Made Known 叫人知道Sermon passage: (Luke 2:8-21) Spoken on: December 24, 2020
More sermons from this speaker 更多该讲员的讲道: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Luke
Title: Made Known
Date: 24th Dec 2020
Preacher: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee
Let’s start with a short skit. The skit has 3 characters, I (speaker), Elder YookCing (translator) who will basically parrot what I say in Chinese, and you. The scenario is Elder YookCing and I just found out about something, and we came to look for you. The success of this skit really depends on how well you express your line, so please try your very best to express your full emotions.
Do you know what happened? What happened?
Really, you don’t know? What happened?
I thought surely you would have known it. What happened?
If you don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t tell you. Seriously, what happened!?
It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. NO tell me, what happened!!?!!
You really want to know what happened? YES!!! What happened?!?!?
Why are you upset? I was going to tell you anyway. @#%%$#@$
I think our skit just described at least 50% of all drama series. Very often, there’s a secret or a mystery about something that had happened, and the drama is based on how the truth is slowly revealed to all the characters one by one. Sometimes, it can be quite frustrating for the viewers, who anguish at the characters because of their miscommunication. Just tell him or her the truth. Why are you not saying it? Or, we might find it incredulous that the characters are missing all the obvious signs of the truth. Can’t he see that she is evil? Or, can’t she see that he is in pain?
But despite the tormenting way a drama slowly unfolds, we cannot deny that that’s actually quite a realistic reflection of our lives. Our brains are accustomed to seeing what we want to see, and hearing what we want to hear, until the truth is highlighted in neon and smacks us in our face, and by then it might already be too late. Relationships are broken because of things left unsaid. Wrong decisions are made because the research or analysis was incomplete and no one could see the situation clearly. Or a conflict occurs, but instead of addressing it, we just let it fester and breed bitterness in the community, instead of addressing it openly. Our passage today is about the truth, and the truth needs to be revealed in order to be seen or heard.
There’s a word in verse 15, “made known”, that I think is critical to our passage today: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 【1】 I prefer the translation “made known” instead of just told. I did a word study of this original Greek word and discovered that even though this word can be used generically, most of the time, it is used in the New Testament almost exclusively about making either God or the Gospel known. This word occurred 25 times in the NT, but to save time, I will only list out the 3 most interesting quotations.
First, ‘made known’ is about God revealing who he is. In Romans 9: 22 God show his wrath and make his power known 23 he make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy. In 2 Corinthians 8: [Paul] want [the church] to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
What do you think is made known about God at Christmas, when God sent his Son to earth as a Savior for all mankind? I think the angels spell it out for us: 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Christmas made God’s will to make peace with men known to us, and that was a revelation of his glory because it further made known his love and goodwill towards us. Christmas is about the birth of a Savior to reconcile us back to God. As the angel declared: 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
In short, firstly, ‘made known’ is used to reveal the nature of God, his wrath and power, his mercy and glory, his love and peace. Secondly, I wish to highlight that the salvation plans of God were ‘made known’ in stages, unfolding itself in history to different people. At Christmas, it was Jesus’ family and the shepherds who first knew of the birth of the Savior. But let me explain why the good news wasn’t spread far and wide, with the entire world coming to see Jesus in the manger. At the moment of Christmas in history, words like Savior, Messiah/Christ and Lord also carried political and military overtones. These are words to lead insurrections against the Roman empire. These are words of trouble to anyone who is fearful of losing their power and control over the people. So even though we know that Christmas is meant to bring peace, unfortunately, it meant war in the wrong ears. I suspect this is why even though in our passage today the good news of Christmas was shared all over the little town of Bethlehem, it dissipated almost just as quickly. Our fears are confirmed when we see how King Herod massacred all the babies and toddlers of Bethlehem in Matthew 2 when he heard about the birth of the Messiah there.
