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God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Luke 2:8-14)

January 5, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

During this Christmas season, here at East Point Church, we have begun an Advent series entitled “Christ, God with Us“, to which we reflect on historical hymns in light of the Gospel. This week’s sermon wraps up this series with a hymn of glad tidings, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”. Pastor Carter expounds on the goods news of Jesus Christ coming into the world to bring comfort and joy. The focus of this sermon is on how the coming of Christ is the coming of rest from all that wearies us, namely, work, worry, and waiting.

Subtle_Advent_Christ_Still_CNM-HD

Centerline New Media. Subtle Advent Christ. Digital image. The Skit Guys. SKIT GUYS™, INC., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

The Coming of Rest: Work

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear (Luke 2:8, 9).”

The angels announce the contrast between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Pastor Carter asks the question, “Why do the angels come to the shepherds at night?” Perhaps, to illustrate the amazing truth of the Gospel, Jesus Christ is the light, which shines in the darkness (John 1:1-13). Ultimately, the coming of Christ is the coming of rest, for He came to bring comfort and joy by destroying the works of the devil and to reconcile men unto God, according to the promise (Jeremiah 24:7; Romans 5; 1 John 3:8).

The Coming of Rest: Worry

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people (Luke 2:10).”

Rest belongs to God (Genesis 1-2). After He accomplished His creation and saw that His work was good, He rested. Unfortunately, through Adam, sin entered the world and sin rested that rest. However, the good news to which the angels bring is the same news God gave Adam even when he deserved death, “the Lord will keep His promise to restore rest” (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 40:1, 49:13, 51:12-13; John 14:18). For this reason, the Scriptures testify to the faithfulness of God despite the faithlessness of the world, which is why He has the authority to tells us not to worry or fret seeing that He has conquered all of His enemies and all who come to Him find rest (Jeremiah 6; Matthew 11:25-30; 1 John 5:4-5).

The Coming of Rest: Waiting

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:11-13).”

Work was not designed to be burdensome, nor were we designed to worry, but the testimony of Scripture encourages us to wait upon the Lord (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31; Luke 24:49). Instead, when we get tired of waiting, we tend to take matters into our own hands. Pastor Carter identifies the root of weariness in waiting is our tendency to lose hope in the process of waiting. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ is the hope of humanity. In Him, our work is not in vain; in Him, we need not worry about tomorrow, for He is Lord of all creation; and in Him, we can rest in His Word, since He is the fulfillment of all the promises of God (Matthew 5:17-18, 26:52-56; Luke 24:44).

Are you seeking rest apart from Christ?

Sin has not only ravaged the world, but due to our rebellion against God, sin also wearies the world. Everyone wants rest, but it is only for those who are in Christ (cf. Revelation 14:11, 13).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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