Unto Us A Savior Is Born
A Savior is Born
By Mark E. Hardgrove, DMin
Text: Luke 2:1-14
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 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.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this [will be] the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Let me ask you question, what's so special about Christmas? Some would say Jesus. That's true, but that's not the whole answer, nor even necessarily the most important answer. The name Jesus, or the Hebrew Yeshua, had been popular in Judaism long before that first Christmas day. In fact, there is another Jesus (Bar-Jesus) mentioned in Acts 13:6. So it was more than just the fact that a baby boy named Jesus was born that made this a special day. There's something else.
Some would say it is that Messiah was born. That's getting to the heart of it, but the angels use a specific term, they told the shepherds, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
I think the single most important point to be made about that first Christmas morning was that "a Savior" was born. Not just any savior, but this Savior is Messiah and He is the Lord.
I) WHO IS THIS SAVIOR?
What is the significance of the birth of a Savior? For us Christians the word Savior has only one meaning, it means Jesus. We use the word Savior synonymously with Jesus, because He died in our place to save us from our sins. He delivered us from the penalty of our transgressions. He secures our salvation. Jesus Christ is our Savior.
However, for the Jews of that time Savior meant one and only one thing. Savior is a reference to God Himself. It is one of His Old Testament titles.
Let's go back and look at how the word Savior is used in the Bible. The word "Savior" occurs 36 times in the New King James Version of the Bible. It occurs only 12 times in the entire Old Testament and every time it occurs in the Old Testament it is clearly referring to God, to Yahweh. I'm just going to read these twelve verses from the Old Testament and as I read them, remember this was the only Bible of the Jewish people at that time. So think about what the word Savior meant to them. Think about what it meant to these Jewish shepherds to hear that a Savior, Messiah the Lord, had been born. Think about the true significance of this child to them. Imagine about how their hearts must have leaped with joy to hear that the Savior was born, Messiah has come and they can go and see Him.
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.
They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt,
And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them.
For I [am] the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
I, [even] I, [am] the LORD, And besides Me [there is] no savior.
Truly You [are] God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!
Tell and bring forth [your case]; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? [Who] has told it from that time? [Have] not I, the LORD? And [there is] no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; [There is] none besides Me.
". . . All flesh shall know That I, the LORD, [am] your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
. . . You shall know that I, the LORD, [am] your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
For He said, "Surely they [are] My people, Children [who] will not lie." So He became their Savior.
O the Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble, Why should You be like a stranger in the land, And like a traveler [who] turns aside to tarry for a night?
"Yet I [am] the LORD your God Ever since the land of Egypt, And you shall know no God but Me; For [there is] no savior besides Me.
Do you see what I see? Everywhere the word "Savior" is used, it is clearly referring to God and to God alone. In fact, He says twice that besides Him there is no Savior. God is the Savior.
Then look in the New Testament. After being told by Gabriel that she was going to give birth to Messiah, Mary went to tell her cousin Elizabeth the good news. The unborn baby John, leaped in her womb under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and then Elizabeth began to prophecy over Mary, after which Mary breaks forth in a doxology, a song, and in Luke 1:47, Mary speaks these words, "And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior"-again, the acknowledgement that God, and God alone is the Savior. Also, notice that Mary calls Him her Savior. She, along with all of us mere humans, was in need of a Savior and she glorified in Him coming as her Savior.
The next place in the Bible where we see the word Savior is in our text. The angel declares, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
A look into a Hebrew lexicon will reveal that the word Savior (yasha) is use only of God, and in the New Testament, the Greek variant, soter, is used only of God and of Jesus.
The significance of this is that when the angel said that a Savior is born to you, it means nothing less than that God Himself, in the form of this child named Jesus, has come to be with men. This is what Gabriel said when he referred to Jesus as Immanuel, which means, "God with us."
II.) GOD MEANT BUSINESS
When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating more than just the birth of a baby boy named Jesus. We are celebrating the fact that God cared so much for us and He loved us so much that He took on the form of human flesh and dwelt among us. He lived and walked and talked as one of us so that He could be our Savior. He came to save us from our sins and bring us victory over Satan.
Lying in that manger is our salvation, which is to say, our victory over sin, our victory over death, our victory over deflated and defeated lives. He came to give us life and that more abundant. He came to give us joy unspeakable and full of glory. He came to put our enemy under our feet. And every Christmas should be our reminder that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.
It's not about presents and it's not about lights and ribbons and bows, but it's about a Savior, it's about God with us, it's about victorious and abundant lives, it's about storming the gates of hell and snatching souls like brands from the fire. It's about standing strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
God wasn't messing around. When God had to come to where we were to defeat the kingdom of darkness, God meant business.
