Revive Our Hearts Radio

Unto You Is Born This Day, Day 3

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Watch as Nancy teaches this message.

Woman: God reached my core. I hit bottom! It was a very low time. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: A woman wrote to Revive Our Hearts about a dark time in her life.

Woman: Our son was making some choices that concerned us. I wanted to control the situation, to tell him what to do. But several wise Christian mentors were telling me the same thing over and over: to live my life, seek the Lord, live it out and let our son see that.

Nancy: The problem was, this woman knew she wasn’t living out a godly example. Over the next months, God gave our team the opportunity to intersect with this woman. She connected with the Revive Our Hearts Ambassador in her area.

Woman: My good friend, Krisi Parker . . .

Nancy: Krisi recommended a title in our True Woman line of books . . .

Woman: Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner. 

Nancy: Two Revive Our Hearts Bible studies were taught at her church . . .

Woman: True Woman 101 and True Woman 201.

Nancy: And then, she listened to the series from Titus 2 on Revive Our Hearts called "God’s Beautiful Design for Women."

Woman: It was like God hit me right between the eyes!

Nancy from "God's Beautiful Design": You can’t love your husband and your children if you don’t have sound thinking, because when they are not lovable, if you don’t have sound thinking, you’re going to respond in unloving ways.

Woman: My calling is to seek Him with my whole heart and live out godly, biblical womanhood. It needed to start with my husband and kids.

Nancy from "God's Beautiful Design": You can’t be kind, you can’t be submissive to your husband, if you don’t have sound thinking—a sound mind.

Woman: I sought His forgiveness for pride, selfish motives, a critical spirit in my heart and my marriage and towards my children. This is not a “one and done.” It’s continual!

Nancy: And thank You, Lord, for what you are doing in this woman’s life . . . and in the lives of so many other women around the world—through these outreaches.

Revive Our Hearts was able to intersect with this woman’s story through publishing, small group studies, ministry Ambassadors, and daily radio. These outreaches, along with others, are making a huge difference in countless lives thanks to listeners like you who pray and who give to make it all possible!

I’m so thankful for the many opportunities that God keeps giving us to reach women, and I’m reminded that close to half of the annual donations that keep this ministry going come during the month of December.

Right now is an especially good time to give, because your donation this month will be doubled. That’s right—some friends of this ministry have offered to double each gift this month, up to $800,000. So your gift today will go twice as far.

To make your donation, just call us at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com for more details on the matching challenge and to give online. Thanks for your part in helping Revive Our Hearts continue pointing women to Jesus, and sharing the truth from His Word that sets women free!

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Wonder of His Name, for December 7, 2017.

Nancy: If you’re a watcher of the Royal Family (do we have any of those here?), you may remember that around 6:30 on the morning of July 22, 2013, Prince William escorted his wife—Kate Middleton—into a side door of St. Mary’s Hospital in west London, because Kate was in labor, expecting their first child.

And just before 4:30 that afternoon, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy—the future heir to the British throne. The royal heir, as you might expect, arrived to much excitement and fanfare!

As soon as he was born, the Queen was notified, along with other members of the Royal Family, and then a press release was issued to media outlets around the world. The world was eager to hear about the birth of the new little Prince.

And then, as is the tradition in the British monarchy, a courier carried an official birth announcement from the hospital over to Buckingham Palace and set it up on an easel outside the palace so the public could “ooh!” and “ahh!” over the announcement.

Here’s what the announcement said: “Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 p.m. today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”

Now, this was the 22nd of July; Kate had been due in mid-July. Reporters and photographers had been camped outside the hospital for three weeks, eager to get a sighting—to get some news about the birth of this baby.

The day of the royal birth was a global occasion, as hundreds of cameramen and photographers from all around the world flocked outside the hospital. The next day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by cheering throngs of well-wishers as they left the hospital, making their first appearance with their infant son—the future King.

And the word spread with lightning speed. On the day of the birth, five percent of all global news was related to the royal baby; pretty important! At its peak, there were more than 25,000 tweets-per-minute about the birth of #RoyalBaby! And Baby was oblivious to all of this!

A day after leaving the hospital, the royal couple announced their son’s name: George Alexander Louis . . . or, officially, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Now, as I did a little fun research into some of that background on the birth of Prince George in recent weeks, I thought, How different was all of this from the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem, just over two-thousand years ago.

We’ve been looking at Luke chapter 2, and I want to read again, beginning in verse 8 of Luke chapter 2, and we’ll look at the final part of this passage today.

Verse 8, Luke 2:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.” 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (vv. 8–13). 

