and every day and what bad thing
happens from Jesus

leading our life every day

I was in the grocery store and
even someone not from our church

recognized me and

began having a conversation with me
about another person he was

concerned with

and the bottom line of the conversation
was

why doesn't he just this other why
doesn't he just understand that

If he lived his life the way that Jesus
directs him to live his life that his

life would be

better

and it's true

we all have a little reluctance

when it comes to

doing what Jesus wants us to do

but when we do what Jesus instructs us
to do commands us to do even suggest

that we do

What bad thing happens

good things happen

when we've both take notice and we
follow through which is

the third group and that's the group
that takes it to heart

here's my image

there are Christmas packages under the tree
one of those Christmas packages has your

name on it

you

take the package what do you do with it
you take their package

And just leave it

over there in the corner

it's July and you haven't opened the Christmas
package

anybody do that no not really

You unwrap the present

take it out of the box

and then what you really need to do is
allow that gift to enhance your life

by

playing with it and I know I got
a message the last time I mention this

there are some things that are just
art

You don't play with them you just display
them

besides that the rest of the time you
play with it right

and you have to interact with it so to
speak if you wanted to

Enrich your life if you want to utilize it
for what it was

Created for

and we're the same way

We are created

to receive the gift of Jesus Christ and
allow that to enhance our life

and for that to happen we have to

take it to heart

Romans ten thirteen

for everyone who calls upon the name of
the Lord will be saved

and then John one twelve

to all who received Him

he gives the right to become children of
God

Jesus arrived on this planet so that we
could chose

to be in relationship with him

and we're truly in a relationship with
him when we take him

To heart now

I made a mistake last week I said
that

the longest distance in the
universe was the two-and-a-half feet from

your head to your heart

a scientist came out with a ruler

after the service

it's a foot and a half

not two and a half fee

is the longest distance in the universe

many of us believe in Jesus at
Christmastime but we don't know the

Jesus we believe in

we don't know that Jesus we believe in
because we haven't taken him to heart

we've taken him to our head

but we have not taken Him to heart

how do we know we've taken Jesus to
heart I think three simple things

number one it means identifying with
Jesus asking Jesus to be

the leader of your life

Luke ten ten

if we confess with our mouth that Jesus
is Lord

and we believe

in our hearts that God raised him from
the dead

we will be saved you will be saved

we have to as I like to point out enact
our volitional will

there's not much you get to do
about this God loves you and he has a

wonderful plan for your life

he's bought the present he's wrapped
the present he's put your name

on it he's put it under the tree what
you get to do is your joy as you get to

receive it

you get to receive it

and that receiving is the enacting of
your volitioal will is simply

asking Jesus to be the leader of your
life

now I know why people don't have to use
this to be leader of their lives

because they'd rather be the leader of
their life

they're afraid that if they let Jesus
lead their life he's going to lead them

astray

he's going to lead them I know in a
direction you're never going to have any

fun again in your life if you become a
Christian

people who are avoiding and denying a lot
of times that's what they think

and we think it a little bit from time
to time we think

our ways the best way

and it is what our way is God's way

Number two

it means an investment

in both knowing and following the Bible

John eight thirty one you are truly
My disciples if you remain

faithful to my teaching

now we both have to know the Bible
and then we have to follow the Bible and

New Year's is coming right around the
corner here

put this on your list

in two thousand eleven I am
going to

studying the Bible I'm going to read the
Bible I'm going to memorize the Bible

get in a Bible study I teach a great
Bible study every Tuesday morning got to

get up a little early

got to be here no later than seven
thirty in the morning and I

know you can't watch

Hawaii five O at ten

and be here so you know just
TiVo it and watch it the next day like

me

there are some

family devotional some little pamphlets
if you've not studied the Bible that's a

great way to get started

Its got a verse and a little text
explanation encouragement then a prayer

at the end of it

if you want to take Jesus Christ to
heart

you've got to study His word

got to read it got to memorizing it got to apply
it your life I know that's why

people don't read the Bible they don't
read the Bible because they figure if I

don't know I can't be held accountable

I know that

I don't want to read that then I'm going to feel bad
about all the things that I'm not doing

all that well

but the flip side of that is it's going
to tell you a lot of things you're doing

right

and it's going to help you have an
upward spiral in your life not a

downward spiral

my response to the man in the grocery
store last night was yeah you're right

if you would just do what the Bible
tells them to do he wouldn't be in all

this trouble

he's in trouble because he wasn't doing
what the Bible said to do

the third thing we need to do

And you will know you have taken God to
heart

because you're going to imitate Jesus
Christ wherever you go

the word Christian as I like to point out

has “ian” at the end of it and
linguistically

what that means is that “ian” is a
little version of

we're supposed to be little versions of
Christ wherever we go how do we do that

if the two great commandments out of
Matthew

but God with all of your heart mind

soul and strength

and love your neighbor as yourself I
wrote an entire

Decision making curriculum for elementary
school children

based on the two great commandments

I'll give you another little this is
extra today

it's joy Jesus others and you

and all you have to do

before you say something or do something
is ask the question

will this show my love for Jesus

will this show my love for others

will this show my love for myself
and you know what's really interesting

when something bad goes on for the most
part

it's because we violated either a love
for God a love for others or a love for

ourselves

that simple but it's not simplistic is it

because it takes a choice

a daily choice

To love God

and to love others as ourselves

but I can't tell you a more concise

definition

of what it means to be in imitator of
Jesus than that

Christmas is about the arrival

of God to our planet in Jesus Christ

and he came

to communicate his love for us his
intentions for us now and eternally

personally

and he did that

so that we would have the opportunity to
respond to him

and I pray that

this Christmas season you'll be able to
take Jesus Christ

To heart

let's pray

Lord you know that

all of us have a at least

Something some relationships some
circumstances where

We're either trying to duck and
cover

where we have

initially taken some notice but

In the

Rush of

the Christmas season we've kind of
forgotten that thing you talk to us

about a couple weeks ago

so lord in this moment we pray that
we can take you to heart

that where

we've been

miscommunicating with you Lord we get
on the same page where we've

not responded to you as we ought to

Help us Lord to respond in the whole
hearted way

for Lord we both want to identify with
you

we want to invests in knowing your word
and applying it to our lives

Lord

to the best of our ability

only through the power of your Holy
Spirit Lord

help us to be true imitators of you

Lord thank you for coming to our world

and we want to thank you this day for
coming to our world Amen

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