Lent — A Helpful Tradition in Christian Living

March 27, 2014

Title: Lent – A Helpful Tradition in Christian Living
Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5, Psalm 139:23-24, Psalm 51
Time: March 8th, 2014

Just last week we passed Ash Wednesday. Now most of us in the evangelical tradition don’t make much of the season of Lent, and most churches don’t participate in Ash Wednesday services. We usually leave that to the more traditional, liturgical churches to observe. But starting about twenty years ago, I’ve made it a habit, or you might say, tradition, to visit a nearby church and participate in the Ash Wednesday church service. I slip in the back door and sit in the back pew and just take it in because I enjoy doing what has been done for centuries, even though it’s not mentioned in the Bible and we are not commanded to do it by the Lord. I think the idea of reflecting on brevity of life and examining our soul’s condition before God is a good and healthy activity, so I support any church that does it. Now in the Baptist tradition, we might call such a time revival preparation, because that’s almost the same thing as the season of Lent. For those of you who don’t know, Lent is a season observed by traditional or liturgical churches for examining one’s heart for unconfessed or unrepented sins, and then making an effort to forsake these sins as preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent also is, traditionally, a season of reflecting on our mortal life, or in other words, the brevity of life, and the fact that we are going to die, and how our faith relates to that fact. It’s all good and healthy. Well, I snuck into a local, nearby church; I walked a few blocks from my home in Jamestown and visited a liturgical church that was observing Ash Wednesday. The Pastor explained the meaning of the season of Lent as it was practiced in the early days of the church as a time of preparation for new members joining the church on Easter. This new member training time eventually developed into a preparation by the whole church, not just the new members, as a form of renewal or revival leading up to Easter Sunday. Lent calls us to reflect on and examine our lives for any sins or bad attitudes or bad behaviors that are hurting our relationship with God and others. It challenges us to do something that doesn’t come natural – that is, to be self-critical. We all by nature are good at pointing out the faults in others, but when it comes to our own faults, well, we tend to ignore these or let them slide. The season of Lent reminds us to dare to put a magnifying glass on ourselves and get right with God relationally. So because of the season of Lent, and because of how extremely helpful it is, I’d like to spend a few minutes this morning going through a number of important Bible verses that deal with spiritual self-examination. Where do we even start in approaching the whole topic of examining ourselves for areas that aren’t yet fully surrendered to God? Well, one of the best approaches is to go to the Bible and begin to learn what God says in His Word concerning the task of self-examination. I hope the passages we cover this morning will inspire you to continue the work of spiritual self-evaluation during the season of Lent. Anything that helps us draw closer to God is a good thing, so let’s take a look at what God says about examining our spiritual condition. Hopefully, it will be an exercise that leads to spiritual revival and renewal in your life. Let’s look at three main Bible passages. Read the rest of this entry »

What the Kingdom of Heaven is Like

March 27, 2014

Title: What the Kingdom of Heaven is Like
Text: Matthew 13:31-32
Time: February 22nd, 2014

 

