Purkey’s

B i b l e   S t u d y

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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to: More Bible Study Outlines.

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GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST

December 21, 2014

 

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-20

 

KEY VERSE: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:20)

 

BACKGROUND: The following is a summary of Luke chapter 2.

 

You cannot escape Jesus Christ.

 

His birth affected Caesar’s politics (Luke 2:1–3), the ministry of the angels (Luke 2:8–15), and the activities of common men (Luke 2:15–20). In that day, shepherds were looked upon with disdain; but God singled them out to be the first human messengers of Messiah’s birth. His coming touched worshipers (Luke 2:21–38) and even scholars (Luke 2:39–52).

 

The angels sang about Him, and He is still the theme of the greatest music. Luke wrote about Him, and He is still the subject of the greatest literature. The shepherds hastened to behold Him, and He is still at the center of the greatest art. Teachers listened to Him and marveled, and He is still the focal point for all truth and wisdom.

 

In His development, Jesus was perfectly balanced: intellectually (wisdom), physically (stature), spiritually (in favor with God), and socially (in favor with man); and He is still the greatest example for childhood and youth.

 

He alone is worthy of our worship!

 

Oh, come! Let us adore Him!

 

INTRODUCTION: The holiday season is, for many people, one of the most depressing times of the year. It is easy to get so caught up in the preparations and the festivities and even the pain we may feel in our hearts during the holidays, that we forget the real meaning of the season.

 

It isn't about gifts and trees and decorations. It isn't even about families and parties and fun. It certainly isn't about Santa Claus, snowmen, elves and reindeer. It is all about Jesus Christ and all about Him alone!

 

So for just a few minutes today let's leave our world behind and visit once again the little town of Bethlehem. Let's let Jesus transform our Christmas.

 

The night God became flesh and walked among men ranks as one of the greatest moments in human history. It was a night of tremendous miracles and great blessings. It was the night when God moved into the world to live and eventually to die. Though this story is 2,000 years old, it is still as fresh as if this were the first time it was ever told.

 

Let's visit Bethlehem again today and notice that as Mary delivered Jesus into this world, there was a Christmas Message being delivered also.

 

I. A SPECTACULAR ANNOUNCEMENT. (Luke 2:8-12)

 

A. The audience was made up of shepherds. (Luke 2:8)

 

(Luke 2:8) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 

Many people ask the question, “When was Jesus Christ born?” It could not have been in the dead of winter or the shepherds would not have been out at night with their sheep. But the date of His birth is irrelevant, just as the day upon which He was crucified is irrelevant. The Scripture does not say when He was born; the important thing is that He was born. The Scripture does not say when He was crucified; the important thing is that He died for our sins.

 

Note: The shepherds were considered to be social outcasts. Their duties made them unclean and the fact that they were unable to come to the Temple for many weeks at a time prevented them from getting clean. Praise the Lord, that's the crowd Jesus Christ came for (See, Luke 19:10, Mark 2:17). They were probably the men who raised the lambs for the temple sacrifices, and it is appropriate that they would be the first men to meet the Lamb of God!

 

B. The angel of the Lord was the speaker. (Luke 2:9-11)

 

(Luke 2:9-11) 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.

 

1. A baby.

 

It is wonderful to see a little baby come into the world, and your heart goes out to him; there is a sympathy that goes from you to him. That is the way God entered the world. He could have entered -- as He will when He comes to earth the second time -- in power and great glory. Instead, He came in the weakest way possible, as a baby. The hymn writer put it this way:

 

They all were looking for a King

To slay their foes and lift them high:

Thou cam’st, a little baby thing

That made a woman cry.

(George Macdonald)

 

2. A Savior.

 

That is the way the Saviour came into the world. He did not lay aside His deity; He laid aside His glory. There should have been more than just a few shepherds and angels to welcome Him -- all of creation should have been there. Instead of collecting taxes, that fellow Caesar should have been in Bethlehem to worship Him. Jesus Christ could have forced him to do that very thing, but He did not. He laid aside, not His deity, but His prerogatives of deity. He came a little baby thing.

 

Note: Jesus is called Savior! Not an example or a teacher, but a Savior! If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer. If our greatest need had been military, God would have sent a soldier. If our greatest need had been for justice, God would have sent a judge. But, our greatest need was forgiveness and redemption, and, therefore, God sent a Savior!

 

C. The angel of the Lord gave a “sign” to the shepherds. (Luke 2:12)

 

(Luke 2:12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 

Luke is emphasizing Jesus Christ’s humanity. Christ came into this world as a human being. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

 

God knows about mankind. He knows you, and He knows me. He understands us because He came into this world a human being. This also means that we can know something about God, because He took upon Himself our humanity.

