December 19 - Message Update

Fear Not: The Light Shines in the Darkness – Luke 2:8-21 – Pastor Eric

 

What are you afraid of?  What causes your fear? Are you afraid of the dentist, shots, or the dark? These are real fears, but maybe they seem small to this pandemic. So many people have been struck with fear.  Sadly, this pandemic has pushed people into greater places of darkness with loneliness, anxiety, depression, and addiction.

 

At the time of Jesus’ birth fear was very present.  People feared death, the government, and much more. And right in the middle of the Christmas story, we find fearful shepherds. Their fear is not like any other fear for they had gotten a glimpse of what God is like, which ought to make any of us tremble. 

 

Out of the dark sky of the very first Christmas, Christ came to shine His light like no one has ever done before.  So that we don’t have to fear, for the light of Christ overcomes our deepest darkness. Only God can fully take away our fears, our anxieties, and our sins if we let Him.  Only Jesus has the power to save you and me from the darkness of death and sin.

 

(1) Fear not, for the joy of Christ overcomes our darkness. The joy of salvation and the joy of God’s grace overcomes our sin. It is the delight of every heart to know that there is a satisfaction and happiness far greater than anything in this world found in Jesus Christ. (Luke 2:8-12)

 

In verse 9, the shepherds were filled with great fear. Our English translation doesn’t do justice to the original language.  It is better read, they were terrified with a great fear. The angel responses, “Fear not! You don’t need to be afraid!”

 

There is no need to fear for the best news of their life has come. The thing that they have been waiting for all their life has come. The angel expresses that the good news of the gospel has come to bring joy.  This joy is found only in the long-awaited Messiah and Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

 

The uniqueness of Christ is expressed by the angel for only Jesus will save His people from their sins. Only Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel. And most staggeringly of all, only Jesus is Lord. Only He is the Creator of Earth and Commander of it.  He is the light of the world who shines His light into a dark world.

 

The world can light of your life for a second. It can ease the pain of trauma and fear for a moment, but the lights of this world will eventually go out. The world’s lights and wonders can’t do what Christ can do. For only Christ can satisfy your heart’s desire and only Christ can elevate your life to a place, where fear is gone.

 

So, if you are in a dark place today whether to sin or fear, know that Christ can take away your greatest fear, your ugliest sin, and your deepest sorrow. Let Christ remove your anxiety and replace it with His joy.

 

(2) Fear not, for the peace of Christ overcomes our darkness. The peace of salvation overcomes our sin. It is the delight of every heart to know that we have peace with God and the peace of God. (Luke 2:13-14)

 

God sends His Heavenly army to bring peace. God sends His host of Heavenly soldiers to bring Heavenly tranquility, not earthy denomination. God doesn’t strong arm the world into peace nor does He bully it to get His way. God humbly uses an army of angels to proclaim peace, and He did so through a lowly baby.

 

God’s peace does not mean an absence of strife or chaos in the world, but His peace settles the eternal dispute between God and man.  We need peace, because we are in rebellion against God. (Romans 5:10) Christ’s coming into this world settles the divide between God and man, and He was born to bring us back to Himself.

 

This peace is vital to life now, because if God has settled the big problem of our eternal separation, then we can have peace with God. And if God has already settled the eternal issue, then God can definitely settle all our earthly issues.

 

Our peace with God allows us to have the peace of God. The beauty of the gospel is that we receive peace with God, and our peace with God allows us to have the peace of God. It is in Jesus’ birth that He brought His Heavenly peace to settle our eternal dispute and to ease our earthly nerves.

 

So, if you are in a dark place today or if you are rattled by all the news of the day whether it’s COVID-19 or violence in our streets, know only God’s peace can take away your fear.

 

(3) Fear not, for the love of Christ overcomes our darkness.  When we love God, we are consumed by His love.  His love controls how we think and live.  It is His perfect love that casts out fear.  (Luke 2:15-20)

 

The shepherds collectively make their way toward baby Jesus. Their step is quickened by what they have seen and heard. There is no hesitation in their minds about what God has bestowed upon them.  They are no longer afraid of God, but they are in awe of God.  Their new found joy and peace push them toward lovely obedience. 

 

They meet the baby Messiah, and they fall in love with Jesus. In doing so, they respond in praise. This reveals a truth for all of us, because we all praise what we love. Whatever you love you will talk about.  Whatever you love you will exalt.

 

Do you ponder the amazing performances of Jesus Christ? Do you praise Christ for giving you love, peace, and joy like you’ve never seen before?  Do you exalt Jesus above all others for saving your life?

 

We ought to ponder these questions, because if we love God, then we will praise Him and fear will decrease. When we recognize who is before us like Mary and the shepherds did, then fear fades. It is replaced with love, peace, and joy.

 

When we are consumed with Jesus Christ to know He descended to earth to save us from Hell and death, then we have little to fear, even death itself.  When we comprehend who is really in charge, Jesus, the Commander of the Universe, then we will worry less here on earth for He controls it all.

 

The shepherds and Mary help us know that we do not need to fear the darkness of violence, a pandemic, or sin for Christ shines in that very darkness. 

 

It is His light that will take away your anxiety, your stress, and your sorrow in this fallen world.  It is the light of the world, Jesus Christ, who can deliver you from your darkness to sin and death if you repent of your sins and trust in Him.

 

This is why Christ came and this is why we celebrate Christmas. Come let us celebrate Christ for only He will shine away all that we fear!

 

 

Praise Songs:

Angels We Have Heard On High / What a Beautiful Name / Joyful Joyful,

Amazing Grace / O Come All Ye Faithful / King of Kings, Doxology