Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.
Delivered On
December 15, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Central Passage
Luke 2: 20,34
Subject
Shocking News
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.

Sunday December 15, 2013

Shocking News

“And behold, thou shall be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed...” and “ Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man” ( Luke 2: 20,34).

Today is the third Sunday in Advent 2013 leaving
just one Sunday before the week that embraces Christmas,
the day institutionalized as the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Before the birth of Jesus there had been two angelic
announcements, one to a man and the other to a woman.
For both of them, the news was shocking. Those
experiences will anchor the sermon for today entitled,
Shocking News. It will include four dimensions of the
subject, namely, the Gospels’ documentation on the life of
Jesus, human fascination by and dependency on news,
the basis of shocking news for Zachariah and later Mary,
and to insulate us against shocking news at the end of our
life. Having so delineated the objectives, attention is now
directed to the first one which is - the Gospels’ account of
life and ministry of Jesus. The first four books of the New
Testament are known as the Gospels. Three of them are
known as The Synoptic Gospels because of the commonality
of contents regarding the life and ministry of Jesus. Those
books are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The fourth book, John,
is classified as Apocalyptic owing to its heavy focus on
events yet to come.
While all of the Gospels were Christ focused, only two
of them included the nativity of Jesus; they are Matthew and
Luke. The former presented Jesus as the king of the Jews
and traced him through 42 generations while, Luke focused
on angelic messages first to Zacharias and later to Mary
who would give birth to Jesus whose kingdom would have
no end. Since the knowledge of Christ’s birth had to be
disseminated by some communication, the next point in
this sermon will focus on human fascination by and
dependency on news.
The human group has craved receipt of news
throughout history. It has used communication modes that
include smoke signals, drum beats, telegraphs, newspapers,
radios, televisions, and the contemporary electronic
methods.
In contemporary times, humankind awaits mail from
sources that include the traditional Post Office, FedEx, UPS,
couriers, and - in the future - drones. Other modes of delivery
include email, the digital new print, and - of course - the
traditional grapevine.
The news contents cause an array of possible
responses, some of which are: joy, excitement, anticipation,
- or in contrast - grief, sorrow, lamentation. Yet, the news
itself is completely neutral; its just the vehicle by which
information is transmitted from one source to another.
But long before the appearance of people on the earth, God
communicated by voice during the Old Testament Era.
Numerous are references that certify this assertion, an
example of which is - “And God spake all these words,
saying, I am the Lord thy God...” (Ex. 19:1-2 ). That divine
communication continued through the prophetic period as
noted in Heb. 1:1-2 where it is recorded, “God...spake in time
past unto the fathers by the prophets...but “in these last
days spoken unto us by his Son...”.

Before his departure, the Son promised the Holy Spirit
as the Comforter who would provide guidance and serve as
humanity’s advocate with the Father. This divine guidance
continues to be accessible to the believer’s and it reinforced
by words from the Father as faithfully proclaimed by the
Preacher; remember the words - “how shall they hear
without a preacher? ( Ro. 10:14 ) a preacher?” This somber
question leads to the third parameter of the sermon which
is - the experiences of two persons who received shocking
news. The first person of reference was Zacharias; he was
an elderly priest who had prayed for a child long before he
and his wife had become of later age. On an occasion when
Zacharias was about to perform his priestly in the temple,
“...there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord...and
Zacharias was troubled. The angel said unto him “fear not...”
but the angel’s message was troubling news of Zacharias.
He was told that his wife would bear a son and his name
shall be called John. In responding to the shocking news,
Zacharias inquired, “whereby shall I know this, for I am an
old man, and my wife well stricken in years”. The angel,
Gabriel replied, “Thou shall be dumb and unable to speak
until the day that these things shall be performed...”.
Fast forwarding to the birth of the son, the suggestion was
made to name the baby Zacharias because the name, John,
was not in family genealogy. Elizabeth, continued to
insist that the name should be John. Noting the varying
opinions, Zacharias signaled for a tablet and pen; he wrote
John for the child’s name and immediately Zacharias was
again able to speak.
The second person to received shocking new was the
virgin Mary. Luke records that Gabriel was sent by God unto
the virgin Mary with the message that she was highly
favoured and the Lord is with thee. Certainly, such news
was pleasing and before she could completely internalize
its significance, Gabriel uttered the shocking news which
was, “...thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth
a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. In quandary, Mary
inquired, “...how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”.
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall
overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall
be born in thee shall be called the Son of God” ( Lk. 1:35,36).
This impending birth of Jesus was of concern to
Joseph to whom Mary was engaged. Matthew reports that
Joseph could have put Mary away - broken off the espousal
pac, but as he pondered it - being a just man - was visited
by in angel while he slept. He was told that the impregnation
was of the Holy Ghost and, upon awaking from his sleep,
Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and
took unto him his wife. ( Mt.1:24 ).
This theologically unique birth has attracted scholars
from biology and religion. Within in former area, there has
been asserted that the pregnancy could have occurred
through a rare process known as partheongenesis - a
situation in which a female might become impregnated
without a sperm, but the problem is that such a remote
prospect the offspring would have to be female since
gender is determined by the male. Hence, that biological
submission is ineffective to explain Mary’s pregnancy
because Jesus was male rather than female.
The second theoretical attempt to explain how Mary -
a long descendant of Adam - could be without the sin
nature of humanity and, therefore, not transmit the same to
Jesus. There is an explanation sanctioned and taught
in Catholicism that is called Immaculate Conception. This
views expounds “ the doctrine that God preserved the Virgin
Mary from the taint of original sin from the moment she was
conceived; it was defined as a dogma of the Roman Catholic
Church in 1854.”. As a point of caution, it is the opinion of
this pastor/theologian that humankind should be more
concerned about the reality of Jesus’ birth, his ministry,
and his return than generalizing about speculations and
generalizations about his birth. This cautionary submission
leads to the last aspect of this sermon entitled, Shocking
News - which is the question as to what are you doing to
avoid the Shocking News at the end of your life? Beloved
your check list must include the following:
- have you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?
- does you life embody principles and precepts
that Jesus taught?
- are you keenly aware that your life is as but
a vapor?
- Do you know that there is a time to be born and
a time to die?
- Do you know that at the final judgement one of
two divine responses will be made regarding
your final destiny; they are well done, or depart
from me?
- Do you know that there is a lamb book of life to
be opened at the judgement and whosoever’s
name is not found therein will be cast into a lake
of fire?
In closing, are you bound for heaven or are you
headed for hell; you must decide the news you
want to hear at the end of life? Amen!

 

 

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