Why do we dream of white Christmases, when most of them leave us in the red?
Did you ever drive down the expressway and see an overpass? There, spray-painted in a clumsy scrawl, is the phrase, “Jim plus Michelle. TLA!” And we all know what TLA stands for, don’t we?
Now picture you’re that guy. You go to the hardware store and find the paint aisle … so that night you can hang face-down off a bridge in pitch darkness over a 30-foot drop onto pavement where trucks are roaring by at 70 miles an hour.
And then six weeks later, when you decides that she isn’t the one after all, you do it all again with the can of black paint to erase your embarrassment.
THIS EXPLAINS A LOT WHEN IT COMES TO THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF MEN VERSUS WOMEN. She writes his name on her notebook at school (probably in pencil), and he hangs upside down off a highway overpass in the dark, holding on with one hand and trying to write upside down with the other.
Why do people do that? Because LOVE MUST EXPRESS ITSELF!!
Why do muscle-bound bikers tattoo “Momma” on their biceps?
Why do young teen girls doodle the names or initials of the guy they like on their school papers?
Why do football players yell, “I love you, Mom!” at the end of their Superbowl interview?
Love MUST express itself.
God is love. God is love, and love must express itself. God has a MESSAGE for us this Christmas season, and that message is “I LOVE YOU!”
The beautiful Christmas story found in the second chapter of Luke shows us some of the ways He does that.
- GOD SENDS ANGELS TO EXPRESS HIS LOVE TO US.
YOU MAY HAVE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BEFORE, BUT … ANGELS ARE LITERALLY AN EXPRESSION OF GOD’S LOVE TO US!
Angels are non-human beings who are intelligent and powerful. They live in the spiritual realm, encounter God face to face all the time, and are sent by Him to do His will.
Angels aren’t some sort of interesting aliens or something that we catch occasional glimpses of (out of the corner of our eye) as we move through life.
Angels are a heaven-based species of beings created by God to serve the humans who would receive God’s salvation.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).
ALL angels are spirit-messengers sent by God to serve those who are going to be saved.
READ THAT AGAIN VERY CAREFULLY: ALL angels … perform their ministry to God … by serving the people who are believers in Jesus.
Which brings us back to Luke 2 and the angelic announcement which detonates like a salvation airburst over the quiet fields outside Bethlehem.
Here comes a trick question: Who told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus?
TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWER, LET’S LET THE SHEPHERDS THEMSELVES ANSWER IT!
“Let’s go see this thing which THE LORD has told us about” (Luke 2:15).
The shepherds did NOT say, “Let’s go see this thing that a bunch of ANGELS just told us about.” They sensed immediately that, although they had SEEN angels, it was actually the LORD who was communicating with them. It was THE LORD who had told them about the birth of Jesus!
THE MESSENGER IS NOT THE CREATOR OF THE MESSAGE … HE JUST DELIVERS IT.
The LOVE MESSAGE is from GOD. The angel is just the Amazon delivery guy who throws it on your front porch.
That is why no angel should ever be worshipped.
Once in a while, somebody in the Bible tries to worship an angel who delivers a message from God, and the angel acts like Jake from State Farm, and goes, “Hey, this isn’t some special deal from me to you. I am JUST DELIVERING THE MESSAGE from GOD, who is the REAL one you should worship!”
Only GOD should be worshipped, the inventor of angels, the sender of love-messages, the Creator of all.
- Who does the Lord use to communicate His love to us? Angels.
- Who does the Lord use to keep us safe? ANGELS.
- Who does the Lord send to safely deliver us to heaven at the moment of our death? Jesus seemed to indicate in Luke 16:22 that it is ANGELS who do that.
The very word angel actually MEANS message deliverer.
Right in the middle of the word evangelism, you will find the root word, angel.
When Jesus was born, it was indeed the angels who announced it; but from the minute Jesus grew old enough to speak, the angels fell silent, and HE did all of the talking. We don’t hear from them again until they say at the tomb, “He is not here. He is risen, just like He said He would.”
God didn’t need to use a spokesman while He was on the scene Himself, in the flesh!
If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”
– Psalm 91:9-16
But the love and the protection all come FROM God, THROUGH His angels.
GOD LOVES YOU!
EVEN THE ANGELS THEMSELVES ARE AN EXPRESSION OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US!
But that ain’t nothing!
- TO FULLY EXPRESS HIS LOVE FOR US, GOD HAD TO SEND HIS OWN SON.
“For God so loved the world that HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
So His Son Jesus … became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, who came from the Father …” (John 1:14).
God rocked the world by sending it a baby.
NOBODY KNEW THAT NIGHT THAT THE BABY WAS GOD’S OWN SON!!!
But the message that He sent through all the miracles that happened that night was, “Watch this baby closely, because He will reveal ME to a watching world.”
People say to me, “I wonder what God is REALLY LIKE.” And agnostics say, “We can’t really know what God is like.” But I declare to you that we can know EXACTLY what God is like. God is EXACTLY like Jesus.
- What would God do if He encountered a blind man? Watch Jesus. He’d heal him!
- What would God do if He caught us in a sin? Watch Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. He would FORGIVE us and tell us to stop sinning!
- What would God do if we were so sleazy that no one wanted to be around us anymore? Watch what Jesus did with the woman at the well! He RESPECTED her and talked with her and SAVED her. THAT’S what God does with people who are “damaged goods” in their own eyes and in the eyes of others.
- What would God do? WHATEVER JESUS DID!
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, HAS made Him known” (John 1:18).
Remember what Jesus said to Thomas the night before He died for our sins? “Thomas, don’t you know yet? If you’ve seen Me, you’ve already SEEN the Father!”
Jesus is God in human form coming to communicate His LOVE for us!
What is the cross? It is God communicating His LOVE for you.
How much do you love me, God? “I love you THIS much” … and He held out His arms and He died.
The greatest news in the world is how much He loves you.
TO COMMUNICATE HIS LOVE, GOD SENT HIS SON.
- TO COMMUNICATE HIS LOVE, GOD IS SENDING YOU.
Let’s examine the Scriptures again … Luke 2:10.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.
But the angel didn’t announce it to all the people. JUST TO A FEW RED-EYED SHEPHERDS WHO WERE KEEPING THE CAMPFIRE GOING ON A COOL EVENING!
It was OK, though, because the shepherds announced it to a few people, who announced it to a few more! (Read verses 17-18.)
And one day, someone announced it to Luke … and Luke announced it to you and I … and today people all over the world are translating the Bible into every known language as fast as they can … to announce it to tribes and peoples we haven’t even reached yet.
And you are announcing it to everyone YOU know, right?
You are God’s personal messenger, telling people who Jesus is! GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY THAT WILL BE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE. You have an important role to play in this life!
WE HAVE GOOD NEWS, AND WE NEED TO ANNOUNCE IT WITH GREAT JOY TO ALL THE PEOPLE WE MEET.
Somebody said a cold Christian, like cold butter, doesn’t spread very well!
There must be WARMTH in your heart and a SMILE on your lips wherever you go. The warmth and smile of Jesus!
Jesus said the Father in heaven is like a dad who, running to meet his runaway, trouble-making boy, throws his arms around him!
WE ARE THE “WELCOME HOME” COMMITTEE FOR THE FATHER!!
We have great reason for joy, friends! We have the best job in the whole world!
God’s passionate message of love is spreading fast, and there is great joy among the saints!
What is it about a laughing, smiling person … or someone singing a song … that when they just walk through your work area, your tired muscles perk up a little bit, and you turn back to your work with more spring in your step and more energy?
It’s like soldiers who must sing as they march to keep from tiring so quickly they are unable to keep the pace.
There is something about joy … the POWER OF JOY … that keeps us moving on our weary feet toward the goal. Without joy, life becomes a burden.
We must spread God’s joy! We are the messengers!
So where do we get this supply of joy we are supposed to spread around? FROM TIME SPENT TALKING TO JESUS.
Here’s what Hebrews 1:9 says about Jesus: “God, has set You above your companions by anointing You with the oil of joy.”
The Father in heaven set Jesus apart from everyone else by anointing Him with the oil of joy!
AND NOW YOU REPRESENT HIM!! So … ditch your long face! Save it for the funerals of people who never met Jesus.
If you have Jesus living in you, you need to start laughing, and smiling, and putting your arms around people, and patting friends on the back, and holding out your hand to people you don’t know yet.
YOU ARE A PERSONAL MESSENGER OF THE LIVING GOD WHO CAN TELL PEOPLE HOW TO BE SAVED!
TO COMMUNICATE HIS LOVE, GOD IS SENDING YOU.