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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Come To Church - Cyber Pastor is Preaching

Ok, if that title didn’t scare you off already I pray you will get something you can use from this sermon. I have added a couple of songs that you can link to. Let’s see how that works. Remember please that most of what I have is just an outline and illustrations, so you don’t get all the things I say in between, but I hope this blesses you, as it blesses me to provide God’s word to you! Cyber Pastor

The Supporting Cast
Pastor Ed Boston
December 9, 2007

Opening Song (click the link and download): Born in Bethlehem from Third Day

Leonard Sweet wrote about the following story:

A number of years ago a couple traveled to the offices of an Adoption Society in England to receive a baby. They had been on the waiting list a long time. They had been interviewed and carefully scrutinized. Now at last their dreams were to be fulfilled. But their day of happiness was another’s pain.

Arriving at the offices of the Society they were led up a flight of stairs to a waiting room. After a few minutes they heard someone else climbing the stairs. It was the young student mother whose baby was to be adopted. She was met by the lady responsible for the adoption arrangements and taken into another room. Our friends heard a muffled conversation and a few minutes later footsteps on the stairs as the young mother left. They heard her convulsive sobbing until the front door of the office was closed. Then, there was silence.
The lady in charge then conducted them next door. In a little crib was a six week old baby boy. On a chair beside it was a brown paper bag containing a change of clothes and two letters. One of these, addressed to the new parents, thanked them for providing a home for her baby and acknowledged that under the terms of the adoption each would never know the other’s identity. Then the young mother added one request. Would they allow her little son to read the other letter on his eighteenth birthday? She assured them that she had not included any information about her identity. The couple entrusted that letter to a lawyer and one day the young man will read the message which his mother wrote on the day, when with breaking heart, she parted with him.
I wonder what she wrote? If I had to condense all I feel about life and love into a few precious words what would I say? I would have no time for trivia. I would not be concerned about economics, politics, the weather, the size of house or the type of car. At such a time I would want to dwell on the profundities, on what life was all about and what things were absolutely essential.

A good movie will have a great star (Jesus), it will have a few supporting actors (Mary and Joseph), but today I want to look at the supporting cast. It’s not the big name stars, but an important part of the story just as well!

How do I know that the following are important in the story of the Birth of Christ? Because they were included in God’s word, and everything in God’s word is important.

We don’t have popcorn, or even a movie screen, but sit back and listen to “The Supporting Cast”.

The Shepherds (Luke 2:8 - 12, 15)

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping
watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ
the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that
has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

The Angels (Luke 2:13 - 14)
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying, 14″Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
One commentary tells it like this: Yet it is Jesus’ birth that draws an angelic host. Once again, appearances are deceiving. As humble as the setting is, his birth is accompanied by the attention of the heavenly host. The shepherds who are privileged to share in the moment become bearers of a story full of wonder. Jesus’ birth is more than a cosmic event; it is the arrival of divine activity that should provoke joy, reflection and attentiveness. That is why Mary ponders these events and the shepherds return glorifying God.

The Magi (Matthew 2:9 - 12)
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the eastwent ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Innkeeper (Luke 2:7)
7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Ron Clarkson in an article entitled “The Innkeeper”, gives this account of what the innkeeper may have been thinking that night:

Bethlehem was swollen from the influx of travelers because of the census. My inn was packed, but I just wanted to escape, I was so . . . so tired. And even though I had no vacancy, people kept coming, and I hated to turn people away. The look in their eye when I said, I’m so sorry, but there is just no more room, just no more room. My name is Thaddeus, my name is known throughout Bethlehem. Thaddeus, the Innkeeper, everyone knows Thaddeus, president of the chamber of commerce, heads up the welcome wagon committee, coaches the kids chariot racing team, they all know Thaddeus. . he would help anyone with anything at any time.
And I would, I really would. It would just break my heart to see people who needed a room, a place to rest their head, to get rejuvenated, and I wouldn’t have any place to put them. . . anywhere.We were so full that we had people in storage rooms, sleeping over there in the court yard. How did I know it was going to be on that night, that very night? My wife and I tried to keep the finest inn in all of Bethlehem, and yet during census time it was a blessing and a curse.
Business was great, we were packed. But we were weary, bone tired weary. . . and we had to turn people away. And it was that one night when we almost turned away the most important person on the face of this earth. I was sitting in my chair that night and I heard a knock on the door, and they kept knocking and knocking. And finally I said, “O.K., I’m coming, I’m coming.” And I looked through the window and I saw two silhouettes against the darkened sky.

I saw the image of a taller person and then there was a shorter person who was leaning over, bending over. And I was shaking my head and I was going to have to say it again, like I had several times that night, ‘No more room, no more room.”

Silent Night
(Click to listen)

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth “