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Unto You
A Savior
Luke 2:11
 
I heard about a 90 year-old man who went to the doctor for his annual checkup. The doctor did a complete physical on him, and then sat down with him in his counseling room and talked to him about his report. The 90 year-old man listened, nodded, thanked the doctor, and went on his way.
 
A few days later the doctor was out at this fancy dinner club eating dinner with his wife. He looked out on the dance floor and saw this 90 year-old patient of his just cutting it up with a 25 year-old blonde bombshell.
 
The doctor couldn’t believe it! After the song was over, he grabbed the guy, pulled him aside and said, “What in the world are you doing?” He said, “I’m just following your orders, doc.” He said, “Well, what did you hear me tell you?” He said, “You told me to get a hot mama and be cheerful.” He said, “No I didn’t. I said you have a heart murmur and need to be careful”
 
As you know, Christmas is filled with wonderful, incredible announcements about the birth of Jesus. But I’m afraid sometimes we hear them, but we've gotten so used to them that we don't hear them. And they don't really register like they're supposed to register. So I understand the risk of preaching on a familiar passage like Luke 2:11. 
 
But I want to assume that risk in these days leading up to Christmas and challenge you to listen with fresh ears as God speaks to us. 
 
Luke 2:11
 
All of Christmas is found in that single verse of Scripture. That's the heart of the entire message.  And it boils down to this:  A Savior has been born for you. 
 
That's really the message of the entire New Testament. That's the gospel. That's the message of the Christian faith. That's what we're still telling people today, two thousand years after the birth of Christ. There has been born for you a Savior. 
 
Now it is important to note that the message of a Savior was delivered first to the shepherds.  There is a lot of significance in that, and it makes for some great Bible study, but for today, I just want to underscore the fact, that these shepherds would have understood the significance of a Savior being born. 
 
I think there is a tendency for us to think the idea of a Savior is primarily New Testament theology. After all, it was Jesus who came to save and He’s the Savior so it’s a New Testament teaching.  But we think that because we are New Testament people and we think in New Testament terms.
 
But the idea of a Savior is not a New Testament concept, it’s an Old Testament concept and I think it highly likely these shepherds would know what that meant because everybody in Israel knew God and thought of God as a Savior.  God as a Savior was a Jewish teaching long before it was a Christian teaching. Or maybe it’s better to say it is a Biblical teaching regarding God because I don’t think we need to make any distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament. 
The Bible, both old and new testaments, is consistent in its teaching regarding God and the God of the Old Testament was known to His people as a Savior.  Israel knew God as a Savior.  In fact, there's only one God, the one true and living God, the eternal God, and He is by nature a Savior. 
 
To use another word, a synonym, He is a Deliverer.  Quite often, in the Old Testament, we see His salvation coming though deliverance as He delivers His people from danger and enemies and droughts and so forth. 
 
And by the way, that concept of God was in sharp contrast to the other gods we read about in Scripture such as Baal or Molech.  The false gods of the Old Testament would never be characterized as compassionate or as deliverers.  They are seen as angry and spiteful, having to be appeased or satisfied to do anything for those who worshipped them, and even then, they didn’t come through. 
 
Never would they be classified as a savior. And what set Jehovah apart, the one true and living God, is that He is by nature compassionate and merciful.  He is tender-hearted and filled with loving-kindness.
 
And more importantly, He saves and delivers and rescues. And not only did the Jews know that, those who knew the Jews knew that also. It was that characteristic more than anything else that distinguished the God of the Jews from the other gods. 
 
And those shepherds out on that field at the bottom of the societal and intellectual ladder, the lowest class of people in the land, would understand that God was by nature a saving God.
 
I think they also had another insight into this idea of a Savior that needs to be mentioned.  I think they understood that God delivered and rescued and showed His compassion through a sacrifice.  I think it
highly likely they were shepherding sheep headed for temple sacrifices. 
 
They of all people, along with the priests who were responsible for the actually slaughtering of those
lambs, understood the necessity of the sacrifice for sin in order to rescue a nation. 
 
So when the announcement came there's been born today a Savior, they understood it. They didn't ask a lot of questions because they didn’t need to ask a lot of questions. These Jewish shepherds understood what was being told them.
 
And they weren’t the only ones who understood that and thought of God as their Savior.  .  
 
Listen to the young virgin named Mary, after she hears from the angel Gabriel that she is going to be the mother of God.
 
Luke 1:46-47
 
I think she knew that Jehovah God was her Savior.
 
Or, consider Zacharias.  Zacharias, it says in chapter 1, was a righteous priest. He was righteous, verse 6 of chapter 1, in the sight of God and walked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.  Here was a godly priest and in his great praise at the birth of John, the forerunner of the Messiah, verse 69, Zacharias, realizes the Messiah is going to be born.
Mary has just spent three months at his house and she's already pregnant with the Messiah, he knows what's happening and he says,
 
Luke 1:68-69
 
Then, in verse 77 he tells us what kind of salvation he's talking about. 
 
Verse 77
 
He even knew that the truest salvation came when sins were forgiven.
 
Then, in chapter 2, verse 25, we meet Simeon who is described as a righteous and devout man who is looking for the consolation of Israel.
 
May and Joseph come in eight days after His birth, place the baby in the arms of Simeon, and he says,
 
Luke 2:30
 
Finally the Savior has come. He understood that there was salvation from God, that God was a Savior.  But he also understood that there was one who had to come, there had to be a final lamb.  God had to provide a final sacrifice. And when he saw that little baby he said, “He’s the One.”
 
So when these angels showed up and said to the shepherds, “There has been born for you a Savior,” they understood that.  He is the Savior for Whom they had been looking!
 
 
 
That's why Joseph was told, Matthew 1:21, “You shall call His name Jesus,” that means Savior, “For He will save His people from their sins.” 
 
And that's why Luke records the words of Jesus later in Luke 19:10 who said, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Of all things and above all things, He's a Savior. 
 
Now that’s all well and good and it is very informative to study the theology of the Saviorhood of Christ, but what does it mean practically to hear, “Unto you is born a Savior”?  After all, why do we need a Savior?  From what do we need to be rescued or delivered? 
 
If you look around, we all appear to be doing all right.  We have homes and jobs and medicine and all the gadgets and toys we could ever hope for.  We ard afforded protection from our enemies by the the best military in the world.  In reality we appear to be pretty safe.  We aren’t in imminent danger.
 
But to believe that is to be deceived.  The truth is, all of us need a Savior and there are three things in particular that threaten us from which Jesus can save.
And because of these three dangers, we all need to receive this salvation announcement in a personal way. 
 
First, and most importantly,
 
  1.  We Need to Be Saved from an Eternal Hell
 
We don’t have to go any farther than that to discover why the angel said this was good news of great joy!
 
 
A Savior has been born in Bethlehem and He can save us from eternal hell. Now I realize a lot of people don't like to think about hell, and they sure don’t want to think about it at Christmastime. A lot of churches don't like to talk about hell. Many pastors never mention it at all.  After all, it might turn people off or make them feel bad.  Some might find it offensive.
 
But I want you to think about something:  If you go to the doctor and he discovers you have cancer, do you want him to tell you everything is fine and you should go get you a hot mamma and be cheerful or do you want him to tell you things are serious, but there’s what can be done to help you? 
 
I think I speak for all of us when I say, “I want the guy to tell me the truth.”
 
Why then, do we resist the truth when it comes to something as important as eternity? Because, here’s the truth: Every person who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is on their way to hell.
 
Jesus said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The most familiar verse in the Bible, John 3;16, says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
 
Obviously, that verse teaches about God's love and eternal life in Christ. But it also teaches us that we're perishing. God loves you. He gave His Son. Why? So that you wouldn't perish, so you wouldn't be utterly destroyed. That's what the word perish means. You and I are on a collision with death and with hell. And Jesus came to save you from that.
In fact, just two verses later, in John 3:18, John says,
 
“He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
 
Call His name Jesus for He will save Hi people from their sins.
 
The Savior has come to save you from an eternal hell.
But that’s not all.  We need to be saved from eternal hell, but also,
 
  1.  We Need to be Saved from a Living Hell
 
I know there are lots of people who think salvation is kind of like life insurance.  But life insurance is really death insurance. The benefit is only payable at death. 
 
And some people think of salvation like that. In a moment of repentance, we profess our faith in Jesus Christ.  And then when we die, we cash in the policy and He keeps us from going to hell and then we go to ehaven and experience the joy of our salvation. 
 
But the benefits that come from a relationship with the Lord are not just death benefits; they are life benefits!  Obviously, it has benefits for all eternity, but it has benefits right now.
 
To be honest, I encounter a whole lot more people who are trying to endure the living hell of their life than they are trying to escape the eternal hell of the future.  They’re not worried about the sweet bye and bye; they’re trying to figure out what to do with the nasty now and now. 
It may be an addiction; it might be turmoil in your family; it may be a financial crisis; it might be depression or disease, but even as you sit in church on a Sunday morning celebrating Christmas you’re your church family, your life is a living hell. 
 
I want you to know “there is born unto you a Savior” and He can save you from the hell in which you are living.  Listen:  the message of the Christmas Savior that has come is that He has come to save you right now! 
 
Did you notice in the announcement to the angels, they talk about joy?  They said, “It is good news of great joy. They are saying, “Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased, among men with whom He delights in.”
 
Listen:  God loves people. And He wants their lives to be filled with joy and peace!  That’s what I mean when I say he can deliver you from a living hell.
 
Now let’s just bring it down real close to home so everyone can understand. In John 10, we read, where Jesus is speaking of the devil, says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I have come that they might have life and might have it abundantly.”
 
Now the devil will go about stealing, killing and destroying you in two primary ways.  First, He wants to keep you from going to heaven.  And if you never do anything in regard to Jesus, He will accomplish His mission. Therefore, he will use any means available to him to keep you from responding to the gospel message. 
 
 
 
You’ll find excuse after excuse. You’ll avoid the message and messenger. You’ll indentify every hypocrite in the church.  You’ll resist the tugging and emptiness in your spirit
 
But you need to know the Bible says, “But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”
 
So Satan will attempt to blind your mind because He wants to keep you on the highway to hell so that you go to hell. But if you hear the Lord's voice, if you understand, “Hey, I don't have to go to hell, Jesus died for me, I can be saved,” and you repent, you turn around and you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, well, you're saved.
 
And now everything changes.  You are no longer on the broad road that leads to destruction, you're on the narrow road that leads to life.
 
But that doesn’t mean the devil no longer has any interest in you or that he stops in his desire to kill and destroy you. If he can’t take you to hell with him, he’ll do all he can to make your life a living hell. 
 
Remember, not only does he attempt to kill and destroy, Jesus also says he is a thief who comes to steal. He wants to take away every good thing in your life. He can’t have your eternity, so he tries to take your peace and joy and happiness and witness.  He wants to destroy and rob you of every good thing God wants you to enjoy.
 
But Jesus, the Savior, wants to rescue us from that attack.  What does Jesus say in this verse?
 
“I came that you might have life and might have it more abundantly.”
 
You can go two ways to go in life: You can either go the Lord's way or you can go the devil's way. The devil's way leads to destruction. It leads to an eternal hell, leads to a living hell. The Lord's way leads to heaven and life. It leads to abundance.
 
And Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that you would have it abundantly.”
 
Don’t make the mistake of limiting that to earthly abundance.  He’s talking about the things that really matter.”  He’s talking about things like peace and joy and love. And the wonderful thing is life doesn’t have to be a living hell, regardless of the outward circumstances because our Savior can deliver us from living in hell. 
 
That means I don’t have to wait till I die to experience eternal life!  With Jesus as my Savior, I can enjoy eternal life right now!
 
I heard a story about a man who was sharing his testimony at The Salvation Army.  He was talking about how Jesus was real, and how Jesus brings joy, and how Jesus saves from eternal hell, how Jesus saves from a living hell.
 
There was a heckler in the crowd who stood up and said, “You don't know what you're talking about. You're making that up. You're just dreaming. You're just dreaming.”
When he said that, he felt a tug on his coat and when he looked down, a little six year-old girl was standing there. 
 
She looked up at the heckler and she said, “Hey, mister, that man you're yelling at, that's my daddy. Not too long ago my daddy was drunk. And my daddy would beat my mommy. And my daddy wasn't there for us kids. And we didn't have enough food to eat, and we didn't have enough to take care of ourselves because he was always spending it on alcohol.”
 
And then she said, “But then, my daddy gave his life to Jesus Christ.” And she said, “My daddy doesn't beat my mommy anymore. My daddy doesn't drink anymore. My daddy is home with us. My daddy takes care of us. My daddy is there. And my daddy loves us.”
 
And she said, “Mister, if my daddy's dreaming, please don't wake him up!”
 
I want you to know it’s not a dream.  It’s not just preacher talk.  It’s not just Sunday morning stuff.  I bring you a message of good news of great joy because there is born unto you a Savior and He can save you from the hell you’re living in. 
 
One final thing, we need to be saved from an eternal hell, we need to be saved from a living hell, and
 
  1. We Need to be Saved from a Meaningless Life
 
Luke 2:15-20
 
I think it safe to say meeting Jesus changed their life!
 
They went back home different people from when they came. They started off that night as just ordinary shepherds, just shooting the breeze with one another.  It was an average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of night. Nobody in any place important even thought about these shepherds that night, but God had them in mind. 
 
And the very first announcement God made about the birth of His Son was to them.  By the way, who did yo first tell about the birth of your child?  Was it a parent or a sibling?  A close friend?  Whoever it was, it was someone you loved and couldn’t want to share the news with! 
 
That’s what God thought about these shepherds.  It was as if He said, “I want them to be the first to know that I’ve got a brand new, bouncing baby boy and He is their Savior!
 
And not only did they get a special message, they got a specific sign. And off they go to check out what they’ve been told. And when they get to Bethlehem, sure enough, they find a baby wrapped in cloths, lying in a feed trough. 
 
And wonder of wonders, that little baby is the Savior of the world. And after spending some time there at the manger, they went back to work.  They went back to the same fields and the same sheep and the same responsibilities, but they went back praising God and glorifying God for all that they had seen and for all that they had heard.
 
And even though lots of things were still the same in their life, everything was different because they had met the Savior. 
They had a message now to share with other people. They had a purpose now for living that they didn't have before. God had entrusted them with the wonderful, life-changing news that a Savior had been born! It was good news of a great joy and they couldn’t wait to share it!
 
And in a sinlge encounter with Jesus, their lives were changed.  Such is the power of the Savior that is given unto you. 
 
On November 18, 1959, a little baby girl was born in Houston, Texas. Her parents named her Karla. The marriage of her parents was very troubled, and Tucker started smoking cigarettes with her sisters when she was eight years old.
 
When she was 10, her parents divorced, and during the divorce proceedings, she learned that she had been the result of an extramarital affair. By age 12, she had turned to drugs and sex. When she was 14, she dropped out of school and followed her mother Carolyn, a rock groupie, into prostitution and began traveling with the Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and the Eagles.
 
At age 16, she was married briefly to a mechanic and in her early 20s, she began hanging out with bikers, and met a man named Danny Garrett in 1981.
 
After spending the weekend taking drugs with Garrett and their friends, Karla and Danny entered the home of a friend named Jerry Dean around 3 a.m. on Monday, June 13, 1983.  Their intention was to steal Dean's motorcycle.
 
 
During the burglary, they entered Dean's bedroom, a struggle ensued and Garrett wound up beating Dean in the head with a hammer.  The blows caused  his head to become unhinged from his neck and his breathing passages to fill with fluid. He began making a "gurgling" sound characteristic of this type of injury. Karla wanted to "stop him from making that noise" so she attacked him with a pickaxe, killing him.
 
As she was leaving the room, Karla noticed a woman who had hidden under the bed covers against the wall. The woman, Deborah Thornton, had met Dean at a party earlier that afternoon. Upon discovering Thornton, Karla hit Thornton repeatedly with the pickaxe, finally embedding it in her heart.
 
Karla Faye Tucker was arrested for those gruesome, brutal murders in late 1983. She was put in Harris County Jail, awaiting trial for capital murder. Soon after being imprisoned, Tucker took a Bible from the prison ministry program and read it in her cell. She later recalled, "I didn't know what I was reading. But before I knew it, I was in the middle of my cell floor on my knees. I was just asking God to forgive me." Tucker became a Christian in October 1983.
 
How did it happen? Karla Faye Tucker, the pickaxe murderer, heard about a Savior who died for her, who loved her, who could save her from an eternal hell, from a living hell and change her life. And Karla Faye Tucker asked Jesus to have mercy on her, asked Jesus to come into her life and save her. And He did! Karla Faye was changed.
 
What she did could not be changed. She was guilty. She made no bones about it. And she was sentenced to death for her crimes.
She wanted her sentence to be commuted. She knew she needed to spend the rest of her life in prison for what she had done. She just didn't want to be executed for it, because she felt like her life would have more meaning and more impact if she were alive. But she trusted the Lord with that.
 
She lived for 14 years on death row before they executed her in 1998. She had a powerful testimony. She impacted so many lives. Larry King interviewed her before her execution and he said this: “My most compelling interview, the one that touched my life the most, was with Karla Faye Tucker.”
 
There was a guard that watched Karla over the years, and before her execution, she said this: “Karla, I don't know much about the Bible, and I don't know much about God, but looking at you, I believe He's real.” That's the power of the Savior, to save a life and change a life.
 
And what He did for Karla Faye Tucker, a pickax murderer, He can do for you.
 
And it’s all because “There is born unto you, a Savior”.
 
Let’s pray.
 
 
 
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