Are You Ready for Christ’s Coming?
(Luke Chapter 2)

Rev. Jim Bogle, given December 23, 2007

Are you ready this morning for the coming of Christ?

Luke 2:1-4

1: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2: (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3: And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And so the land of Palestine was alive with travelers traversing from one city to another according to their lineage!

4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

The Little Town of Bethlehem was the birth place of King David. The very fields around Bethlehem were the fields where David was a shepherd boy – where he protected the sheep from the bear and from the lion. Joseph was a descendant of David, and his roots were there in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem means house of BREAD! How appropriate that the Son of God, the Bread of Life, should be born in Bethlehem.

Why was Joseph going to Bethlehem? Certainly not because he was “homeless” – he had a home in Nazareth.

Certainly not because he was “jobless” – he was a professional carpenter.

And certainly not because he was looking for some handout.

They were in Bethlehem because God had arranged for them to be there.

They were there ....

Luke 2:5

 5: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Joseph was not a rich man by any stretch of the imagination according to the standards of this world! But he was a responsible husband, a responsible father, and one who loved God! And what more could a wife or a son ask for in this world!

Albert Barnes writes the following.

...It is worthy of our consideration that Jesus was born poor.  He did not inherit a princely estate. He was not a palace. He had no rich friends. Yet he had virtuous and pious (God-fearing) parents, of more value to a child than great riches....Happy is that child (and rich beyond measure) ...that has a Godly father and mother.

Joseph and Mary may not have been rich with this world’s goods, but they were rich in their love for one another, they were rich in their love for their new baby boy, and they were rich in their love for God, and His love for them! Mary and Joseph, far from being rich in this world, were rich beyond measure in God’s world!

Luke 2:6-7

6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

One Bible commentator wrote the following about this verse of Scripture…

“Jesus was born in poverty.  If Joseph had possessed the money, he could have bought a room in the inn...”

Well, the Scripture doesn’t even say that, or even suggest such a thing! The Bible doesn’t say that Joseph could have bought a room if he’d had the money. It says, “There was no room in the inn.” And common sense will tell you why!

Every human being alive, at that time, born in Bethlehem, was coming back home to be registered for the tax. The city was over-flowing with people. There was no room – period!

The sad commentary on this verse could only be that residents of the inn, seeing Mary’s delicate condition, were not willing to sacrifice for her better care.

And that, my friends was the very situation with Joseph and Mary! It wasn’t because Joseph couldn’t afford the room. It was because there was no room – but somebody was willing to make provision. Somebody owned that stable…and provided its means as a covering and protection from the elements.

And then the writer of this commentary went on to say something else that troubles me!

“Jesus was born in obscurity and loneliness.  The birth took place away from people, all alone!”

I don’t believe for one moment that the Lord Jesus was ever alone in this world except for those difficult six hours on Calvary when all of the sins of the world were placed upon His body. God the Father turned away from God the Son and let him die for the burden of all mankind!  The Holy Spirit departed from Christ, and he was hanging there on that cross alone.

“My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?”

I believe these were the only trying six hours when Christ was all alone for the first time in all of eternity!

Even in the Garden of Gethsemane - His Father was there.

When he was in the mountains alone to pray – His Father was there.

But on Calvary’s cross, Jesus bore our sins alone!

But Jesus was not alone in the stable at Bethlehem. His mother, who loved him dearly, was there, keeping him warm and cozy through the still cold night. His earthly father, Joseph, was there making sure both mother and child were well taken care of.

And not only were his parents present, but also came the angels of God and Shepherds from the fields of Bethlehem...

Luke 2:8-9

8: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9: And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

This is the same shekinah glory that set Moses’ face aglow when God spoke to him from the burning bush!

It’s the same shekinah glory that lead God’s children through 40 years in the wilderness.

It’s the same shekinah glory that hovered over Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration

And it will be the same shekinah glory that will instantly change you and me from mortal to immortal.