The first part of that would not have been so unusual—“a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths.” The second part would have been more unusual—“lying in a manger”—a feeding trough for animals! But that, of course, would have helped the shepherds know which baby it was that they were identifying. Verses 13 and 14: 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest [The highest—in heaven! Glory to God in heaven!] and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This is the Word of the Lord!

“Gloria in Excelsis Deo”—you’ve heard that phrase. This is where it comes from—Glory to God in the Highest. Gloria . . . in Excelsis (the highest) . . . Deo (to God). The angels were praising God!

Praising God is what angels do! Now they do other things. They’re sent by God with messages for people here on earth. They protect the people of God; they will execute judgment. They will help Jesus in the execution of the final judgment. They do a lot!

But one thing they never stop doing is praising God. Job 38:7 tells us that they praised Him at the creation of the world. They praise Him 24/7 around the throne—we know that from Revelation 4 and 5. They will praise Him for all of eternity!

And here they were that night, their worship service pierced the sky, and these shepherds were allowed to get a glimpse—to participate in the worship of heaven. What a privilege! Wouldn’t you love to have been at that worship service?

My husband and I talk about what kind of church music we like and what kind we’re not so fond of—and you have the same discussions in your home—but could you imagine music like this? Could you imagine a scene like this? Could you imagine worship and praise like this?

There’s been no Christmas program like it, before or since. I guarantee you, no one was sleepy or bored on that Judean hillside that night! No one was looking at their watches wondering, When’s this going to be over?

They were enthralled. They were mesmerized. And I believe they were participating. They weren’t just awkwardly spectating. I think their hearts were drawn in to the praise and worship, because that’s what praise does. It draws in the hearts of those who are also people of faith.

Now, the angels had known the Son of God ever since they were first created. They had seen His glory. They knew His intimate relationship with the Father. They knew the love and the oneness that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit shared.

They knew that the reason the Son had come to earth was in obedience to the will of the Father—that He had been sent, and that He had said, “I delight to do Your will; yes, I will go.”

And they knew that the reason for this was to redeem fallen sinners, to rescue people like those shepherds—people like us—from the righteous wrath of God. These are the angels who have seen all of this, who had been eyewitnesses to all of this. 

These angels who themselves had not sinned and had no need of redemption, but these are the angels who love Jesus, love the Father, love the gospel message so much that every time a sinner repents, they rejoice!

So when the Savior of the world was being sent down from heaven to the world to grow up as a man, to give His life, to lay down His life for the sin of the world, to be the sinless sacrificial Lamb of God so that we could be saved and spend eternity enjoying the glory of God the Father and God the Son in heaven, how could they do anything other than rejoice?

This was a cause for amazement, a cause for great celebration! And so, on the night of the Savior’s birth, they broke out into an ecstatic chorus of praise. They rejoiced at the plan of salvation that Jesus had come to earth to accomplish!

Now, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but maybe I’m telling you something that has become “ho-hum” for you . . . as it does for me, sometimes. And so we come to another Christmas . . . You know, the challenge of every pastor, radio ministry Bible teachers is, What do you do around Christmas? Can you find some new passage to teach?

Well, I think one of the things we need to do is teach the old passages, the familiar passages, and just ask God to infuse us and those passages with fresh wonder. Ask God to help us see them with fresh eyes, hear them with fresh ears, and get a sense of the wonder that those shepherds must have experienced that night.

Now, it’s a sadness to me that so often . . . I’ve been to all the Christmas concerts, I’ve seen all the Christmas plays, I’ve read all the Christmas readings (well, not all of them, but a lot of them!)—I’ve been celebrating Christmas a long time, and so have most of us in this room. 

But here as we come up to Christmas again, I want to encourage you to do what I’ve been doing over recent weeks. Take a passage, like Luke 2, and read it and re-read it and re-re-read it and re-re-re-read it. Turn it around and up and down and over and inside-out and meditate on it. Ponder it, as Mary did with the news that night. Ask God to give you a fresh sense of wonder at what it is that the angels were rejoicing over that night.

And what do the angels do? They said, “Glory to God in the highest!” They ascribed glory to God in heaven, and they recognized that this is the whole purpose and goal and end of all things in heaven and on earth. It’s glory to God!

Glory to God!

  • May He be exalted. 
  • May He be worshiped.
  • May He be adored. 
  • May He be magnified. 
  • May He be celebrated. 
  • May He be the center of all things!

Listen, this world is not about us. Our salvation is not about us. Eternity is not about us. Heaven is not about us. It’s all, all, all about glory to God in the highest!

