The Glory Belongs to God - Shepherds

Christmas 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:07:05
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This year we have been talking about how all the glory belongs to God for Christmas. Josh started us off with a couple of great messages. His first message was how John the Baptist was prophesied and ultimately personified giving the glory to God. His second message in our series showed how God got glory through the lineage of Jesus and how Jesus was the ultimate “redeemer”.
Last week I delivered a message on Mary and how she had to acknowledge that God had plans for her life that would bring the glory back to God.
This week we want to take a closer look at the angels and shepherds and see their part in the Glory of Christmas as they both proclaim the GLORY of God.

Once again, things start with an interruption of the normal.

Luke 2:8–9 ESV
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
Zac faced an interruption in life to find he had a son on the way.
Mary faced massive interruptions in life from that first angle visit.
Joseph had his plans to privately deal with Mary interrupted.
Now we see a peaceful night for a group of shepherds interrupted.
I get it, none of us likes our lives interrupted, but sometimes God has to do that to bring more glory to Himself. When we refuse to be interrupted, when we refuse to respond to God’s interruptions to our plans and desires for normalcy, we miss seeing God glorified.
Notice that the “glory of the Lord shone around them”. Shepherds were not highly sophisticated people. They were not leaders or socialites, but they still had the opportunity to experience the glory of the Lord! Heaven’s glory breaks through to be displayed on a hillside! These men were blessed far above those in town, those at the inn, or those in palaces in Jerusalem. God intends on showing His glory to those who will respond in a way that passes that glory on.
We are able to see several examples of angels previously in the Bible. It was not normal to have “the glory of the Lord” present. The angel was acknowledged and that was sufficient.
This time, however, God wants to make a big deal about everything so that people will forever know of the shift in His plan from The Law to Grace.

The Angel gives a message that brings God glory.

A message of the end of fear. This is the 4th time people have been told not to fear in the Christmas story.
A message of good news.
A message to ALL people. The shepherds remain anonymous to us.
A message of THE Saviour!
Luke 2:10–11 ESV
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The Angel is joined by many more!

Together they:
Speak of God’s glory - value, weightiness
Deliver a message of peace
Luke 2:13–14 ESV
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: The Lord Is Come! (Luke 2)

For the first time in centuries, the glory of God returned to earth.

Remember, after Malachi there was a 400 year silence. Imagine how different things would be today if nothing had changed since 1621 - just 10 years after the first authorised English Bible was translated by a team for King James. Heaps has happened in history since that point.
Now angels show up and declare Glory to God as they announce the next step in His divine plan. WOW!
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Two: The Lord Is Come! (Luke 2)

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy. He cannot give peace of heart for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”

When the angels finish their work, the shepherds choose to get involved.

They were not forced. Like many people who attend churches all over the world today, they could have said, “mmmmmm interesting. But I’m not going to change what i’m doing.”
Luke 2:15–16 ESV
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Bringing glory to God starts with being involved in what God is doing!

The shepherds take action.

Being involved in God’s plan does require something of us. While salvation is free our life still requires movement.
Churches around the world are down between 5 and 50% this year. People just need to go. We can not long be the church God wants us to be if it has been long between personal interaction.
If you’re a Christian who loves the Lord, and has a healthy, growing relationship with God, you shouldn’t have to be begged or convinced to go to church… Runners run, Shoppers shop, Workers work, & Worshipers worship together!

The shepherds speak up!

Silence is not golden when it keeps us from giving God glory!
Luke 2:17–18 ESV
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
These guys went from spending the night on the hillside to being the talk , and talkers, of the town.
“All who heard it” means they were probably chatting this up all over town. I’m sure the innkeeper now knew, and how many untold others?
Face it, God often uses our mouth to declare His glory. I have often said that God can call people to Himself any way He chooses. However, I know that He most often chooses to use the words of those who have already been impacted by His salvation.

The Shepherds continue praising God after they leave.

Can you imagine being a family member of one of these guys? I’m sure they talked a lot after this experience. Long into their old age, they would continue to tell the story about when God surprised them in the middle of the night.
Luke 2:20 ESV
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
They had seen angels giving glory to God in the highest, and that impacted them so much that they “glorify and praise God” continually.
The number one reason the church around the world fails to grow is
not because the world does not need them,
not because God has nothing to offer,
not because life is good without God,
not because of any of the millions of other excuses you may have heard.
The number one reason that the church does not grow much today is because the common people are keeping to themselves. Very few people are known for glorifying and praising God. Very few are ever heard telling others all they have seen and heard from God’s Word. Very few are ever making known what God did to calm their fears and give them peace in life.
Conclusion: To personally give glory to God this Christmas we have to personally be involved.
We may wish someone else would do it, but God has worked in our lives so that we will be involved in the lives of others.
The angels declared that the good news was for all. it is our blessed opportunity to be part of making that happen.
1.The shepherds did their part in speaking up, will we?
2.When people need some good news of great joy, are we more content to stay silent?
3.How willing are we to take our part?
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