Matthew 1.21



1.   This morning I brought a message from God’s Word in which I made the point that Christmas shows your great danger.

2.   The choir has just sung about Christmas, and their songs were songs of adoration and praise and rejoicing.  But why do people rejoice over Christmas?  Is it just because they are delighted the Son of God came?

3.   Those who rejoice because Jesus came, simply because they are delighted and thrilled at His coming, will always fail to mount up on the eagles of exultation, because they ignore an issue of great significance.

4.   It is wonderful that Jesus came, simply for His coming.  But do not lose sight Matthew 1.21:  “for he shall save his people from their sins.”

5.   My friend, if you are not one of Christ’s own you are in great danger.  This is illustrated in three ways: 


1B.    The angel said, “he shall save his people from their sins.”  But what did Jesus say?  You would expect no contradiction because of the internal consistency of the Bible, but it thrills the soul to hear the Savior’s Own words over the testimony of an angel.

2B.    “. . . the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”[1]  That is what Jesus said.  And He said that about Himself, for He is the Son of Man.  But notice that He did not say, “the Son of Man is come to find that which was lost.”  Why not?  Because when you are lost you need much more than finding.  You need deliverance and rescue.  And you are lost.  You are so lost that you have no perception of your danger, no grasp of your fragile hold on life.

3B.    The coming of Jesus Christ, by means of the miraculous virgin birth, was intentional, was intelligent, and was intercessory.  He decided to come, it was no accident.  He was fully conscious of Who and what He was throughout His journey from heaven’s glory to the cesspool of humanity.  And His entire purpose in coming was to suffer and bleed and die on the cross, then to rise from the dead on the third day before going back to glory and sitting at His Father’s right hand on high, having done the work necessary to save sinners.

4B.    How great must be your danger, then, to demand such a purpose in coming. 

2A.   Your Danger Is Also Illustrated BY THE MANNER OF HIS COMING

1B.    What was the manner of His coming?  I mentioned it a moment ago.  It was the astounding miracle of the virgin birth.  Think about it with me.  The virgin birth was predicted, but entirely unanticipated.  It was mysterious, but majestically magnificent.  It was, as I said, miraculous . . . but missed by all but a very small number of people.

2B.    The fact that such an astounding miracle, such an intervention by Almighty God into the affairs of men, should go almost entirely unnoticed, should be very troubling to thoughtful men.  But few men are thoughtful.  On the contrary, even the smartest of men are, for the most part, thoughtless.

3B.    An example:  In today’s Los Angeles Times there is a major article about the tragic destruction of the space shuttle Columbia.  The article begins by pointing out a discovery made by an investigator named James Hallock, a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.[2]  Examining 25-year-old NASA specifications, which said that the protective tile panels on the outside of the shuttle must be strong enough to withstand an impact equal to 0.006 foot-pounds, he figured out what that meant in practical terms.  My friends, the shuttle tiles were only required to withstand the force of a No. 2 pencil dropped from about 6 inches!  That is utterly thoughtless engineering, by men who were probably very smart, but who never imagined that any of the tiles on the shuttle would ever actually be struck by anything.  Well, they were struck by something, and the shuttle was unable to re-enter the atmosphere without burning up as a direct result of thoughtless engineering 25 years ago.

4B.    I have the highest regard for design engineers.  But even the smartest and most cautious men can make the dumbest mistakes, mistakes that end in great tragedy and heartache.  What, then, of those who fancy themselves safe, who think not of any danger they may be in?  Will such men reflect on the manner of Christ’s coming, that event called the virgin birth, and wonder why God resorted to such a miracle to accomplish His ends?

5B.    That the human race is so lethargic, so dull in our sensibilities, so blind to spiritual realities, so immune to warnings, and so oblivious to so dramatic an intervention . . . should cause us to wonder what else we are missing, what other issues we fail to see, what dangers are we exposed to that we simply do not recognize?

6B.    Yes, the manner of His coming illustrates your great danger. 

3A.   Finally, Your Danger Is Illustrated BY THE FACT THAT IT WAS HIS COMING!

1B.    My friend, the greatest of all Solutions is needed only for the most profound of all problems.  That it was the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the living God, the Prince of Peace, the Creator of all things, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, should make some impression upon you of the severity of the problem you face.

2B.    There is, after all, a sense of proportion in the coming of Christ that we celebrate at Christmas time.  In the military, a corporal is not sent to solve a problem that only a general officer can deal with.  You do not drop an atomic bomb down a hole to rid the neighborhood of an infestation of mice.  You do not swing a five pound hammer to drive a small finishing nail.  You do not swing a 36” baseball bat to deal with a bothersome house fly.

3B.    For what reason would the Second Person of the triune godhead be dispatched to this sin drenched world to live among men?  Jesus came from heaven’s glory because only He, not any angel, only He, not any man, only He was fit enough, was powerful enough, was majestic enough, was glorious enough, to save His people from their sins. 


1.   It is wonderful to read in God’s Word about the shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Do you remember the scene?  The angels appeared to them and told them of Christ’s birth, and they rushed into Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus.

2.   O, how excited they were.  What a thrill!  To see the angel of the Lord, to be frightened by the glory of the Lord, then to be told the good news of Jesus’ birth.  They would remember it forever.  But I still think they missed half of the thrill.

3.   My opinion is that they really did not fully appreciate what the angel said:  “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”[3]  I am sure they heard him.  I am sure they understood his words.  But did they really appreciate what he said to them?  Did they get it?  I don’t think so.

4.   To fully appreciate the coming of a savior, a deliverer, a rescuer from imminent danger, you have to appreciate the danger you are in to some degree.  But did those shepherds understand the danger they were in because of their sin?  Probably not.  Few men appreciate such danger.

5.   Even the angels who suddenly appeared and sang would appreciate only a portion of what was happening.  Being sinless creatures, they would probably have been aware of sinful men’s great danger, but they would have no direct understanding of what it was like for a savior to appear on the scene.

6.   So, of the two types of creatures on the scene that wonderful night so long ago, neither group saw what the other group saw.  The angels would see the danger men are in because of their sin, but would have no comprehension of being saved from sin.  The shepherds would be thrilled at the coming of Jesus, and later on would comprehend the magnitude of the event if they had been saved from their sins.  But did they see their own danger that night?  No.

7.   It is left to us who were not there, who have God’s Word before us to consider and ponder and meditate upon, to reflect on both the danger sinful men find themselves in, as well as the great joy and delight that accompanies being delivered from so great a danger by so great a Savior.

8.   Do you enjoy Christmas?  Does it thrill your soul?  Are you excited by it?  Imagine, then, what Christmas would mean to you if you saw your danger from sin and then saw the birth of the Savior in its proper light.

9.   As we approach Christmas this year, I urge you to reflect upon Christmas in a way you have, perhaps, never done before.  Look at Christmas as an illustration of the great danger your soul is in because of sin.

10. This is seen by the purpose of Christ’s coming at Christmas, the manner of His coming at Christmas, and the fact that it was His coming at Christmas that we celebrate.

[1] Matthew 18.11

[2] Los Angeles Times, December 21, 2003, page A-1

[3] Luke 2.11

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