This worship service, this Christmas service, was totally God-centered. It was not about the angels; it was not about the shepherds; it was not about Mary and Joseph. They all played a part, and it’s not wrong to talk about their part, but the celebration centered on Christ who came to bring the glory of God here to this earth. 

This whole redemptive plan would result in sinners being those who would glorify God for all of eternity. So they declared glory to God in heaven, and then they declared peace on earth.

And who would receive peace? “Those with whom God is pleased.” Unfortunately, the King James—the Authorized Version translation here—is not the best one: “On earth peace, good will toward men”—that doesn’t communicate the meaning of this passage.

A better translation is, “Peace on earth for those with whom God is pleased,” or “For those upon whom His favor rests.” Then the question is, with whom is God pleased? Who can have peace on earth? God is pleased with those who have turned from their sin and have placed their faith in Christ, the Savior of the world, to save them. These are the ones on earth who please God. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God (see Heb 11:6). These are the ones who have placed their faith in Christ, and these are the ones who have peace with God, who have the peace of God—peace on earth.

Now, it’s interesting, again, how this story has this contrast between Caesar Augustus and the Roman Empire. He was considered god-like; he was revered: “Caesar Augustus, revered emperor of the universe.” Then you have Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, shepherds—simple people and places.

Caesar Augustus insisted on having glory for himself, but the message of Christmas is “glory to God in the highest!” Caesar was revered for having brought peace on earth. He brought in what was called the Pax Romana—the Roman Peace—and he was celebrated for that.

A philosopher name Epictetus, who lived in the first and second centuries A.D., said, “While the Emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy. He cannot give peace of heart, for which man yearns more than even for outward peace.”

So the Emperor was known to be the man of peace, to bring peace on earth—the Roman Peace—but this philosopher recognized that the Emperor can give a certain kind of outward temporary peace, but he cannot give inward peace—and lasting peace. The Baby born that night in Bethlehem, and placed in a feeding trough for animals, was the Prince of Peace—the only hope for peace on earth. This is what the angels celebrated that night!

This is the worship service into which the shepherds got drawn up. This is what radically changed their lives, this message: “Tonight is born to you a Savior, Christ the Lord! Glory to God in the highest. On earth, peace for those with whom God is pleased!”

That’s the message that is good news of great joy for all people! And then Luke 2, verse 15 tells us: “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

Don’t fail to notice here that the angels went away. The angels didn’t stay there and sing for the rest of the night . . . and the next day . . . and the next day. That was a momentary, ecstatic, extraordinary, never-to-be-repeated experience.

They went back to heaven to—do what? To resume their worship. To keep praising God around the throne, which is what they do 24/7. So for the shepherds, this mountaintop experience was short-lived, never to be repeated.

Those experiences on the mountaintop are not where most of life is lived . . . where we see the glory of God in full neon display, technicolor. Now one day, for all of eternity, we will enjoy that. But here in this life God just gives us momentary glimpses of that glory.

But here’s what God did that was so sweet for those shepherds: He put faith in their hearts so they could continue believing even when they couldn’t see or hear those angel messengers any longer.

And that’s how we believe. We believe, not because we have seen the glory split the midnight sky . . . although we have seen “the glory of God in the face of Christ,” Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:6.

We believe—not because we hear angels, an angel chorus saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace,” etc. The shepherds believed the message they had received from the angels as we believe the message we have received from God’s Word—the message we’re reading right now. God puts faith in our hearts, and we believe it.

So what did the shepherds do? They believed this message was from God, and what did they do? They took action! They had to do something about this amazing news. They had to see it for themselves! It wasn’t enough just to hear about it, just to know about it. They wanted to experience firsthand—and participate in the drama of redemption.

And they found that what they had been told was true. And could I just say, by the way, that we have a lot of people celebrating Christmas this time of year who’ve heard the story, they know the story, it’s part of their tradition—part of their spiritual culture.

They see it all aound them. They go to church, and they heard about it—but they’ve never done anything about it! They’ve never personally experienced the truth of what they’ve heard; they’ve never investigated it for themselves. They’re never said, “Let’s go and see this for our own selves, with our own eyes!”

And perhaps, for the first time, God is placing faith in your heart, that this message is true. Then, I want to encourage you—before we even get to Christmas—to stop, bow your heart, bow your will, bow your life before the Lord and say, “Lord, I believe—this Baby is the Son of God. He is God come to earth to redeem me from my sins.”

“I believe. I repent. Forgive me! I accept You. I receive You as Christ, Lord, and Savior.” And He will save you!

Well, verse 16 says, “They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” That comma is important after “Mary and Joseph.” I remember when we learned this, when we were kids in school.

