Evident Grace Sunday Recap for 12.23.18

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Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

We pursued this Big Idea and these three points:

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.

Jesus conquers shame.

Shame is about power
Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria

Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He took the throne over Rome by defeating Marc Antony in a bloody battle in 31BC. In the background of this story is the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra. Antony was part of the ruling triumvirate. However he became infatuated with Egypt’s queen Cleopatra. When Antony became more concerned with Cleopatra than well-being of Rome, Caesar Augustus moved in.

When he took the throne, he mellowed becoming less bloody. He passed a lot of moral laws and proclaimed that he had brought justice and peace to the whole world. He then declared his Father, Julius Caesar to be divine thus making himself the Son of God. Poets wrote songs declaring him the savior of the world. He once issued this gospel: “Divine Caesar Augustus, son of God, imperator of land and sea, the benefactor and savior of the whole world, has brought you peace”

Caesar was about exercising his power and controlling people. That is the fertile ground for shame. Psychologist, Dr. Robin Smith, spoke about the power of having power over someone. She said, “I will define who you are and then I’ll make you believe that’s your definition.”

So how do we define ourselves?

By power over us?
By ourselves?
By our creator? Our designer.

The only way to for 1 and 2 not to make a problem, even when trusting 3 is to trust and pursue the scriptures.

Shame is not hopeless

3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Both Mary and Joseph had received messages from God about the birth of Jesus. Mary in Luke and Josephs in Matthew. So, the census causing them to go to Bethlehem made sense b/c Micah 5:2 said that the savior would be born there. According to Matthew, Mary and Joseph were now married, but Matthew says that they did not consummate the marriage relationship until after Jesus birth, so she could still be called his “betrothed”. I think of Mary making that journey of 90 miles. Poor woman. Amy is on bedrest and getting up is a challenge some days. I can’t imagine riding on a donkey for 90 miles.

Retuning home is about confronting shame, especially because we return home or face family. But it was not hopeless for Mary and Joseph because they were ushering in the Savior of the world.

Jesus conquers shame

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The conception was miraculous; the delivery was the normal painful birth of any delivery Wrapped him in swaddling cloths, laid him in a manger b/c there was no place in the inn You wonder why they didn’t stay with relatives? Maybe b/c Mary was a sinner? The idea of inn was a two story building. Sort of like a beach house. The second floor was where the people stayed and the first was where the animals were kept. This is probably where they stayed. As we know, the manger was a feeding trough for animals. Can you imagine? I remember how paranoid we were with our first child about germs.

In the midst of that, Jesus conquered our shame.

2 Cor. 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jesus was born in a stable not a palace. He was laid in a manger not in cute crib or bassinette. This all spells poverty and deprivation. Allow Jesus to meet you in your most embarrassing and shame-filled moment.

Big Idea: The End of Shame

Shame is about power.
Shame is not hopeless.
Jesus conquers shame.


Truth: Shame wants you to think you are powerless. You are not. Jesus took your shame, and faith in Him conquers any shame that you or anyone else tries to put on you.
Application: Live knowing that Jesus defeated all your shame and wages war constantly and vigilantly to assure you of that fact.
Action: When you have shame-filled thoughts, write them out somewhere, maybe the notes on your phone. Then, erase them letter by letter thanking Jesus for His work on the cross.
I agree with our first commentator. He says, “We must imagine that God is using ordinary, dirty spaces as extraordinary sacred places for real evangelism.”

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