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Because church was cancelled Sunday, here is Pastor Mike's sermon.

DeGraff UMC

December 18 2016

Jesus Was Born For This


Luke 1: 67-80

We began our Advent Season talking about Jesus. In our Jesus Was Born For This series, we have already covered Jesus as our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. Today we discuss the Narrative by which all of the pieces of this story were brought about. This narrative is important to us as believers, because today is about Love, and the level to which God loved us by sending His only Son into the world as a human being, who would one day be the sacrifice for everyone.

Narrative is defined as - a spoken or written account of connected events; a story. As Christians who profess our faith that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, this narrative is completely dependent upon our belief that these events are truth. In the video that we just watched we can see that there are many “traditionsâ€� that we have believed in about Christmas and the story of the Nativity that may not be entirely based in Scripture. Is it wrong to believe in those things? Not entirely; as long as we are keeping our focus on the main thing. The main thing is the story of the birth of a Messiah, a savior for mankind. A once for all sacrifice that God Himself sent to us, as a true gift of how much He loves us.

Why Luke? I don’t know if any of you are asking that question today but I know I did at first. Who is Luke and why is he so important to the New Testament salvation message of Jesus Christ?

Did you know that Luke was a Gentile? Luke was not Jewish. How do we know this. Many of Luke’s writings used Greek expressions, not Hebrew expressions. And Lucas, or Loukas is actually a Greek name. Also Paul addresses Luke in Colossians 4 and does not put him in connection with the Jews that he names. He actually addresses him later as “our dear friend Luke, the Doctorâ€� (Col 4:14). Luke was the only Gentile to write a book of the Bible. He was always careful to make sure to mention the details, knowing that he would have a Gentile audience that would not understand much of the Jewish traditions involving Jesus.

Luke was a physician. We just learned by reading Colossians 4:14 that Paul addresses Luke as the Doctor! If you study on Luke you find out that he actually had a medical practice in Antioch. When Jesus came along, Luke shut down the practice and began following the Lord. He likely left a comfortable life as a physician, so that he could follow Jesus. Makes me wonder how many of us would give up our comfortable living in order to follow Jesus?

We know that Luke was humble. Luke never mentions himself as the author of the book of Luke, or the Book of Acts; both of which were written by him. Luke also never makes mention of the sacrifice that he made by leaving his medical practice to follow Jesus; he actually never mentions being a doctor at all. Gordon Franz, of the Associates for Biblical Research states, “When he wrote his gospel and the book of Acts, he did not mention his name at all (Acts 1:1), nor did he mention his brother Titus. Dr. Luke was a humble person and he did not want to call attention to himself or his family, but rather, he wanted to point people to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in His Church.â€�

Only Luke remained with Paul until his death. In 2 Timothy 4 Paul tells us that most of his friends and followers had left him, but why? John Macarthur explains it this way, “Nero had cranked up the persecution to a high level and Christians were paying with their lives. And frankly, many believers had fled from Rome. And, you know, they might have had a reasonable motive to do that, to carry on the preaching of the gospel. It's not that they were all just cowards. But Luke didn't go. Everybody left. And there was a lot of desertion. Demas left him because he loved the present world, verse 10 says. And you do get the idea that some of the rest left in desertion from verse 16, but he says, "May it not be counted against them." But not Luke, loyal, faithful, brave, long-term friend, fellow worker, companion to Paul, been with Paul over years and years and years, been with Paul over hundreds and probably thousands of miles of walking.â€�

So this is why we are talking about Luke today. This passage is so appropriate today as we think about just how much God loves us. Here we have this Gentile physician who is willing to leave his practice in order to follow this gracious Lord, Jesus Christ. He is just like you and me, only he dedicates his life to telling the story of his Savior, and he wants you and I to know all the details so much that he pays careful attention to all the details that we will need know. In Chapter 1 Luke goes through details of Mary and Joseph, and Mary’s relationship with Elizabeth and makes sure to note that John the Baptist was born first, and that he would go on to announce the coming of the King!

In today’s passage we find Luke, going back into the Old Testament, ironic that a Gentile is going back into Old Testament scripture to speak of a prophecy of the coming savior, right? He is telling Zechariah’s song and adding just few subtle touches to it.

His introduction - “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us - to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High: for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.â€� - conclusion - And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.â€�

I know it is crazy to hear the song of Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, but this is the level to which God loves you. As I was preparing for this message today and I was thinking on how I can pull a message of love out of this text that God laid on my heart, it became so clear to me.

God loves you and I so much that He set all these crazy event in place thousands of years ago, just so you and I would be right here, right now, and we would be pondering the meaning of all of these words. In addition to that, here is a Gentile doctor, who simply believes in, and follows Jesus Christ; knowing without a doubt in his heart that He is the Son of God. He wants you to know that story too, and he wants you to feel about it the same way he feels about writing it. He wants you to know that there are details to this story that need to be told. He knows that we have to make sure that we are telling the real story and not getting caught up in the trappings of old traditions and what this world is calling Christmas. He wants you to know about John the Baptist and what he meant to the coming Messiah, that John would clear the path for this new way of thinking among the Gentiles and the Jews.

Bottom line, God used Luke to detail the things in which He knew we would need to know. All scripture is God breathed and Luke took that all into account when He brought it to us. I highly doubt that Luke was even able to think so far into the future that he would know what his written words would mean to us today, but WOW; how they carry the weight of the throne right into our hearts.

See God loved us so much, not only was He willing to send His Son into this world to be an atonement for our sinfulness, a sacrifice for our every transgression, but He also loved you so much that He has used people like Luke to write down the details. He has made sure that even through different translations, His words will still ring true in our hearts. He has made sure that you and I have had people walk in and out of our lives that have always shared this Good News with us. He has made sure that you are never alone, and that no matter what He has been pulling and tugging at your heart to get your attention.

The very depth of God’s love has no limit. We can test it if we like, as He will always be gracious to us in proving Himself right. In this final week leading up to our celebration of Jesus’ birth, please make sure to understand how much God loves you. Through the chaos of kids being out of school, through the chaos of working during many of these days when you wished you were at home, through the struggle that some of you are going through during this holiday season; make sure you remember that God loves you. No matter what you are facing, no matter what you have been through, no matter where you have gone, no matter what this world wants to tell you; God still sent His only Son into this world to be your once for all sacrifice. He sent His perfect little baby boy into this world to be your atonement, and if that isn’t enough love for you, then I have no idea what to tell you next.

Jesus was born for this! He was born to show you just how much God loves you. He was born to be the price tag for your life. He was born to be love, to show you love, and to show you how to love.












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 Esther 1:22 (NIV)
He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, proclaiming in each people's tongue that every man should be ruler over his own household.
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