2013.12.22 4th Advent
God our Savior!
It´s wonderful to see you here this morning! We are here to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
Isaiah 9:6,7 NKJV
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9: 5,6 Schlachter 2000
5 Denn ein Kind ist uns geboren, ein Sohn ist uns gegeben; und die Herrschaft ruht auf seiner Schulter; und man nennt seinen Namen: Wunderbarer, Ratgeber, starker Gott, Ewig-Vater, Friedefürst.
6 Die Mehrung der Herrschaft und der Friede werden kein Ende haben auf dem Thron Davids und über seinem Königreich, daß er es gründe und festige mit Recht und Gerechtigkeit von nun an bis in Ewigkeit. Der Eifer des Herrn der Heerscharen wird dies tun!
This prophesy is full of important theology as we seek to better understand our great God and our Savior…. The Child Jesus is born in Bethlehem…… But the Son eternally existed and is given to a lost and dying World…… John 3:16 is echoed here..... God in that divine moment revealed Himself as He had never been revealed before, through His Son…... We see in this text that Jesus has always existed and that He is in fact coequal with God….. Jesus is God…. He has been born a man…… Born to die for us… for our sins….That is what the Christmas message was about and is about….. Very important news….. The Angel did not go to Ceasar with this Good News… Who did the Angel tell? Ordinary people…. Poor people…. God has always helped the helpless….. He puts His love on the least, the weakest….. He loves and redeems the worst of men…. People like me and you….. God places His love on mankind….. Because He is by nature a savior…. The desparate…. The fatherless and widows are always on His heart….
Alfred Edersheim writes about the promise of the Messiah as also being the promise of God to rescue and redeem the poor the fatherless and the widow…. The scriptures are full of God reaching out to the least…. Rescuing the weak and helpless…. It is to the least in Israel that the message comes…. Who did the Angel tell?
First Mary, then Joseph, then the shepherds…. Let´s read again about the shepherds…
Luke 2: 8- 14 NKJV
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2: 8- 14 Schlachter 2000
8 Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend auf dem Feld, die bewachten ihre Herde in der Nacht.
9 Und siehe, ein Engel des Herrn trat zu ihnen, und die Herrlichkeit des Herrn umleuchtete sie; und sie fürchteten sich sehr.
10 Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen: Fürchtet euch nicht! Denn siehe, ich verkündige euch große Freude,4 die dem ganzen Volk widerfahren soll.
11 Denn euch ist heute in der Stadt Davids der Retter geboren, welcher ist Christus5, der Herr6.
12 Und das sei für euch das Zeichen: Ihr werdet ein Kind finden, in Windeln gewickelt, in der Krippe liegend.
13 Und plötzlich war bei dem Engel die Menge der himmlischen Heerscharen, die lobten Gott und sprachen:
14 Herrlichkeit [ist] bei Gott in der Höhe und Friede auf Erden, [und] unter den Menschen [Gottes] Wohlgefallen!
I think that this passage is the most read passage in the Christmas Season…
This text talks about a Savior, Christ the Lord…… We also read about the great host of Angels…. Saying Glory to God in the highest!
This little text is full of Theology….. That means it tells a lot about our great God and Savior….. We could spend a life time studying the birth of Jesus….
Beginning with the creation itself….. We see the Messiah active in the creation…… The ancient Rabbi´s taught that when we read in Gen1:2 that the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters….. They say it was the Spirit of Messiah!
The Messiah who always was….. Was there in creation…. He is Eternal and coequal with the Father….. God was preparing for the day when He would truly become Immanuel…. God with us….. God promised long ago that he would come to dwell with us….. Thousands of years before the Messiah was born….. The Spirit of God moved men to prophesy of the messiah…… Through the prophet Nathan…. God revealed to David that the Long awaited Messiah would be born through his family line… David who was himself a prophet…. Wrote much about the Messiah´s coming…… According to the ancient Rabbi´s…. Many of His psalms are Messianic and point to the Messiah….. The Son of David…. As we are studying the Life of David on Tuesday nights we looked at the 51st Psalm…… It is a tremendous account of David´s repentance as he was confronted with his sin with Bathsheba….. It is also full of solid theology about God our Heavenly Father….. David wrote over and over of the Messiah the coming King in his psalms and he worshipped God for His faithfulness…..