This past week I was reading a book that quoted a famous atheist of the last century, Bertrand Russell, who once was asked, “When you die if you find yourself standing in front of God Almighty, and he asks you why you didn’t believe, what would you say?” He replied, “Not enough evidence!” I immediately chuckled to myself and thought, “What would be enough evidence for him to believe in God?” How much evidence is enough? How much more evidence does he need? For myself, I see an abundance of evidence all around of God’s existence. But then I started wondering how one man or woman can claim there isn’t enough evidence to believe in God, yet other men and women have no problem seeing enough evidence and believing in God. After having thought about that question for a while, I concluded that it’s all in how a person follows up on the evidence they are given by God. In my Christian life I find that the more evidence I see, the more I’m given by God to see – and so on and so on. But for an unbeliever or atheist or skeptic they probably don’t recognize the evidence for God that they are presented, and then in turn, they fail to see any more evidence because they’ve closed themselves off to the initial evidence before them. And so it starts a vicious cycle of blindness on their part to the presence of God in the world. I then thought of the parable of the mustard seed told by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 13:31-32, “He (Jesus) told them another parable: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come a perch in its branches.’” And that’s just the way faith is, like a mustard seed planted inside someone’s heart – it starts out small and grows to become the biggest thing in a person’s life. For example, today after many, many years of believing and living the Christian faith, God is the biggest thing in my life. But for an atheist, an unbeliever, a skeptic, God is nothing to them, or very insignificant in their life. They live a life totally apart from God in their thinking, feeling, and living. Does it come down to evidence, like the world famous atheist said? No, because he sees the same thing as Christian believers see. But it comes down to how he follows up or processes the evidence. It comes down to what he does with the evidence, his reaction to it, his openness to it, whether he pursues it or dismisses it. A believer looks at the world, looks at his own life and pursues God with whatever evidence he sees, while the unbeliever rejects whatever evidence he finds, or he doesn’t follow it any further. In other words, you might say, if we look close enough we’ll find traces of God everywhere, but if we try hard enough, on the other hand, we can dismiss any traces of God that are available. I’d like to use the parable of the mustard seed this morning to bring out this point further, because it explains how the Kingdom of God can be big in one person’s life, and virtually non-existent in another person’s life. It all comes down to faith, and how we follow up on what God gives us to work with. I hope this message will encourage you to pursue God whole-heartedly with your life. Read the rest of this entry »

All Who Are Weary, Come To Jesus

March 27, 2014

Title: All Who Are Weary, Come To Jesus
Text: Matthew 11:28-30
Time: February 8th, 2014

 

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I like this verse because it’s so realistic. It doesn’t paint too rosy a picture of the Christian life. If you listened to some evangelists talk you’d think that when you come to Jesus life suddenly changes and you no longer have problems, no longer feel pain, no longer experience difficulties. Life just sails by, like a ping pong ball over Niagara Falls. But we all know that’s wrong. Living for Jesus doesn’t guarantee an easy life. In fact, sometimes when you draw closer to Jesus your life actually becomes more difficult, because now you face opposition from the world, the flesh and the Devil, all trying to trip you up. Whereas before, when you weren’t living for God, you might have just coasted along with the crowd, flowing downstream along with everyone else. As a Christian you may face persecution for your faith. People you thought were friends might leave you. People will misunderstand you or reject you now that you follow Jesus. But what I like about this verse is that it explains the Christian life honestly but encourages us to keep following Jesus. Some of you might recognize that this Bible passage is sung in the famous Handle’s Messiah. I mention that because we just finished up the Christmas season, so it might be fresh in your mind. If you’ve never heard Handle’s Messiah you should check it out, and look specifically for this biblical passage, it’s a beautiful melody along with the words of the verse. But I love this passage because it encourages me to hang in their with the Christian life even when the going gets tough – and the going will get tough from time to time in the Christian life, so you’d better be prepared for it. Modern Christianity today tends to oversell happiness and well-being and success and prosperity and all the positive things we hope and pray for. There are many blessings from God, yes, but the Christian life isn’t all fun. But if you listen to some preachers you’d get that impression. They always smile, they’re always upbeat, and they come across as if they’ve not a care in the world. But that’s a misrepresentation of the gospel. It doesn’t fit historic Christianity – remember that the early Christians were sometimes fed to the lions in the Roman Arena. And it doesn’t line up with what the Bible teaches us. But what we can put our hope in is that Jesus will be with us and see us through anything and everything we have to go through. Sometimes he delivers us from trials and tribulations, but other times he helps us through the process. This verse gives us the proper perspective when face the difficulties of the Christian life. So let me talk about this one important verse and point out three truths contained in it. Read the rest of this entry »

You Give Them Something To Eat

March 27, 2014

Title: You Give Them Something to Eat!
Text: Matthew 14:13-21
Time: January 12, 2014

 

