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Tracing the Sovereignty of God in the Incarnation

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
December 26, 2021 6:00 pm

Tracing the Sovereignty of God in the Incarnation

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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December 26, 2021 6:00 pm

Pastor Mike Karns traces the sovereign work of God in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

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Writer print the words what child is this what child is this.

We never wrote a book, but there are libraries filled with books about him. He never practiced medicine but no man ever was healed without him.

He never traveled over 200 miles from home. But there is not a spot on the globe where he has not been and where he is not now. Couldn't kill him. Satan couldn't seduce him death couldn't destroy him in the grave couldn't keep what child is this one writer's said all of history revolves around the incarnation of Jesus Christ, you can alter the calendars dispute. The Scriptures wallow in skepticism and you will not change the fact that Jesus Christ is God who came to earth to achieve God's mission of salvation. Paul declared to the church at Galatia that in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son and was on in the fullness of time at the proper time at God's prescribed time.

At the time in which God had ordained in eternity past Christ came into this world is a God was not passively waiting for the right circumstances to develop on earth before he was able to send his son. Note God was working his eternal plan and purpose to send his son into this world, that he might redeem the people for his own glory in his own namesake. So this morning as we look at this narrative from Luke chapter 2 wants to see that in the incarnation of Jesus Christ we were going to observe God's sovereign rule over the affairs of man over nations over political powers and agendas over the angelic world and over heaven itself.

So this morning from Luke chapter 21. The 20 I want to consider this scene of the sovereign rule of God related to the events that are recorded here under these three headings number one I want you to see that the birth of Jesus Christ drew Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

That's verses one through seven, number two, I want you to see that the birth of Jesus Christ drew the Angels from heaven. Verses eight through 14, number three, the birth of Jesus Christ drew the shepherd from the field's verses 15 through 20. Again, we are tracing God's sovereign work and dealings in the circumstances. Micah chapter 5 verse two prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. We have a problem. What is the problem. Mary and Joseph are in the city of Nazareth of the region of Galilee in the north. Bethlehem is 80 to 90 miles to the south, and to complicate things and to compound the problem. Verse five tells us that Mary is with child.

So how are we going to get Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem and 80 to 90 mile journey will buying a plane ticket no. The mode of transportation is by animal maybe 1012 maybe 15 miles at the max on the day so a 5 to 6 day journey to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem now again this is to fulfill prophecy, God had prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Now we speak of problems and obstacles and hindrances and sometimes we view our own circumstances as impossibilities. Why is that because we've been taught that with man things are impossible but with God all things are possible right with a reason sometimes we view our circumstances as impossible is that we cannot conceive. We cannot perceive we cannot come up with an answer to our dilemma. A solution to our difficulty in our reasoning are flawed reasoning goes like this well if I can't figure this out. If I can't see how God can deliver me to provide for me, there must not be a solution. You see how faithless that kind of thinking is, since when is God limited to our understanding God has solutions and answers in ways through in ways out that you can't imagine. I can imagine. We can't conceive of are not his ways higher than our ways and past finding out. So rather than being pessimistic, why not with a heart full of faith anchored in the word of God and our relationship with Jesus Christ say I wonder how God is going to bring me through this. I wonder how God is going to perform this show himself strong on my behalf. That kind of thinking is the Christian life.

It's an adventure.

It's a God word perspective it's trusting God. We need to cultivate that more and more I think too often were thinking on human terms. I just, I done just bewildered.

I don't know how I don't think it's possible I don't know how we can get through this. Trust God. You're his child.

He will bring you through any as lessons still teach you through the journey. Let's look at this text we are indebted to Dr. Luke of the two gospel writers who record the birth of Jesus Christ. He is the one who sets the narrative in the context of secular history.

He's the one who gives us historical pegs notice verse one it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered this census first took place while Arrhenius was governing Syria Luke is most concerned about rounding the redemptive events in history that the incarnation of Jesus Christ has taken place in history. It's not the product of an over active imagination.

