A Revolution in Your Heart
Spc142 – A Revolution in Your Heart – Luke 2:1-15
Pastor Dave Shepardson Calvary Chapel Nuevo / www.wordbymail.com
Open your Bibles. Title of the message, “A Revolution in Your Heart.” We’re in Luke Chapter 2, the Christmas story. My prayer is that you would see Christmas from more of a radical standpoint than what our culture has made it.
The word “revolution” can be concerning, can’t it? Especially when it’s used by extremist groups including those in our culture today who are given grandstand promotion by the media as retaliation against this country for us not electing the President of their choice. And we see these extremist groups using the word revolution but that’s not the type of revolution that Jesus Christ was born to bring into our culture.
But while groups of all types around the world claim revolution in order to try to get what they want there is only ONE revolution that is ETERNAL in scope and there is only ONE revolution that is EXCLUSIVELY personal – and that is a revolution in your own heart.
And so, knowing that I’m talking about a revolution in your own heart, let me give you Webster’s definition of a “revolution”.
Revolution: a sudden, radical or complete change. (or) The overthrow of one government, and the substitution of another – by those who are governed.
Jesus Christ was born for a revolution. But – Jesus Christ was NOT born for a revolution in politics! Jesus Christ WAS born for a revolution in your eternity. And the sudden, radical and complete change that we need today is a revolution in our own heart. And the only overthrow of a government that we truly need today is the government that rules our own heart, because that is the government that either gives us peace or destroys our life both now and for eternity.
At some point each one of us must choose to be governed by this world or to choose a revolution in our heart to overthrow the ruler of this world and submit our lives to the King of Heaven.
Let’s pray. Lord, Jesus, we want a revolution. But Lord, we want it in our heart. We say that you are not of this world, we are not of this world, we’re responsible to bring your plan and purpose to pass in this world. But you’re plan and purpose is eternal and is personal. And so we pray you would show us how radical a revolution you came to begin but how eternal and personal it is. Lord, may we get a hold of how radically revolutionary your birth was, today. Make it come alive to us, please, in your name, Jesus, amen.
The Christmas story is actually the story of the complete overthrow of the government of the spiritual ruler who thought he had us in his grasp, forever.
The story of this eternal revolution begins in Luke 2:1.
Luke 2:1 (NLT)
1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
At this point in the Christmas story we usually just point out that it was Caesar Augustus who made the decree that got Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem. And that is true. But it is actually in comparing Jesus with Caesar Augustus that the birth of this eternal revolution is seen.
Sixty years before Christ the Roman Empire stormed through the land and made all of Israel the “subjects” of Rome and the Romans were very brutal in their approach to keeping their “subjects” in line. They dealt very harshly with any type of revolt or rebellion and they crushed anything that might ever challenge their rule. That was the world order into which Jesus was born.
And Rome was governed by Emperors. The first attempt being emperor was Julius Caesar (but he was murdered) and so formally the first Emperor was Julius Caesar’s adopted son – Caesar Augustus who is the Emperor Augustus here in our Christmas story and whose real name was – Octavian.
When Julius Caesar was murdered in 44BC Octavian decided to avenge his adopted father’s murder which led Rome into a civil war. In the midst of this Octavian decides to throw a huge sporting event to honor his father Julius Caesar and in the middle of these games a comet appears in the sky. And Octavian decides this proves his father Julius Caesar was divine and so he himself was not the descendant of a god, even though he had to always gloss over the fact that he was actually adopted. But he now proclaimed that if his father was a god, then that would make him the son of God and so Caesar Augustus began referring to himself as "The son of the deified one"– or "the son of God"
And then in 31BC Caesar Augustus defeated his enemies and put an end to civil war and Rome began to call him a SAVIOR because he had saved Rome from the Civil War. And it was said he brought salvation to Rome because of the peace he brought to the world. And then they began calling him KURIOS – meaning Lord.
And throughout the land the “good news” of LORD Caesar Augustus was being proclaimed and they used the same word for “good news” that we translate today – GOSPEL. On a Roman calendar from 9BC an inscription on the birth date of Caesar Augustus reads “the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning
of the good news for the world.”
And then groups of people were formed (by Rome) to “worship” LORD Caesar Augustus and these groups were called ECCLESIA the same word we translate CHURCH. And the birthday of Caesar Augustus was celebrated for twelve days and it was called ADVENT – (the coming of the birth of our Lord) and the most accepted greeting of the day was Caesar is LORD. All of Rome built statues and offered sacrifices and were commanded to pray to Lord Caesar Augustus. THAT was the world order that Jesus Christ was born into.
And so in Luke Chapter 2 – the Christmas story – when we innocently read At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken . . . we generally have no idea of the anti-Christ foundation that had already been built into the world’s governing system. It’s like the devil knew Jesus was coming and so he prepared the “world system” to be opposed to him from the very start.
But isn’t it interesting that God allowed (maybe even caused) the same titles that rightly belonged to Jesus Christ to be used for Caesar Augustus as the leader (or Lord) of the world system? Could it be that God wanted to draw a very clear line in the sand? Maybe IF there were TWO different titles you and I might think we could live under both governments.
But there was Absolutely NO Gray Area;
Either Caesar is Lord - or Jesus is Lord - but not both
Either Caesar is Savior - or Jesus is Savior - but not both
Either you bowed the knee to Caesar - or to Jesus - but not both
In the 1st Century - you had to choose
Either- the King of this World was LORD,
Or- the King of Heaven was LORD
and it is absolutely no different today.
And THAT is why the birth of Jesus was the birth of a revolution. He came to overthrow the government of this world in your heart and replace it with the government of heaven in your heart. Jesus Christ came into this world to bring true revolution – one life at a time.
Matthew 1:23 (ESV)
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Caesar Augustus tried to make himself like a god but Jesus Christ came from heaven into our world as God with us – God in human form. Jesus Christ is God incarnate – God coming into human flesh – LITERALLY… God with us.
And he came to bring the only true revolution that matters, the revolution in your own heart. The revolution that will set you free from the law of sin and death and the revolution that will set you free from the spiritual ruler of this world.
And that is why the world system today is opposed to the true reason Jesus Christ was born in that manger. But that’s nothing new – Rome was radically opposed to anything that would free the people from Rome’s control. In fact, in Matthew Chapter 2, Herod (inspired by hell) murdered all the male babies in Bethlehem to try to get rid of the true King of Kings.
There has always been a world system opposed to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The question is why? Why is the world system so opposed to the birth of Christ? The answer is – because of the cross. The spiritual ruler of this world knows the message of the cross will set you free from the bondage of slavery to this world. In the cross lies all the power of God to truly and eternally revolutionize your life and the message of the cross begins with the birth in a manger.
Now with that correct backdrop let’s continue the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2. So the Emperor Augustus decreed that a census should be taken that forced Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem.
Luke 2:6–7 (NLT)
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
How radical was the birth of this revolution? Well you could not get more opposite from the Emperor of Rome and the ruler of this world than the King of Heaven coming in a lowly stable and laid in a feeding trough at birth.
And then the first ones who had to decide between the rule of this world and the rule of heaven were the shepherds in the fields between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Luke 2:8–11 (NLT)
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,
10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
11The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
Wait a minute, all those in the Roman Empire had already been given “good news.” Caesar Augustus had already brought them great joy and he was already called Savior and Lord. Heaven was announcing a competing Savior – a new King – to overthrow the ruler of this world. The (supposed) “good news” of the world system was going to be challenged by the good news of heaven.
Remember the definition of a revolution is the overthrow of one government, and the substitution of another - by those who are governed. Jesus Christ was born to overthrow the existing rule of the government of this world. Not politically – not militarily. But eternally and personally, one heart at a time.
So the Angel of the Lord makes this announcement of the birth of this eternal revolution. And then in verse 12 the Angel gives the shepherd’s the sign so they can know who this new King is.
Luke 2:12 (NLT)
12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Hmmm… maybe you can imagine the shepherd’s living under the rule of the great Caesar Augustus sheepishly saying, uh, if we could maybe make a suggestion about that whole baby wrapped in rags born in an animal stall maybe that's not the best way to go up against Caesar Augustus" and then BAM!! Verse 13 pours out of heaven like a flood.
Luke 2:13–14 (NLT)
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
And I would guess at that point the shepherd’s fell on their face and they weren’t making any suggestions at all.
Instead (listen) they were ready to follow this “call from heaven.”
Luke 2:15 (NLT)
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
But these shepherds weren’t going because they had never heard of a Savior, a Gospel or a Lord. They had heard plenty of all that from the world. They went because they heard the heavenly call to go.
They went because HEAVEN was proclaiming that this Savior, this King, this Lord was radically and eternally different.
I wonder, are we like those shepherds? Have we heard the “call of heaven” to go to Bethlehem? Have we heard the miraculous call of the Heavenly Choir?
The Bible’s account of the revolution of Jesus Christ has the mark of heaven on it – from start to finish. Miracle after miracle – each one is heaven’s call for you to go to Bethlehem to look for this eternal revolution that was birthed in Bethlehem’s manger.
Science Miraculously proves it.
History Miraculously proves it.
Prophecy Miraculously proves it.
In Israel today there are over 25,000 documented archeological facts that miraculously prove the Bible. Heaven has opened up and cried out to us – GO to Bethlehem and SEE this Savior for yourself.
As Psalm 19:1-4 says,
Psalm 19:1–4 (NLT)
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world . . .
God has spoken from heaven – GO to Bethlehem!!
There is a real Savior there
There is a new Lord there
and he will overthrow the world’s rule in your heart and he will govern your life – for your eternal good.
And THAT is revolutionary. In fact it is “proclaiming war” on the world’s system and on the spiritual ruler of this world. And that is what was happening on that first Christmas morning.
The world’s kingdom was firmly in place, just as it may be firmly in place in your heart today. And suddenly the Kingdom of Heaven crashed headlong into the kingdom of this world and now we – each one of us – must decide which kingdom is going to rule our lives.
And this revolutionary Kingdom of Heaven is defined by the King himself giving his life for you to pay for your sins and to die in your place so that you’ll never have to die and so that you can reign with him in his eternal Kingdom.
By contrast, the kingdom of this world offers only destruction and death and ultimately separation from the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
There you have it – two kingdoms. One that will pass away a thousand time under a thousand different puppet kings while the present Prince of this World dances around the fire, and one that will never pass away which is the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
And you and I must CHOOSE – which kingdom will govern our lives.
But please, choose carefully because there is only one name that people are still living in revolution for after 2,000 years. There is only one name that causes the spiritual ruler of this world system to tremble. There is only one name that someday – soon – every knee will bow to and every tongue will confess that he alone is Lord.
Philippians 2:9–11 (NLT)
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That is the final overthrow of the spiritual ruler that presently governs this world.
BUT – this is not a political overthrow. This is not a military overthrow. This eternal revolution is personal. This revolution occurs in each of our hearts, personally. Jesus Christ came to give us a choice of who was going to govern our lives. Jesus Christ came into the manger as “God With Us” for one reason – to give us victory over an enemy that you and I could never conquer on our own the enemy of sin and death.
There’s a thousand ways to live in this world but they all have one thing in common. They all end in death and Jesus Christ came to free you and me from that enemy of death and to make us joint heirs with him in his eternal victory.
You say you want a revolution?
The Bible says true revolution begins in your own heart by receiving the one who “birthed the only eternal revolution.” And today you can overthrow the government of sin and death in your life and you can replace it with the government of the Kingdom of Heaven.
But there is only ONE way to the freedom that Jesus Christ came to offer the world and that one way is through the cross where Jesus Christ died to pay the full penalty of your sin.
And God’s Word makes it clear, the only way for you to overthrow the government of this world and replace it with the government of Heaven is by putting your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord.
Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, make it clear to us. Lord, all day every day we’re bombarded by the subtle governing, the subtle rulership of this world and the spiritual forces behind it. We’ve got to be clear that our heart can only serve one master, that we cannot be governed by both this world and by heaven – we must choose one. And so Lord, give us the faith to choose eternally wisely. Reveal to us Lord where we’re at. Reveal to us, Lord, how much of our life is being ruled by the government of this world and the spiritual forces behind it.
And if that’s you today, my encouragement is don’t take another breath ruled by the world. Don’t risk another minute ruled by the spiritual forces that drive the things of this world, but overthrow that government in your heart and replace it with the kingdom of heaven’s government. Replace it with the King of Kings – himself. Replace it with the true Lord, the true Savior. Make a commitment right now to turn from being ruled by this world and turn towards being ruled by heaven. And if that’s you, if you would do that right now just cry out to God, and say,
God, I understand my heart leans towards the world and the things of the world. But I choose to turn from the world right now, to repent of that leaning and to turn towards you. And Lord, Jesus, I pray you would come into my life, and that you would overthrow the government of the world and the system of this world. That you would overthrow the ruler of this world in my life and that you would become my King. That you would become my Lord. That the Kingdom of Heaven would govern my thoughts and my actions and my life. Come into my life, Jesus. Forgive me of my sin. Lord I believe you died on the cross for me, personally. I believe you came to give me personally, life. And so I receive that life from you today. I pray that you would fill me with your Spirit, that you would lead and guide me, that you would be my King, that you would be my Lord, that you would govern my life for your glory and for the Kingdom of Heaven, in your name Jesus, amen.