About 700 hundred years before this baby was born….. a Hebrew prophet named Micah was inspired by God to write that when the Messiah did come….. He would be born in of all places an obscure small town called Bethlehem, house of bread……. That's what the prophet said and it's recorded in Micah chapter 5 and verse 2….. let´s look at it…
Micah 5:2 NKJV Schlachter 2000
2“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
1 Und du, Bethlehem Efrata, die du klein bist unter den Städten in Juda, aus dir soll mir der kommen, der in Israel Herr sei, dessen Ausgang von Anfang und von Ewigkeit her gewesen ist.
1000 years ago in Worms a very famous OT scholar Rashi….. Wrote that this verse is about the Messiah….. He said the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem…..
God in His providence called Caesar Augustus…. Who knew nothing about the true and living God and nothing about the Old Testament did exactly what was necessary to assure the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem…….
He called for a census to be taken of everybody in the Roman Empire….. And so Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to register…..
Ceasar did exactly what had been predetermined by the counsel and foreknowledge of God…..
This was the most important event in the history of the world…...
Few realized that the eternal holy creator God of the universe had just entered the world in the form of a little baby…..
Joseph knew because he had been told to name the baby Jesus….. Because He would save His people from their sins…… And he had been told that His name would be Immanuel…. God with us…... So he knew this was the incarnate God who was to save His people from their sins…... And Mary knew…. because Gabriel had told her that this child would be the Son of the Most High God…. This baby Jesus was the one who would sit on the throne of David and reign forever…..
We all know the amazing story of Jesus´birth…. It was to poor shepherds that the angel comes and makes the announcement about this child……
The central message in this whole passage is summed up in verse 11…...
Luke 2:11 NKJV Schlachter 2000
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
11 denn euch ist heute der Heiland geboren, welcher ist Christus, der Herr, in der Stadt Davids.
There has been born for you a Savior…...
That's the Good news….. isn't it? That's the gospel…. There has been born for you a Savior..... That's what we're still telling people, isn't it? There has been born for you a Savior…... Even these poor shepherds would understand that…...
The idea of a Savior is not just a New Testament concept…… It's also an Old Testament concept…... Shepherds would know what that meant because all who were in Israel knew God as Savior…...
The God of the Old Testament was known to His people as a Savior…... Israel knew God as a Savior….. Now that was not the way it was with other false gods, the gods of men's making….. There's only one God, the one true and living God, the eternal God, and He is by nature a Savior, He is a saving God…… To use another word…. He is a Deliverer….. He is a rescuer…. And He is that by nature…..
And what set the one true and living God apart from all false gods….. Is that He is by nature compassionate, merciful, tender-hearted, filled with loving kindness and seeks to save people……
The Jews knew this……. .They knew God to be wise and powerful…… They also knew that He is a Savior by His very Nature……… God has not yet struck sinners dead because he is loving and patient…. Turn to Rom 2…
Romans 2: 4 NKJV Schlachter 2000
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
4 Oder verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Güte, Geduld und Langmut? Weißt du nicht, dass dich Gottes Güte zur Buße leitet?
it's God's nature to deliver men from the consequences of sin…… that's mercy and grace….
The shepherds out on that field were at the bottom of the educational ladder….. They were part of the very lowest class of people there were…… Even they would understand that God was by nature a saving God…...
And they would also understand that there never had been a sacrifice that really took away sin and guilt….. The sacrificial system only temporarily covered their sins….. They had to be repeated over and over again… They of all people knew that thousands and thousands of sacrifices were done every year….. You see these Shepherds were shepherding the sheep that were headed for temple sacrifices….. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement…… Once a year the High Priest laid his hands on the head of a goat and confessed the sins of the people….. He sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice this day on the Mercy seat in the Holy of Holies…. They knew God to be a saving God….