This transpired this is historical fact in Luke is tying it to these historical people.

How is God going to get the Royal family from Nazareth to Bethlehem, verse one says a decree was issued by Caesar Augustine's Augustus means revered majestic one. Caesar Augustine is held the highest position of honor and power in the known world. He was ruling, but God was in charge. He was ruling, but God was in charge. God used Caesar's decree to move Joseph and Mary, 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill his word. I think it's worn stopping and asking do you believe that God is able to move in the hearts of the people that are around you to alter circumstances and to bring about a solution that is for your good and for his glory. Do you believe the God is able to move in the hearts of kings and emperors and senators and congressmen and presidents to accomplish his purposes. Will we have the word of God tells us the king's heart is in the Lord's hand and he turns it whithersoever he wills. You can do that I can do that no other power can do that.

But God can do that now it says verse three. All so all went to be registered. Everyone to his own city and all included Joseph and Mary, and again it's not just a passing thought all went to be registered. Everyone to his own city that significant verse for Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and the lineage of David.

God is fulfilling his purpose in his plan. He is fulfilling his word tells us verse six, verse five. They went to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife who was with child, and so it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered 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 end Siewert were we are provoked to stop and wonder into Marvel and worship of God who was sovereign over time over space over history and in his providential dealings brings everything together at his appointed time for his eternal and divine purposes in the fullness of time at just the right time, precisely as God had arranged it in keeping with a plan. He had sovereignly planned and purposed Jesus came into this world. The actual birth narrative is very brief and it's impossible to imagine a more lowly a more humble birth than we have recorded here think with me on the night the angels appeared near Bethlehem. Caesar would have been sleeping in Rome, probably in a gold bed with the finest of linens he would have been attended by servants, he would have been guarded by the praetorian guard and by contrast, Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger placed in a feeding trough his attendance where Mary and Joseph. We don't know who else might've been there but peace animals. The contrast between the power, the fame and the glory of Augustine's and the weakness in the obscurity and humility of the Babel Bethlehem could not be more stark. But God has arranged it this way to communicate to us the necessity of humility, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

We must come to them as a little child and were received in that way. This is the way of God. Listen to what Paul said to the church in Corinth. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God's chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty and the base things of the world and the things which are despised, God's chosen and the things which are not to bring to nothing the things that are that no flesh should glory in his presence. That's why so we could say over the birth narrative here in Luke chapter 2 God's chosen the babe of Bethlehem to bring to nothing the authority of Rome. Yes, God is sovereignly ruling and reigning the one born in such lowly surroundings in a stable, poor parents laid in an animal feeding box or manger was nevertheless the God of glory whose splendor before the incarnation surpass that even of those heavenly beings who announced his birth here is a baby but he is what the king of kings and Lord of lords is God in the manger. He is the supreme potentate of the universe, in the lowliness and humility is amazing, astounding.

We are tracing the theme of God's sovereign rule over the events and the circumstances related to the incarnation of Jesus Christ would look here in the first seven verses that the birth of Jesus Christ drew Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem look with me. Number two how the birth of Jesus Christ drew the Angels from heaven.

Verse eight. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people for their was born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

This will be the sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men thereto, scenes here that the shepherds encountered. First, a single angel is not named, but we suspected it was probably Gabriel and he appears announcing the birth of Messiah to these lowly ship verse eight. Behold, an angel, singular of the Lord stood before them, and then the announcement and accompanying the angel was the Shekinah glory that terrified. The shepherds, they were greatly afraid.

Verse nine says in response to their fear of the angel said do not be afraid. Do not be afraid, is not good news that God can calm our fears as a lot of things in this world be afraid of legitimate fear, but what the Bible says perfect love casts out fear. They were afraid because of the they were in the presence of the manifestation of the glory of God in their sinfulness, their consciousness of that overwhelmed them and we see that anytime anyone in the Scriptures has an encounter with with in an angel with glory there's fear that always concerns me when I hear people reporting that they had an encounter that a vision God came to them in life just went on business as usual I was in my shower. I was in my bathroom and I was shaving and the speed spoke to me what you do want to skip shaving now something amiss. There notice this message the cane and it was directed to the shepherds, for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, your who is Christ the Lord, the one whom God had provided and appointed from all eternity and had been long ago promised and much expected Jesus, you remember, the instructions that were given to Mary and Joseph.