These shepherds are standing in the light of the glory of God. By the way...the light came quickly. It caught the shepherds completely by surprise.

In Revelation, Jesus tells us four times, Behold, I come quickly!

Matthew 24:44

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Nobody can ever accuse God of not giving us ample warning! The Light of God came quickly, AND THE APPEARANCE OF THE ANGEL OF THE LORD FRIGHTEN THE SHEPHERDS! BUT THE ANGEL OF THE LORD WAS CAREFUL TO SET THEM AT EASE!

Luke 2:10-11

 10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

I want you to note the wording, “For unto born this day…” This speaks to us of the personal relationship we can have with the LORD. He came for you and for me.

If you were the only person on this planet, Jesus would’ve come for you!

He is a personal God,

A personal Savior,

A personal LORD interested in you and me...

John 3:16

He came for whosoever will believe...

And the angel speaks of Great joy.  It is a message that is to be received with great joy!

If I told you that Christ was coming tomorrow,

Would you be excited?

Would there be great joy in your heart.

Or would your response be like that of Herod, and all of Jerusalem? The Bible says that great fear fell upon them when the Wise men came into town looking for the newborn king.

Neither Herod nor the Jews were ready for Christ’s coming.

And the question this morning is - Are you ready for His coming? Or does the thought of His coming frighten you a bit?

The moment Adam sinned, the first thing he did was to run away and hide! He tried to hide among the trees of the garden. But even though he ran away from God, God still pursued him, just as the shepherd goes looking and calling for his lost sheep.  “Adam where are you?”

Adam was hiding from God because he was afraid.

God may be calling you today. You wouldn’t be here this morning if God wasn’t calling you. God hasn’t given up on you. He hasn’t quit calling you.

Adam and Eve had turned from the love of God, and the Word of God, and found themselves naked and lost in a world of darkness, misery, anxiety and fear. They were in a hell storm that they had no covering for. But today, there is a covering available to every one that suffers from loneliness, heartache, confusion, anxiety, frustration, misery, pain, and fear.

Christ is the Umbrella of protection from that hell storm. He offers forgiveness of sins, which will bring freedom from the torment of fear.  And lead you back into a right, and loving relationship with Him.

The God you fear is the God of Perfect Love. He proved his love for you when he sent His only begotten Son into this world to take upon His body the sins of the entire world and to die on Calvary’s cross in your place and in my place.

And so, if you knew that Christ was coming tomorrow, would your heart be filled with fear, or would it leap with great joy?

If you are fearful of His soon return, you need to seek His forgiveness for the willful and unconfessed sin in your life. The Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Today, this very morning,  you can be ready for Christ’s coming, and be joyful about it, if you will only repent and ask God’s forgiveness. His ear is always’s open right now!

And so the angel came to the shepherds with tidings of great joy.

Luke 2:11-14

11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12: And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men

And so we see that even the angels were present that night when Christ was born. The glory of the angels, that radiant light that shone throughout the land, was present the night that Christ was born. And I believe that this was the light, the star that the Wise men in the east saw.

They see a brilliant star in the east, and they begin their journey toward Palestine.

Luke 2:15-17

 15: And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16: And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17: And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Jesus wasn’t alone in a stable the night of his birth, nor was he born in obscurity!

His mother was there,

His earthly father was there,

The Shepherds were there,

The angels were there, and the beasts of the field were there the night that Christ was born…And God the Father was there. The light of His marvelous glory shining down own mother and child! What a wonderful and rich a heritage for the spiritual offspring of God, the Lord Jesus Christ!!

The night that Christ was born was one of the most beautiful and wonderful events in the history of the Christian church. And the response to that event is found in the following verse

Luke 2:18-20

18: And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19: But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

If Christ were to come today – would you be ready for His coming?

John 3:16

For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes upon Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:9

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God has given us the most wonderful GIFTS - The Gift of Salvation, the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Gift of Eternal Life with Him someday...and it could be today!

Are you ready for His Coming?