So when the announcement came there's been born today a Savior, they understood it…. In the Old Testament God is a Savior….. and over and over again His salvation is spoken of….. Deuteronomy 20 verse 4, "The Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you...to save you."
God is called the God of His salvation…… Psalm 25:5
Psalm25: 5,6 NKJV Schlachter 2000
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. 4 Herr, zeige mir deine Wege und lehre mich deine Pfade!
5 Leite mich in deiner Wahrheit und lehre mich, denn du bist der Gott meines Heils; auf dich harre ich allezeit
David in Psalm 51 as he repented of his sins… said "Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation."
The Old Testament is just filled with God´s unfailing love and faithfulness…… David was one of the great prophets in the OT. The ancient rabbis said that half of the Psalms point to the Messiah….. David prophesied 1000 years before Jesus was born……. David came first …. Then 250 years later Isaiah also had much to tell us about Jesus…. Sometimes we hear Isaiah echoing David´s words as he tells us of God´s Salvation….
I had that backwards last week…… I repeat here…. Isaiah echos David in His writings and prophesies….. Like David…. Isaiah tells us about our great God and Savior…..
Isaiah 63 is one worth mentioning…… Verse 8 and 9, it says when God chose Israel, "So He became their Savior." What a great statement.
Isaiah 63: 7-9 NKJV
7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord And the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
8 For He said, “Surely they are My people, Children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior.
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.
Isaiah 63: 7-9 Schlachter 2000
7 Ich will der Gnade des HERRN gedenken und der Ruhmestaten des HERRN in allem, was uns der HERR getan hat, und der großen Güte an dem Hause Israel, die er ihnen erwiesen hat nach seiner Barmherzigkeit und großen Gnade.
8 Denn er sprach: Sie sind ja mein Volk, Söhne, die nicht falsch sind. Darum ward er ihr Heiland
9 in aller ihrer Not. Nicht ein Engel und nicht ein Bote, sondern sein Angesicht half ihnen. Er erlöste sie, weil er sie liebte und Erbarmen mit ihnen hatte. Er nahm sie auf und trug sie allezeit von alters her.
What did that mean?
verse 9..."In all their affliction... He was afflicted…… In His love and His mercy He rescued them….. He redeemed them….. He brought them back….. He lifted them…... He carried them all the days of old……
Think about Jesus´ mother Mary……. Let´s Go back to Luke chapter 1 verse 46…. She said……
Luke 1: 46,47 NKJV Schlachter 2000
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.."
46 Und Maria sprach: Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn,
47 und mein Geist freut sich Gottes, meines Heilandes;
She knew that Jehovah God was her Savior……
Remember Zacharias…... Zacharias was a godly priest and in his great praise at the birth of his son John, the forerunner of the Messiah….. he says, "God has raised up a horn of salvation for us."
Here comes the Savior, the great power of salvation…... And down in verse 77 he tells you what kind of salvation he's talking about……. Zacharias under the anointing of the Holy Spirit reminds us that we are talking about much more than a temporary redemption or deliverance from earthy difficulties and evil rulers......
Luke 1: 77-79 NKJV Schlachter 2000
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
77 und Erkenntnis des Heils gebest seinem Volk in der Vergebung ihrer Sünden,
78 durch die herzliche Barmherzigkeit unseres Gottes, durch die uns besuchen wird das aufgehende Licht aus der Höhe,
79 damit es erscheine denen, die sitzen in Finsternis und Schatten des Todes, und richte unsere Füße auf den Weg des Friedens.
Zacharias knew that the truest salvation comes when sins were forgiven…… Not just covered over but forgiven….
The Old Testament says that God is a forgiving God who removes our sins as far as the east is from the west….. buries them in the depths of the deepest sea and remembers them no more…… They knew God was a saving God….. They knew God was a forgiving God……
There were many of them in that nation who had experienced personal, spiritual and eternal salvation from God…. You say, "Did they learn that from the Old Testament?" Yes they did….. They knew they did not obey God from the heart…. they couldn't keep the law of God…… They knew were under a curse that meant death and punishment…… They would go to God in repentance and cry out to God for mercy…. Please be merciful, be gracious, forgive me and wash me clean…. That's the repentance we see in the Old Testament……. God then forgave their sins…… And they were justified by faith….. Just like Habakuk said…. The just shall live by faith….
Mary was one who understood…. so were Zachariah and Elizabeth and Simeon and Anna….. All God fearers….. True saints…… They knew very well that they needed a Savior….. They cried out for mercy and forgiveness….. God´s mercy and unfailing love….. His desire to save and redeem is rooted in His Character……. Zacharias knew the salvation of God….. He knew that it is personal and spiritual…... He knew his God….. The one who declared Himself to be a Savoir….. Who also said…. I will never leave you…. I will never forsake you….
And so God the Living Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…. John 1:14…. We all have the same Savior…. Christ bears the sins of all who believed in the Old Testament, as well as in the New Testament age.
They knew God as a Savior…... Mary knew that…... Zacharias and Elizabeth knew that……
We met Simeon in Luke chapter 2….. Here's another true believer….. He has been forgiven by God and God is his Savior…. In verse 30 He picks up the baby and worshipped and said….. My eyes have seen Thy salvation.
Finally the Savior has come……. He understood that God was a Savior…..
They knew God was their Savior…..
God showed Himself a Savior to Israel by saving them from Egypt….. by rescuing them, and delivering them time after time…… He rescued them from many enemies that hated them and tried to destroy them…... He delivered them from hostile nations….. He delivered them from danger….. He delivered them from death over and over again……
God is a Savior by nature…… and He has saved that nation through the years because it's His nature to rescue and deliver because of His mercy and for His great name´s sake….
The world is full of people who are not believers….. He is patient with them…. They enjoy life….. They see the sunrise and the sunset….. He sends rain and they drink the cool water….. They eat a good meal….. They fall in love….. They kiss a baby….. They enjoy His creation even though some say He does not exist…….. They enjoy the richness and the fullness of life…… They breathe the air….. Why? Because God by nature delivers them from the immediate consequences of their sin…. The whole world of people today exist because God is a saving God…… He has delivered them from what they deserve because He is by nature a Savior…. ……
Now especially those who believe…...1 Timothy 4:10 says..
1 Timothy 4: 10 NKJV Schlachter 2000
10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
10 Denn dafür arbeiten und kämpfen wir, weil wir unsre Hoffnung auf den lebendigen Gott gesetzt haben, welcher ist der Heiland aller Menschen, besonders der Gläubigen.
What does that mean? He delivers all men from the just and immediate consequence of their sinfor now….. waiting patiently for them to repent….. but He delivers those who believe from their sins forever…. That´s what´s most important right?
God is by nature a Savior…… We see this not just in the OT….. We see this in the New testament also….
9 times in the NT we see the phrase…. God our Savior…. When we look at the big picture….. There's perfect unity between the New Testament and the Old Testament…... Every where we look…. God is by nature a Savior….. that is why Jesus is a Savior….. because Jesus is God…..
When we read in 2 Peter 1:11, "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," It is perfectly clear…. If He's God the Lord, then He's a Savior because God is a Savior…...
God shows His goodness and mercy to all…… He restrains evil….. He uses government to keep order…… He gives everyone opportunities to see beauty and to experience joy…... God shows compassion as He calls sinners to repent…… So when the angel said in Luke 2:11…..
Luke 2: 11 NKJV Schlachter 2000
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
11 denn euch ist heute der Heiland geboren, welcher ist Christus, der Herr, in der Stadt Davids.
The Angel makes this personal to these poor shepherds….. For you! A Savoir is born for you! Rejoice! The Savior they had all been waiting for….. The Angel spoke to Joseph in Matthew 1:21…
Matthew 1:21 NKJV Schlachter 2000
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
21 Und sie wird einen Sohn gebären, dem sollst du den Namen Jesus geben, denn er wird sein Volk retten von ihren Sünden.
Call Him Jesus… Jehovah is Salvation! Luke records the words of Jesus later in Luke 19:10 who said,
Luke 19: 10 NKJV Schlachter 2000
10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
10 denn der Sohn des Menschen ist gekommen, um zu suchen und zu retten, was verloren ist.
