Community Bible Chapel
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 12/21/14 God is Here
 

The headlights on one of my cars has become very dull.

          -He headlights themselves are burning brightly, but the plastic cover

                   has become all foggy and scratched and dull.

                   -So even though the lights are bright, the light doesn’t light up the road,

 making it very difficult to drive at night.

          -I was a Napa one day and saw a product that cleans up the plastic cover.

          -I was a bit skeptical however when I began to go through the process.

                   -The first thing you do it take the sand paper and sand the plastic.

                   -So the first step in cleaning my lights was to make them worse.

                   -But then it was finer sandpaper and then a buffer.

                   -The end result, much to my surprise, was a very clear cover that

Allowed all the light to pass through.
Christmas is this season of light.

          -Why is that?

          -It’s because, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, He is the “light of the world”.

          -So part of our celebration includes light as a testimony of the light of Jesus.

And light is plays a part in the Christmas account as well.

I invite you to join me in Luke 2 this morning as we look at the announcement of

          the birth of the King.     

READ Luke 2:8-20

Once again, we have ordinary – normal people, just like you and me, going to work

and raising their families, going about their normal daily activities.

          -These shepherds were working to scratch out a living.

          -They were alert and ready to protect their sheep from a wolf or a lion,                           especially at night, under cover of darkness.

          -But there was no training that would prepare them for an angel visit.

          -They were not privy to the angel visits to Zachariah or Mary,

they didn’t know anything about what God was doing.

          -And out of the darkness, suddenly, appears an angel.

                   -We don’t know if it’s Gabriel or another angel.

                   -We don’t know if he is standing or flying – right in front of them,

up on the hill, or hovering in the air.

          -But we do know that the “Glory of the Lord” shown around them.

                  

X  The Glory of The Lord

-Of the angel visits of Zachariah and Mary, neither of them spoke of

this “glory of the Lord” shining around them.

 

-Those visits were unique because of the place of the temple

 and the greeting to Mary, but neither were like this.

          -This angel is glowing and the brightness of the light shown around him

and the shepherds.

                   -The darkness of the night dissipates in the “Glory of the Lord”.

-Only by the goodness of God did this single angel come to comfort

and bring this message. 

-Can you imagine being out in the darkness of the night and having an

 entire company of angels appear without warning?

          -So here is this angel shining brightly in the night.

          -God’s glory is one of those things that is not only difficult to define,

but impossible.

          -Defining glory is like trying to pick up Mercury.

          -But you don’t pay me to not have answers, so let me attempt to define it.

-By the way – I have the best job in the world – I get to search and study

 God’s Word everyday – and get paid for doing it!

          -The Hebrew word “kabod”, which is translated as glory,

has the meaning of “heavy in weight”.

                   -So when you glorify someone, you recognize their importance,

beauty, majesty, or splendor.

                   -God says in Isaiah 42:8

                   “I am the LORD, that is my name!  I will not give my glory to another . . .”

                   -He means that he will not recognize the importance of anything or anyone

above Himself.

                   -So far glorified is God above His creation, that when Moses asked to see

 His glory, Exodus 33 records God’s answer.

 “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

                   -That must have been amazing and terrifying at the same time.

-And out of all the things Moses saw God do (plagues, the Red Sea parting,             the daily feeding of a nation with Manna),

this would far exceed them all. 

 
 

                   -But even Moses – the most humble man on the face of the earth,

 couldn’t see God’s face – the full extent of the glory of the LORD

 would be too much for Him to bear.

                             -He would only be allowed to see a portion of it.

                   - I shudder to even think what you and I might be allowed to see if Moses

 could only see part of it.

                   -So the OT gives us a picture of God’s glory as being weighty.

-Another help in defining “glory” is by looking at Isaiah 6:3.

                   -This is Isaiah’s vision of the throne of God.

-Isaiah is on his face before the Lord and the angels are calling:

                   “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD Almighty, the whole earth is full of his” . . . 

and we would expect it to say “Holiness”.

                   -God is holy, we expect His creation to be full of His holiness.

                   -But it says “the whole earth is full of His glory.”

