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Telling the News

Telling the News

Words of Faith 2-27-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 2

   [8] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. [9] An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. [10] But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. [11] Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. [12] This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

   [13] Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

   [14] "Glory to God in the highest,

       and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

   [15] When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

   [16] So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. [17] When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, [18] and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. [19] But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. [20] The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 

       Luke is the only Gospel writer who tells us that there were some shepherds in a field nearby. These were common folks to be sure. We often romanticize the life of the shepherd, but in reality the shepherd was low in the social order. Shepherds were a faithful part of village life to be sure, but they actually were looked down on in the religious community because their duties kept them from keeping the law. They were viewed as sinners.

       In a great irony of history, these shepherds may have actually tended to the very lambs used for sacrifice in the Temple, but they were looked down on because those very duties kept them from praying at the proper times of the day and washing their hands correctly before meals. They were ritually unclean. Religion is interesting, isn't it? It is a little like turning up your nose at the church custodian because he works on Sundays rather than worshiping on that day.

       Doctor Luke tells us that it was to these very people, simple, hardworking, salt of the earth-type people that the Good News about Jesus came. It was this simple group that was recruited to first announce the Good News. In doing so, Luke records for us a very simple but enduring model for New Testament evangelism. They heard. They went to see. They spread the word.

     HEARING is where it starts. Sometimes, we don't hear very well from God. Our world is filled with noise. Our spiritual frequencies are often jammed with static. But mostly we just don't listen. I often wonder how many angels I pass by-- miss completely-- because I am not listening. The most significant spiritual discipline I have learned over the past few years is the discipline, the activity, of HEARING. It really is no wonder that the angels announced to the shepherds. The religious people were too busy doing religious things. Political people were too busy with political things. The shepherds were listening.

   GOING TO SEE.   The Christian faith is an investigated faith. It is a reasoned faith. It is also a personal faith. You don't argue with the angel, but the faith walk means going to personally meet Jesus. That is exactly what the shepherds did. They HEARD the Good News. But then they went and personally met Jesus and verified the message with Mary and Joseph. Our life of faith requires more than just hearing about Jesus. We must go and meet Jesus. We must investigate personally the claim that the Son of God has entered into human form and made a way of redemption for us. Small groups are important because this is where we verify the leading of God in our lives. The meeting of the shepherds with Mary and Joseph was the first small group meeting of the church. They came and shared that they had an unusual experience with angels only to have that verified by Mary and Joseph who had both had similar experiences.

     SPREADING THE WORD. The first traveling evangelists of the New Testament age were simple shepherds. They did not quit what they were doing. They did not form an Evangelistic Association or a crusade organization. They did not develop a program. They actually could not help but do what they did. When you have Good News, you cannot help but spread that Good News. Everywhere they went, every person they encountered, they spread the word. When anyone came to ask what sheep shearer they used, or where the best fields were to be found, they had a Good Word to share about the baby born in Bethlehem.  

      

     Lord Jesus, help me to be a listening person. Help me to be a person of personal faith. Go with me as I spread the word. In Jesus' name.