Of all things, He's a Savior…… He's the Savior! And as I said….. This Good News is given to these lowly shepherds…… The Good News is proclaimed to the least in all of Israel….. And they tell everyone the Good News about the baby born in a manger…… They tell everyone of the Angel´s words of praise to God….
During this Advent season we have looked at several of the ordinary people who received the great blessing of meeting the Savoir of the World….. Most of them had very difficult times in their lives…. Zacharias and Elizabeth were barren into their old Age….. Then God their Savior stepped in at the perfect time and gave them a child….. A miracle….. Joesph and Mary did not have it easy….. She is with child by the Holy Spirit….. A scandal in those days….. They were not yet married….. What has Joseph done….. He did not want to shame her by a divorce…. But it must a very difficult trial…. until at exactly the right time….. God his Savoir stepped in and made sense of an impossible dilemma…. Mary in her humble heart…. Understood that it was the grace of God alone that had granted her to bear the Lord Jesus….. She worshipped the Lord who had done great things for her…. Then we looked at Simeon and Anna…. Simeon devoted his entire life to the Lord…. God promised that he would live to see the Messiah…. The consolation of Israel…… And God His Savoir… kept his word…… Of course He did…. He is the one who said…. I will never leave you…. I will never forsake you…. Then there´s Anna…. A widow 84 years old… She was totally devoted to the Lord…. She was day and night in the temple….
Anna´s devotion to the LORD... 3 W´s
1. waiting…. for the redemption of Israel..... waiting for God to redeem and restore her life
2. worshipping… Showing her love for Jesus.............
3. witnessing…. She told everyone about him.........
These ordinary people understood that God Their Savior had shown them great grace….. They were thankful…… They worshipped Him…. They went everywhere telling the Good News…….. God has visited His people…. God our Savior is Here! His name is Jesus …. Because he shall save His people from their sins…. You see They knew that God´s Salvation was much more than just help to get through their hard times….. They knew that the Shadow of the cross was over the (crippe) Cradle…. They knew what David had prophesied about the Messiah…… They knew the suffering servant passages of Isaiah….. Let´s close this morning with the Prophesy of Zacharia… Luke 1v74….
Luke 1:74- 79 NKJV
74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[e] us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:74-79 Schlachter 2000
74 daß wir, erlöst aus der Hand unserer Feinde, ihm dienten ohne Furcht
75 in Heiligkeit und Gerechtigkeit vor ihm alle Tage unseres Lebens.
76 Und du, Kindlein, wirst ein Prophet des Höchsten genannt werden, denn du wirst vor dem Angesicht des Herrn hergehen, um seine Wege zu bereiten,
77 um seinem Volk Erkenntnis des Heils zu geben, [das ihnen zuteil wird] durch die Vergebung ihrer Sünden,
78 um der herzlichen Barmherzigkeit unseres Gottes willen, durch die uns besucht hat der Aufgang aus der Höhe,
79 um denen zu scheinen, die in Finsternis und Todesschatten sitzen, um unsere Füße auf den Weg des Friedens zu richten!
After David repented of his sin and rebellion….. He wrote Ps. 51….. He promised to teach others of God´s mercy…. He knew that when he did they would be converted…
Psalm 51: 10-13 NKJV
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
Psalm 51: 12-15 Schlachter 2000
12 Erschaffe mir, o Gott, ein reines Herz, und gib mir von neuem einen festen Geist4 in meinem Innern!
13 Verwirf mich nicht von deinem Angesicht, und nimm deinen heiligen Geist nicht von mir.
14 Gib mir wieder die Freude an deinem Heil, und stärke mich mit einem willigen Geist!
15 Ich will die Abtrünnigen deine Wege lehren, daß sich die Sünder zu dir bekehren.