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Focusing on the Christ of Christmas (Luke 1)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 15 December 2013 00:00

On Sunday we focused on the Christ of Christmas in Luke 1 and noted two distinct messages that would be preached by both John and Jesus, two distinct responses to the visit from the angel Gabriel, and two distinct ministries of the coming Messiah as prophesied by Zecharias.
(1) Two Distinct Messages
There is a message for individuals, and that message is to believe in Jesus Christ for the free gift of everlasting life. That is the purpose of John’s gospel. But you could have great multitudes believing that message, and it was NOT the trigger for the Lord to say, “It’s time to set in motion the steps to restore the kingdom to Israel.”
There was a distinct message for the nation, and that message is to repent. That was the circumstance under which the kingdom would be restored. That is the focus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts. That is totally distinct from the message to individuals to believe in Jesus Christ for everlasting life. If we get the messages garbled then we become confused and add conditions to simple faith for receiving the free gift of everlasting life, conditions which make it neither a gift nor free!

We could illustrate it this way: When you tell your kids, “Wash your face and brush your teeth.”
Washing your face has nothing to do with oral hygiene. And brushing one’s teeth has nothing to do with skin! But they are both logically done at a similar time because you need running water and you need a place to dispose of the water, so we tend to say to do those two things at a very similar time. But they are quite distinct from each other.

The problem is that we can end up with a message like: Put the toothpaste on your wash cloth and shove the wash cloth in your mouth. Put soap (hygiene product/zit remover) on your toothbrush and brush your face with it! They end up all confused because they do not realize that they are TWO DISTINCT MESSAGES.

The Lord continues to hold forth a plan for restoring Israel. He had the apostles go forth with two distinct messages – one for individuals so we can have eternal life, and another because He has not forgotten Israel, and the restoration of the nation is part of His plan!

(2) Two Distinct Responses to Gabriel’s visits and announcements
Zecharias’ response was one of unbelief, for which he was disciplined by the Lord for nine months. Mary’s response was one of faith by which she submitted herself to God’s plans for her life. Both were believers (Zecharias – 1:6; Mary – 1:28, 30). Both were troubled at the angel’s appearance and announcement (1:12; 1:29). But while Zecharias was an ‘unbelieving believer,’ (1:20) who came under discipline for nine months, on the other hand, Mary was a ‘believing believer’ (1:45) and was blessed and full of joy, as evidenced in her Maginificat (Latin for magnifies, 1:46-56).

(3) Two Distinct Ministries
Jesus came to give light and to guide (1:79). We need light. When we were children of darkness, we needed to be delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the His Son.
Colossians 1:8-14 ~ 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood,[NU-Text and M-Text omit through His blood.] the forgiveness of sins.
As His children, we need His guidance so that we may experience His peace that passes understanding.
Philippians 4:4-7 ~ 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

May we be believing believers and respond to “trouble” as Mary did and by faith say to the Lord, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word.”





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