The Effects of the Christmas Story on peopleís Fears
I. Introduction -
A. Much depression, and disappointment at Christmas - people dread it. Doctors warn about it. Some people fear facing the Christmas holiday - so many bad memories, bad experiences, false hopes!
B. But it doesnít have to be that way - thatís not how it started! Something has gone all wrong with Christmas
C. Letís turn back to the events of Luke 2:1-7, and see what can take away every fear, anxiety, and sorrow from the human heart! Is it the Lottery? Some new govt entitlement? Or raffle? No! Infinitely better!
D. We are going to deal with some things that no one should ever fear anymore simply because of a baby at Christmas!
II. Message - What NOT To Fear At Christmas! (Luke 2:8-20)
A. You Donít Have to Fear the Unexpected (2:8,9,10a)
1. Life is not meant for people to just endure! FATE is not the Master of this universe - neither is some neuter, generic FORCE
a. Most people fear the unexpected
b. Thatís why they hate ďchangeĒ and surprises, and anything ďdifferentĒ than what they are used to
c. Thatís why we hate bills - because we hate higher rates, and bigger bills
d. Thatís why we only go to doctors that others recommend
2. No, God is working things out behind the scenes, and it ought not surprise us when He interrupts our daily schedule to get us saved!
3. These shepherds were out doing their jobs - night jobs out with the sheep - it was a life - they were looking after their flocks, not for angels, or for a little baby named Jesus to be born - not even interested! But God was interested in them!
4. Up pops this bright angel who basically overpowers them, and terrifies them - understandably - but it didnít have to frighten them
5. This is CHRISTMAS we are talking about - Fear Not! There may be a lot of ďunexpected thingsĒ about Christmas in this Bible, but no one should fear them! No!
B. You Donít Have to Fear the Word of God (2:10)
1. This Book is referred to as a TWO-edged Sword - it has two edges like Surgeonís knife: one edge cuts, one heals. It has to cut to heal
2. The angel came TO these Shepherds - personal - delivering a message - GOOD NEWS, Glad Tidings - Thatís this Book!
3. The message was not ďexclusiveĒ (ie, only for the elite, or prince, priest, or some Ďelectí), but rather for the whole human race!
4. This Book is for all people everywhere - it declares the greatest news ever published! And it NEVER gets old! Get into this Book
C. You Donít Have to Fear Godís Plans (2:11-14)
1. Godís plans are FOR us, not against us - WE are against ourselves
a. God knew our spiritual condition (we donít) - LOST
b. God knew our destiny was not with Him - but in hell
c. God knew that we had no way of escape (we think there is)
d. So, He put in action His plan (not our plan) - a rescue plan:
1) Become flesh like us - start as a baby in a manger
2) Live the perfect life that we could not live
3) Die as a perfect substitute
4) Rise again victorious over death and hell
5) All so that we sinners could be SAVED!
There is NO OTHER PLAN better than that! No one loved you enough to die in your place! Buddha, Krishna, Allah, or any other one of a million false gods!
2. God had signposts all the way: the Star pointing the wise men, the birth of John the Baptist, the miraculous conception and birth of a child by a virgin, the place of Christís birth (in a stable)!
3. God, and all heaven gets all excited about His plans coming to pass just as we would (2:13,14)
4. So, there is no need to fear His plans - yet so many mock them, run from them, ignore them - yet it is our only hope!!!
D. You Donít Have to Fear Drawing Close to Christ Jesus (2:15,16)
1. Godís plan was all wrapped up in a PERSON - not a church, or a new religion, or a new philosophy, or doctrine
2. And THAT person is VERY approachable (Mt 11:28)
3. God became every bit like you and me so that we could draw very close to Him without fear (Heb 4:14-16)!
Him, trust Him, walk with Him, love, and live for Him!
4. The natural course of action for somebody who hears of the birth of a Saviour for THEM is for them to want to meet this Saviour! Is that YOUR desire?
5. These shepherds made HASTE to get to Christ! Ran!
6. They found everything just as Godís angels had said! Always so!
7. Go ahead, get near to the One who loves you - face Him, meet Him, cling to Him - He alone will save!
E. You Donít Have to Fear Peopleís Reactions to the Gospel (2:17,18)
1. To find out that HE (the Messiah, the Saviour) truly had come was enough to set these men on FIRE! They literally TOOK OFF!
2. This was too good to keep to themselves! Good News had to be published ABROAD - far and wide
3. They didnít care WHO they told, nor what the reaction was - they just started broadcasting the same message that they had heard from the angels - repeaters!
4. That is the task of the Christian - that is the normal reaction to finding Christ really real - you want others to know about HIM!
5. Those smelly, ignorant shepherds sure stirred-up the town that night! Not by bombing, bar hopping, or selling drugs, but by proclaiming the best news ever heard: JESUS IS FINALLY HERE
F. You Donít Have to Fear the Gospel Yourself (2:19) People have gotten used to not thinking anymore - want the TV to do it, or the Mags, or the radio, or the priests!
1. The good news of the Gospel is meant to be preached!
2. The good news of the Gospel is meant to be pondered! Taken and thought over - deeply in the heart, not just the head!
a. It will first cause great surprise - that God is interested in you
b. It will then cause great sorrow that your sins brought the Saviour here
c. It will then cause great joy because He came FOR YOU
d. It will lastly cause a great change (conversion, salvation) - surrender to His saving grace - let Him save you - you MUST be born again (John 3:3)
3. Realize what is happening here - it is all for US! We are the reason that God became Man, and died- for ME!!!
G. You Donít Have to Fear the Different Life You Will Live (2:20)!
1. The shepherds were different people now than they had been!
2. That baby changes lives! Once a person comes into contact with that Saviour, they are never the same: they either get mad, or get glad! Which one are you!
3. If you know that you are a sinner without Jesus Christ in your heart, donít fear the salvation that He offers you - get in on it!
4. If you already are saved, donít fear going all the way for Christ! Get your life turned around and centered upon Him! Live differently, every day of the week, not just Sundays!
III. Conclusion - Because of Christmas:
A. You Donít Have to Fear the Unexpected Anymore - God has shown just how committed He is to you - Things happen so you can get saved
B. You Donít Have to Fear the Word of God - the message is to both YOU and to the whole world - there is a Saviour!
C. You Donít Have to Fear Godís Plans - His only design is for our eternal destiny, and He worked out all the details through His Son! And if heaven is that excited about the birth of the Saviour, donít you think that we should have just a taste of that joy?!
D. You Donít Have to Fear Drawing Close to Christ Jesus - He is real, and touchable, and approachable, and waiting for someone to want to be near Him! Jesus is a PERSON not a statue! Get to know Him!
E. You Donít Have to Fear Peopleís Reactions to the Gospel - they probably will be just as amazed as you are that God really did care about them to send His very best! Let the whole world know!
F. You Donít Have to Fear the Gospel Yourself - It is not only for other people ďout thereĒ but rather for YOU!!! think about it - let it sink-in!
1. It will first cause great surprise - that God is interested in you
2. Then cause great sorrow that your sins brought the Saviour here
3. Then cause great joy because He came FOR YOU
4. Lastly cause a great change (conversion, salvation) - surrender to His saving grace - let Him save you - you MUST be born again
G. You Donít Have to Fear the Different Life You Will Live from Then On Go on, start living for Jesus Christ, the Saviour of your soul!