Malankara World

Christmas Sermon - The Birthday of Jesus

The Birth of Christ

by Ralph Bouma

'And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people' (Luke 2:7-10).

I want to direct you to the beginning of Luke 2, and I want you to take notice that the Christmas message does not begin with verse 7. The Christmas message begins with verse 1:

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."

We must notice the chronology of how the Holy Spirit brings us the Christmas message. The beginning of that message is the reign of Caesar Augustus. This is to bring to our attention how the world was under the dominion of Caesar Augustus. The world was to be taxed. It lay in subjection to Caesar Augustus.

This teaches us, I believe, how that by nature the world, that is, every person, is under the reign of the kingdom of this world. In such a time and place, the Christmas message comes to us that there is another king, that we are no longer to serve Caesar Augustus. We are no longer to serve our own hearts. We are no longer to serve the things of this world. Another king has been born into the world, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ. It was during the height of the kingdom of Caesar Augustus that we see a new kingdom being established.

Where was it established? That kingdom is to be established in the hearts of the children of men. To enter that kingdom of heaven is to serve the Lord. It is to discontinue and to cut off the service of Caesar, as we are all his servants by nature. By nature we are all servants of the things of this world. By our fallen nature in Adam we all serve sin.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan proclaimed the message, 'You shall be as God, knowing good and evil.' The Christmas message, however, teaches us not man becoming God, but God becoming man. This is the wonder of Christmas.

After all these years, man wanted to be God, and that is our nature under the service of Caesar. We want to decide what is right and what is wrong. We want to be God, but the great gospel message of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is that God became man. This happened so man, in perfection, can produce the purpose of the creation, and that is that God the Father might be glorified by perfect subjection and perfect obedience to His will.

The purpose of the coming of the Messiah was a change of kingdom. You and I by nature serve ourselves. We want to be our own kings. Now we learn to see that God became man instead of man becoming God. God condescended in sending His Son, that He might become man, that in our human nature, perfect obedience could be rendered to God the Father. That perfect righteousness, that perfect obedience of Christ, could now be imputed and imparted to us. It must be imputed to us that God the Father looks upon us in Christ, but it must also be imparted to us, that that perfect obedience of Christ becomes formed in us, that we start looking for that perfect obedience to serve God in Christ.

Our text says:

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:7-10).

Jesus being laid "in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn," is a lesson that Caesar is king in your heart and my heart by nature. We do not have room for Jesus in our hearts. That is the nature of our fall. We do not want Jesus to rule as king over us. They had to find a place in a stable, in a barn. They had to sleep where the cattle were.

We often find there is no room for us to follow the footsteps of Christ among those who hold the honors of this world. Christ is formed in us, and we start to understand that the kingdom of Caesar has been broken in our hearts, and the authority of the Word of God becomes elevated in our hearts. We now begin to elevate the Word of God before the world as the authority under which we now walk. We no longer walk under that authority that was established in the Garden of Eden, where Satan said, You shall be as God.

God has become man, and Christ is formed in us. We elevate the authority of the Word of God before the world and before our fellow man. Then there is no longer room for us, as there was no longer room for the Lord Jesus Christ. When we go out to follow in the footsteps of Christ, we find that there is no longer room for us.

This is such a rebuke to those who would esteem men by their station in life and earthly surroundings. This is the nature of man. Today we see that many want Christmas, but do they want Christ as king? They are unwilling to undo the kingdom of Caesar, this serving of the world, the serving of our own sinful lusts, the serving of flesh.

They want a kingdom with a throne that has two seats on it. They want to put the Lord Jesus on one and Caesar on the other. They will serve Jesus as long as it can be to their own honor. How many can dethrone Caesar and put Christ on the throne of the heart?

We must also notice it was not those who could find place in the inn who received the glorious message of our Saviour's arrival. It was proclaimed to shepherds, not to those in the inn, not to those in the royal palaces. Shepherds abode in the field keeping watch over their flock. They were those who were walking in the ways of the Lord.

We read in Luke 2:8:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

However, there was no room for Jesus in the hearts of those who were in the palace, but there was room in the hearts of the shepherds for Him. That is where the message came.

We read in Luke 2:15:

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

They longed for the coming of the Messiah, and there was room for that kingdom of Christ in their hearts.

So why was Jesus born in a manger instead of an inn? When Jesus was born in a manger, the poorest, humblest, meekest and the most rejected could come there, but they could not come into the palace. All they had to do was come to the manger.

Why do so many want an ambassador between them and the Lord? It is because they cannot humble themselves to come down so low where Jesus is.

When our hearts are right before the Lord, our hearts become as little children. How often did we as children desire that someday we would be old enough to have certain privileges?

I remember when I was a child. I often thought, if I could just be 21, then I could be my own boss. The way of God, however, is just the opposite. When I became 21, when I became my own boss, I needed to become as a little child to become Christlike.

This is what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 18:3:

"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Little children have to be in submission to their parents. Jesus says that we all must become as little children. We must come under the rule of those who are superior to us. This is completely backward to our human reasoning, but that is the way to heaven. We must come again in subjection to the kingship of Christ. To enter the kingdom means to enter under the service of Christ. It means that Christ becomes king in our hearts.

