Holidays (Other)

The Blessing of Freedom

Originally published April 10, 2008

Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a Christian in other parts of the world?

Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a Christian in other parts of the world1?

Indonesia, Nigeria- Christians are slaughtered for not conforming to Islamic law. In Nigeria, since the year 2000, thousands have been put to death.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, North Africa, Mauritania, Iran, the Comorros Islands, Sudan- Direct persecution by the state is written into the legal code. Any non-Islamic or dissident Islamic religious expression is forbidden. Any Saudi who seeks to leave Islam faces the strong possibility of execution.

Egypt- The Coptic Church (which is somewhat similar to Catholicism in its roots and practices) has been the target of church burnings and local massacres.

Pakistan- In 1997, the Christian town of Shantinagar, was effectively leveled.

China, Vietnam, Laos, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan- Generally, there is freedom to worship in state-controlled religious bodies, but any religious expression outside of these bodies is strenuously controlled or suppressed.

Roman Catholicism is outlawed because it accepts the authority of the Pope, who is from outside the country. Priests and bishops have been imprisoned. Hundreds of Protestant leaders of the underground church have been arrested and sentenced to jail and labor camps.

North Korea- Nearly every free exercise of religion is viciously repressed, and thousands of people have been sent labor camps for practicing their faith.

Burma- An organization called the State Law and Order Restoration Council brutally oppresses tribal minorities, which, in large part, are comprised of Christians. Their tactics include: massacre, rape, forced labor, and the use of children to clear minefields.

United States-
Christianity is protected under the Constitution and is the majority religion in this country. We even have the right to legal redress if our religious liberties are infringed upon.

We can worship publicly with no fear of government, military, or other attacks.

We do not have civil rights (such as the right to vote, work, or own property) taken away from us simply because we embrace Christianity.

We have the right to proselytize (as long as we’re not harassing anyone), advertise and spread our religion.

Persecution is usually limited to people hurting our feelings when we witness to them, and social issues that offend our sensibilities.

We have beautiful, comfortable churches (as well as Christian schools, organizations and stores), complete with heat and air conditioning; comfortable pews; nurseries; indoor plumbing; Bibles, music, and materials in our own language; musical instruments; technology; and paid, and frequently seminary-trained, pastors and staff.

So what are we doing with all these blessings? Have we gotten so used to freedom and opportunity that we consider them a birthright rather than a precious gift from God that He has the prerogative to revoke if He chooses? He did it with the Israelites time and time again in the Old Testament: They obeyed God. He blessed them. After a while, they got comfortable with all the blessings and became lazy. They strayed away from God. He gave them over to oppressive rulers. They cried out in repentance. He delivered them and blessed them, and the cycle started all over again.

What will it take to shake Christians out of our complacency?

What will it take to shake Christians out of our complacency, humble us in gratitude for the opportunities God has given us, and motivate us to use the freedom with which He has blessed us to build His kingdom?

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

Luke 12:48b

1Insights on Law and Society: A Magazine for Teachers of Civics, Government, History & Law, Vol. 7.3 (Spring 2007); Published by the American Bar Association

Church, Southern Baptist/SBC

10 Things I Wish Southern Baptists Knew About Southern Baptists

Originally published June 26, 2015

Some things have changed in the SBC, at LifeWay, the ERLC, etc., since this article was originally written in 2015 (see footnotes), however the bulk of what is mentioned here is still relevant. It also helps us see just how longstanding and pernicious many of these problems are.

Earlier this week, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission3 published a nifty little article called “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Southern Baptists“. Although I disagree with Dr. Moore on a number of things, I thought the article was pretty good, overall.

But it got me thinking. Yes, there is a lot of ignorance about Southern Baptists out there among those who aren’t part of our denomination. However, there’s also a lot of ignorance inside the SBC about what’s really going on in our denomination, our doctrine, practices, leadership, and so on. These are ten SBC realities I wish the average Southern Baptist church member were more aware of.

1. LifeWay sells lies and heresy, and they don’t want you to know.
Now I’m not saying everything they sell is lies and heresy. I’ve bought lots of good doctrinally sound materials from them over the years. However, the fact remains that they continue to sell books and materials from false teachers like T.D. Jakes, Sarah Young, and Andy Stanley on their shelves. They will order books by false teachers like Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen for you if you just ask at the counter.¹ They continued to sell The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven (a book recounting Alex Malarkey’s supposed trip to Heaven after a car accident) for nearly a year even after Alex, his mother, Beth, and respected SBC pastor, speaker, and author Justin Peters repeatedly told LifeWay leadership that the story was a lie. Emails and phone calls about heretical materials at LifeWay are either ignored or the caller placated (I know this from first hand experience). Questions from the floor at the Southern Baptist Convention about LifeWay carrying false doctrine are quashed.

