The Shepherd's Vision

Visions of Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Longing for Peace in a Chaotic World

As a kid, I would hear adult say all they wanted for Christmas was peace - I thought it was a joke, usually was
As an adult - I long for peace
Longing for peace - Shalom - not just the absence of conflict, but a wholeness of being, security,
Easy to get lost in a frenzied, chaotic, and demanding world.
Easy to miss, especially during a Christmas season - ironic. He who came to make peace, and the celebration of his life is nothing peaceful
How the Shepherds Vision of Glory brought them the peace of God.

They Heard the Gospel

Pax Romana

The “peace” secured by Caesar Augustus
Octavian, nephew of Julius Caesar, named Caesar Augustus (exalted) after defeating Anthony and Cleopatra, uniting all of Roman Empire - he was called “savior of the world”
How did Augustus secure the peace? Through oppression, power, and tyranny.
The census - all the world is counted, everyone must return to their ancestral home - in order to levy a tax
What a way to show your power - to command everyone to move to be counted
In the chaos of the census - Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, no room in the inn -
Andrew Haan - The first Silent Night - when Mary found out Joseph didn’t make a reservation
Not like a Motel 6 - but a common room where people would stay, but there was no room - so they went to the stable, where Jesus was born and laid in a manger

The Angel’s Message

In the midst of this an Angel appeared to shepherds who were watching over their flocks in the field at night
The Angel shared the gospel: Good News of Great Joy
The gospel is good news -
A savior: one to deliver God’s people
This is what was needed most - not political, economic, or social deliverance, but salvation from our sins and death. Until we have peace with God, we cannot have any peace with God. Our sins cry out, we are afraid of judgment and death. But Jesus came to give us peace, by dying in our place, paying our debt, atoning for our sins.
Christ the Lord -
Christ = messiah, anointed, sent by God
The Lord = The name of God, God with us
The Chorus of Angels - Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to those with whom he is pleased
They proclaimed the glory of the exalted God (above Caesar Augustus)
They proclaimed peace to those with whom God is pleased
More than just the absence of conflict because of the threat of annihilation - this peace was God’s peace, a reconciliation, a restoration of right standing - If you have peace with God, then the things that man does or says should have no affect on you - you can be forgiving, gracious, patient, loving
This peace was not for everyone - but for those who have found favor (grace) in God, those who have dwelled in darkness, those who have been called by his name.
If you are longing for peace - you must hear the gospel
If the angels had appeared today - breaking forth in the sky at night, would they have been noticed
We are so preoccupied, looking down at little screens, looking at our troubles and problems, looking to world leaders and power for the solution - would we miss the message?
Hear the gospel, like the still small voice
God has sent a savior - not in Caesar, not in world leaders, not with great power or conquest - but one humble, meek, and mild
Born that man no more may die

They Saw the Savior

Once the vision of the heavenly host departed, once their ears stopped ringing, they said to one another,

“Let us go and see this thing” - and they went with haste

They found God’s word true, and saw Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger
This is what they were told they’d find, but hardly what anyone expected
The Messiah would deliver God’s people, so they were looking for a king, a warrior, a royal power
Arrayed for battle, riding on the white horse, with a sword in hand
What did they find - a child of humble family, wrapped in cloths, laid in a feeding trough, surrounded by the sounds and smells of a farmyard
Everything about him pointed to sacrifice,
He laid aside his glory to become a servant
Like the lambs in the stable, he had come to be the lamb of God, who would atone for our sins
God chose that which was foolish to overcome the wisdom of the world, that which was weak to defeat the strong. - 1 Corinthians
They told everyone what the angels had said, they confirmed the gospel, and testified to it
Some marveled - many marvel but don’t believe
Mary treasured these things, and pondered them
Dwelling on the message and the sign

If we want to know peace, we must receive Jesus as He is, not as we want Him to be

He is the Lord and giver of life, He is the captain of Salvation, He is the very word of God made flesh
He is Lord, we are not - as long as we are fighting with Christ for lordship of our lives, trying to wrestle control from him, making demands of Him, we will not know peace
As long as we think we know better how Christ should work in our lives, in our church - we will not know peace
Our trouble is that we want the Peace without the Prince. We fight against God and His will for our lives, and so fight against our greatest joy and peace.
Those who go against the grain of the universe will get splinters, those who swim upstream will be exhausted.
When we know that Christ holds us in His hands, that he loves and cares for us, and that even the difficult, painful, and confusing things we face are all part of His good plan for our salvation, sanctification, and for His glory, then we can find peace and serenity in any situation
He himself is our peace, he has reconciled us to God
The God of Peace…

They Glorified God

They went back to their sheep - they didn’t leave their jobs - but they went back to their lives - but they were different
They were glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen
They were doing what they first saw the angels do in heaven - they are the first evangelists - proclaiming the good news

If you want to know peace - glorify and praise God

One of the best ways to know the peace of God is through worshiping Him, glorifying and honoring Him, living in such as way as to praise Him.
Glory - to give glory to God in the Highest, exalting God, thinking and speaking often of His goodness, His wonder, His love. Make much of God, and your eyes will be lifted from the troubles of this world to the glories of our great God - giving peace. If you want to hold on to the peace of God in Christ, give glory to God.
Praise - thanksgiving, mindful of all that Christ has done for you, of all God’s blessings in your life. Praise turns your attention from your struggles to your blessings - and restores us in peace

How can you find peace this Christmas? Find Christ again.

Hear the gospel
Receive Christ as Lord
Go out rejoicing, glorifying and praising God
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