We’d say, “And they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger.” My little child’s mind pictures: Mary and Joseph—and the baby—all lying the manger! (laughter) Some people still read it that way. (I’m into grammar, so you’ll have to forgive me for making that point.)

They found Mary and Joseph—comma—and the baby lying in a manger. Now, 367,000 babies were born into this world on July 22, 2013—so I’m told—but only one of those babies had royal blood coursing through his veins: His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

We don’t know how many other babies were born the day that Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son in a cattle stall, but we know that only one of those babies had divine blood flowing through its veins—the Savior, Christ the Lord.

Verse 17: “And when [the shepherds] saw [this—Mary, Joseph, the baby lying in the manger, just as they’d been told], they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.” What was the saying?

It wasn’t just a saying about a baby born in Bethlehem in the manger. It was a saying about, "today is born for you a Savior, Christ the Lord." 

They made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (vv. 18–19). 

And so, this is a natural response: “They made known the saying that had been told them.” They couldn’t keep it to themselves! They had to share it with others.

And so, God chose these simple, humble, lowly shepherds to be the first to hear this wonderful news, and they became the first to share it with others—the first missionaries, the first evangelists to share the euangelion—the good news—not about Caesar Augustus, but about Christ the Savior, the Lord!

When you’ve experienced the reality and the wonder of who Jesus is—why He came to earth—you can’t help but share it with others. You want to tell others about Him. And we have opportunities to do that at this time of year that maybe make it a little easier than at other times of the year, because people are a little more tuned. They’re hearing at least a little bit about this baby born. And we can tell them who this Baby is: Christ the Savior, born for us!

Now, it wasn’t the shepherds’ job to convince the people that they were talking to. It was just their job to share the message—but the message had impact! “All who heard it wondered” (v. 18). Another translation says, “All who heard it were amazed." They marveled at what the shepherds told them.

Jesus is a wonder. When we tell people about Him, when we explain who He is and why He came, they will be moved to marvel at Him. And then, verse 20: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

It reminds me of Anna, another woman we read about later in Luke chapter 2, the elderly widow in the temple who saw the newborn Christ at forty days of age when He was brought to the temple.

Luke 2:38 says, “She began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” This is a two-fold response to seeing Christ: praising Him and telling others about Him—worship and evangelism.

Again, it's not our job to convert people, but to praise the Lord—to celebrate His coming and His redemption, and then to tell others about it. Well, this was an amazing night for these shepherds—you think? They would never be the same again!

Maybe if they were, as we said in the last session, those shepherds who were tending sheep intended for sacrifice, maybe it was over the coming years—and maybe it wasn’t until the cross of Christ—that they realized that these lambs they’d been tending to were intended to be a type of Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I’m sure they grew in their knowledge of what they experienced that night, but eventually, they had to get back to work. They “returned.” That’s an important word, because all of life is not lived in Christmas services and in great visitations, great gospel experiences.

They returned to their work, but their work would never be the same again. They joined the praise and the worship of the angel. “[They] returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (v. 20).

What did they talk about? It wasn’t about them: “Guess what happened to us today! Guess what we saw?” Now, they probably told those stories, but the point of it wasn’t about them at all. They glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen. “All glory to God!”

And that experience that moment, that encounter with Christ, marked the rest of their lives and made them forever worshipers and evangelists. May it be so with us, as we encounter Christ, we see the glory of God in the face of Christ!

Oh Lord, we praise You, we glorify You, we honor You, we exalt You, we worship You! For to us has been born in Bethlehem, a Savior, Christ the Lord. His Royal Highness Jesus.

We love Him, and I pray that You’d give us opportunities in this season—and in the days ahead—to tell others what we’ve seen, what we’ve heard, what we’ve experienced. May all of our daily-ness, all of our work, all of our relationships, be infused with the reality of what we have experienced—because a Savior was born to us! We give You thanks in the Name of Jesus, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wrapping up a series called "Unto You Is Born This Day." What a meaningful way to enjoy this Christmas season, to dig into a familiar passage about the birth of Jesus and get new insights from it.

If you missed any programs in this series, you can hear them at ReviveOurHearts.com. That’s also where you can go to respond to our current matching challenge Nancy told you about at the beginning of the program.

Some friends have offered to match every gift this month—up to $800,000! In order to keep current ministry initiatives going in the year ahead, we need to meet and then exceed that matching amount. Get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959.

When there’s been unfaithfulness in marriage, is there hope for that relationship? Tomorrow we’ll hear a story that says, “Yes. It’s difficult, but God can do something amazing!" Join us again tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you glorify God in every part of life. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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