When I was a kid we lived in our grandmother's two-story house while my father was stationed in Germany serving in the Air Force. Sometimes I'd be downstairs playing or wrestling around with my cousins, and if we got too loud or too rambunctious my mother would yell down the stairs for us to settle down. If we didn't settle down, she'd eventually say, "Don't make me come down there," because if she had to come down to where we were to get our attention then than I knew she meant business.
Christmas reminds us that God meant business. He was and is serious about bringing salvation to us all. He provided a covenant in the Old Testament which offered a means by which people could enter into a relationship with God. But His people were forever breaking the Law that He had established. It seemed the enemy was always getting the better of us, so when we could not get to where He was, He came to us.
We could not, through our own works, do enough gain our own salvation or victory over sin. We could not be good enough, or work hard enough, or give enough, or worship enough, to gain the victory. The song says, "I was lost and undone, without God or His Son, when He reached down His hand for me." God meant business.
He loves us too much to stand by while the enemy has his way with us. God said, "I'm coming down there. I'm coming to whip the devil and take names."
Christmas is about a Savior, about God in Christ coming to us lost and helpless humans. It is about Salvation for all who believe and receive the gift of eternal life.
Whatever I face in life, I know that I can make it because unto me, a Savior was born.
I don't know what this coming year holds, but I know I can make it because a Savior was born.
There may by trials and storm in the economy, I may face some physical or relationship trials, but I'm not going to be defeated because a Savior was born.
You may face some things this year that you never anticipated, and the devil will try to catch you off guard and try to take you down, but you're not going down, you're gonna make it and you are going to triumph over every trial or tribulation because a Savior was born.
Christmas happened, God came down and God means business, the devil is defeated and we are victorious because a Savior was born.
He can't be unborn, the victory can't be undone, the promise cannot be unpromised, the hope cannot be unhoped, the joy cannot be unjoyed. The angels declared it, God did it, Mary delivered it, and we have received it. . . a Savior is born unto us. God became one of us to show us that we can live victorious lives when He lives in our heart.
III) OUR SAVIOR IS COMING AGAIN
Over the past few months the news has shown something significant for us to consider. In light of the California law which prohibits gay marriage, the homosexual community has become increasingly militant. I saw one news clip where gays were picketing a church as the members arrived for the Sunday service. In another story I saw gays parading down the aisles of a church throwing our pamphlets supporting homosexuality, and then two women, right down at the altars of the church, began kissing. That church puts on a lot of skits and things, so the people at first thought it was a skit, but then the pastor said, "This is not a skit." Then last week with women and children in the building, the home church of Sara Palin was set on fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the newly renovated church sustained over a million dollars in damage.
In addition to the militancy of the gay community, the atheists in the country are beginning to assert themselves. In many communities now, if the court house, or any government building puts up a Nativity scene, they have to allow atheists to put up placards declaring that there is no God, there is no heaven, and there is no hell.
What is the significance of this? It is significant in light of the words of Jesus who said in Luke chapter 17 that as it was in the days of Noah, and of Sodom, then will the Son of Man be revealed. Here's the point, it's gonna get worse and worse, but thank God, a Savior was born. He came the first time as a baby meek and mild, but friends, He's coming again, only this time He's coming riding upon a white horse with a sword and with fire in His eyes to execute judgment upon this earth. It's gonna get bad, but a Savior was born, and my deliverer is coming.
Rich Mullins, the author and artist of the song, "Our God Is An Awesome God," was killed in a car accident on September 19, 1997. He and his friend Mitch McVicker were traveling on I-39 north of Bloomington, Illinois to a benefit concert in Wichita, Kansas when his Jeep flipped over. Neither man wore a seat belt. Both were thrown from the vehicle. A passing tractor-trailer swerving to avoid the Jeep killed Mullins. McVicker was badly injured but survived
After his death his manager and family were going back and listening to some songs he had been working on in his home studio, and they found an unfinished work that was later remastered and became a hit. The title of the song is, "My Deliverer is Coming."
Joseph took his wife and her son, and they went to Africa,
to escape the rage of a deadly king...
There along the banks of the Nile Jesus heard the words of this song...
that the captive children used to sing...
(They were singin'...)
My De-live-er-er is coming, my Deliverer is standing by....
My De-live-er-er is coming, my Deliverer is standing by...
He will never break His promise, He has written it across the sky!
My Deliverer is coming, my Deliverer is standing by...
I feel like the Jesus is about to come back for His church, and I can't think of a better present to receive this Christmas, than to receive Jesus as your personal Savior was born almost two-thousand years ago, but have you been born again into Him?
Unto Us A Savior Is Born
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