I recently got for Christmas from my parents a little electronic box called a Roku Media Streamer. They’re sold in Wal-Mart, Kmart, Radio Shack and other electronic stores for the purpose of receiving cable and Internet TV programs without being hooked up to cable or satellite. It works by using your Internet signal and plays Internet videos on your TV. So for the past week or so I’ve been playing around with it in order to see what kind of TV programs I could find on it. I found it had Discovery Channel programs on it, so I started watching a series on climbing Mount Everest, you know, the world’s tallest mountain. I started watching the 1st Season and got hooked, so I watched the 2nd Season and finally the 3rd Season. It was really interesting because it showed all the different climbers trying to reach the summit of the mountain and all the trials and tribulations they went through in their attempts. One of the things I noticed was that climbers either fell into one of two categories – they were either too confident or they lacked enough confidence in challenging the mountain. But both attitudes, either too much or not enough confidence, were harmful. Only those who had just the right balance of confidence and humility were able to scale the mountain. So the tour guide director usually had to work on each person individually in order to get them to the right place in their attitude towards climbing. Some climbers he had to put them in their place in order to humble them so that they respected the mountain enough to pay attention to the dangers of climbing. Some climbers had to be encouraged and given confidence that they could conquer the mountain if they followed directions and gave it their best effort. When I watched this TV series on Mount Everest I thought of how Jesus had to work with the disciples in much the same way. Sometimes they got a little too confident, but other times Jesus had to encourage them that with God’s help they could do a lot more than they imagined. In Matthew 14:13-21 we read about a situation in the life of the disciples where Jesus reminded them that they could indeed help a crowd full of people when that looked impossible for them, naturally speaking. Let me read the passage (read). Like the disciples, we too limit ourselves in what we can do based on a natural evaluation of things. We need to, like the disciples, consider the power of God in the equation, and attempt great things for God. That not only applies to each of us individually, but also to churches too. This church might be small, low on resources, limited in ability, but with God it can make a big difference in the community here if it looks to God for power and strength. Jesus taught his disciples that they shouldn’t be discouraged because of the natural circumstances, but instead look to God for the power to get the job done. That’s a lesson for us all to hear today. Let’s look at the passage a little closer. Read the rest of this entry »

Did Paul Really Say That?

January 31, 2014

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Title: Did Paul Really Say That? — Resolving Difficult Bible Passages

 

Text: Matthew 28:12-20, 1 Corinthian 1:10-17, Mark 16:15-16

 

Time: October 26th, 2013

 

 

Have you ever had the experience of reading the Bible and all of a sudden a passage strikes you as odd, strange or even not right? A little while ago I was reading along in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 1:17, where the Apostle Paul says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” I read it again, and thought to myself, “Didn’t Christ send the Apostles, Paul, and the rest of us to do both – preach the gospel and baptize?” So then why is the Apostle Paul saying specifically that Christ did not send him to baptize. Now remember, I’m a Baptist Pastor, so this is important. If Christ didn’t send the Apostle Paul to baptize, then maybe he didn’t send any of us to baptize. So it got me thinking, “What does Paul mean here in this passage as it relates to the rest of the Bible?” I knew instinctively that whatever Paul was saying it was in harmony with the rest of the Bible. I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself. But I also knew that it’s easy for us to misunderstand it, or read and interpret it incorrectly, so I figured I’d get to the bottom of this with a little more effort on my part. Somehow the Apostle Paul here is not contradicting the Great Commission given by Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” What did Jesus mean when he gave the Great Commission? What did the Apostle Paul mean when he said he wasn’t sent to baptize? These were two things I wanted to get to the bottom of, because, like I said before, I’m a Baptist pastor, and if there anything us Baptists are known for it’s baptizing, so we’ve got to get this thing straightened out. Well, in the end, I did get it straightened out, as far as I’m concerned. It all comes down to context – and this is really important when reading and understanding the Bible. Every passage in the Bible has a context, or in other words, it’s surrounded by a certain situation. That specific situation must be taken into consideration or else we’ll be ripping passages out of context and making incorrect application, which will then be wrong and throw us out of balance in our Christian life. So this is a very practical lesson today, because it teaches us the importance of reading the Bible in context. Are you careful to consider the context of the Bible passage you are reading? Or do you just jump into any verse and quickly pull anything out of it you can? It’s very, very important to consider the context when reading the Bible. Let me explain further. Read the rest of this entry »

Whatever Happened to The People of the Nativity?

