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Luke 2:8-20 WE CAN SING THE SHEPHERD’S SONG
Intro: Ill. My favorite of all the passages that deal with the Christmas story. It reveals God’s love for the most common and most sinful of men. These shepherds were just living their lives, doing what they needed to do to survive, and they experienced life-changing, eternity-altering grace. They were visited by the heavenly messengers, they met Jesus, and their lives were never the same again. They came away with a new song of praise in their hearts and on their lips. None of us are shepherds today, but we can sing their song. Why? We can sing their song when we have shared their experience. I want to take this familiar passage and point out a few similarities we share with these shepherds. Let me show you why We Can Sing The Shepherd’s Song.
I. WE ARE SIMILAR IN OUR OCCUPATIONS
· These men were engaged in the business of life. They were doing what they felt they needed to do to provide for their families and for themselves. They were shepherds. (Ill. Their duties – Monotony, leading flocks, feeding, watering, protecting, etc.) Ill. Probably raised the sheep used in the Temple services. They were just busy living their lives.
· That could describe most of us as well. We work, we live our lives and day blends into day. We carry out our various duties and spend the bulk of our days laboring. We give little thought about what awaits us after this life, Heb. 9:27.
· Work is a good thing, 1 Tim. 5:8. Thank God for the privilege to work, but if that is all there is to life, then it is a tragedy. There must be more, and there is! Beyond this life there is eternity to face. Ill. Mark 8:36-37.
II. WE ARE SIMILAR IN OUR OFFENSIVENESS
· These men are shepherds. It didn’t matter that they were raising lambs to be sacrificed in the Temple, they themselves were social outcasts. Their work kept them away from the Temple for weeks at a time. The nature of their work caused them to be ceremonially defiled. As they moved about the country tending to their flocks, they were often accused of being thieves. Shepherds were considered unreliable and were not allowed to give testimony in court. These men were just dirty, defiled sinners. These men had no hope. No one, not even the religious elite, cared for them. They were lost and destined to Hell.
· While none of us are shepherds, we are all defiled sinners in the eyes of God, Gal. 5:22; Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 13. In that lost condition, humanity has a common destination. In our natural state, we are all headed to Hell, Rom. 6:23; Psa. 9:17; Eze. 18:4. (Ill. If we got what we deserved, we would all go to Hell!)
III. WE ARE SIMILAR IN OUR OPPORTUNITIES
· Even though these men were social outcasts. Even though they were consider defiled by organized religion, Ill. Psa. 142:4. Even though they were the kind of men you would never trust with anything of value. These were the very men who received the good news of the Savior’s birth. (Ill. The context of vv. 9-14).
The shepherds received an invitation from Heaven to go meet a Saviour. They accepted that invitation and they were saved. Religion had no place for them. Society had no place for them. But, God Almighty put them into His plan! God had a place in His grace and in His love for these dirty, defiled sinners.
· We have a similar opportunity! The Gospel, or the Good News of salvation, has been given to us just as it was to these men. He loves us in spite of what we are – Rom. 5:8.
(Ill. The Gospel – 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 4:25) The invitation for us to come to Jesus has been extended, Matt. 11:28; John 7:37; Rev. 22:17. If we will come to Him, believing on Him by faith, we will be saved, John 6:37; Acts 16:31; John 6:47; John 3:16. (Ill. He came looking for the lost – Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17) (Ill. 1 Cor. 1:26-27)
· The shepherds could have heard the message of the angels and they could have turned a deaf ear to it. They could have said, “Oh that will work for others, but not for us! We have been too bad. God really doesn’t love us. We can’t really be saved. That message is only for others.” Instead, they received the message and they met Jesus, v. 15! They placed their faith in Him and they were eternally saved that very night.
· Don’t allow your opportunity to come to Jesus to pass you by! If He is calling, come while He is near, Isa. 55:6. You can only come while He is calling, John 6:44. He will not call forever, Gen. 6:3. If He is calling you, you need to come to Him today, 2 Cor. 6:2.
IV. WE ARE SIMILAR IN OUR OBLIGATIONS
· The shepherds met Jesus. They were saved, and they were changed forever, vv. 16-20! They went back to their sheep, but as they went, they told everyone they met what they had heard, what they had seen and what the Lord had done for them. They had an experience, and they shared it with everybody. (Ill. “praising” – same word in vv. 13 & 20. These men had been saved just a short time, and they were already speaking like angels.)
By the way, they returned to their flocks and resumed their lives. But, these men had a new language, a new song, a new purpose and a new way of living. They were altered forever by that one encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ!
· That’s how it works! Jesus changes every life He saves, 2 Cor. 5:17. He gives us a new song, Psa. 40:1-3. He makes us witnesses of His saving grace, Acts 1:8. He gives us a new life and a new purpose in that life. Meeting Him changes everything, Ill. Eph. 2:4-10!
After we meet Him, like the shepherds, we will have a desire to tell others about Him. We will want to praise Him for what He has done for us. We will keep on living; we will keep on working, but now we will do those things with a new purpose of heart. We will do them to the glory of God. Thank God for His love and for His grace!
Conc: Can you sing the shepherd’s song? I can sing it because I know Him! If you know Him, you can sing it too. If you don’t know Jesus, let me invite you to come meet the One Who was born in Bethlehem all those years ago. Come meet the true gift of Christmas. Come meet the only One Who can save your soul from and eternity in Hell. Come meet the only One Who can give purpose to your life. Come meet the One Who can take away your sin, give you salvation and everlasting life. Come meet Jesus! He changes everything! Ill. v. 18 – Many heard and wondered, but only the shepherds searched for and found the Saviour.