This entity of your denomination which purports to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ is selling lies about Him to make a fast buck, and they need to stop.

2. There are plenty of apostate Southern Baptist churches, and we have no mechanism in place for kicking them out of the SBC.
This is a verbatim quote from the FAQ section (5th question from the top) of the SBC’s web site:²

“According to our constitution, if a church no longer makes a bona fide contribution to the Convention’s work, or if it acts to ‘affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior,’ it no longer complies with the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention and is not permitted to send messengers to the annual meeting. These, however, are the only explicitly stated instances in which the SBC has the prerogative to take action.”

What does that mean? As long as your church doesn’t affirm homosexuality and gives to the Cooperative Program, you’re in. Never mind if your pastor twists God’s word until it’s unrecognizable. Or lets women and false teachers get behind the pulpit like Steven Furtick does. Or plays AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” on Easter Sunday and says he probably wouldn’t have strippers on stage like Perry Noble does. Or any of the other ridiculous and blasphemous shenanigans so many of the seeker sensitive types in our denomination pull. Nope, as long as you give your money and stand on the right side of homosexuality, you’re good to go.

3. Beth Moore is a false teacher.
That’s right, the queen of SBC3 women’s Bible study, divangelista Beth Moore, does not rightly handle God’s word, partners with false teachers, and violates Scripture by preaching to men, among other things. And Priscilla Shirer is right there with her.

4. Having a small church isn’t a sin and it doesn’t necessarily mean your pastor (or your church) isn’t trying hard enough.
The average church size in America is 186 members, and 94% of church goers attend a church of 500 or fewer people, yet the constant drumbeat of SBC leadership is “bigger is better.” Countless articles harangue exhausted pastors about breaking the 200 or 250 or 300 member attendance “barrier.”

Listen, if your pastor is faithfully preaching and rightly handling God’s word and your church members are serving one another and carrying out the Great Commission in their daily lives, that’s what counts in God’s eyes, not how many butts are in a pew.

5. The Bible doesn’t require you to tithe, and neither should your church.
The tithe is part of the Old Testament law that Christians today are no longer bound by because we are under the covenant of grace, not the Mosaic covenant. Christians are to gladly give the amount we determine in our own hearts to give out of love for our Savior and a desire to serve Him- not under compulsion from someone else.

6. The “sinner’s prayer” won’t save you.
If you think you’re saved because you parroted a prayer someone led you in when you were five but your life shows no love of Christ and no evidence that you belong to Him, then your faith is in the prayer you prayed, not in Christ, and you are not saved. The evidence that you’re a Christian is that you love the Lord, and are growing in holiness, not that you once repeated a prayer (or that you were baptized, attend church regularly, are a “good person,” etc.) Examine yourself to see if you’re really in the faith.

7. Your church probably has a significant number of lost people in it.
Jesus Himself said, there are few who find eternal life and that there are many who call Him “Lord” whom He does not know and will turn away on the Day of Judgment. This is why it is absolutely imperative that pastors, Sunday School teachers, and all other church leaders know the gospel inside out and teach it incessantly, even to people who claim to know Christ.

8. Lots of Southern Baptist churches violate 1 Timothy 2:12ff.
We do fairly well at not permitting women to serve as pastors, but beyond that there are plenty of churches and pastors who sin by allowing women to serve in positions in the church that are restricted to men. Do women in your church preach the Sunday sermon or teach co-ed Sunday School classes? Do they head up committees or ministries that put them in authority over men? Do they, as worship leaders or in some other capacity, stand before the congregation and instruct or exhort them? Then your church is in sin.

9. Politics won’t save America.
This country is imploding. You don’t have to be a prophet to see that. Voting according to biblical principles, running for office, working through the system to right wrongs, signing petitions, and other political activity is fine, but don’t put your eggs in those baskets. The Titanic has hit the ice berg, and Christians in this country will soon be facing real persecution like we see overseas. We need to rescue the perishing with the gospel. It can’t be done with the White House or the state house. When is the last time you shared the gospel with someone?

10. Jesus wins.
Things are bad and getting worse. In our world, in our country, in our denomination, in our churches. But the good news of Scripture for all people is that, in the end, Jesus is coming back for His bride. He will conquer evil and those of us who truly belong to Him will spend eternity with Him. This world is not all there is. Jesus wins.


