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Behold The Lamb Series – Sermon #4

 

Luke 2:21-38

BEHOLD THE LAMB PRAISED

Intro: Today is the day after Christmas.  The presents have been given and received.  The meals have been eaten and the festivities have, for the most part, come to an end for another year.  That lime green scarf you received will go into the drawer to join the hot pink one you got last year.  That brown paisley tie will quickly find its way to the back of your closet, soon to be forgotten.  The tree and the decorations will come down and Christmas will be gone for another year.

      Or will it?  The fact is, Christmas really has nothing to do with the things I mentioned a moment ago.  Christmas can go on 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.  It can go on if allow Jesus to be the central Figure of Christmas.

      In our text, the Lamb of God has been born.  God has stepped out of eternity and entered human history.  The Lamb was promised, He was prepared and He has been provided.  Our text takes us to Jerusalem for an event that occurred 40 days after the very first Christmas.

      When Jesus was 8 days old He was circumcised, as prescribed by the Law, Lev. 12:3.  After 40 days, Mary has reached the end of her purification period, Lev. 12:1-4.  In these verses, we are allowed to go to the Lord’s house with Jesus and His family as they take Him to be presented to the Lord and redeemed, also according to the Law, Deut. 18:4.  What a thought: the Redeemer had to be redeemed!

      While they were there, a special event occurred.  Two old saints of God, Simeon and Anna, were in the Temple.  They were there because the Holy Ghost has led them there.  They were part of a faithful Jewish remnant that was looking for the appearing of the Messiah.  When they met Jesus that day, even though He was just a 40 day old infant, they are overjoyed and begin to lift up praises to the Lord.

      Today, I want to look into these verses and consider this thought: Behold The Lamb Praised.  What we see here can teach us some things about the matter of praise.  I think these verses have some lessons to teach us today, and they are lessons that we very much need to hear.  Let’s take a few minutes and think about Behold The Lamb Praised.

 

  I.                    THE MOTIVE FOR THE LAMB’S PRAISE

(Ill. When Simeon enters the Temple and takes Jesus into his arms, the old man declares for all to hear the reasons for his joy.  In his speech, Simeon gives us a three-fold motive for praising the Lord that is just as valid today as it was then.)

A.  v. 26-30  Praised Because Of Who Appeared – The name “Simeon” means “He who hears.”  And, apparently, this man had been hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, v. 26.  He had been told that he would not die until He had seen Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of the world for himself.  When old Simeon sees Jesus, he is notified by the Spirit that this is Him and Simeon begins to praise the Lord because of Who had entered the world.

            Just Who was this Baby?  He is identified here as “the Lord’s Christ,” v. 26 and the Lord’s “salvation,” v. 30.  Simeon understood Who He was, but few others did!  Eight days earlier on the night Jesus was born, some humble shepherds became aware of Who He was.  Some Heavenly angels knew Who He was.  But, sadly, many others did not know Who He was.

            The priest who circumcised Him did not know.  The other people in the Temple that day did not know.  The folks in Bethlehem also did not know Who this very special Baby was.  Sadly, most people alive today do not know Who this Child was and is.

            Let me take just a moment to tell you Who this Baby they named Jesus was and Who He still is:

Ø      He is God in human flesh – John 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:5-8

Ø      He is the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world – Rev. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:18-20

Ø      He is the only Savior of sinners and the only Way to God – John 14:6; Acts 4:12, 1 John 5:12; John 8:24

            Simeon is excited because the promised One has appeared.  He knew Who Jesus was; the question you must answer is: do you know Who Jesus is?  If you do, then you can praise Him like Simeon did.

B.  v. 30-32  Praised Because Of Why He Arrived – As Simeon praises God the Father for the Baby Jesus, he tells us a little bit about why Jesus came in this world.  We are told in verse 30 that Jesus is salvation. We have already covered that!  Then, we are told that He has come to change the whole world.  The ministry He will fulfill will impact the Jewish nation and it will even reach into the Gentile world.

            Basically, Simeon is reminding us that Jesus came into this world to save all those who will come to Him by faith.  Whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile; Jesus came to provide salvation to all who will receive Him.  That is the promise of the Word of God, John 3:16; Rev. 22:17.

