Sermon Title:  Where will you find Greatness?

Summary:  When God visited the earth through Jesus, he came in the most
humble way and the announcement came to the humblest of people, shepherds. 
This demonstrates that the Gospel is for all people, therefore we also need to
make the journey to humble places to make the Gospel available to all.

Know:  God is concerned that the Gospel be made available for all people,
especially the humble and the outcast.

Feel:  Gratitude and thankfulness that God is concerned for the lowly

Do:  Identify ways to “make the journey” to the humble to serve, demonstrate and
tell the Gospel

Text:  Luke 2:1-20

Scripture Reading:  Phil 2:12-13

1.  Where will you find the greatness in our country?
	a.  In the White House, on Football Field, University Hospital, Studio
	b.  What makes that person great?  Did great things for people
	c.  What would happen if he were to visit our town?
		- What kind of preparation would you make?
		- Motercade, secret service, parade
		- Banner across 4th street, newspaper
2.  If ask where find greatness in 4th century B.C. - Many would say in Rome
	a.  Name:  Gaius Octavius - First Roman Emperor
	b.  Took the Title - Augustus, meaning revered or holy
	c.  Sept 23 - New year, birth of Augustus, “Soter tes ges” meaning
	     Savior of the World
	d.  When died, many took comfort he not dead because gods don’t die
3.  Our text is about another one also called “Soter”
	a.  That’s where similarity ends
	b.  He stands in stark contrast to people like Augustus

I.  Luk 2:1-7 - First contrast, his birth
	A.  Royalty like Augustus are born in palaces
		1.  Finest baby beds, nursing staff to care for him
		2.  Finest clothing, baby swings, toys, moblies for crib
		3.  Will eventually have personal teachers and tutors
	B.  You see none of that sort of thing with Jesus
		1.  Overcrowded Bethlehem (city of bread) no place to stay
			a.  Don’t know if there no family members there
			b.  Apparently no one showed hospitality
			c.  Some soft of “inn” there, but no room
			d.  Jesus was beneath anyone’s notice
		2.  Something horrible - Mary says, “It’s time”
			a.  What was going through his head?
			b.  Not here, not now! No midwife, no bed, strange place
			c.  Could have been in the street at this point
			d.  Apparently found shelter in a stable somewhere
		3.  Mary wrapped the baby up in clothes
			a.  Why?  She had to lay him in a “phatne”
				- Could be a stall or feeding trough
				- If feeding trough, probably made of stone
				- If stall, then probably in the corner
			b.  What if it were you?  What would you be thinking?
				- This just can’t be right, all is going wrong!
				- This is messed up - Jesus born in a barn
	C.  ILL:  Couldn’t find motel in Ohio
		1.  Drove from 9:00 to 2:00 looking for one
		2.  Finally found a small motel, old, dirty, paint coming off walls
		3.  Didn’t even sleep under the covers, used our own
		4.  This is NOT where I wanted to put my family down
			a.  If I wasn’t so exhausted, would have drove all night
			b.  We were all glad to be able to just stretch out & lie down
	D.  Maybe that is what is goind on with Mary and Joseph
		1.  No indication that they are horrified
		2.  Maybe they were glad they had shelter from the outside
		3.  They were humble carpenters family
		4.  The barn was defintely a very humble place to be born

II.  Second Contrast - The Reception (Luk 2:8-14)
	A.  Have you ever planned or been to some sort of reception?
		1.  Wedding, Special Birthday, Graduation Party, etc.
		2.  What would you do?
			a.  Decorations, cake, gifts, caterer
			b.  Live music
			c.  Invite special freinds
			d.  If for royalty, invite important guests
		3.  Got to put picture in the paper
		4.  Of course, people would dress up for this
	B.  What expect with the Son of God?
		1.  Would an announcement go out?  What would it say? (v.11)
			a.  It’s a boy Savior! “Soter” (not Augustus)
			b.  He is the Christ/Messiah - anointed one
			c.  He is kurios - The Lord, Master
		2.  Who to send the announcement to?
			a.  Priests and Scribes, all the head Rabbis
			b.  Herod, Ceasar, princes of Egypt, etc.
		3.  Music?  A celebration ceremony with the announcement
			a.  Need live music, the Awesome Angelic Band
			b.  It needs to be filled with lights, glitter
			c.  Needs to be awe inspiring
		4.  Everyone that’s somebody will be there for the occassion
	C.  Is that what happened?
		1.  Imagine, these angels have been rehearsing for centuries
			a.  Curtain call in five minutes
			b.  Finally, lined up on the risers
			c.  Curtain opens, and you hear, not cheering, but sheep
			d.  Just a group of shepherds
		2.  They the only ones who receive the angelic announcement
		3.  No baby shower, Luke not mention gifts
			a.  Only Matthew mentions gifts, but from magicians
				- Magi are not wise men nor kings
				- Magi are magicians, astrologers, or soothsayers
				- Jews typically despised them
			b.  So Jesus went unnoticed among the elite
	D.  So not only born in humble place, but announced to humble people

III.  Why, what does all this mean? (v.12-20)
	A.  Everyone was “wondering” and Mary was “pondering”
		1.  Everything seems so unusually
		2.  They maybe wondering, “What is God up to?”
			a.  Bethlehem makes sense, it was prophesied Mic 5:2
			b.  But a stable?
	B.  Let’s do as they did, let’s ponder the significance of all of this
		1.  Consider those who angels have appeared to
			a.  Zechariah - A priest, a great person
			b.  Mary - A teen engaged girl
			c.  Shepherds - A humble profession
		2.  Consider the “sign” the shepherds were given
			a.  A baby in a manger/stall
			b.  If he is Savior, Messiah, Lord, why in a stall?
		3.  (v.10) - The good news of joy for ALL THE PEOPLE
		4.  God made himself accessible through a stable
			a.  In other words, through humility, he lowered himself
			b.  If he came as exalted one, we couldn’t reach him
			c.  Not everyone can be great, but everyone can be humble
			d.  That made him accessible to all
	C.  It’s like being accessible to your children
		1.  If they want you to hold them, what happens?
		2.  They can’t climb up to you, you kneel and pick them up
		3.  You don’t use big words, you use what they understand
		4.  Kids can’t exalt themselves to get to you, you have to humble 
		     self to be accessible to them
	D.  God humbled himself through Christ and became accessible
		1.  Like the shepherds who went to see him, we need to
		2.  Have you come to him?  (Invitation)

1.  Is there a message for Christians here?
	- Yes, Paul makes it clear...
2.  (Phil 2:12) - “Work out your own salvation”
	a.  Doesn’t mean work “for” salvation, or figure out how to be saved
	b.  Context:  The humbling, pouring out of Jesus Christ
		- Emptied self out into a manger in a stable
		- He humbled himself, looked out for other’s best interest
	c.  v. 12 - Says “so then....”
		- Since Jesus emptied self, we need to do the same
		- Salvation not just what you experienced, but what you do
	d.  Working out salvation means doing as Jesus did
		- Empty yourself into a stable
		- Look out for other’s best interests
3.  Where do you find greatness?  In the stables of life
	- Humble self in sight of God, and he will exalt you
4.  Where is your stable?
	a.  Where do you need to humble yourself and go to?
	b.  Whose interests are you looking out for?
	c.  How can you make the good news accessible to others?
	d.  In what way can you empty yourself for others?

Questions for Small Group Discussion