A Life Well Lived

Photo by Keith Martin on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke Chapter 2.

Every Christmas we as Christians focus on the Baby Jesus in the manger, the Shepherds who came to see the Child, the Wise Men traveling to Bethlehem, a virgin named Mary and Joseph her betrothed. We think about the original Grinch, King Herod, who not only hated Jesus (though He was but a toddler), but was evil enough to order the assassination of all the children in Bethlehem. Yet God was faithful, is faithful, and will always be faithful.

While we focus on the various elements of the Christmas story, others focus on anything but that. Many contemplate and follow through on suicide, as the holiday season brings increased sadness to those who have lost loved ones to sickness and death. It is as Jesus warns us from His Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 6:19-23 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The treasures we have on this earth, whether it be loved ones or things, these things die, rust, corrode, and are stolen. This is not where your focus should be. If your focus is on what you do not have, or what you have lost, then that darkness will flood your soul. It will rob you of the joy of life.

Our spiritual eyes need to be in the right place. We need to be

Hebrews 12:2 … looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith …

During Christmas, Mary and Joseph, the Angels of God, the Shepherds, the Wise Men, they are all looking at Jesus. Even Herod, that old devil, is looking at Jesus. Today we’re going to look beyond the birth of Jesus to a man and a woman – whose story is just as important as the others we spoke of.

Luke 2:25 … And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon…

The Bible speaks on many different people on many different continents. There are thousands of people mentioned in Scripture, but only, I am told, 1770 men and 93 women who are actually named. Simeon is one of the men named. The name “Simeon” is mentioned 50 times in 45 verses of Scripture. The first time Simeon is mentioned is in the book of Genesis (29:33) as one of the children of Leah and Jacob. When Leah bore Simeon, she said:

Genesis 29:33 … the LORD hath heard that I was hated

Simeon” (Hebrew שִׁמְעוֹן Shimʻôwn, shim-one’) means “has heard”. The Old Testament Simeon did not always listen to God as he should. When Israel entered the Promised Land, God had the tribe of Simeon “stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people” (Deuteronomy 27:12) alongside the tribes of Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. When you do what God says when God says it, you will be blessed of God!

BEHOLD, there was a man in Jerusalem,
whose name was SIMEON…

The Old Testament Simeon often failed to focus on the Lord. His is not an example we should follow. God says, BEHOLD this New Testament Simeon. This “Simeon” HEARS God. He has paid attention to what the Lord has told him. Beloved, as we enter the New Year, I beg you to hear me.

If you want to be blessed of God,
BE WHERE God tells you to be!

So many people will visit the Church “here a little and there a little”. They will read God’s Word “here a little and there a little”. They will seek God’s face in prayer “here a little and there a little”. Our God is not a Christmas meal leftover. Our God calls us to Christ to follow Him day by day. Not just as an afterthought – but we are called to walk with God daily. This is why Christ became Incarnate Baby, God became Man, Eternity cloaked Himself in Mortality, the Infinite became Finite for us. The Apostle said:

1 Peter 3:18 … Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God …

We are to live daily in Christ, walking in the Light of God. Beloved, if we do not commit to follow Jesus one step at a time, one day at a time, we need not expect blessings. What does Jesus expect of us? Has He not said:

Matthew 22:37, 39 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … 39 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

God commands of His people a whole, committed heart. We are to walk with Him Who saved us. Behold, Simeon! Here is our example.

  • Simeon was in the right PLACESPIRITUALLY. We read:

Luke 2:25 … Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Three words described the place where Simeon was spiritually. First, Simeon is “JUST”. This is the Greek δίκαιος díkaios, {pronounced dik’-ah-yos}, which means “to be upright, righteous, keeping the commandments of God”. Does this mean that Simeon was flawless? No! The Apostle tells us:

Romans 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Old Testament saint was not saved by the works of the Law, but by faith in the Coming Christ. The New Testament saint is not saved by the works of the Law, but by faith in the Christ Who has come. Simeon was saved just as our Father Abraham was: Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6).

Galatians 3:11 … no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Hebrews 10:38 … the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Though Jesus had not yet gone to the Cross, God gave Simeon scripture to know that the Messiah would come. Simeon did not doubt God, but laid his life down at the feet of the Creator. Oh glorious day! The Scripture promises that:

John 1:12 … as many as received Jesus, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Simeon believed in God. Since he believed in God, Simeon was saved. Since Simeon was saved, we also see:

  • Simeon was in the right PLACEPHYSICALLY.

Luke 2:25 … Simeon; and the same man was just and devout

There are many who profess to be saved by faith, but in their works they deny Christ. The Apostle warned his Gentile disciple Titus about these people:

Titus 1:15-16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

If you are truly JUSTIFIED, then you will naturally be DEVOUT. This is the Greek εὐλαβής eulabḗs, {pronounced yoo-lab-ace’}, which means “to reverence or bring glory to God”. The Pharisees stoned Saint Stephen to death for speaking the truth. After he died, devout {eulabḗs, “God fearing”} men carried Stephen to his burial (Acts 8:2).

Just” or “Justified” speaks to the inward faith in Christ that saves.
“Devout” or “Devoted” speaks to the fruit from the good tree.

What did our Lord say? Matthew 7:17 … every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

If you are saved, you will DO the things that God tells you to do. Simeon is in Jerusalem in the Temple courtyard. Why? The Bible says:

Luke 2:26-27 And it was revealed unto {Simeon} by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple…

Simeon believed on the Lord, and was saved. Once saved, Simeon began to follow the Lord. Simeon did not try and live his life for himself, but for the Lord.