December 31, 2013

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Title: Whatever Happened to The People of the Nativity?

 

Text: Matthew 1:18, Luke 2:8-11, Matthew 1:1-2

 

Time: December 17th, 2013

 

 

 

As I do every Christmas season, I try to come at the Nativity from many different angles with the hope that it enriches our celebration and remembrance of the birth of Christ.  It’s a challenge to find a new angle or twist on the old Christmas story. Today I’ve decided that I’ll ask and try to answer the question, “Whatever happened to the people of the Nativity?” Or in other words, “Whatever happened to Mary and Joseph. Whatever happened to the shepherds? Whatever happened to the wise men?” Yes, there were other characters in the first Christmas account. For example, there was Herod, who tried to kill Jesus. There was, we assume, an innkeeper who turned Joseph and Mary away, but who may have lent them the use of his stables to stay. And of course, there was the baby Jesus, the Lord Christ himself, of which much is said of at Christmas and other times, rightly so. But today I’d like to only deal with a few of the main characters, not all. If there’s one thing we learn after we study and read the Bible for a while, and that is, we don’t know as much as we wish we knew about what the Bible teaches. We don’t know all we wish we could know about the personalities mentioned in the Bible. And there’s a reason for that. I think the biggest reason is that the Bible gives us the basic and essential things, but not all the details of secondary things. But then again, how big of a book it would be if it contained all the information about everything and everyone it mentions? It would be massive; clearly impractical, for preserving down through the ages, and also, for reading and understanding. As it is, as short or as long as it is, it’s still a challenge just to understand that much. So while we’d love to know more about people, places and things in the Bible, we’d probably be overwhelmed if it tried to explain any more than it has explained. So we are left mostly to guess and speculate. What ever happened to Mary and Joseph of the New Testament? We presume they are now in heaven with the Lord and all the departed Christian souls. But what about the remainder of their earthly life? What happened to them in this life? And then there are the shepherds who were summoned by the angels to visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem that first Christmas night? What became of them after they visited the Christ child? And finally, whatever happed to the magi or wise men? As I’ve mentioned before, we really don’t know there were three of them, although we could guess that number by the three gifts given. But what became of them? These are all interesting questions that I’d like to tackle today during the Christmas season of 2013. Hopefully, by exploring these questions we’ll be informed and encouraged in our Christian faith as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Famous Christmas Hymns: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

December 31, 2013

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Title: Famous Christmas Hymns: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

 

Text: Isaiah 40:1-2, Luke 2:10-11, 1 John 3:8

 

Time: December 16th, 2013

 

 

 

I’m continuing with our series on famous Christmas hymns this holiday season. Last time, I analyzed the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” but today I’ll be looking at a really interesting Christmas hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” What’s first of all interesting about this hymn is that it’s right off the bat interpreted by most people incorrectly. Most people think it’s talking about “merry gentlemen,” or in other words, happy fellows or laughing men, and so forth. But that’s not what it’s saying at all. It all depends on where you place the comma in the title. Most people put the comma just after the “Rest” and just after the “Ye,” in order to make it sounds like the writer is talking about “Merry Gentlemen.” But that’s not where the comma goes, according to the song itself. The comma should go after the “Merry,” in order to make it say, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” So instead of talking about “merry gentlemen,” it’s wishing the gentlemen merry rest, that God would give them a merry rest. Now this makes all the difference in the world because the hymn is talking about why these gentlemen should rest merry when they all go to sleep in their respective homes that night. The verses go on to describe why their sleep should be merry – because of the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Savior of the world. The presupposition is that these so-called gentlemen, who really represent anyone and everyone, are disturbed, worried, anxious, bothered, burdened, and so forth by the cares of this world. And who isn’t concerned about life in this world, about the problems and troubles of earthly life? Everyone knows the world is not right; it isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Something is wrong with our earthly existence, and we feel it in the depth of our being. These so-called gentlemen represent the common man, or we could even say, common woman, or in other words, the generic “everyman.” The troubles, problems, and cares of this world do weigh on our hearts, and not only externals but also the difficulties we experience within our own heart – our own sins, temptations, and struggles. So this famous Christmas hymn fits perfectly together, makes perfect sense, if we understand that it isn’t speaking to “merry gentlemen, but rather to troubled men and women everywhere. Now I hope that doesn’t surprise too many people here to learn that the song you’ve been singing in church for so many years isn’t really talking about “merry gentlemen.” If so, it’s not such a surprise, even if it does change a little how you think about the song. But I’d really like to go into detail a lot more because the hymn is really rich in spiritual meaning. I’m not going to tackle the whole hymn, just the first verse, but the remaining verses basically explain the account of the shepherds traveling to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But the first verse is really the richest in theological and spiritual meaning. Here’s what it means. Read the rest of this entry »