                   -God’s glory is much to complex to narrow into a simple definition,

but if you were to force me to make a definition for God’s glory

 it would be this.

                   X       God’s glory is the full extent of His holiness on display.

                             -God’s glory shines forth in His holiness.

                             -God’s holiness being the completeness of all He is in His nature.        

                                      -His mercy, grace, love, faithfulness, justice, and all that is

included in the perfection of who God is.

                             -If we were to be in His holy presence, it would be crushing – heavy.

                             -We would be just like Isaiah – on the floor and saying

                                      “Woe to me, I am a ruined man.”

                             -When we see the fullness and perfection of God’s holiness,

we would immediately recognize our sin and our demise.

                             -The shepherds recognized God’s glory and were afraid.

                   -The Scripture speaks of God’s glory in terms of his perfect holiness,

but again, that is too simple a concept. 

 

          -When we get to the NT, the Greek word for glory is “doxazo” and has the

meaning of brilliance or radiance.

-The Jews referred to the Shekinah Glory of the Lord.

          -Moses met with God’s presence in the “tent of meeting”

and his face was glowing when he came out.

          -It radiated God’s glory and he had to put a veil over it.

-The presence of God came before Israel as a pillar of cloud by day

and fire by night.

-God’s Shekinah glory resided in the Tabernacle and later the Temple.

          -The presence of God was in the Holy of Holy’s where no one

was permitted to go, except the high priest – once a year to

      make atonement for his sins and the sins of the people.

                             -I believe this angel was dispatched from before God’s throne,

                                      and was still glowing of being in the presence of God.

-In the NT, Jesus was the dwelling place of God’s glory in bodily form. 

        Col 2:9 tells us:  “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”

                    -God’s holiness was manifest in Jesus the Son.

-That is why, when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father,

he answered “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”

-Although full radiance of the glory of God is veiled, He is the presence

Of God on the earth.

-When we see God in heaven, it will no longer be veiled – we will see

 it fully.

                             -And Revelation speaks of there being no need for the sun to bring

                 light in heaven, the perfect holiness of God will be light enough.

                   -In a sense, when Jesus spoke of being the “light of the world”,

He was speaking of this brilliance or radiance of God’s glory

 manifest in Him as the Son.
                             -God’s holiness on display.

We might wonder where we might witness God’s glory today.

          -And it’s all around us.    
          Psalm 19:1 states
                             “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

                   -The clouds – though we complain about them, are shouting God’s glory.

                   -The expanse of blue sky is shouting God’s glory.

                   -The distant stars and galaxies shout our God’s glory.

          -And we, as God has re-created us in Christ,

 are meant to shout out the glory of God also.

-So many verses to choose from, but let me pick . . .

                 II Cor 3:18

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory

(God’s holiness on display), are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory (God’s holiness on display),

which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

                   -We don’t create God’s glory, but we radiate it with ever increasing  

 Christ-likeness or holiness in our lives as we are transformed

into His image.

-But God has not programmed “giving Him glory” into us.

 

-So when the sun comes up, we don’t automatically say”

“Praise God, another new day to be lived for his glory.”

-We might actually say something very much different than

that – especially on Monday morning – right?

-We each have the choice to give glory to God

or to give it elsewhere.

                   -As followers of Christ, God has given us this tremendous opportunity

                             and wonderful honor of bringing Him glory.

-That speaks of a life lived all in one direction from a heart that

knows and loves God.

                             -It’s where we attempt in our humanness to praise God and worship

the reality of who God is and what God has done.

                   -So our very lives speak of God’s holiness as it is displayed in our lives.

                             -And again, we need to remember that we are already made holy

in Christ – that’s part of being justified.

                             -But it’s an “already and not yet” proposition as we are being

                                      sanctified – made holy day by day.

                   -If we have eyes to see, not only do the heavens declare the glory of God,

 but I’m standing before a room full of God’s people who are

 declaring and radiating the glory of God.

                             -God has been doing some sanding and polishing and His glory

 is shining brightly.

                             -You are radiant as Moses was upon meeting with God and as he and

 Elijah were when they met with Jesus in the witness of

 Peter and John.

