The Birth of Salvation

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
December 25, 1921 – Rocky Springs, Texas

 

Introduction

In this Christmas sermon, my grandfather examines the birth of Jesus and the magnificent simplicity of God’s plan for our redemption. The little baby in a manger was truly the start of something extraordinary. — Harrison Woodard

Luke 2:8-20 KJV

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Birth of Salvation

The same event that moved the shepherds 19 centuries ago to hasten to Bethlehem fills the world with joy today.  This is the time to go to Bethlehem and study the character of him whose birth we celebrate, the manner of his birth, and the purpose for which he came.

We see two strangers, a man and a woman from Nazareth. Both were poor with a newborn babe in garments of poverty lying in a manger. This is not a very prepossessing appearance. Such a scene might appeal to our sympathy, but would hardly stir our devotions or cause us to worship either the babe or parents.

Yet many a king, nobleman, statesman has been born in the lap of luxury and the world has forgotten their names. While this child’s name is known by people in every land, in every climate, and in every language.

There was born there that day a Savior. What a thrill of joy must have gone through the hearts of the people of that land that night. Let us remember that we look at this scene through the pages of nineteen hundred years of history. We know the record of his glorious life on earth and the marvelous achievements of his grace in the church.

They saw him only in his poverty, a helpless babe, with no past history recording his deeds. They must have a heavenly vision.

Not only his birth, but his whole life was a marvel and a tragedy; fraught with human disappointment and defeat. But out of the scenes of blackest despair, when men forsook him, we see him rise with outstretched arms and say, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”

Can He Do It? Will He Do It?

We see him in matchless perfection of character, coupled with the broadest views of life. He was of stainless heart and guileless lips. In him is found every quality that gives greatness and perfection to human nature. He is the standard of all greatness.

From his life and character flowed that Spirit that has elevated every nation, community and person that has accepted and followed him.

All praise, honor and glory are to him in the highest heaven, the highest impulses of the soul and in the highest strains of the sweetest music.

The world needed him as it does today. A God in the sky has never and will never satisfy men on earth. It was the Word manifest in the flesh and walking with men that satisfied and that satisfies today.

We commemorate the birth of Jesus – the birth of hope – the birth of salvation.

The one vital question for man will remain when all others have gone. It is: do I really love Him enough to take up his cross and follow him?

 

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