The next stage of the salvation plans being made known began when Jesus started his earthly ministry, and he chose his disciples to make known God’s salvation plans (John 15:15; 17:26). But eventually, when the salvation is completed with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the process of making known God’s salvation is left to the churches built by these disciples and Paul as stated in Ephesian 3: 3 that is the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
This means that there was a time when these plans were only known by God. Then the plans unfolded in human history. Each time, more and more people came to know about the plans. And when everything is completed, the final process is for the church to make the salvation plans of God known to the entire world. At this point, I want to say something about the proper response of men when they encounter these plans. When someone comes to say, “Hey, good news, Jesus is the Savior sent by God,” what would be the ideal reaction? I believe the shepherds in our Christmas story provided the perfect model.
When they heard about the good news, they quickly made their way to Bethlehem to see the sign of the baby in a manger for themselves. When the truth is made known to you, the right response is to verify it. Don’t assume it is true just because it came from the angels. The words ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’ occur repeatedly in the Gospels, because that should be the healthy response. If this is the first time you are hearing about Christmas, then go and read the Gospel of Luke for yourself. If this is the first time you are hearing about the interesting Greek word ‘make known’, then get the rest of the verses from me and read them for yourselves.
Then after what has been made known to you is verified, like the shepherds, you must then let the truth be made known to others. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. ‘Spread the word’ is the same Greek word we have been talking about: “made known”. The shepherds are modeled as the ideal response because, they hear, they see, and then they made the knowledge known to others. In a way, our gospel writer is just like one of the shepherds, he heard about the story, he probably verified it with Mary, and finally he made this Christmas story known to us.
So firstly, the word ‘made known’ is used to describe God revealing himself and his plans, and secondly, this process happens in stages, from knowing to spreading the knowledge. The last quotation I wish to share highlights the effects of this sharing. We see Paul describing this in Ephesians 6: 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. 21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
In short, when the spreading of the gospel is made known to the Ephesian church, they will be encouraged by the good news. This effect is consistent with Paul’s message in Colossians 4: 7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 They will tell you everything that is happening here.
Not only must the good news be known and made known, this entire process must also be shared so that all can be encouraged. We can see the same effects in our Christmas story. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Surely they have been greatly encouraged by the good news that was heard, seen, and shared. They must have been encouraging those shepherds who were unable to go with them because they had to stay behind to look after the sheep. But even though those shepherds were not there, they could join in the glorifying and praising of God.
One good thing about social media is that the good work in Jubilee is now much more easily shared. In the past, we were quite reserved about sharing such things because we prefer to do our good works without fanfare, and store our treasures in heaven. But sometimes, people might have the wrong impression that unlike the other churches, Jubilee is not doing anything. I think we can all learn something from what Paul is asking Tychicus to do: share the evangelism that Paul is doing, so that all can be encouraged and give praise to God. Let me summarize the 3 things that I have been sharing about the word ‘made known’. First, you must know God. Second, you must make known what you know to others. Lastly, you must make known that you have been making known what you know to others.
Let’s try our skit again.
Do you know what happened? What happened?
I’ll tell you what happened. The Savior is born in Bethlehem. His name is Jesus, the Messiah and Lord. I verified it with my own eyes, when I opened the bible and read it for myself. From theological college to my pastoral ministry, I’ve spent more than two decades on this book, and yet I’m still discovering more and more about the truth, like what I just shared with you about the special word ‘made known’. God wants to be known by us, and the best way to know God is through Jesus Christ. But don’t just take my word for it. You can read the bible yourself. You can know Jesus and verify the truth yourself.
Brothers and sisters, the truth must be made known. That’s how you know the truth in the first place. Somebody let you know what happened. That’s just how revelation works. Therefore, I’m not just telling you, I’m telling everyone I know. I’m also letting you know that I’m telling everybody. Then you can join me in feeling encouraged and giving praise to God.
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
你怎么这么急躁，我本来就想告诉你。 @＃%% $＃@ $
罗马书9：22 神要彰显他的权能， 23 又要将他丰盛的荣耀彰显。。。
3用启示使我知道福音的奥秘，正如我以前略略写过的。 5 这奥秘在以前的世代没有叫人知道。