Posts Tagged ‘Luke’

Make Room

January 15, 2015

The Christmas story never grows old.  Each time that we read it something different stands out to us.  Today is Christmas Day and the scripture reading is from Luke chapter two.

Luke 2: 1-20

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

I.  Peace, Goodwill to Men

Peace to Earth.

Humanity deserves judgement.  We have sinned.  We have turned away from God.  We have abandoned His laws and denied His existence.   Yet God so loved the world that He sent His son into the world to be our savior.  God offers us forgiveness, instead of judgement.  He offers us a peace that this world does not understand, and that this world cannot take away.

Goodwill toward men.

God offers us an abundant life.  To choose to follow God is to choose the better path.  God loves us and wants what is best for us.  Part of that life is learning how to live and act justly.  This past year in our country there has been much unrest, much turmoil, much conflict in the pursuit of justice.  God offers us a better way.  We are not to detach and let the world go its own way.  We are to engage, to be salt and light in the world.  We are to be the hand of God extended to those who live in darkness.  We should pursue peace and justice in our world.  May God help us to express His goodwill towards humanity.

II.  No Room for Them

This is an eloquent symbol of many people today.  Just as there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn, so there seems to be no room in people’s lives today for Christ.  We are busy with so many activities that prayer, scripture, and church are frequently squeezed out of people’s lives.

Our government, in the name of separation of church and state is busily pursuing the removal of religious symbols.  It is all that much more important that Christians do all that they can do to keep Christ in the forefront of their lives. The light should shine in the darkness.

We should make room in our lives for Christ, so that we can be a living source of peace, goodwill towards all people.

These are the sermon notes from 12/25/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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New Every Morning

January 2, 2014

I.)  The Birth of Christ

I never have to wonder what scripture I will start with on Christmas day.  It is always Luke 2:1-20.

 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Most of us have either read, or heard, this passage of scripture many times.  I am reminded about something that I have read about Indian epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge).  They make a distinction between something that is remembered, and something that is happening in that moment.  In this way, hearing it in the moment, it is new, not something remembered.

II.  New Every Morning:  Lamentations 3:22-25

I’m guessing that not many of you have heard a Christmas message with scriptures from Lamentations.  Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah after Jerusalem had been conquered by the Babylonians.  However, I believe these verses will work today.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

The fact that Christ came to earth to be born in Bethlehem is proof of God’s love for us.  “The Lord is my portion” is a wonderful expression of what God should be to us.  We should not find our fulfillment in the things of this world, but in God.  To truly celebrate Christmas, we must celebrate Christ.  To truly celebrate Christ, Christ must be present in our lives.  For Christ to be present in our lives, we must believe in the Christ who came to earth for us.

III.  Peace, Goodwill Towards Men

The peace and goodwill that has been extended to humanity is not meant to be just once in a lifetime, not just once a year.  It is meant to be for every day.

Our relationship with God can be more than a memory of what God did once upon a time.  It can be new every morning.  The Lord is good to those who seek Him.  Seek Him every day.

These are the notes from the message preached 12/25/13.  You are welcome to ask questions or make comments.

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Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven

January 12, 2009

I have occasionally had people ask me if there is a difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  We had a big discussion a time or two in our Wednesday night Bible study and I wanted to share some information with the readers of this blog.

There are a number of parallel verses in the gospels.  In the following list, the verses are basically identical except that Mathew uses Kingdom of Heaven, while Luke and Mark use Kingdom of God.  Although Mathew will occasionally use the term Kingdom of God, the term Kingdom of Heaven is only used in Mathew.

Math 5:3                             Luke 6:20

Math 8:11-13                    Luke  13:28-29

Math 10:7                          Luke 9:2

Math 11:11                          Luke 7:28

Math  13:11                        Luke 8:10                  Mark 4:11

Math 13:31                         Luke 13:18&19        Mark 4:30-31

Math 19:23                        Luke 18:24                 Mark 10:23

Math 22:2                           Luke 14:15

I believe that in reading these verses in comparison with each other it will become obvious that Mathew has substituted the term “Kingdom of Heaven” for “Kingdom of God”.  Is there a reasonable explanation?

Mathew was written primarily to the Jewish people.  They had a historical belief in the Kingdom of God as expressed in the theocracy of the nation of Israel.  I believe that Mathew substituted “Heaven” so that his readers would understand that he was talking about something that was not of this world, something other than a reestablishment of the sovereignty of Israel under God’s rule.

With all due respect to the various televangelists and others who might disagree, there is no difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven as expressed in the gospels.  The terms are synonymous.