            The truth that Jesus came into this world to set me free from my sins is a true motive for praise, Luke 19:10; John 15:13!  That He would love me enough to die for me and to save me by His grace is a thought beyond the power of words to describe!  If we can’t find any other reason to praise the Lord, surely we can praise Him because He loved us so much that He endured the pain, the shame and the horror of the cross to set us free from our sins!  Listen to what Isaiah said about it – Isa. 53:4-6 – and bless His holy name!

C.  v. 34-35  Praised Because Of What He Would Accomplish – Simeon continues his praise by offering a prophecy of what Jesus would accomplish in His life.  In these verses, the old man speaks of a Stone, a Sign and a Sword.  The phrase “fall and rising again of many in Israel” refers to Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy, Psa. 118:22; Isa. 8:14.  Many in Israel would stumble over the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus.  They would stumble in rejection and conviction, but a few would rise again in salvation.  Jesus is the Stone!

            (Note: Let me just state for the record that Jesus Christ is still the Stone!  He is the Salvation Stone, Matt. 21:44.  He is the Judgment Stone, Matt. 21:44, Dan. 2:34, 45.  And, He is the Touchstone, that is, He reveals men for what they really are.  Everything in your spiritual life hinges around how you answer one question, “What think ye of Christ?”, Matthew 22:42.  How you answer that question determines where your soul stands in relationship to God, 1 John 4:1-3.  What is your answer?)

            He also talks about a Sign.  The word “sign” means “miracle.” Jesus Christ is God’s miracle!  But, instead of receiving him as the gift and revelation of God, His enemies attacked Him and crucified Him.  His birth was a miracle, and they attacked it, John 8:41.  His miracles were ridiculed and attributed to the work of Satan, Matt. 12:22-24.  His character was called into question, John 8:48; 52; 9:24.  They mocked Him as He died, Matt. 27:39-44.  They lied about His resurrection, Matt. 27:62-66.  Even today, men still doubt the Miracle Man by questioning His promise to return to the earth again, 2 Pet. 3:3-18.

            Then, Simeon talked about a “sword.”  Of course, this was Mary’s pain!  She suffered as she watched Jesus fulfill His Father’s plan.  The ultimate hurt came the day she watched Him dying on that cross for sinners.

            The bottom line of all this is that Jesus Christ entered this world to provide salvation for the lost.  Thank God for that wonderful truth!  So, do you know the “Miracle Man”?  Is Jesus the “Chief Cornerstone” of your life?  When you stop to think of Who Arrived, Why He Appeared and What He Accomplished, you can see that we have a quite a motive for praising the Lord.

 

 II.                     THE METHOD OF THE LAMB’S PRAISE

(Ill. As we see Simeon and Anna magnify the name of the Lord, we can learn a lesson about how we should be praising Him in these days.  A lot of what is passed off as praise now days is nothing more than a show in the flesh.  There is a biblical way to offer the sacrifice of praise and these two aged people show us how to do it right!)

A.  v. 28  The Praise Was Vocal – Simeon didn’t just see Jesus and rejoice in his heart.  He opened his mouth and lifted up his voice in praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He did not keep what he felt bottled up on the inside; he let it out to the glory of the Lord.

B.  v. 28  The Praise Was Visible – Simeon involved the entire person in the act of praise.  He reached out, lifted the Baby Jesus, held Him high and praised the Lord.  He was not embarrassed to vocally and visibly praise His Redeemer.

C.  v. 38  The Praise Was Verbal – The Anna enters the arena of praise.  She blends her voice with that of Simeon, but she adds an additional element.  While Simeon lifted his hands, his heart and his voice to the lord; Anna praises the Lord, but she also tells others about what the Lord is doing.  Her praise was vocal, visible and verbal!

 

(Note:  I realize that we are living in a day when old-fashioned praising the Lord is out of vogue.  People are too sophisticated, too refined and too afraid of what others might think of them to be involved in vocal, visible and verbal praise to the Lord.  But friends, let me tell you, God still likes it and He still expects it from His people!  Let me just go ahead and state it for the record, there is nothing wrong with vocal, visible and verbal praise to God for what He has done, is doing and will do in our lives!  If He has done anything for you at all, then you have a reason to praise the Lord.  Listen to what the Bible says about this matter:

Ø      Vocal Praise

v     Psalm 47:1, “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 

v     Psalm 98:4, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

v     Psalm 135:1, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.”

v     Hebrews 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

v     Ill. Rev. 4:1-11

 

I think God thinks that vocal praise is in order.  How about you?