¹It is possible LifeWay has changed this policy. I called my local LifeWay last week (Jan. 2017) and asked them to order a Joyce Meyer book and a Joel Osteen book. I was told the store could not order books by either of these authors. I applaud LifeWay for this step in the right direction.

²As of 2019, this verbiage has been removed from the FAQ section of the SBC website. Conceptually similar language can be found here (see Article III: Composition).

3Russell Moore and Beth Moore (no, they’re not related) both left the SBC in 2021.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 3

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

 A.W. Pink – “Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, ‘the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.’ His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living.” Pink pastored churches in Britain, Australia, and across the United States. During that time (1922-1953), Pink published a monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures. Each edition contained several articles expositing Scripture. He also authored scads of pamphlets and books on a number of theological topics. Perhaps two of his best known books are The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God. These, and many other works by Pink are available for purchase or can be read free online.  Facebook 

Tom Ascol – Tom has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida for over thirty years and has taught theology courses at several seminaries. He is one of the founders, and current executive director of Founders Ministries, the president of the Institute of Public Theology, and a popular author, conference speaker, podcaster, journal contributor, and blogger. I am especially grateful for Tom’s strident efforts in the grassroots movement to bring back biblical and doctrinal fidelity in the Southern Baptist Convention. Check out Tom’s booksread one of his excellent articles, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to The Sword and the Trowel podcast.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Allen Nelson – Better known as “Cuatro” to his friends (because he’s Allen Nelson IV), Allen has a deep and abiding passion for the local church, and pastors Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. You might recall reading reviews here on the blog of Allen’s books From Death to Life: How Salvation Works and Before the Throne. Both are well written and helpful, and you’ll want to get a copy of each if you haven’t already. Allen is also contributing writer and roundtable member of the Things Above Us blog and podcast, and is a regular contributor to Servants and Heralds. And don’t forget to check out his sermons, too!  Facebook  Twitter

James White – An expert in apologetics, textual criticism, and theology, “James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries….He is Professor of Church History and Apologetics at Grace Bible Theological Seminary….He has authored or contributed to more than twenty four books…He is Pastor/Elder of Apologia Church in Arizona.” Following Dr. White is almost the equivalent of getting a graduate degree from an elite, doctrinally sound seminary. Check out Dr. White’s many books and debates, his blog, and The Dividing Line webcast (also on iTunes).  Facebook  Twitter  

(Note: Dr. White maintains a personal friendship and, in the past, occasional ministerial connections with Dr. Michael Brown, who, although doctrinally sound in many areas of his theology, has become a safe haven for the worst of the worst New Apostolic Reformation heretics. To my knowledge, Dr. White does not endorse this behavior of Dr. Brown, and certainly does not endorse NAR heresy. It is my understanding that he has attempted to correct Dr. Brown’s errors multiple times. I strongly discourage you from following Dr. Brown.)

Darrell Harrison – “Darrell B. Harrison serves as Dean of Social Media at Grace to You, the bible-teaching ministry of John MacArthur…Darrell has a blog called Just Thinking . . . for Myself…and is the lead host of the Just Thinking podcast, one of the top-ranked Christian podcasts in America…Darrell is currently in the final phase of becoming certified as a biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).” You can read more from Darrell at his G3 Ministries blog. Darrell is also a beloved author, conference speaker, and all around nice guy. Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Tom Buck – Tom’s no nonsense quips and keen insight into the current affairs of Southern Baptist life have made him something of a legend on Twitter, but Tom is first and foremost a pastor, and has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, for over 15 years. Tom is also the Director of G3 Expository Preaching Workshops, training pastors to become better preachers. Listen to Tom’s sermons online or on iTunes. Follow Tom’s blog, Vessels of Honor, at the G3 Ministries website.  Facebook Twitter

Costi Hinn – Costi is the Pastor of Preaching & Teaching at Shepherd’s House Bible Church in Chandler, Arizona. He is the author of several phenomenal books (one of which I had the pleasure of writing an endorsement for). Though not one to capitalize on the family name, much of Costi’s background and expertise that uniquely qualify him to address the blight of the prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation, stem from his personal experiences as nephew and ministry assistant of NAR faith healer Benny Hinn, and his zeal for sound biblical doctrine is contagious. Check out all of Costi’s blog articles, videos, and his podcast at For the Gospel.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Jerry Bridges – Jerry Bridges spent most of his professional career in parachurch ministry, serving in a variety of positions and capacities with The Navigators. He is remembered for his clear and easy to grasp writing style which has endeared to the hearts of millions his books The Pursuit of HolinessThe Practice of GodlinessTrusting God, and over twenty others dealing with topics in theology and discipleship. Get a list (with links) of all of Jerry’s books, listen to his sermons, talks, and interviews here and here, and watch his videos on YouTube.  Twitter

