Sermons Archive

Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.



24 DECEMBER 1990

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Luke 1:26-56
1 John 4:7

Preparation Verse: (1 John 4:7)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Prelude: Away in a Manger

Solo: O Holy Night!



The world in the days prior to the birth of Jesus was much like it is today. It was, and is, as John S. Dwight wrote in the hymn “O Holy Night!” –

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees,
Oh, hear the angel voices!

Do we recognize the sin in our own lives?

Do we recognize the sin in the world around us?

Are our hearts pining because of the sin, the error, the injustice, and the indifference that we see?

Do you see and feel the horrible suffering that our fellow human beings have inflicted upon millions of other people and upon billions of animals?

Then you are experiencing why Jesus Christ was born unto us: that at His appearing we would feel in our souls the worth of His forgiveness and grace.

And as we become aware of our sins and confess them, and go forth to sin no more and become peacemaking children of God, their darkness vanishes in the dawn of a new and glorious morning.

"Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!"

Take a few moments in repentant silence and listen for the angel voices.

Confession and Assurance:


Mary had a heart and soul that could hear angels.

She was young and innocent.

She didn't seek the sinful ways of the world, or think that it was smart to lose her innocence.

Mary sought to serve the Lord her God in everything she did.

Thus she could hear the voice of the angel Gabriel.

Scripture Readings: Luke 1:26-56

26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth,

27. to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28. And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."

29. But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be.


Mary knew in her heart that she was trying to live as God wanted her to live, but at the same time she realized that she also occasionally did things against God's will.

And Gabriel’s statement troubled her, for she felt in her heart that she wasn't anyone special.

But God had a special plan for Mary's life, because she was obedient to Him and because she had a repentant heart.

Thus, in His eyes, she was indeed a favored one, as we also should strive to be.

Scripture Reading (continued):

30. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.

31. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.

32. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;

33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."

34. And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.

36. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.

37. "For nothing will be impossible with God."

38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


Mary knew the Law and she knew that if she was found to be pregnant without being married, she could be taken out into the streets and publicly stoned to death.

Mary also knew that her Messiah was prophesied to be born of a virgin and what was being said by the angel Gabriel was according to Scripture; and she trusted in the Lord her God.

Thus she replied, "Be it done to me according to your word."

How many times in our lives do we hear the word of God speaking to us, and we know that it is in accordance with Scripture; yet we refuse to obey it.

Sometimes we wonder why our prayers are not being answered. Perhaps God's answer to us is in the form of response He gave to Mary.

We hear people asking for a blessing from God, yet at the same time they refuse to live by the ways Jesus teaches to live in order to receive these blessings, such as what we are told in the beatitudes.

If we do things counter to God's will, why should He give us the things we ask for?

God glorifies those who glorify Him.

Thus His glory is with Mary.

Hymn:  O Hearken Ye

Scripture Reading (continued):

39. Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40. and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

41. And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among woman are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

43. "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44. "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.

45. "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."


Elizabeth, like Mary, trusted in the Lord and was also familiar with Scripture.

She wasn't jealous of the fact that her young cousin had been given a greater blessing than she had; but instead, she was humbling herself, since she didn't believe herself to be worthy of having Jesus in her presence, even though He was still in Mary's womb and just beginning to develop.

Elizabeth was truly thankful for her own blessings.

Scripture Reading (continued):

46. And Mary said:
"My soul exalts the Lord,

47. "And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48. "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

49. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.

50. "And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.

51. "He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.

52. "He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.

53. "He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.

54. "He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,

55. As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his offspring forever."

56. And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.


This means that Mary most likely stayed until the time Elizabeth gave birth.

Because of Mary's and Elizabeth's heartfelt desire to serve the Lord, they added to each other’s blessing by just being together.

They didn't hang out with the rest of the world that didn't understand what was happening within them; they rested in the Lord.

This is something that most people, who call themselves Christians, should understand. With our attending Church together, being good stewards of God's creation. and through our mutual fellowship and love for one another, we also strengthen each other and add to our blessings.

Unfortunately in most churches, the people seem to want to preserve the ways of the world rather than the will of God, and in the process they hurt the sensitive and compassionate people of their community, which is something that Jesus would never do.

So with this in mind, let's share with each other those things that have been a blessing to us and also lift up those who need our prayers.

Joys and Concerns:

Pastoral Prayer:


We are not told very much about what took place with Mary and Joseph during this time, but we do know that Joseph kept her as a virgin until after they were married, and Jesus was born.

Thus they were still considered as being engaged, for their marriage could still be annulled.

As we said before, they also knew Scripture, and that the word of God said that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, and they were still in Nazareth.

They trusted in the Lord for His outcome.

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20

1. Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

2. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city.


This census was conducted every fourteen years, and it was this census that caused Joseph and Mary to journey to Bethlehem, the city of David.

God's timing is perfect, and He sets things in motion that are to be a part of our own ministries, sometimes even before we are born.

Thus he and Mary were to begin a journey that would fulfill the word of God through His prophet.

Scripture Reading (continued):

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5. in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

6. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

7. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


The journey they took was about ninety miles, and it must have been very tiring for Mary, and Joseph must have been very concerned for her.

But they trusted in the Lord.

Junior Choir: Hey! Hey! Anybody Listening?

Let's take a little break in our Christmas story and, through the lighting of the Advent and Christ candles, recall something of what Christmas is all about.

Lighting of Advent Candles:

Lighting of the Christ Candle:

Hymn: We Shall Behold Him


We were not present when Jesus was born, and we could not behold Him; and even today, nearly 2,000 years later, we still can not behold His physical presence.

But if we believe in Him, then one day we shall behold Him face to face.

There were many who did behold Him after He was born.

Senior Choir: Quiet Night, Wondrous Sight – Besig

Scripture Reading (continued):

8. And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.

9. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

10. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;

11. for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12. "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger."

13. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14. "Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High


Did you hear what the angels said?

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

I really hope we heard the last part of that message.

God brings His Christmas peace upon those with whom He is pleased.

If we are not pleasing to God, then we won't have this peace.

We worry and fuss over so many things that we shouldn't.

God knows all about our problems, and He has promised to take care of them and give us peace, if we will let Him and obey Him.

Mary and Joseph had this peace, and so did the shepherds who heard the angels.

Scripture Reading (continued):

15. And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

16. And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

17. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.

18. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

19. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

20. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Hymn: How Great Our Joy!


How many times have we been told something of the Lord before we would believe it?

Look around the world; there are many people who have heard, but still will not believe.

If you are one of those people who lack the peace of Christ and the joy of the assurance of salvation, then tonight is the time to offer your heart to the Lord.

Tell Him you want to have Him born in your heart, and that you want your life to change, so that all that you do will be pleasing to Him.

Then thank Him for hearing your prayer. I know that if you mean what you said, He is faithful to answer you and fulfill all your desires.


Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful



Circle of Light:

Hymn: Silent Night! Holy Night!