In the Third Century a man was anticipating his death by the sword and he wrote these words to a friend, “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are the masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are Christians and I am one of them.” And a contrast 1,500 years makes!
The difference in perspective between Holmes and this third century believer is the difference between religion and the Gospel. Religion begins in man’s efforts and ends there; but the Gospel has another origin outside of the thoughts and efforts of men. For these practitioners there’s no “in,” “up,” and “out,” rather there’s “me” and “me only.”
Last Sunday, Pentecost, we began to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has a discernible pattern to it. It’s a pattern the Old Testament foreshadows. The pattern begins with The Lord moving upon us. The result of this movement is a change of focus from “inward” to “upward.” Our eyes, our attention move from the cares and concerns of “my life” to His glory. The last step in the sequence is “outward.” In other words what God works into us, suits our focus Godward and outward to others. That’s what we saw last week in Acts. And that’s what we’ll see again this week in Luke 2.
On this Baccalaureate Sunday we will be revisiting an extremely familiar text – the story of the shepherds at the birth of Christ. How many sermons have you heard and how many plays have you seen on the shepherds? But this Sunday’s message promises to be far different from your typical Christmas message. In preparation for it you may wish to consider the following:
1. Who were the Khmer Rouge?
2. What’s the significance of Jesus’ words in John 14:18?
3. What similarities can you find between the shepherds in Luke 2 and Moses in Exodus 3?
4. What is the oldest profession in the world? (See Genesis 4)
5. What is Pharaoh’s view of Joseph’s brothers’ profession?
6. How many shepherds can you identify in scripture?
7. What did the Jews of Jesus’ day think of shepherds?
8. Whose sheep were these shepherds watching in Luke 2?
9. What is the shepherds’ response to the angel’s announcement?
10. What are swaddling cloths and why does Luke alone mention them?
11. Can you find the “in,” “up,” and “out” in this story?
See you Sunday! Join us as we thank The Lord for our graduates!