Declaring the Good News      Luke 2:8-20, 36-38       Dec. 25, 2005
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        What does the term "good news" mean? I hope it is not a surprise to you that it means “gospel.” To be more specific the Gospel is the “good news of Jesus Christ.” Some may ask, “How is the message about Jesus the good news?” The lesson tells us through the response of several individuals. We will discover anew the privilege of God’s children In Declaring the Good News.

1. The . . Ways of Declaring the Good News. Lk. 2:8-14

    A.    Declare the Good News through . . Preparation. 2:8-9

        8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then
                an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
    B.    Declare the Good News through . . Proclamation. 2:10-11
        10 But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be
                for all the people: 11 today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.
    C.    Declare the Good News through . . Promise. 2:12
                12 This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger."

    D.    Declare the Good News through . . Praise. 2:13-14

          13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God
                 in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!  The Gospel may be declared through preparation.
                 Notice the obvious preparation of God as angels shared “good news”  to the shepherds. I like the idea that these
                 shepherds could be men who cared for the sheep used in the temple sacrifices. If  that is correct; then an angel
                 proclaimed to them their sacrificial lambs would soon be eliminated. In addition the “good news” was declared in
                 telling about the birth of the Savior in the city of David. The angel gives an unusual promise as he tells the
                 shepherds you will find the baby “wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger." The sign is; God’s Son who
                 deserves all kinds of pomp and pageantry is “lying in a manger.”


2. The . . Witness In Declaring the Good News. Lk. 2:8-14

           A.    The Witness through . . Searching. 2:15-16

                15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to
                 Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 They hurried off and found both
                 Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.

    B.    The Witness through . . Sharing. 2:17-18
        17 After seeing [them] , they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed
         at what the shepherds said to them.

        We find a witness in the searching and sharing of shepherds. The shepherds followed the bidding of the angel; searching for, and finding, the Christ Child. Did you expect them to share the news they now know first hand? I think you will say, yes! Have you made a personal discovery concerning the birth of the Christ in your own life? Then share the good news to all you know.

3. The . . Wonderment In Declaring the Good News. Lk. 2:19-20

    A.    The Wonderment In . . Treasuring the Good News. 2:19
        19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.

    B.    The Wonderment In . . Telling the Good News. 2:20
        20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

        I see two areas of wonderment in declaring the gospel. There is wonderment in the treasuring, and telling, of the good
         news. Mary treasured the things said by the shepherds. I treasure good things said about my children and grandchildren.
         I also share much about them. Mary obviously shared her treasured experiences. The shepherds returned telling the
         experiences as they discovered everything “just as they had been told.” Did you notice that significant phrase?


4. The . . Watchfulness In Declaring the Good News. Lk. 2:19-20

    A.    The Watchfulness In . . Fasting and Prayer. 2:36-37
        36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having
         lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,   37 and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple
         complex, serving God night and day with fastings and prayers.

    B.    The Watchfulness In . . Formulation of Praise. 2:38
        38 At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to
         the  redemption of Jerusalem.

        In my opinion Anna is one of the three “wise women” of Christmas. God rewarded Anna’s watchfulness as she fasted and prayed. This lady gave a real example of dedication. How long did she serve in the Temple? None of us know for sure. She had the status of “prophetess,” living in quarters at the Temple, and formulated praise for God’s redemption to all who would listen. I do not think this confuses our stand about women’s ordination. We have many great ladies in our churches that do not want nor will they seek ordination. Ladies such as Beth More seem content to be Declaring the Good News. Amen? Amen!