You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.

I'm thankful today that he saves from sin he saves from Satan he saves from the law he saves from the world he saves from death from hell he saves from the wrath to come. We have a Savior glory hallelujah for that because everybody's in need of one. And if you're going to get out of this world alive spend eternity in the presence of God. You're not going to get out of this world saved on your own God's going to have to do the saving you going to have to look to him. Notice it says they were to receive a signed and this will be the sign to you. Verse 12. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Those specific instructions and that was followed with us a second scene that these shepherds experience.

Notice verse 13 and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. We have this record in Job 38 verse seven multitudes multitudes of angels that sang together at the laying of the foundation of the earth, multitudes of angels here.

There are multitude of angels singing and praising God at the foundation of man's salvation is it's being laid in the incarnation of the son of God, these angels dispatched to go on this hillside to manifest a message to the shepherds angels who had no doubt been praising and worshiping the sun before the incarnation they know something of his glory of his riches and of his Majesty want you to notice how Luke's record is theocentric as opposed to Matthew's account being Christo centric.

What I mean by that. Well, Luke's account. Glory to God. It's theocentric saying to God the father who has sent the son Matthew's account is Christo centric the Magi come to worship and offer gifts to the new born child notice here in Luke's account the messages first God word glory to God in the highest, we must understand this order. This is the divine order. This is the Bible's order God first, God would first and only then man would glory to God in the highest, there's the man word perspective and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. There's the horizontal perspective man work must never invert that we net must never put man and his needs first man in his needs must be subjugated to God and his deeds will we get things inverted, then everything becomes man centered know we want to maintain a God centered in God perspective.

The third thing you want you to see and that is that the birth of Jesus Christ drew the shepherds from the fields, the birth of Jesus Christ drew the shepherds from the field.

Verse 15 so it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, but the shepherds said to one another, let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us and they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.

Now, when they'd seen him. They made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child and all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart, then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them whenever you see men giving heed to divine proclamation, it is evidence of the sovereign work and operation of God. You are shepherds and they were engaged in their vocational duty they were watching sheep. They were living on the hillside sheep no doubt that would be later offered in the sacrifices in the temple as the Angels it says were going away into heaven.

What did the shepherds do verse 15 says so it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven with the shepherds do the shepherds said to one another, let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us what to do. Shepherds do we see their believing response where to go see what the Lord has made known to us through his messengers.

The Angels that should be our response when God plants divine life in us with that life comes a disposition to heed the word of God and act upon the word of God, to obey the word of God to follow the Lord in his directives see that here with the shepherds was their immediate response.

Verse 16 they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. So not only believing response, but in an immediate response. Someone is called this the first Christmas rush. They rushed in obedience to the instructions that they were given in such a message demands a believing response. Such a message.

Message demands an immediate response when God by his Spirit comes to a man that's exactly what happens when the spirit of God doesn't come to a man. He can be sitting under the word of God.

He can be admonished. He can be instructed. He can be warned and he just sits there. These galaxies in different must apply a person sit beside me other person sit behind me doesn't apply to me know. But when the special call of God comes to a man he understands. I have no other choice but to believe this message I am no other choice but to do this in haste to God so work in our midst that that is what transpires.

God is called us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of our souls. God is called us to come to him in believing faith today is a day of salvation.

Now is the accepted time. Notice what they saw in verses 16 and verse 17 they came with haste and they found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. They found the bait lying in a manger. What you see this Christmas season.

You see, just the babe lying in a manger. Someone who doesn't threaten someone who doesn't make any demands someone draws in emotional response. You have sentimental feelings toward this Jesus, but just a sentimental story or do you see in the babe in the manger, the eternal Savior God's appointed Redeemer. Notice what they said in verse 17 now when they had seen him. They made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child. You can measure the sincerity of a man's faith, his willingness to convey it and communicate it to others. These men were constrained to go and communicate to others what they had seen and what they had heard when they'd seen him. They made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child is the gospel, had that effect on you. Are you constrained or you burden for others. Are you content. It's come to me. I'm save them on the way to have a secure and your indifferent and cold to others around you. That is not the heart of God. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. We need to have a heart overburden for others were willing to move out of our comfort zone and carry the message of salvation, bear witness, some say, well, there are some who just have a particular disposition and a gift for that and I wouldn't argue contrary to that. But that doesn't remove responsibility for the rest of us. Many of us can sit here and trace our journey in grace on the human plane we we recognize God is the one who saved us, but God directed somebody who was praying for you somebody who came to you. Somebody was instrumental in bringing in confronting you with truth that you heard and believed in came to Christ and if that's the case then why don't you see the works of being that conduit for someone else before we think out in broader circles.

We need to be constrained in our own homes. Dad's God is made you the head of your home, and he's given you children it's your responsibility to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord is for you to live a godly example before them, and to be admonishing them, instructing them and pointing them to the Lord Jesus Christ. It's your responsibility to creating your home a atmosphere of grace and mercy and gospel that the Gospels lived out in your home is wonderful when that's happening and it is happening. A lot of your homes, but for some of some of us when we need help. We need instruction we need admonished.

We need how-to's to do that. How to go about that. Notice the response that there witness prompted verse 18. And all those who heard it heard what heard the message that the shepherds convey all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds with got a compelling message. I mean a compelling message and when you share your your personal history your own personal testimony of how God worked in you and brought you to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I got there maybe some people to who would be rude to you and and cut you off inside. I want to hear that but most people are going to hear hear you out. Everybody has a story and yours is just another.

So don't be it don't don't be bashful. Don't be of afraid. Don't be intimidated. Share your message. Let me tell you where my life was going to me tell you what God is done and and just it's compelling, God will use those efforts.

Notice what they did in verse 20 verse 20 says, then the shepherds returned return where will they return to their vocation. They returned to their station. They were caring for sheep, then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them they returned to their station in life, but they returned changed man change forever, and they were changed forever by the things that they had heard and seen, and they were given a new preoccupation of glorifying and praising God. And that's what God does when he invades hearts and makes us worshipers.

Does any what child is this who laid to rest on Mary's lap home angels greet with anthems, sweet while shepherds watch are keeping this this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing this.

This is Christ the King the Bay the sun of Mary, so bring him incense, gold, and murder, peasant King to own him.

The King of Kings salvation brings. Let loving hearts and thrown him this this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing this.

This is Christ the King. The babe the sun of Mary on 2000 years millions of follow the star searched for the stable discovered the newborn child and yet from generation to generation across the centuries, joy never damns the good news never loses its power to bring us to our knees in adoration for each time a searching heart finds Christ the Savior.

The angels sing heaven rejoices in Christmas blessed Christmas comes again.

Let us pray father we've been moved again today to stand in wonder and marvel and gaze at your ways how you sovereignly overruled the powers of Rome to orchestrate the coming of your son, the Lord Jesus Christ into this world are you brought Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem how you sent the Angels from heaven to the shepherds on the hillside and how you moved in the hearts of shepherds to send them out to be gospel witnesses of the things that they had seen and heard of God. Thank you that you are working.

Similarly, in the lives of your children that indeed all things are working together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to your purpose. Thank you that you have made us worshipers. You have given us a desire to bring honor and glory to him who has saved us and you have made us ambassadors you have made us messengers of reconciliation. So father please take this message and cause it to bear fruit in our lives for the good of others, and for Your Honor. Pray in Jesus name and


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