Covenant Christian Reformed Church Welcome to the weekly podcast of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan. For more information, check out our website at http://www.covenant-crc.org

December 26, 2019  

Because of Bethlehem
(Christmas 2019)

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.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:15-20)

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

A. Can we put our differences aside because of Bethlehem?

B. Christmas and Bethlehem put life into perspective

“Why do the nations conspire and people’s plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one...and the one enthroned in heaven laughs...” (Psalm 2:1-2, 4)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-4, 14)

C. God has a plan. He is working it out. He shared his plan with us on Christmas

BETHLEHEM

A. Christmas - our celebration of an infant born in Bethlehem...

1....is about a light shining and giving hope to people living in darkness

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:5)

2. ...is about sinners finding peace and forgiveness from a Savior and friend

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)

3. ...is about receiving a God who is different than anyone imagined - a

remarkable gift in an unremarkable package - God in created flesh

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us...full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14)

4. ...is about unlovely people being loved beyond their wildest expectations

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)

5. ...is about people who fear punishment and are scared to death

“From the fullness of his grace, we have all received one blessing after another”
(John 1:16)

6. ...is about people who have given up trying to live by God’s rules being

reminded God didn't just make us, or think about us, but God is with us

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

7. ...is a promise that His best is yet to come. When Christ was born, our hope

was born; his relentless love for us was exposed

“God uses all things to work for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

B. This child born in Bethlehem changes everything - from human history

to our eternal destiny - if we follow the example of the shepherds

“Good News of great joy that is intended for all people, that Today, in the town of David (Bethlehem) a Savior has been born to you, he is the anointed one, the Messiah.”
(Luke 2:10-11)

1. The shepherds decided they had to go and see what God had done!

2. Then they interrupted their schedule, took a risk, and went

CHALLENGE

A. We need to accept Christmas, not only for information, but for transformation

1. I believe in miracles because I’ve embraced the miracle of Christmas

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--that which we have seen and hear we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; ...with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ...”
(1 John 1:1-3)

2. If Bethlehem doesn't make a difference we’ve wasted our time

B. Because of Bethlehem...is your life any different? Has your presence in this

world made any difference?

1. Do you trust Jesus - the child laying in a manger - with your life and eternity?

2. Because of Bethlehem, today we can experience the Good News of Great Joy

Series: "The Angels of Christmas"

Sermon: "Peace on Earth"

Scripture: Luke 2:13-14

Notes

1. The armies of heaven appeared. (Luke 2:13)

2. They praised God. (Luke 2:14)

3. God was bringing peace into our world. (Luke 2:14; Matthew 10:34; Romans 5:1; Isaiah 9:6)

Next Steps

  • How does the thought of an army of angels in Luke 2:13 change the way your view the Christmas story? Discuss why God needs an army and what He might use them for.
  • Think about the areas of your life and the world where peace is lacking. Invite Jesus to come into those areas and bring true and lasting peace.
  • Thank God for making peace between you and Him by having Jesus pay for your sins. (Romans 5:1) How can you become more of a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9) and/or a minister of reconciliation? (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

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