December 23

 

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. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

 

The angel here is making an announcement.  He doesn’t say, “I would like to preach to you,” but simply “I bring you good news.”  In other words, he is saying, “I am an evangelist; my words are the gospel.”  So the gospel is a good, joyful message, which will become the main message of the New Testament.  What is the gospel?  Listen to the angel.  He says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  The gospel speaks of a great joy.  Where do we find it?  Listen again:  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

So the gospel is a joyful message about Christ the Savior.  Whoever preaches correctly preaches the gospel and nothing but joy.  How can our hearts have a greater joy than knowing that Christ has been given to us to be our own?  The angel doesn’t merely say, “Christ has been born,” but also indicates that his birth is for us by saying, “Christ has been born to you.”

So the nature of the gospel is revealed, not just by teaching the story and life of Christ, but also by personalizing it and offering it to all who believe.  What would it help  me if Christ were born a thousand times, and the news of his birth was sung to me every day with wonderful music, if I didn’t understand that his death was for me and that I should make it my own?  No matter how badly it’s preached, my heart hears the gospel with joy.  It penetrates all the way through and sounds wonderful.  If there were something else to preach, hen both the evangelical angel and the angelic evangelist would have mentioned it.

 

Martin Luther’s Here I Stand (Audio CD)

 

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

 

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