Romans 14:7-9 … none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

If you are saved by faith in Christ, you are citizens of HIS KINGDOM. We are to do as God the Son tells us to do. We are to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-26). We are called to devout lives, doing that which God has told us to do, and rejecting that which God has commanded us NOT to do.

Our faith is a “follow Jesus” proposition.

You are not saved by good works, but once saved you do good works. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Simeon lived out his faith following the direction of God. He was led of the Spirit into the Temple. That’s where you find blessing: being where God Your Savior leads you!

  • Simeon was in the right PLACETEMPORALLY. Many times we lose blessings because we want God to do His work in our time. We want God to hurry up and do something, and when He doesn’t, we want to step in and contribute our own two cent’s worth. The Bible tells us:

Luke 2:25 …. Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel

Simeon was told by God to wait. I do not know how old Simeon is. The commentaries suggest that he is an old man, because the Bible says:

Luke 2:26 … it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

The Prophet Job – long before Simeon – got through the trials of life by focusing on the Messiah. Job said:

Job 19:25-27 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Simeon did not know WHEN the Messiah would come – he just knew the promise and leadership of God. So day after day, Simeon patiently went to the Temple. As time passed many become faithless, believing that God has forgotten. But never forgets. What God promises, God will do.

Philippians 1:6 … he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Galatians 6:9 … let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Simeon did not doubt God. Much like Noah who, for 120 years, built an Ark, Simeon was patient in his faith. He went daily to the Temple, waiting for the revelation of Jesus Christ. God will do as He has promised – trust Him!

Illustrate Oh Beloved, wait on the Lord. Heed His Word, and trust Him, though the clouds of the day might hide the Sun. Trust Him. Wait upon the Lord. Be where God tells you to be. How many times have we robbed ourselves of blessing because we were not busily looking for Jesus where Jesus would be. I do not look for flour in a tea bag. I do not look for sugar in the refrigerator aisle of the store. Look for Jesus in the places where Jesus must be. Jesus MUST be in the Temple. That Baby born MUST fulfill all the Law of God. We are told that Joseph and Mary were just and devout:

Luke 2:21-24 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they {Mary & Joseph} brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God PERFECTLY. He had to do so, else He could not be “the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36). Had Mary and Joseph not taken Jesus to Jerusalem to be circumcised, then He coulds not be Israel’s Savior. Why? Because God told Abraham:

Genesis 17:14 … the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

Simeon knew that the Christ would fulfill the Law. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4). That little Baby in Mary’s arms is God Incarnate. He must fulfill the Law.

Simeon Knew Jesus The Christ

When Mary and Joseph came to the Temple, we see through this text their economic condition. The Bible says that they came to

Luke 2:24 …. offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

The Law actually says that following birth, the parents were to offer “a lamb OR a kid of the goats, OR two turtle doves, OR two young pigeons” (see Leviticus 12:6-8) are to be offered to God. The wealthier homes offered the lamb – but the less wealthy the turtledoves or pigeons. Though there is no indication that Mary and Joseph are poor, they certainly aren’t rich. There were probably many different families coming to the Temple to have their children circumcised this day. And yet Simeon went straight to Jesus. He knew the Lord. Didn’t Jesus say:

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Plucking Jesus from Mary’s arms, Simeon praises God, saying:

Luke 2:28-30 then took {Simeon, Jesus} up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

One of the great benefits of living your life in God’s Kingdom is that death does not frighten you. Let the world live in fear of death! The Christian is promised of God:

John 11:25-26 … I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Holding the Lamb of God in his arms, Simeon now calls out to God, ready to come home. His words are echoed by the Apostle Paul who, headed toward Caesar, knew that his death was impending. Yet Paul says:

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

If your treasure is on the earth, you will never want to go to Heaven. But if your treasure is Jesus Christ, death holds no fear for you. You are ready to go. Old time Pastor Alexander Maclaren said:

Simeon not only recognizes, but welcomes the approach of death.‘Thou lettest Thy servant depart in peace.’ Yes, there speaks a calm voice tranquilly accepting the permission. He feels no agitation, no fluster of any kind, but quietly slips away from his post. And the reason for that peaceful welcome of the end is ‘for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.’ That sight is the reason, first of all, for his being sure that the curfew had rung for him, and that the day’s work was done. But it is also the reason for the peacefulness of his departure. He went ‘in peace,’ because of what?Because the weary, blurred, old eyes had seen all that any man needs to see to be satisfied and blessed. Life could yield nothing more, though its length were doubled to this old man, than the sight of God’s salvation.”

Simeon now quotes

Luke 2:31-32 … which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon did not just see Jesus as the Savior of Israel only – but of ALL PEOPLE, both Jew and Gentile. He quotes the prophecy of the Messiah in

Isaiah 42:6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

This Jewish Baby named Jesus did not just come for Israel. He came for the Jew first, but also for the Gentiles (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10). After Jesus dies on the Cross of Calvary, He would tell His Jewish disciples:

Matthew 28:18-20 …. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

The Gospel is to go into the whole world. As Paul and Barnabas go our with the Gospel, telling the Gentiles about Jesus, the stepbrother of Jesus, James, reminds the Church of Simeon’s words:

Acts 15:14-15 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets …

The Gospel of Christ must go forth if the world is to be changed. As we come into 2021 let us resolve to share Christ with those around us. Let us, like Simeon, be born again by faith in Him. Let us be just, devoted, and waiting upon our Lord. The time is short – let us redeem the time we have left for Jesus. Let us examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith or not. Then let us live by faith, one day at a time, one step at a time, by Simeon’s example.

May God touch your hearts and minds with His Word and His Spirit. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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