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Series Theme:  "Faith Sermons"
























































Title:   6. Christmas - God's Favour




Reading: Lk 2:13,14 “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests."



A. The Challenge of Knowing


  •  This is a word of encouragement for those of us who so often feel weak, inadequate or failures and wonder if God is with us and for us.
  •  Atheistic Philosopher: “If we're going to have a genuinely open forum, we have to agree on the rules. And there's one rule I would insist upon, and that's, there's one card you cannot play, the faith card. The faith card is when you say, well no, we don't talk about that it's a matter of faith…. You are saying .. I am not willing to give you reasons.”
  •  That is a challenge we should not be afraid of – let's think about what we read and have answers.



B. The Challenge of Accuracy


  •  There are disagreements over interpretation
  •  AV – Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will towards men . (NB> Good will)
  •  NIV Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests. (NB> favour) [Better!]
  •  We shouldn't be afraid to face difficulties in Scripture.
  •  We can learn from both interpretations, but that latter one reveals a significant difference!



C. The Challenge of the Declaration


  •  There are two parts to this song:

- In heaven

- On earth

- Glory to God

- Peace to men

  •  Glory to God – a desire for all creation to praise God
  •  in the highest – in heaven – in the highest place, above anyone and anything
  •  It comes in the context of the baby being born
  •  Glory will come to God because Jesus has been born!
  •  This is all about God.


D. About God


1. A False God


  •  Dawkins: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, capriciously malevolent bully
  •  Tragically many agree with him out of ignorance.
  •  Nothing could be further from the truth.


2. The Real God – Love


  •  The God of the Bible is revealed as all-powerful, all-knowing, all wise and utterly good and loving
  •  When John writes, “God IS love” that means everything that God thinks, says and does is an expression of love – and we need to understand that


3. The Real God – Reigning


  •  He is also in control of all things – He reigns.
  •  We really do need to understand and believe that God does actually reign.
  •  When we talk about God ‘reigning' we means He acts to bring about His will – good and bad as far as we are concerned.
  •  In the OT that was described as ‘curses' and ‘blessings' (See Deut 27 & 28)
  •  ‘Curses' are God's decree of bad – judgement on sin (life falls apart by God's design or decree)
  •  ‘Blessings' are God's decree of good on those who listen to Him and respond in obedience to His call.


4. The Real God – Good Will – the Intent


  •  Meditation on both ‘Good will' and ‘favour' (see B above) brings understanding.
  •  “Good will” speaks of intent, what God would like to bring – not necessarily what He will bring.
  •  2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
  •  Now not everyone does come to repentance and many do perish – but that is contrary to God's desire.
  •  We need to understand that God has an open desirous heart towards mankind:
  •  “Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind .” (Prov 8:30,31)
  •  That was the language of the Creator Son – delighting, rejoicing – in mankind – sinless before the Fall.


5. The Real God – Good Will – the Action


  •  Ah, therein is the problem!
  •  How can God feel good towards sinful men who reject Him?
  •  The answer is because He is a God who IS love (1 Jn 4:8) – and love wants the best for everyone (even if it can't always bring it).
  •  He has sent His Son to die in their place – He has provided a means for sinful man to move into blessing.
  •  This is mid-way between ‘good will' (passive) and ‘favour' (action). God has expressed His good will by sending Jesus – He has provided means for man to come to the place of blessing.
  •  Yes love can be disappointed – and God never forces anyone.
  •  Some positively reject God and purpose to do evil.
  •  Others are nice people who sit on the boundary of God's kingdom and peer in but never commit themselves to Him to let Him be Lord and king over their lives – they are still outside His kingdom and outside the place of blessing.
  •  They are in the place of curse – God's decree of bad (judgment) – simply because they cannot receive His good because that can only come when we allow Him to guide us in His ways for us in which good flows.


6. The Real God – Favour


  •  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
  •  Favour means ‘active good will' – God is constantly working to bless those who have turned to Him.
  •   e.g. see Joseph in Gen 39 and Daniel in Dan 1, where God moved in the background and granted favour to these men, i.e. He brought good to them even in bad circumstances.
  •  Peace is the first outcome – but there's much more.
  •  Listen to the Old Testament promise for this new people:
  •  “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and …. I will rejoice in doing them good ….” (Jer 32:40,41)
  •  This is God's plan for His redeemed people, this is His pleasure and His will.
  •  But this only comes – this peace and blessing that the angels spoke of – when we give ourselves to Him and accept that Jesus has died for us so we can be forgiven.
  •  If we've never seen that we need forgiveness, we'll sit outside the family for ever and we'll miss the blessings He wants to bring to us.
  •  peace to men on whom his favour rests.
  •  When the angels speak of His favour they mean His decree of constant goodness for us
  •  His favour rest on those who surrender to Him.
  •  You cannot know peace and you cannot know this favour – this constant flow of Goodness – until you receive the Son into your life as Saviour and the Lord who will lead you, so He can bring the blessing to you.