 

Ø      Visible Praise

v     Psalm 63:4, “Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

v     Psalm 134:2, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.” 

v     2 Samuel 6:14, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.”

 

Seems to me that He also likes visible praise.

 

Ø      Verbal Praise

v     Psalm 51:13, “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

v    Psalm 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;”

v     Mark 5:19-20, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”

 

I get the feeling that the Lord likes it when His children brag on Him to a lost world and in the company of the saints.

 

III.                     THE MINISTRY OF THE LAMB’S PRAISE 

(Ill. As the name of the Lord was praise publicly, three precious things took place that day.  By the way, the same three things still happen today when God’s people take the time to praise Him for Who He is, what He has done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do!)

A.  v. 28, 38  The Sovereign Was Exalted – It brought glory to God when He was praised in the Temple.  Everything in the Temple was about ritual, but when Simeon and Anna broke the rituals and began to praise the Lord, the focus was taken off the ritual and placed on the Lord God of Heaven.

            Even today, when the Lord is praised and exalted in His church and in the world, He is lifted up.  When we forget about our rituals and when we take the focus off ourselves and lift His name, then He is exalted.  Thank God for the ministry of praise!

B.  v. 33  The Saints Were Edified – Mary and Joseph hear these praises and they are given hope and encouragement by the praises of these precious saints of God.  By the way, it still helps the Lord’s people when they hear others praising His name!  There are days when I cannot feel a spirit of praise in my heart.  There are times when I am not in a position, spiritually, to praise His name.  But, when I see one of my brothers or sisters in Jesus praise His name, it connects with my heart and it performs a ministry in my life.  It lifts me up and encourages me!  When I hear that precious child of God stand and give that testimony, it touches my heart and I can voice my own “Amen!” to the praise they are offering up. So, whenever you feel like praising Him, don’t hold back on my account!  When that testimony has to come out, don’t try to stifle it and quench the Spirit, let it out for the glory of God and because I and others like me need to hear it!  Just let it rip and exalt the blessed name of our lovely Redeemer!  After all, we have abundant reason to praise Him!

C.  v. 38  The Sinners Were Evangelized – The Bible tells us that Anna went out and told others about this Baby she had seen.  The Bible says that “she spake of Him!”  My, what a topic of discussion!  Because she was verbal in her praise, lost sinners heard where they could find Jesus too!

            Friend, you will never know what a little testimony, a little praise, a little witness for Jesus will accomplish!  God can take the sacrifice of praise you off in His name and use it to turn hearts toward Him!  There is something attractive about a child of God who is saved and not ashamed of Jesus!

 

Conc:  When Jesus was born, Heaven was excited.  Angels came down and shared the message with some poor shepherds.  These men heard the praise of the angels and went to see for themselves.  They met Jesus and they came away praising His name also!  Then, when Jesus was taken to the Temple at 40 days of age, He was greeted by the praises of two elderly saints of God, who could not contain their live for Him!  All through His life, Jesus was praised by those who loved Him.  There were even two occasions when the Father spoke His Own praises out of Heaven.  He said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

      I wonder how we are doing in the praise department.  If you are saved, then you have a reason to praise Him, Luke 10:20!  If you have been holding back, why not come to Him, ask for forgiveness and get busy exalting His name, edifying His children and evangelizing the lost through your praise and testimony?  If you are save, but you are not in a position to praise Him, please come to Him and make things right and let Him restore to you a heart of praise.

      Of course, if you are lost, then you have a different set of needs today.  Notice verse 30. Here Simeon talks about departing because he has seen the Lord’s salvation.  Friend, it is of vital importance that you see God’s salvation before death takes you out of this world.  After death comes for you, it will be too late!  If you need to be saved, there is no better time than right now!

      Is there a need?  Jesus can meet it.  Come to Him right now!

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