Luke 2:1-21

Luke 2:1-21

The Invitation to Heaven’s Celebration of Jesus, God-Incarnate

Read Luke 2:1-21


  The birth of Jesus Christ, which we call the Incarnation, was the starting point of the Gospel in time, and it implies the rest of His work which we see in the Gospel.  It is important that we highlight the phrase “in time”, because we will see shortly that the work of Christ, specifically to our text, the birth of Jesus, was decreed in eternity from before the foundation of the world; and more simply, the Gospel – the life, death, burial, bodily resurrection, and ascension of Jesus in the place of sinners so that we might be lover’s of God – , from the eternal vantage point of God, was always decreed and moving forward to completion.  So, for instance, we find the angels always, night and day, from eternity, worshipping and celebrating God and His glory with a view to the accomplishment of His eternal plan of redemption in the eternal Son, Jesus (Luke 1:30-35).  And we see this celebratory worship continued in Luke’s Gospel, specifically in the birth of Jesus Christ.  As we read we find ourselves in the midst of angelic celebration, the host of heaven singing “Glory to God in the highest!”  

Luke 2:1-21 is nothing less than an invitation to participate in heaven’s continual worship of God and continual celebration of the outworking of God’s redemptive plan from before the foundation of the world in Jesus.  It is the narration of the celebration of Jesus.  The emphasis of the celebration is on the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the means of forgiveness with God.  The fact that the angels and those who respond to their word make haste to worship Jesus alone implies that they are not going to any other thing for their salvation.  In other words, they are celebrating the Savior and not any other means or system of salvation.  Allow me to give you some examples of such systems: first, and easily the most prevalent, the “good person system or works based system” – this is judgmental morality: a person judges the amount of good in relationship to the amount of bad in any given life, or they judge their life by the more immoral life of another and conclude that they are in the right with God.  Second, the “system of Christendom” – this person is born going to church; they read the Bible sometimes, pray when its necessary for them, and maybe even attend church, Bible studies, and talk Christian lingo; and they put their hope in their Christendom thinking, “Certainly, I am right with God.”  One more, the “so what? or I don’t care! system” – though indifference concerning the state of one’s soul doesn’t sound like much of a system of salvation, it is generally tied to our attempt to rid ourselves of what we know to be true – there is a God, I am not Him, and this has practical and eternal significance.  This willful ignorance or indifference is a kind of self-salvation from having to deal with reality.  So, I don’t think that any of these, according to Luke, the Spirit, or the angels of God make us right with God.  That is, none of these, no system of salvation can bring about the forgiveness of sin and God’s salvation.  The message of Luke, indeed, of the whole Bible, is that only the Savior, Himself, can save.  Only Jesus can save sinners from their sin and reconcile them to God.  And this morning, I simply want to ask the question “Why? Why Jesus?”  Why not one of these or any other number of systems, ideologies, or philosophies? Why does the Bible teach us that Jesus alone is able to make peace between an infinitely holy God and infinitely unworthy sinners?  Why does the Bible celebrate Jesus alone and call us to embrace and worship Jesus alone?  Why are the angels so pumped about the birth of this Israelite baby?  Why are they worshipping this child alone?  Why do they invite us to come to this child alone in a no name town, in a cave?  Why is everything so centered on Jesus?  Why Jesus?  Because all reality, including the ultimate reality, sinful man’s need for reconciliation to a holy God is supremely and exclusively centered in Jesus Christ, and Luke, indeed, the entire Bible, is intensely focused on revealing Christ’s worth over against our own.  Luke’s narrative of Christ’s birth gives us at least seven arguments in favor of this statement and in answer to such questions:


First, The Bible teaches us that Jesus existed before His birth.

The first one: “He existed before it.”  Jesus’ birth is unique from our births in that Jesus eternally existed and was coming to save from eternity before His conception (John 1; Micah 5:2).  Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  He is before the foundation of the world, and yet He was born into it.  John 8:57-58, “The Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’”  Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little  to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth from me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.”  This child is the Ancient of Days, the pre-existent, the eternal Son of God, and His birth is revealed by God to be a sending or going “forth” for the peace of the nations.  We see this as we continue in Micah 5:3-5.

Second, The Bible teaches us that the world revolved around Jesus’ birth because God is Christ-centered.

Second: “The known world revolved around it.”  Jesus’ birth is unique in that His Father turns the entire known world upside down to fulfill one verse of Scripture (as is already done concerning the virginal aspect of His birth), Micah 5:2; Colossians 1:16.  We have seen God providentially work in individuals (Mary and Elizabeth) to bring about the fulfillment of the promises in His Word.  But for the birth of Christ, God turned the nations upside down in demonstration of His glorious faithfulness.  God’s providence and passion for His Word is more greatly seen in the means employed to fulfill the birthplace of the Christ.  Micah 5:2 reveals that the child will be born in Bethlehem; only one problem: Joseph and Mary are in Nazareth.  In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, Herod (who was king) gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, and “inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.”  They answered, “Bethlehem of Judea.”  Problem solved right?  Joseph and Mary are from Nazareth, not Bethlehem.  End of story. But while Matthew asserts that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he skips details that Luke fills in about how it came about.  Christ is the goal of Scripture and all creation, and God, who governs the world, will turn it upside down to bring about His Christ-centered Word.  

So what does God do?  “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus  that all the world should be registered. . . And all went to be registered, each to his own town” (Luke 2:1, 3).  God, who turns the heart of Caesar whatever way He desires, brings about a decree that made the entire known world go home according to lineage.  Joseph went up from Nazareth, with Mary who was pregnant with Jesus, to “Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4-5).  And what do you know?  While they are in Bethlehem being registered, Mary gives birth to Jesus.  God moved the world to fulfill one verse of Scripture concerning His Christ, Jesus.  Amen. 

Third, The Bible teaches us that the Jesus’ birth implies the certainty of His redemptive work.

Third: “His birth implies His work.”  The work of salvation had to be and was accomplished in time, that is, Jesus was born, lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to God the Father, died on His cross for our sins, was buried, raised bodily from the dead, and ascended back to the right hand of the Father in power.  He did all of this in time, and so accomplished the work of salvation in time.  But we need to notice that the angels, as well as the Old Testament Scriptures, and much more God in eternity, view His birth as implying the certainty of the accomplishment of the rest of His saving work.  The angel of the Lord who came to Joseph told him before Jesus was born, “he will save his people from their sins.”  To Mary, Gabriel before Jesus’ birth, says, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. . . . and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  The Scriptures bear witness, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” speaking of the work of Christ.  David speaking by the Spirit in Psalm 110:1 says, “The Lord (God) says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’”  So understand that the work of Christ from eternity was fixed, and at the same time had to be accomplished in time.  But this explains the celebration of the angels  over His birth in v. 14 – the birth of Jesus implies the finished work of Jesus in the sight of heaven.  He is born, it will be accomplished, “Glory to God in the highest!”

Fourth, The Bible teaches us that Jesus was born the King of kings.

Fourth: “He was born King of kings.”  Jesus’ birth is unique from the birth of every king, president and ruler in that He is the King of kings, and therefore, has authority over all nations and exclusive rights to universal worship.  Luke has been very intentional about connecting Jesus with Judah (1:39), and the city of David.  Why?  Because God has promised that His everlasting King and kingdom would come through David to the nations.  In Exodus, Pharoah arises as the great authority of the world, but God displays His power over him with a Word (Romans 9:17).  Barak Obama has a limited sphere of influence and authority as the president of the United States and what authority he has has been given him by God.  And Herod (who was king in Israel), who himself was subject to Caesar, was “troubled” over the news of this baby born “king of the Jews.”   Why?  Because Jesus is not just another king.  Jesus is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, and His authority extends over all authorities to all the nations.  Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”  Psalm 2:1-8, 

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us,’” (a futile attempt, indeed, vanity), “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord hold them in derision.  Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’  I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.’”

Isaiah 49:6-7, 

“(God says) ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved  of Israel; I will make you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’  Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: ‘Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’”

This child only shall receive the worship of people from every tribe, tongue and nation.  

Fifth, The Bible teaches us that Jesus was born God of very God.

Fifth: “He is God, born a man.”  Jesus’ birth is unique in that He is presided over and worshipped by thousands of angels which means that He is nothing less than God in human flesh, God-Incarnate (vv.9-13, specifically 11).  The worship of angels is telling of the identity of this child.  The angels in heaven worship God alone, continually, night and day before His throne giving Him glory saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!”  God is their Creator, and they are His servants.  These angels worship none but God alone.  So it is telling when Luke writes that the host of heaven preside over and celebrate this birth saying, “Glory to God in the highest!”  Jesus’ birth is being celebrated by these angels; Jesus is being worshipped by these angels, because this child is their Creator, He is God put on flesh.  Their message is “unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  The child born to you is the Lord, Yahweh, God Himself in human flesh.  “Glory to God in the highest!”  The Gospel had dawned!

He alone can accomplish salvation for the reason just mentioned.  Jesus’ birth is unique in that His people (which will be comprised of Jew and Gentile – see this at the end) will be saved from their sins.  Matthew 1:21, “(Mary) will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,” (definition), “for he will save his people from their sins.”  His name means “God saves!”  This is not just a statement of fact, but an identity and mission – Jesus is, Himself, God and by identifying with sinners in His human birth, He alone can save sinners from their sin.  The idea that only God can accomplish God’s redemption is picked up early in Genesis.  In the Genesis narrative of Abraham, God graciously raised up Abraham to inherit the covenant promise of redemption made to Adam.  When the conditions of the covenant are laid out in Genesis 15, God puts Abraham to sleep and takes upon Himself the conditions of the covenant.  In other words, God alone can fulfill God’s covenant.  Jesus, then, is the fulfillment of the covenant of redemption, because Jesus is God in human flesh.  Jesus alone can accomplish God’s plan of redemption because He, Himself, is God.  This brings us to one more qualification of Jesus’ birth, which is our second point.


Now this brings us to the problem and resolution of v. 14.

Sixth, The Bible teaches us that Jesus, then, is God’s answer to the problem of forgiveness (the best argument, v. 14).  Let’s read v.14 carefully once more – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” I’m going to address the problem, first, and, then, the answer.

The problem in this verse is twofold: 

Aspect #1: God is infinitely glorious, and His peace comes to those with whom He is pleased.

Aspect #2: Sinful humanity is passionately concerned for hating the God of glory, and therefore, we are not pleasing to Him.

This is the most terrible problem in the universe, the problem of forgiveness: God will not compromise His glory to clear the guilty, and we are guilty.  God is infinitely glorious, and we are infinitely sinful, so that there is an infinite disconnect between God and sinners like you and me.  This is the problem of forgiveness – how does this God of infinite glory become pleased with human beings that are infinitely sinful?  It is good for us to dwell here for just a while that we may understand the infinite value of Christ’s work of salvation.  So we are going to consider, first, the infinite glory of God, and, then, the great sinfulness of every individual person from Adam to us. 

The infinite glory of God: defined, illustrated, magnified.

God’s glory defined.  When we consider the glory of God, we must consider the attributes of God.  The Bible reveals to us that God is eternal, unchangeable, transcendent, personal, self-existent, all-powerful, everywhere-present, all-knowing, owning all things, who is perfect light, and love, practicing perfect mercy, grace, patience, faithfulness, forgiveness, (but also) justice, righteousness, wrath, and wisdom, who created all things, and upholds all things by the Word of His power.  And in all of these things, He is infinite.  The sum total of all (and unimaginably more) of these attributes and qualities in their infinitude and perfection is the glory of God, which itself is infinite.

God’s glory illustrated.  In Exodus 33:18, Moses asks God, “Please show me your glory.”  And this is what God says to Moses, “I will make my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’  And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.  But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (33:19-20).  God takes Moses and puts him in the cleft of the rock and covers Moses with His hand until His glory has passed by, and then He takes His hand away and Moses sees His back, but not His face.  Translation: you can receive glimpses of some attributes of me – I AM the free, self-existent, eternal God, I am good all the time, I am sovereignly free, I am merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” (Exodus 34:7) . . . but you cannot see my full glory and live – a sinner in the full presence of God and His glory would implode.  Now we need to catch that last phrase – “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.”  This is the problem of forgiveness.  They are both there in the glory of God.  He can and will forgive, but He will not clear the guilty.  Somehow, we must enter into the state of innocency before Him!  But this seems more impossible when we understand that we have only mentioned God’s glory and not God Himself.  

God’s glory magnifies God.  God’s glory is infinitely great, but His glory is not Him; it is His glory.  Even the fading glories of a man are not the man himself.  The sun in the sky pours down rays of light, but the rays are not the sun but only emanations from the sun itself.  The glory of God, in this way, is the sum total of the attributes of God Himself.  Moses saw not God, not even His glory, but only His goodness and some of His attributes – and he set his face to the ground and worshiped.  If God’s attributes are each individually infinitely glorious, and God’s infinite glory is infinitely glorious, how infinitely incomprehensible is God Himself?    Friends, if any one angel were to set itself in this room right now we all would fall down in fear, in a trembling paralysis of worship, and yet, such angels refuse our worship, and they themselves worship God, and direct us to do the same, no less, at the birth of Jesus Christ.  And we must notice here that Jesus, Himself, in contrast to angels does not refuse our worship of Him but considers it a right and blessed thing.  

God cannot compromise His infinite glory.  God considers Himself infinitely valuable, and unchangeably so.  He will not clear the guilty at the expense of His glory.  Out of His glorious presence He speaks, “(I am) forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” which is good news but He follows it with, “who will by no means clear the guilty.”  This brings us to the second aspect to the problem of forgiveness – every person is guilty and unable to coerce God’s forgiveness.  God is merciful and gracious and willing to forgive iniquity and transgression and sin – this is a prerogative of His glorious being, but the question is, “how do we enter into that when we are guilty?”  In Luke 2:14, the question is put this way, “how do we who are guilty become pleasing to God and receive peace with Him?”  But maybe you’re thinking – “I’m not guilty; I’m a pretty good guy; I try to do the right thing; I’m better than the next guy.”  Here we are tempted to fall back on our systems, but we must not!  Notice, peace comes to those who are pleasing to God, not to a man.  Before we can answer these questions, then, we must see that we are guilty and not well-pleasing to God.  This brings us to the issue of iniquity, transgression, and sin.

Sin: defined, illustrated, and magnified.

Sin defined.  Sin is transgression of the revealed will of God which teaches that we are to act in perfect holiness from a heart of faith to the glory of God.  In other words, sin is rebellion against God.  God’s will is our perfect holiness and enjoyment of Him.  Contrary to this will, we are completely unholy and enjoy everything but Him who is most enjoyable.  Sin is a willful rejection of God, His being, His Word, His will.  Sin is not just our actions, or thoughts, or attitudes, or words, but a root deep in the heart of each one of us that rebels against the Creator and exalts the self up as its own personal god.  Sin is so infinitely sinful that God’s blood had to be shed on account of it – nothing less could overcome it.

Sin illustrated.  Sin is personal – it effects each one of us in this room, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Ephesians 2:1-2).  

Sin is universal – it infects the entire human race – you and I are not excluded, “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one’” (Romans 3:9-12).  

Sin is a state of deadness – “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17); but Adam did not drop dead immediately – he began to die even as we all are right now (aging) and was separated from God as one who had no spiritual life in him.  

Sin is a state of eternal guilt, condemnation and wrath – “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).  

Sin is a state of enslavement to temptation and law – it presents itself to us in every temptation saying, “I agree with the temptation – indulge in that woman, indulge in that bottle, indulge in that drug, that money, that pride, that anger, that abuse, that language, indulge until you are drunk with me, and never be satisfied,” and also in every law sin incites us, “You hear ‘Do not covet, do not lie, do not commit adultery, do not steal, honor your parents, indeed, honor God with your moral life’ – I know you can’t do it, I know that you have failed, but keep trying – you’ll get there!”  When the law comes “do not but do this,” our only plea is “I am guilty!”  Who among us has loved God will our whole being? Did we not all shout, “Crucify, crucify!”  Who among us has loved our neighbor perfectly?  Then we are all sinners alike.

Sin is the state of inability – there is nothing, nothing, that you are I can do in ourselves to get out of this prison.  “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?  Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).  All of our moral efforts to be pleasing to this infinitely glorious God are, as Machen put it, like putting tinsel up in the prison to beautify it – it is nevertheless a prison.    

Sin is an evil – the root of which is preeminently manifest in that we crucified the Lord of glory.

Sin magnified.  Sin can be summed up in this:  it is a falling short of this infinite glory of God – a devaluing of God’s being, a spitting upon God Himself as Someone deplorable and worthless.  And so here again is our problem: God is infinitely glorious and demands that we be without sin in order to be pleasing to Him; but we are all sinners and therefore are not pleasing to Him.  God must be pleased with us, but we are exceptionally unpleasing to Him.  And our question once more is, “how do we who are guilty become pleasing to God and receive peace with Him?”  Friends, the glorious answer is this: in order to be pleasing to God, God must make us pleasing to Him.  And God be praised, He makes provision for this in Jesus Christ.

The answer in this verse is Christ!

How does Jesus bridge this infinite gap between this infinitely glorious God and infinitely displeasing, unworthy sinners like you and me and make us pleasing to God, receiving peace?  I want to let the Word of God answer.  

Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”  


Romans 8:1-4, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

God’s answer is the Gospel, beginning right here in Luke 2 with the birth of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel reveals the glory of Christ, and the glory of Christ is His mediation of the manifest presence of God.  More simply, the Gospel reveals the birth, perfect life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus as the God-man who in each of these things identifies with us, so that He might bring us into the presence of God.  The Gospel reveals to us that Jesus alone is qualified to be our Mediator.  By putting on flesh, He is the mediated presence of God, and fixes us for eternal glory.  If we stand in heaven, dear friends, it is because Christ is our Mediator before the glory of God.  Jesus alone can reunite this infinitely glorious God with infinitely unworthy sinners, because Jesus is this infinitely glorious God who was born to identify with, die for and raise on account of such infinitely unworthy sinners.  This is why He calls His cross His glory because on it He identified with and made intercession for sinners before the glorious presence of a holy God.  Jesus perfectly honored God’s worth with perfect obedience, and did it as flesh and blood, like you and me, so that He might identify Himself with our sins on His cross, and by being a sinless sacrifice on our account, bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).  Of Jesus alone does God say, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” Mark 1:11.  And as we repent of our sin and embrace Jesus as our only hope of salvation with God, God forgives our iniquity, transgression and sin, making us perfectly pleasing to Himself in Jesus.  In this way, Jesus alone is able to bring formerly unpleasing sinners, now pleasing in Him as sons, to glory where God dwells.  This is the majesty of His birth, God became a man and accomplished the work of salvation.  This is the celebration that Luke is narrating in chapter 2.  All of heaven invites the nations to participate.

Seventh, and this will serve as our application, the Bible teaches us that our celebration of salvation must be a celebration of Jesus alone – our response to Jesus matters – we will either embrace Him alone or a system that cannot save.

When we put all of these things together Jesus is exclusively qualified to be Savior, and supremely worthy of our daily celebration and worship.  Notice again, the birth of Christ and people involved.  There is a celebration and an invitation.  To whom does this celebration come?  To whom does the invitation go out?  Everybody!  It goes out to the Jewish leaders, to their chief priests and scribes, to their king; and it goes out to the lowly class of Jewish shepherds; it goes out to the nations, represented in those unclean dogs, the Gentile wisemen.  We must stress this point because we sometimes speak as if God is only out for the lowly and humble.  On the contrary, the nations are stirred with the news of this birth; all of Jerusalem is in an uproar.  It is not only Mary or Elizabeth, shepherds and wisemen, and a birth of humble origins, but the Pharisees and the kings and Gentiles at large.  But we must also then notice who it is that comes in response to the invitation, who comes to celebrate and worship Christ the King, who is the Lord God.  And who is it but the outcasts Jewish society and the unclean Gentiles!  We must notice the difference in the responses to this Gospel – the king, Herod, and the chief priests, the very ones who naturally speaking should have gone and rejoiced  with the greatest joy, are the ones who respond to Christ’s birth with dismissiveness and murderous rage.  Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, (to the Jew first), and Gentile stargazers, (then to the Gentile), come and join in the eternal celebration of Christ’s birth and consequent work of salvation.  They participate in the angels eternal song of praise to their Master who is now born in a cave.   

What is our response to Christ’s Gospel?  Do you hate it?  Do you dismiss it saying, “I have tomorrow, and the next day and the next!”  Do you cast it aside as of little importance?  Would you throw away your greatest earthly treasure?  Then marvel and consider the birth and Gospel of Christ – then thousand times a greater treasure – celebrated by angels and worshiped by those who knew their need for him.  Friends, I plead with you to join the eternal celebration of our great God; to worship Christ Jesus who alone brings many sons to glory.  Indeed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased,” for, “since we have been (made right with God) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).  If we have not entered into this celebration of salvation by faith in Christ alone, God helps us now by Your Word and Spirit.  Amen.  


Let us bow before the majesty of God’s Word.  O Lord God, help us to see the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  Weary us in our works and efforts to be well pleasing to You apart from Christ.  Turn our hearts to rest in Christ, and to join eternity’s salvation song.  Because Christ was born, salvation was as good as accomplished, and now O Lord it has been accomplished by Christ in history so that we might forsake all that we are without Him, and embrace all that He is on our behalf.  Father in heaven, may Your Spirit help us to rejoice in Your salvation rather than dismiss it or be scornful towards it; O God, grant us ears to hear, and holy affections for Christ.  Let this Word dwell in us richly and give us high thoughts about Jesus for Your glory and our good.  In Jesus’ mighty name.  Amen.


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