Mike Riccardi – “Mike Riccardi serves as the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church, which includes overseeing Fundamentals of the Faith classes, eight foreign language outreach Bible studies, and evangelism in nearby jails, rehab centers, and in the local neighborhood…He also serves as Assistant Professor of Theology [at The Master’s Seminary]. He has the privilege of serving alongside Phil Johnson as co-pastor of the GraceLife fellowship group at Grace Church.” Check out Mike’s sermons, his books, his articles at the TMS blog and his videos on YouTube. Facebook Twitter

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – “David Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London… Lloyd-Jones was well known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies.” Listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ many fine sermons (or download the app), or purchase his books. You might also wish to watch the excellent documentary Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Facebook


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 2

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

Josh Buice– Josh is the pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, and the founder and president of G3 Ministries. G3 holds annual national and regional conferences and periodic training workshops for pastors, and has established a growing network of doctrinally sound, like-minded churches, among many other ministry endeavors that support and provide helpful resources to the church. Josh is a bold and biblical voice for this era of Christianity. Check out his excellent blog, Delivered by Grace, his sermons, and all the fantastic resources G3 has to offer.   Facebook  Twitter Instagram

J.C. Ryle – One of my beloved, “old dead guys,” John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was the first bishop of Liverpool and a 19th century English pastor, known for his solid preaching and defense of the faith. He was a prolific author of tracts and books, often based on his sermons, and he frequently taught on contemporary issues from a biblical worldview. Two of his better known books are Holiness and Practical Religion. My favorite book of Ryle’s, however, is The Duties of Parents. Many of Ryle’s works are available online for free. Download nearly 200 of Ryle’s tracts (booklets), read one of his books or sermons online, or add a volume or two to your library.  Facebook  Twitter

Conrad Mbewe – A man who wears many hats, Conrad is, first and foremost, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. Conrad is also editor of Reformation Zambia magazine, Director of International Advancement and lecturer at African Christian University in Zambia (where Voddie Baucham serves as Dean of Theology), writes and preaches extensively, and is a sought after conference speaker. I first became familiar with Conrad when I heard his phenomenal teaching sessions at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Read Conrad’s blog, A Letter from Kabwata, listen to one of his sermons, or purchase one of his booksFacebook  Twitter

Justin Peters  – “Justin Peters Ministries is committed to communicating biblical truth through expository preaching and teaching resources designed to deepen the believer’s knowledge of God and, in turn, his love for God.” Justin is a beloved and popular conference speaker, most often on the topic of discernment. He is best known for Clouds Without Water, a seminar designed to educate the church on the history, growth, and danger of the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation heresies. Watch a presentation of Clouds Without Water, order some of Justin’s materials, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to Justin’s podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform.  Facebook  

Gabriel Hughes– Gabe serves as Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lindale, Texas. An excellent writer, Gabe blogs on discernment and contemporary issues, but he is probably best known for his 90 second WWUTT (When We Understand the Text) videos which address a variety of biblical topics. Gabe also hosts the WWUTT podcast, a helpful daily study in the Word of God. You can watch WWUTT videos, download WWUTT podcasts, purchase Gabe’s books, and more, at the WWUTT website.  Facebook  Twitter

George Whitefield– George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a minister in the Church of England and, along with the Wesley brothers, was one of the founders and leaders of Methodism. Whitefield’s zeal for evangelism led him outside the four walls of the church, and it was not unusual to find him preaching to thousands and even tens of thousands in fields along the English countryside. Whitefield was also a well-known itinerant preacher and evangelist in the United States, and was an integral part of the Great Awakening. Many of Whitefield’s works are available on line including his sermons and tracts. I thoroughly enjoyed this brief biography of Whitefield by the aforementioned J.C. Ryle, and you’ll definitely want to get a hold of Steve Lawson’s book on Whitefield.  Facebook  Twitter

Nate Pickowicz – A heart for New England and a mind for the Puritans, Nate is the pastor of Harvest Bible Church in Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. He has authored and edited several books, including R.C. Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith, Reviving New England, Why We’re Protestant, and How to Eat Your Bible, an introduction to studying God’s Word, complete with a Bible reading plan Nate designed. Check out Nate’s books and articles, and give his sermons a listen. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Andrew Rappaport – Andrew is an absolute ministry machine. He is the founder and Executive Director of both Striving for Eternity Ministries, a speaking and training ministry, and the Christian Podcast Community, a colloquy of Christian podcasters. Andrew is also the host of several podcasts, himself: Andrew Rappaport’s Rapp ReportAndrew Rappaport’s Daily Rapp ReportApologetics Live, and So, You Want to be a Podcaster, has authored a number of books and study materials, and is a dynamic conference speaker. Listen in to one (or all!) of his podcasts, and check out his books, materials, and training sessions at one of the links above. Facebook