 

II. A GREAT MULTITUDE. (Luke 2:13-15)

 

A. A great heavenly choir started to sing. (Luke 2:13-14)

 

(Luke 2:13-14) 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.

 

1. What they sang.

 

Our Authorized Version gives the wrong impression here. The angels did not say, “on earth peace, good will toward men.” What they actually said was, “peace to men of good will,” or “peace among men with whom He is pleased.” The angels did not make the idiotic statement that many men make today which goes, “Let’s have peace, peace, peace.”

 

My friend, “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22). We live in a day when we need to beat our plowshares into swords -- not the other way around. We live in a wicked world. We live in a Satan-dominated world, and therefore there is no peace.

 

2. Why they sang it.

 

There is, however, peace to men of good will. If you are one of those who has come to Jesus Christ and taken Him as your Savior, you can know this peace of God. Romans 5:1 states: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

When Jesus Christ came the first time, this is the kind of peace He brought. At Christ’s Second Coming He will come as the Prince of Peace; at that time He will put down unrighteousness and rebellion in the world. He will establish peace on the earth. But until He comes again, there will be no peace on this earth.

 

B. A great urgency came over the shepherds. (Luke 2:15)

 

(Luke 2:15) 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.

 

The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem. There they found Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. They were probably the first to visit the Babe since Matthew tells us that the wise men did not arrive until much later. In fact, when the wise men finally found the Lord Jesus, He was living in a house and probably many months had elapsed.

 

III. LYING IN A MANGER. (Luke 2:16-20)

 

A. The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:16-18)

 

(Luke 2:16-18) 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.

 

1. What the shepherds did.

 

They spread the word about Jesus! What an example for all Christians! Resolve to tell others about Jesus! It is the Lord’s command! (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8.)

 

2. Why the shepherds did it.

 

a. They were blessed men.

 

As these men returned to their sheep, notice that their circumstances had not changed. They were still shepherds, still outcasts and still in the field. While their circumstances had not changed, their hearts had! These men returned with hearts full of praise for the Lord. What a difference Jesus makes!

 

b. They were changed men.

 

God’s great purpose is to change sinners into saints, and He accomplishes this through the power of his grace (See, Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). If you know Christ, remember that your situation may be bad, but your God is Great! We need to learn to praise Him in our problems and the Lord will honor that (See, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Remember a better day is ahead (See, Romans 8:28).

 

B. Mary thought hard about all these things. (Luke 2:19-20)

 

(Luke 2:19-20) 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.

 

1. What Mary did.

 

Mary pondered many things in her heart as a mother would do, and (because of danger to His life) Mary and Joseph took the young child Jesus into Egypt for a time and later returned to Nazareth.

 

2. What Jesus did.

 

Since Jesus Christ had come into the human family, and since He had been born under the Mosaic Law, Jesus (humanly speaking) was a Jew. All of His earthly life, Jesus was faithful to follow the teachings of the Word of God.

 

Good News For All

By Herbert Vander Lugt

 

The angel who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds said that he came to them with “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). Many people today hear these words about “great joy” but don’t understand them. They relish the season as they decorate their homes, shop in cheerful malls, attend festive parties, and exchange gifts with the ones they love. But after all the excitement subsides, they feel empty and joyless.

 

Others don’t like the season at all. Many have no money for gifts or decorations. Some have no friends with whom to celebrate. The atmosphere of cheer around them actually deepens their feelings of sadness.

 

The problem with both groups is that they wrongly identify the “great joy” of which the angel spoke. It is found not in the superficial fun but in the deeper meaning of the season. When Jesus was born, God became a man so that He could save us from our sins and give us the joyful prospect of eternity in heaven. That’s the true reason for joy. The shepherds went back to the cold nights and loneliness of their vocation, but they were “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).

 

The real meaning of Christmas is indeed “good tidings of great joy . . . to all people” (Luke 2:10).

 

Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."

(Charles Wesley)

 

 -- Herbert Vander Lugt, Our Daily Bread, December 24, 1995

 

CONCLUSION: As we think about this Christmas message, we need to be sure that we receive the message of the angels like the shepherds did. That we too may come to know Jesus Christ, and we shell go away praising Him and glorifying His Name.

 

What kind of message is our life preaching today? Like the angels, are we living a life that points others to Christ? Or, are we like the shepherds, so filled up with Christ’s wonder and glory that life is fresh every day because of Him? Or, would we have to admit that like the innkeeper of Joseph’s and Mary’s day, we simply have no room for Jesus in our life. Which describes us best?

 

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Jesus puts the joy into Christmas.”

 

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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.

 

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