Famous Christmas Hymns: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

December 31, 2013

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Title: Famous Christmas Hymns: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 

Text: Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 1:23, Zechariah 9:9

 

Time: December 12th, 2013

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write a series of Christmas sermons based on the most famous Christmas hymns of the church, but I’ve never gotten around to it. But this year I’ve decided to go ahead and do it, starting with an Advent hymn, and following up with a number of Christmas hymns.  I love the Christmas season each year, and a big reason for my love of it is because we get to sing the famous hymns that have been written especially for the occasion. It seems now that the whole world is singing these very hymns; even unbelievers find them enjoyable, although they don’t subscribe to the content of the hymns. But usually each of the more famous Christmas hymns tells a story or message in itself. It’s as if we’re singing a small sermon or sermonette. That goes for the hymn we’ll be looking at today – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” a song about longing for the coming of the Messiah. We’re presently in the Advent season of the Christmas holiday, which means we’re remembering the looking forward to the Messiah’s coming. Now as Christians, we’re actually looking back before the Messiah came and reliving the anticipation of his coming. For Jews, that is religious Jews not secular ones, they mistakenly are looking forward to the initial coming of the Messiah; they don’t accept the fact that Jesus was the Messiah and that he’s already come. The next big event is his Second Coming. But for the Christmas season, we Christians remember back before Jesus’ coming, to the time of anticipation, and try to relive that over again with this song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The hymn has four main stanzas but I’ll only talk about the first: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appears. Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to thee, O Israel.” Now why do we remember the time before the coming of Jesus in order to celebrate his birth? Because by taking the time to think about how it was before salvation, we can better appreciate what we have now being saved by Jesus. It’s good and healthy to remember how hopeful those ancient Jews must have been for the coming of the Messiah. The Old Testament had prophesied over and over again of the coming of one who would restore Israel, or in other words, the Jews, to their ancient holy land, and free them from the hand of their oppressors. At the time of Jesus, Jews were living either in the holy land under control of the Roman Empire, or living outside of the holy land, still under the power of Rome. After the exile under Assyria and Babylon, many or even most Jews lived elsewhere other than the holy land. Even after Jews returned to the land of Israel, still most Jews lived outside of the Promised Land. So the dream, the hope, the prayer was for God to send the Messiah or Deliverer to restore the Jews to their former glory. But as it turned out, God had something much bigger in mind. Let’s look at the words of the hymn. Read the rest of this entry »

He Will Save His People From Their Sins — Who’s “They?”

December 31, 2013

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Title: He Will Save His People From Their Sins – Who’s “They”

 

Text: Matthew 1:20-21

 

Time: December 8th, 2013

 

 

 

