Angels - First to Proclaim the Message #1

December 2, 2006

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Introduction:
1.  This morning, we want to begin a 2 part series of our ABF study on the subject of Christmas.
2.  As we mentioned last week in our Worship Services, It’s interesting to consider something (event, decision, etc.) through the eyes of another person
- when you do that – your perspective can change!
- I think one of the impacts of the curse of sin is ‘ruts’ (i.e. doing the same thing the same way at the same time with the same motive and with the same attitude or the same perspective)
- now, in some areas, routine is good – it can be part of a person’s self-discipline
> God did make us habitual creatures (made in His image and likeness)
> one of the characteristics of God is His immutability (big word – it simply means = God never changes – He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!)
3.   However, don’t confuse God’s immutability with a lack of creativity – God is very creative (look at the people in this room – He’s VERY creative!!!)]
- the Word of God is an example of God’s creativity – 66 different books, yet the same central message
4.  Sometimes, it’s good for us to push the pause button and look at a situation through the eyes of another person
-  that’s why the Gospels and the epistles are so interesting – they present the message of Christ from different perspectives (life situations)
- the power of the Word of God gets us out of our ‘comfort zones’ and into God’s way of thinking
5.   It is so easy to get wrapped up in the WRONG reasons of Christmas – finish this phrase:.
Input:  The world (and sometimes believers) tends of think of Christmas in terms of _____________? [How would you fill in that blank?]
Point:  We don’t want to look back on Christmas of 2006 with regrets because our focus during the time was not pleasing to the Lord
6.  The Christmas season can mean a lot of different things to different people – and we want to make sure we have a BIBLICAL perspective on these events
7.  It’s good for us to think about Christmas through the eyes of the individuals most closely associated with the event
- it gives us the same message, but we can learn from the different perspectives
- in the past, and even as recent as this past Sun., we looked at Christmas through the eyes of:
 Mary / Joseph / God the Father / Christ Himself /
 Shepherds – the 1st to receive the message
 Herod – the 1st to reject the message
  this past Sunday, Christmas through the eyes of an Apostle (John 1)
- turn to Matthew 1: Christmas Through the Eyes of Angels – The First to Proclaim the Message
- before we read the text and actually get into the message they proclaimed, there are * a few things about angels that I want to mention: [IMPORTANT:  Teachers: Keep this BRIEF – it’s not a study about angels, but their perspective on Christmas!]
1.  They are created beings – they are NOT eternal
> the actual time of their creation is not specific – I would speculate it to be early in the week of creation, possibly the 1st day when God created the heavens and the earth
2.  They were created with a will – the ability to choose to obey God or reject Him
* The purpose for which they were created (is the same as the rest of creation: To bring glory to God
- specifically, the word angel = messenger, one who is sent, a representative
3.  Under the leadership of Lucifer, the Chief Angel of worship & praise, some of the angels ‘fell’ from grace and rebelled against God and were expelled from heaven (cf. Isa. 14:12)
4.  The word of ‘angels’ is actually neuter – i.e. it’s neither male nor female [Note: But every time a specific angel is named (e.g. Gabriel, Lucifer, Michael), it’s always a male gender]
5.  Keep in mind, they are spirit beings – they are not made of flesh and blood as we are, and they are not made in the image and likeness of God
- that is significant in that Jesus did not die to pay the penalty for the sin of the angels, they are not redeemable
> those who chose to please God, do so for eternity
> those who chose to rebel will be cast into the lake for fire forever and ever
Point: They being an interesting perspective to the table of how we respond to Christmas
6. They know Who God is and saw His creative power during Creation
- Scripture says:
 James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
- they shudder because they have made their choice and will face the consequences (eternal punishment)
- with those thoughts in mind let’s read some Key Passages::
READ Matthew 1:18-25 – Get a person to read v. 18-21, another for v. 22-25
READ Luke 1:26-38 – Get a person to read v. 26-33, another for v. 34-38
READ Luke 2:1-14 – Get a person to read v. 1-7, another for v. 8-14
*  This morning, we want to look at Christmas through the eyes of the angels . . . . and specifically, the * 5 unique messages they bring to the table regarding the events of that incredible day!


  I.  The Message of a Unique Plan – Matthew 1:21


- the angel in this case was Gabriel boldly proclaimed the plan of . . .
A. Christ the Redeemer
Redeem = to buy back
- which implies a price, a rescue FROM something TO something
- this plan and the message started back in Gen. 3 – especially v. 15
 Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."
- to think about man’s sinfulness for a moment  may help you to better understand the magnitude of our sin – i.e. what God had to redeem us from!
Input: What are some examples in the O.T. of man’s sinfulness?
[various examples – Gen 6 – ‘every thought of man’s heart was only evil . . . ‘ then came the flood // Egypt enslaving Israel // Israel complaining in the wilderness // Saul’s sin or rebellion when God told him to kill all of the Amalikites and he didn’t // David’s sin of adultery // some of the kings of Israel worshipping idols  // Jonah and Nineveh, etc.]]
Input: What are some examples in the N.T. of man’s sinfulness?
[various examples – self-righteous Pharisees, the city of Corinth – all types of sins mentioned in that book, 1 Thes. 4 – sexual sin, some of the churches in Revelation -- lukewarmness]
Input: What are some examples of man’s sin today?
[various examples]
Point:  Mankind needed a Redeemer, and Jesus was what John called, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Q: Have you accepted Christ as your Redeemer? Are there family members that you’ll be seeing shortly that DON’T know the Redeemer – are you praying for them?
Q: What are you doing to actively engage in the proclamation of the Redeemer?
[apply this to where you sit in the worship service – looking for new people?]
[apply this to our evangelistic efforts and INVITING PEOPLE TO THE LIVING NATIVITY]

B.  Christ the King – Luke 1:32-33
- the angels understood the power of the Lord God and He could give whatever He wants to whomever He wants
- Gabriel announced 3 key phrases about the plan of God to give certain positions and authority to this Child:
1.  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”
- this goes all the way back to the Lord’s promise to David that his seed would not depart from the throne of Israel
 2 Samuel 7:13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  14 "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 "Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." 17 In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
- the fulfillment of the prophesy has to do with God’s integrity – Does He or does He not keep His promises?  YES HE DOES!!
[Note: Given the fact that He was rejected, and other passages, the ultimate fulfillment of this promise will be seen when Christ sets up His millennial kingdom on the earth and rules from the Throne of David, in Jerusalem, for 1,000 years!]
- right now, Jesus is seated in heaven at the right hand of the throne of God, but one day, He will sit on the throne of David and rule this earth as the Prince of Peace, as the King of Kings
** I hope you get excited about that truth!
2.  “…He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”
- this establishes Christ’s lineage to Abraham and is part of the Abrahamic covenant
 Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you;  2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
- Isaac was the son of Abraham, Jacob was the son of Isaac (but Jacob was the 2nd son of Jacob; he bought the birth-right from Esau, the 1st son (Esau exchanged this great privilege for food [he was hungry] – he gave up the eternal blessing for a temporal blessing!!!)
- the birth-right was being in the position of lineage of the promised Messiah – and with that came blessings just like God promised!
Q: Do you think there are any lessons we can learn from that situation?
 making temporal decisions over eternal one
 letting our bodies control us to point where we forfeit God’s blessings because we give into the flesh
3.  “…of His kingdom there will be no end” = eternal authority
- How fitting it was for the angel, Gabriel, to announce this: 
> He had already seen the struggle in the heavens with Lucifer, and how the created being, along with all those who joined him, were expelled from heaven!
> that demonstrated God’s authority as Creator!
- it’s for this reason that Paul could write in Phil. 2:
 Philippians 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Point:  All of life is about the glory of God being revealed through the Christ and His kingdom -as Pastor Goode used to say: “The KING and His DOMAIN!”
- that why Jesus would later say:
 Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
-that’s why Paul would write to the church at Colosse:
 Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
- let’s apply this truth to our lives:
Q: How are you letting this perspective impact your life?
• examples of you submitting to your King
• examples of you trying to advance His kingdom
- Since Joseph and Mary both either questioned or did not fully understand what was about to happen . . . Gabriel gave them . . .


II.  The Message of a Unique Power


A.  “for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” – Matt. 1:20
- there are 3 references to the Holy Spirit in the passage we read – Gabriel mentioned it twice – once in his statement to Joseph (Mt. 1:20) and once to Mary (Lk. 1:35)
Q: what is the significance of this?
> The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Trinity – Gen. 1 makes it clear He was present at creation
- there are hundreds of mention of Him in the OT and NT – He’s not a force, He is a Being – He is God and therefore has unlimited power!
B.  “the power of the most High will over shadow you” – Luke 1:35
- think about who Luke is writing to: the Greeks
Q: What do you know about the Greek culture that would make this statement HIGHLY significant to his audience?
A: The Greeks were known for their numerous gods – Example: Zeus and a lot of others!
Point: For Luke to write ‘the power of the MOST HIGH will over shadow you’ put the God of Heaven in a different category – the most HIGH, the supreme, above all others!
- that’s the God we serve!
Input: Can you think of other passages of Scripture that speak of God ‘most High’ power?
[various answers]
 Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
Q: What are you facing right now that is challenging your belief in the power of God?
[just like Mary and Joseph were facing – you’re thinking, “How can this happen?”]
Example: Two Blind Men’s faith was tested when Jesus healed him – and Jesus’ ability or power as God was put to the test!
 Matthew 9:28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord."
Example:  When God told Abraham about having a child and Sarah laughed:
 Genesis 18:14 "Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."
Input: What are some examples in your life where God demonstrated His power?
[various answers]
***************************************** [STOP HERE – Close in Prayer]
- next week we’ll be taking a look at


III.  The Message of a Unique Person


- for the Jew, names mean a lot – we don’t pay as much attention to the meaning of our names in our culture, but this was not true in the OT and even in some cultures today
> Jesus, Immanuel, Son of God


IV.  The Message of a Unique Praise – Luke 1:10-14


- giving glory to God and pronouncing peace among men with whom God is well-pleased!
[mention the Walking with the Master study next year – probably our spring emphasis until we get to the Community Center GRAND Opening – fitting into theme (TBA)!]
V.  The Message of a Unique Presence
“God with us” & “The Lord is with you”
Summary: 
1.  Christmas ought to remind us the message we proclaim is an incredible truth.
2.  We are His ‘ambassadors’ – sent from God above –like the angels, we are His messengers!
 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Q: Are we faithful to proclaim that message of His coming . . .
> But more importantly, the message of the Gospel – His death, burial, and resurrection!