Owen Strachan – Owen is Provost and Research Professor of Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, Arkansas, and former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW). Owen has authored and contributed to a truckload of books and journals on subjects as varied as biblical sexuality, Jonathan Edwards, and social justice. He also writes about theological issues and events at To Reenchant the World. Not just a sharp writer, Owen is also an articulate speaker, hosting his own podcast, The Antithesis, and speaking often at conferences. Listen in to the podcast, and check out Owen’s books. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Scott Aniol– Scott is “Executive Vice President and Editor-in-chief of G3 Ministries and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He is a teacher of culture, worship, aesthetics, and church ministry philosophy, he lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries, and he has authored several books and dozens of articles.” Scott’s heart for biblical worship -in the church and in the family – is clear in all of his ministry endeavors. Check out his podcast, By the Waters of Babylon, his books and other media, Religious Affections Ministries, and his G3 blog, By the Waters of Babylon. Facebook Twitter Instagram


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Christmas

The Shepherds’ Gospel

Originally published December 22, 2015

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. 10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was 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 those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20

The Christmas story just wouldn’t be the same without the shepherds, would it? Just a bunch of blue collar guys out doing their jobs one night, when God stepped in and gave them a story they’d be telling for the rest of their lives. We don’t know their names or how many of them there were, but they’re more than just pieces of our nativity sets. They’re a picture of the gospel.

Called Out of Darkness Into Light

The shepherds had no idea God would reveal His Son to them that night. They were just going about their lives, day in and day out, oblivious, until God intervened and brought them the good news of Christ. In a similar way, the Bible says that we walk through life day after day, dead in our trespasses and sins, until that glorious moment when God draws us to Himself, opens our eyes to the gospel, and makes us alive in Christ.

The Clean for the Unclean

The nature of the job put shepherds frequently in contact with the remains of dead animals and insects, rendering them often, if not nearly perpetually, ceremonially unclean according to Mosaic law. While unclean, they were separated from fellowship with God. They were not allowed to enter the temple to worship until they had offered a lamb to atone for their sin. And God chose these unclean men – guilty under the law – to be the first to meet His perfectly clean and spotless Lamb who would offer Himself to make the final atoning sacrifice for their sin, and ours. Through Christ, we are no longer separated from God by our sin and guilt.

Given, Not Earned

Because the shepherds had no way of knowing Christ would suddenly be revealed to them, there was nothing they could do to prepare for His coming or make themselves worthy of Him. God met them right where they were – dirty, smelly, and lower class – and brought them to Christ. Not because they were good people or had earned this honor with commendable deeds, but for God’s own reasons and His own glory.

There’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation either. None of us are righteous, all of our so called “good deeds” are like filthy rags, and it’s impossible for us to please God in any way before coming to faith in Christ. Jesus meets us right where we are – dirty, smelly, and in the middle of our sin – and saves us. Not because we’re worthy, but for God’s own reasons and His own glory.

Faithful Messengers for God’s Glory

The angel knew God personally and faithfully declared His word to the shepherds for God’s glory. Those of us who know Christ must faithfully proclaim the gospel, from the Word of God, to others. Proclaiming the good news of Christ brings glory to God.

Hear, Believe, Respond

When the shepherds heard the message of Christ, they immediately believed it and responded by coming to Him. In the same way, when we hear the good news of the gospel, Christ calls us to repent of our sin, believe unto salvation, and follow Him.

Do Tell

Once the shepherds had met Christ face to face, they couldn’t keep it to themselves. With great joy, they went out and told others about Him. Some must have believed them. Others, perhaps not. But the news they spread made an impact on everyone who heard it. If only we would share the good news of Christ far and wide as the shepherds did! Some will believe. Some won’t. But God’s word always impacts people and accomplishes His purposes.

O Worship the King

How could the shepherds help but worship, praising and glorifying God, for all they had seen and heard and all God had done for them? And how can we, after all we have seen and heard from God’s Word, and all He has done for us, help but worship, praise, and glorify our King?

Just a crew of rag tag shepherds tending the sheep that would be sacrificed in the temple. But not for long. A new Shepherd had been born. The Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.


This article was originally published at satisfaction through christ.