                   -Go ahead – look around the room. 

                    -It’s not only angels that radiate God’s glory.

                             -The church of Jesus Christ radiates God’s glory by:

-speaking kindly to those who seek to harm us.

                                       -by seeking to help those who are struggling.

                                      -by trusting God through the difficulty of life.

                                       -by standing against unrighteousness and defending

 the oppressed.
                          -Wow – it’s bright in here!

          -And that’s what the shepherds saw as the glory of the Lord shown around them.

     

But the angel didn’t come to just radiate God’s glory, he came to bring a message.
The Message

          “Today, a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.”

          -As the angel announces that a Savior has been born, just to avoid any confusion

                   as to which Savior this might be. 

-This is not just any Savior - “He is Christ the Lord”

                   -Greek word “Christos” for the Hebrew word “Messiah”, which means

the “anointed one”.

-So this is not talking an earthly deliverer like Moses,

or another judge in the pattern of Samson

who will free Israel from the Romans,

this Savior is the Lord – God in the flesh.

          -And to substantiate the message, there is a sign. 

                   -Which is only one of many signs that Israel is about to be showered

with throughout the life of Jesus.

                   -This sign is that the baby will be wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

                   -I wonder what the shepherds thought of the Messiah being placed

in an animal feeding trough?

          -But they don’t have time to even think about that because suddenly,

                   a “great company of the heavenly host appears with the angel”.

-In military terms – a company is 62-190 soldiers.

                             -But there wasn’t an American military when this was written.

                   -The Biblical word used here means – a great number, a crowd, a throng,

a multitude.

                   -So, it’s safe to say that there were a lot of angels,

And the night was lit up.

          -They had come from God and were radiating His glory as they gave God praise.

                   “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom

his favor rests.”

          -And as they praised God, they explained what it was the Messiah

was coming to bring.

                   “Glory to God in the Highest” speaks to the fact that God is in heaven.

                             -He resides in heaven, where all his glory is revealed

in the totality of His holiness.

                   “and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

        -This speaks to the fact that we don’t live in heaven, we live on earth.

-We are not at peace with God or we would be with Him.

-So, we all recognize that we are separated from Him.

          -We see the effects of that every day in pain, disease,

and broken relationships.

-Peace is not our experience. 

                             -But this Messiah is coming to bring peace – not on the earth,

but peace with God – whom we are separated from.

-Peace among the nations of the earth will come later, but not now.

Acts 10:36  “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel,     

      announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”

          Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace

as you trust in him”

          II Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the 

                                      knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

                   -The Scripture is pretty clear on this one – peace with God comes

through trusting in Jesus Christ.

                   -Those who are “in God’s favor” are those who have trusted in Jesus.

                             -We would never be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

                             -But as you place your faith in Jesus Christ, who paid for your sins,

                                      your sin if forgiven, guilt is gone and peace replaces it.

                                      -You were once enemies with God, now, through faith,

He has come near to you.

                                      -Peace has been bought and the transaction is complete.

                             -I would so much encourage you, if you have not already,

 trust in Jesus - The Messiah.

                                      -The One who died in your place for the forgiveness

of your sins.
                   ABC

          -That is the message of the angels brought to the shepherds

and that is the message of Christmas.

                   -God is in heaven and we are on earth – separated because of our sin.

                   -So rather than waiting for us to get ourselves all cleaned up,

he made himself dirty.
II Cor 5:21  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,

so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

-That is unbelievable, God, who is holy and separate,

came and jumped into the mud puddle with us in order

to clean us up so we could be with Him.
 

As suddenly as the angels appeared, it was just as dark again.

          -And the stunned shepherds didn’t stand around wondering what to do

–they went to see what happened.

          -And when they saw – they left - glorifying God.

         

How about you, will you leave here today the same as you came in

or will you go out glorifying God.

-Jesus came to show us God.
                   -Jesus came to feel our hurt.

                   -Jesus came to heal our hurt by taking it on himself.

-As we proclaim the peace of God to those around us, the light of Christ

          shines brightly – radiating from us the same message the angels brought. .

                   “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men

on whom his favor rests.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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