ABF: Christmas Series
“Christmas through the Eyes of Angels – The First to Proclaim the Message”
Introduction:

Input:  The world (and sometimes believers) tends of think of Christmas in terms of _________?


* A few things about angels:
1.  They are _____________ beings – they are NOT _________
2.  They were created with a __________ – the ability to _____________ to obey God or reject Him
* The purpose for which they were created: To bring glory to God
angel = messenger, one who is sent, a representative
3.  Under the leadership of Lucifer, the Chief Angel of worship & praise, some of the angels ‘fell’ from grace and ___________ against God and were _____________ from heaven (cf. Isa. 14:12)
4.  The word of ‘angels’ is actually ____________ – i.e. it’s neither male nor female [Note: But every time a specific angel is named (e.g. Gabriel, Lucifer, Michael), it’s always a male gender]
5.  Keep in mind, they are _____________ beings – they are not made of flesh and blood as we are, and they are not made in the image and likeness of God
6. They know Who God is and saw His creative power during Creation
 James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

Key Passages: Matthew 1:18-25 & Luke 1:26-38 & Luke 2:1-14
*  5 unique messages:
  I.  The Message of a Unique _________ – Matthew 1:21
A. Christ the _______________
Redeem = to buy back
 Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."
Input: What are some examples in the O.T. of man’s sinfulness? 


Input: What are some examples in the N.T. of man’s sinfulness?


Input: What are some examples of man’s sin today?


Q: What are you doing to actively engage in the proclamation of the Redeemer?


B.  Christ the __________ – Luke 1:32-33
1.  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”

2.  “…He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”

3.  “…of His kingdom there will be no end” = ________ _____________


Q: How are you letting this perspective impact your life?

II.  The Message of a Unique __________
A.  “for the Child who has been conceived in her is _________________” – Matt. 1:20
B.  “the power of the __________ __________ will over shadow you” – Luke 1:35
Input: Can you think of other passages of Scripture that speak of God ‘most High’ power?


Q: What are you facing right now that is challenging your belief in the power of God?

Example: Two Blind Men

Example:  Abraham and Sarah

Input: What are some examples in your life where God demonstrated His power?


[NEXT WEEK]
III.  The Message of a Unique Person
IV.  The Message of a Unique Praise
V.  The Message of a Unique Presence


ABF: Christmas Series
“Christmas Through the Eyes of Angels”
Introduction:
Input:  The world (and sometimes believers) tends of think of Christmas in terms of _____________?
* A few things about angels:
1.  They are created beings – they are NOT eternal
2.  They were created with a will – the ability to choose to obey God or reject Him
* The purpose for which they were created: To bring glory to God
angel = messenger, one who is sent, a representative
3.  Under the leadership of Lucifer, the Chief Angel of worship & praise, some of the angels ‘fell’ from grace and rebelled against God and were expelled from heaven (cf. Isa. 14:12)


4.  The word of ‘angels’ is actually neuter – i.e. it’s neither male nor female [Note: But every time a specific angel is named (e.g. Gabriel, Lucifer, Michael), it’s always a male gender]
5.  Keep in mind, they are spirit beings – they are not made of flesh and blood as we are, and they are not made in the image and likeness of God
6. They know Who God is and saw His creative power during Creation
  James 2:19
*  5 unique messages:
  I.  The Message of a Unique Plan – Matthew 1:21
A. Christ the Redeemer
Redeem = to buy back
  Genesis 3:15
Input: What are some examples in the O.T. of man’s sinfulness?
Input: What are some examples in the N.T. of man’s sinfulness?
Input: What are some examples of man’s sin today?
Q: What are you doing to actively engage in the proclamation of the Redeemer?

B.  Christ the King – Luke 1:32-33
1.  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David”
 2 Samuel 7:13-17
2.  “…He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”
 Genesis 12:1-3
3.  “…of His kingdom there will be no end” = eternal authority
 Philippians 2:9-11
 Matthew 6:33
 Colossians 1:16-18
Q: How are you letting this perspective impact your life?
II.  The Message of a Unique Power
A.  “for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” – Matt. 1:20
B.  “the power of the most High will over shadow you” – Luke 1:35
Input: Can you think of other passages of Scripture that speak of God ‘most High’ power?
 Ephesians 3:20
Q: What are you facing right now that is challenging your belief in the power of God?
Example: Two Blind Men
 Matthew 9:28 . . ."Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
Example:  Abraham and Sarah:
 Genesis 18:14 "Is anything too difficult for the LORD?
Input: What are some examples in your life where God demonstrated His power?
[STOP HERE – Close in Prayer]
III.  The Message of a Unique Person
IV.  The Message of a Unique Praise
V.  The Message of a Unique Presence
Summary: