Dec 20, 2020 | Lee Becknell

A Wondrous Sight!

    A man was asleep in the bed one night when his wife leaned over and shook him and said, "Wake up, I think somebody’s breaking in!" You see, this man had gone through this almost every night for the past 20 years, and he knew that the only way he was going to get back to sleep was to go and check it out. This had just become a formality, a regular routine…This time, however, the wife’s worst fear had come true…as her husband made his way down the hall he spotted a man robbing the house! As the thief was about to run away the man said, “Wait a minute, you got to come with me and meet my wife." With a confused looked on his face the thief replied, “Now why in the world would you want me to meet your wife?" The man said, "Well, she’s been expecting you for 20 years."

    * In our passage this morning, we’re going to meet two people whose lives were characterized by expectation.  And when they finally realized what was promised it gave them a reason to rejoice.

    Title: “A wondrous sight.”

    Theme: “Christmas splits people into two camps. Since Jesus entered the world, He has divided the human race by causing some to fall and others to rise. Because of who Jesus is and what He came to do, He forces people to make a decision about Him. Jesus is either a rock you build your life upon (that’s the sense of rising) or He’s the rock you stumble over (that’s the meaning of falling).” Cf verse 34!

    * Most of the things God asks us to do require faith.  God never gives all the facts before He calls someone.  Mary and Joseph were a work in progress just like you and I.  Notice with me today how God brings people and information to them to help them raise Jesus God’s Son. This Christmas season look for God’s lessons and the people He will send to help you.” We can’t do it by yourself.

    * This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

    1. When you do the things you know are required by God, He will make known to you other spiritual truths.

    Luke 2:22-24, “And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

    * Beloved, this is one of the most important lessons in spiritual growth.  You must master this.  When we do the things we know God wants us to do He will make know to us things we would never have known without obedience.

    * Our text begins with the obedience of Mary and Joseph to the Law given by God to Moses. We also find this same principle in the lives of Simeon and Anna.

    * They were available to hear God’s message. They were all acting in ways that showed they had a vital relationship with God. Mary and Joseph were carefully doing all that God’s law required. Verse 37, says that Anna worshiped, prayed, and fasted night and day in the temple. Verse 25 says that Simeon was “righteous and devout,”.

    * Being available to God is the first thing we notice about this story.  Simeon was able to see God’s salvation because he was there where God could show it to him. Anna and Mary and Joseph were all there to see that salvation too. Why? Because they were open to God’s call upon their lives.

    Leviticus 12:6, “And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering,

    * If you read our text for today, you will find this same principle working for Simeon and Anna.

    Luke 2:34-35, “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

    * Simeon has one last word for Mary in verse 35: “And a sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Simeon speaks of a stone, a sign, and a sword.

    * The word for “sword” refers to a large wide sword, like the one Goliath used. The idea is Mary will have her soul sliced open and will experience extreme anguish. The tense indicates this pain will “constantly keep on piercing.” In John 19:25, we read she stood by the cross and watched her son executed like a common criminal. When the spear pierced His side, her own soul was pierced with pain.

    1. Every Christian needs the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Luke 2:25-27, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,”

    * A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned this to you and this morning I am going to go more in depth on this subject.

    * In our text, I want you to notice three things; 1. The H.S. was upon him (verse 25). 2. The H. S. revealed to him that he would see the Messiah before he died (verse 26). 3. The H. S. is directing his path (verse 27).

    John 14:25, “25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

    2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

    * Beloved, when we accept Jesus as our Savior we are immediately seal by the Holy Spirit and He comes to live in our hearts.

    * In our text today, we see that he H. S. teaches, reveals, and directs us.

    Romans 8:14-15, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    John 16:8, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;”

    Romans 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    * Beloved, did you know that we can also keep the H. S. from working in our lives? 

    Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

    Acts 7:51, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”

    Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?”

    Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

    * This Christmas let the Holy Spirit empower your life.

    1. How you live, determines your amount of Spirit power.

    Luke 2:25, 36-38, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

    * We begin our lesson today when Joseph and Mary are obedient to God’s Law.  Now let us look at the adjectives describing Simeon and Anna. Let us begin in verse 25.  ‘Righteous’, ‘devout’, “patient’ and the H. S. was upon him.

    * Now look in verse 37.  ‘Always in God’s house’, ‘worshiping’, ‘fasting’, and ‘praying night and day’.

    * Do you see it?  We wonder why God is not working or speaking to us and all along it might be the way we are living.

    Luke 2:29-32, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

    * Simeon could depart in peace.

    Luke 2:38, “And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

    * The name Anna is the Greek version of Hannah. The phrase “coming up” means “to burst in.” It’s likely she heard Simeon’s song and when he finished, she busted out into praise and began speaking about redemption. The tense of “speak of Him” means she, “kept on speaking.”

    * Parents, how would you feel if some old man came up to you, took your baby in his arms and started singing out loud? I’m sure this was a bit unsettling for Joseph and Mary. God had not only fulfilled the individual promise to him, but also the promises of the prophets to send the Anointed One to comfort and console both Jews and Gentiles.

    At the age of 90, Charles Eliot, the president emeritus of Harvard, made his way slowly down the road to his neighbor’s house to congratulate them on their new baby. After a brief conversation, Eliot asked if he could hold their infant. After a few minutes he returned the newborn and explained, “I have been looking at the end of life for so long that I wanted to look for a few moments at its beginning.”

    * This Christmas what will you see in Jesus?

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