Only those who have a childlike faith will ever truly enter the kingdom, that is, the service of the Lord. We read in Matthew 19:14:

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

When the rebellion of our hearts is broken, and we become as little children, we come into subjection to the kingship of Christ. We can then come to Him.

So often, little children desire to be big, but the way to heaven is for big people to become little, and to come back into subjection under those who are over us, that is, to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That blessed kingdom of Christ comes into our hearts. That is the Christmas message. We as little children can again come to Him.

Our text says in Luke 2:9:

"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."

Why were the shepherds so afraid?

The glory of God is the light of the Saviour's righteousness. When the glory of God shines upon us, when the righteousness of Christ truly shines in our hearts, we become afraid. This is because light is condemnation. Light reveals that which the darkness hides. We have in our hearts by nature many secret sins. How often in our hearts do we think about things that we do not tell anyone? How would we blush if every thought that came into our hearts was written on the wall.

When the light shines in the heart, it is uncovered before God. That is why the shepherds were so afraid. That righteousness of Christ revealed the sin of their hearts.

This glory of the Lord is the light of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Revelation 21:23:

"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."

The glory of God is the righteousness of Christ. When we see the beauty of the perfect obedience of Christ, it unveils to us the corruption of our hearts.

The Lord Jesus Christ knows every thought that comes into our hearts as if those thoughts were written on the wall. That is why it at first makes us afraid.

Jesus tells us in John 8:12:

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

He also said in John 3:19-21:

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

This is why by nature there is no room for Christ in the hearts of men. When Christ comes in the heart, He reveals the corruption of our hearts. He shows that by nature we love evil.

Jesus said to the woman of Samaria in John 4:16-18:

"Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."

When Christ showed this woman who He was, He took her sin and laid it right before her. That however did not make her run away.

When light reveals our sins, it does not make us run away to hide those sins. It brings us to the Lord and causes us to say, Open my eyes to see my sin that I might be delivered from it.

We see the blessed affect of that light in John 4:28-29:

"The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?"

This is the reaction we should have. That light was not a condemnation to her to make her flee from Christ, but it was a revealing of who she was and of being delivered from that sin. It brought her to Christ, and she went out to bring all her friends and neighbors to Him. That light will draw to Him those who love Him.

David said in Psalm 139:23-24:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

When that light reveals sin in our hearts, it should lead us to the Lord that we might be delivered from that sin.

Why should we want to be delivered from that sin? Jesus said in John 3:21:

"But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

If we want to be true to the Lord, then we want to come to the truth, that we might be delivered from that sin.

If we understand that language of David, we shall not fear to enter that heavenly city where Jesus is the light thereof. Revelation 6:16 tells us that every person who did not come to the light in this life will say "to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne."

If we have not come to the light in this life, how shall we ever enter heaven? That light will keep us out of heaven. If we hide from the light in this life, we will not be able to enter heaven.

The wonder of wonders is contained in the name of Jesus. We read in Matthew 1:21:

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

What does Jesus mean to you and me? Is it a salvation from sin? So many people want to get away from the consequences of sin. They want to be justified in the blood of Christ so they can go to heaven. How will they enter heaven if they have never come to the light and have never had deliverance from sin?

The fear of the shepherds was removed when the heavenly host said in Luke 2:10-11:

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

The word Saviour means a deliverance from your sins. When sin has been washed away, and when we have been delivered from the power of sin, we have peace. That is the good news of the gospel.

The blessedness of this message is that a Saviour has been born to save His people from their sins. Believing in that Saviour must become a personal matter. We must believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We must come to Him that our sins might be revealed that we might be delivered from them.

We read in John 12:36:

"While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light."

There is salvation. That light is that we might have our sins revealed and be delivered from them, that we might come to that light and be the children of light.

[Editor's Note: Ralph Bouma is with the Gospel Chapel, 23 5th Ave SE Conrad, MT]

See Also:

Is There A Place for Jesus in Your Home? by The Patriarchal Journal
Where is the greatness of Jesus, oh angel Gabriel? Where is his kingdom? Where is his throne? Yes, his kingdom is not of this world. So, even though the priests and rulers of this earth ignored his existence, the heavens gave him glory and the angel brought the good news of his birth to the simple shepherds saying to them, "‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord."

Christmas Message: The Message of the Angels to the Shepherds by Dr. Joe McKeever
Every element in the angels' message is a welcome surprise to us.

My Favorite Christmas Verse by Dr. Joe McKeever
It should go without saying that the angels from Heaven know a lot more than you or I do. And when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and they brought the announcement to the shepherds on a dark hillside nearby, they identified Jesus as 'a Savior.'

Ten Things About the Christmas Story You May Have Missed by Dr. Joe McKeever
They were not "kings" from the east and there weren't three of them. And when they arrived in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus were not still in the stable, but in a house, contrary to half the Christmas cards that will be arriving at your house.

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