We’re here considering the different aspects of the biblical Christmas account. We’re trying to make any observations that we can about Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it. And that isn’t easy because we are so familiar with the story that we’re tempted to think we know all there is to know about it. I mentioned this before, but if you’ve been a Christian for a while you begin to hear the same or similar messages around Christmas each year. They sound the same because of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, only two contain information about Christ’s birth. Only Matthew and Luke describe the Christmas story. Mark and John, for whatever reasons, don’t talk about it. They don’t contradict it, they don’t deny it, they just don’t describe it. That leaves us with only two places in the Bible to learn anything about Christmas. So we go over and over these two accounts for something we might have missed, something that might give us a deeper understanding of the birth of Christ. Today, I’d like to focus on a verse, and a phrase within a verse, and try to understand what it means. It’s Matthew 1:20-21, where the angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph and says, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” We all recognize this as the announcement to Joseph from God that it’s all right to marry Mary, because she will give birth to the Messiah, the Savior and Lord. All this we are familiar with because we’ve read it many times in the Bible, we’ve heard sermon taught on it, we’ve even seen it depicted on television and in movies. So far so good. But do we ever stop and consider what the angel means when he says, “Because he will save his people from their sins?” For many, many years I never paid attention to that small little phrase because, honestly, I thought I knew what it was saying. I just assumed that what the angel was saying to Joseph was something like this – “Because he, that is the Christ child, the Messiah Jesus, will save his people the Jews from their sins.” And because I just assumed that was the meaning I never considered anything more. But one day I was reading along and it suddenly struck me that as it turned out Jesus didn’t in fact save very many of his people the Jews from their sins, simply because most of his people, the Jews, rejected him as Savior and Messiah. Some Jews did accept him as Lord and Savior, and to these he did save from their sins. But the vast majority of Jews, then and now, are not saved from their sins because they don’t have any faith in Jesus for salvation. So I began to realize that it must mean something more than the Jewish people. And it does. It means something more. Let’s look at what it might mean this year, today, as we continue in the Christmas season 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

The Angels of Christmas

December 31, 2013

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Title: The Angels of Christmas

 

Text: Luke 1:26-27, 2:8-15, Matthew 1:20-21, Isaiah 55:8-9, Hebrews 1:14

 

Time: December 7th, 2013

 

 

 

We’re continuing in the Christmas season of 2013 because it’s impossible to run out of things to say from the Bible about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Every year around this time I try to bring out different aspects of the Nativity because my thinking is that if we come at if from as many angles as possible we’ll get a better picture of what really happed. We don’t have a whole lot of information about the first Christmas, so we’ve got to take advantage of every bit of knowledge we can gain from the biblical account. Over the years I’ve tried to cover almost every conceivable aspect of the Nativity, although by the grace of God I’ve never been able to exhaust the many different topics. I hope I never get to the place where I throw up my hands and say, “I simply can’t think of anything new to say about Christmas.” Besides, if I ever did get to that spot I wouldn’t despair, because I could always go back over the things I’ve taught on before, since we all need reminding of these important things, as well as a new generation of Christians need to hear them for the first time. But if you’ve been a Christian for a number of years you’ve probably heard many different sermons on topics related to Christmas. I won’t be talking about anything new today, except you may have never heard a message on all the angels of Christmas. I recently went back over the past ten years of Christmas messages I’ve given and I found that I mostly talked about the angels who visited the shepherds with the announcement of the birth of Jesus. I’ve also talked about the angel who informed Mary she would have a son. And finally, I’ve talked about the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream instructing him to marry Mary.   But I’ve never given a message on all three angel-encounters at Christmas. So today, I’d like to take a look at the three appearances of angels of the Nativity. First, there’s the angel, like I said before, who appeared to the virgin Mary. That was Gabriel. He announced to her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Second, there’s the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream. We don’t know his name, but it was a real angelic appearance, only he visited Joseph in a dream. It wasn’t just a dream of an angel, but it was a real angel in a dream – if you can see the difference. I’ll get into that later. And finally, third, there are the angels, most famously, who visited the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Christ child. Now I know that an angel appeared to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist; in fact, the angel was Gabriel, the same figure who appeared to Mary later. But today I’m only going to deal with the angelic appearances that are directly related to the birth of Jesus, so I won’t be talking about other indirect references to angels. It’s the Christmas season, a great time to be a Christian. Let’s learn something more about our faith, hopefully encouraging and inspiring us to faithful service to the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »


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