Simeon and the Savior
Pastor Tommy Wensil
The Gospel of Luke gives to us much of the immediate setting and surroundings of the birth of Christ. This portion contains a number of glad meetings and greetings which center in the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The time of our Saviors birth was a time of joy, gladness, worship and praise. All to often the period around the Lordís birth is one of the most distressing and depressing times of year for some who miss the joy of celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus.
(1) The Announcement of the AngelsĖ (Lk. 2:9-15)
(2) The Amazement of the ShepherdsĖ (Lk. 2:17-20)
(3) The Adoration of the RemnantĖ (Lk. 2:25-38)
There are two godly people in this portion of Lukeís Gospel which are part of a godly remnant of Old Testament saints who were waiting and watching for the coming of the Messiah. Both of these recognized that the babe in Maryís bosom was the promised Messiah.
Another amazing factor in this portion concerning Simeon is the mention of the ministry of the Holy Ghost in his life. Here was a man, prior to Pentecost, who was waiting upon the Messiah, and the work of Godís Spirit was evident in his life.
The day in which he looked for the first coming of Christ is very similar to this day in which we look for the Second Coming of Christ.
I read the story recently of a Protestant Sunday School class of young children who had as their habit to recite the "Apostles Creed" each Sunday. Each portion of the creed was assigned to a different member of the class. When they come to the portion which included the Holy Spirit a girl in the corner spoke up saying; "The boy who believes in the Holy Ghost is not here today!" Pentecostal people often accuse Bible believers of "not believing in the Holy Ghost" when quite the contrary we simply do not lie about Him as some Charismatics do. Bible believing Baptist have always cherished the ministry of Godís Spirit among them. Simeon had the wonderful ministry of the Holy Ghost as one of those who faithfully waited for the coming of Christ.
I. Devotion From The SpiritĖ Lk. 2:25 "Holy Ghost was upon him"
In his waiting for the "consolation of Israel" the Scripture reveals to us that he was upright in his character and conduct. Evidently the hope of the first coming of Christ had produced in him the same purity that is accompanied by a true expectation for the Second Coming of Christ (1 Jn. 3:1-3). While he waited he lived a blameless life before others. Devotion that is not motivated from within will be thin, frail, and temporary. It is possible to preach, teach, sing, and attempt to serve the Lord without the inward motivation of Godís Spirit through the love of Christ, yet this type of motivation will never produce eternal results nor can it persevere through hardship.
A. JustĖ holy or righteous in character
B. DevoutĖ pious, or circumspect in conduct
C. WaitingĖ assuredly waiting with confidence (for Messiah)
How we need men and women like Simeon in the church today who are righteous, people of character, and those who are expectantly looking for the Lordís return.
II. Discernment of the SpiritĖ Lk. 2:26 "it was revealed to him"
One of the most lacking features among many believers is discernment which comes from the ministry of Godís Spirit. Simeon not only waited in devotion to the Lord Jesus by the ministry of Godís Spirit upon his life, he also worked in the Spirit through the ministry of the Spiritís discernment.
A. His LeavingĖ "should not see death"
The Holy Ghost had obviously given him some discernment about the measure of his earthly race. He seemed to know that his last lap was about in progress. He had not abandoned his devotion to God nor the Lordís house. Even though he was near the crossing he had some assurance and discernment from the Lord on the matter.
B. Christís ComingĖ "he had seen the Lordís Christ"
The Spirit of God had given Simeon a measure of discernment and assurance that he would not graduate until he had seen the Lord of glory. He lived in the very hours which God sent His Son the first time. We too may be living on the brink of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus! May God give us discernment so we can live more obediently if the Lord should come today.
There are two things that the discernment of the Spirit bring to the service and worship of the people of GodĖ He makes us:
1. RealĖ (in worship and work)
All too much put on, and hypocrisy fills the Church today. If we do not seek the Spiritís leadership all we may produce is strange fire. We need the work of Godís Spirit to preach, sing, testify, and be a blessing to those about us. Sadly many congregations could continue to do what they do without the ministry of Godís Spirit among them. Every pastor, teacher, singer, usher, and member of the local church should seek the leadership and discernment of the Holy Ghost in worship and work.
2. RelevantĖ (in meeting the needs of others)
How can one preacher help so many in one service? How can one song bless the hearts of so many ? How can we know the words to say to one who has suffered the loss of a loved one? How can we know what to say, or what to do when one is discouraged or walking through a dark valley? The only answer is through the discernment of the Holy Ghost. We must have Godís leadership in everything we do to be relevant for the needs that are set before us.
III. Direction of the SpiritĖ Lk 2:27 "came by the Spirit into the temple"
Simeon waited, worked and walked in the Spirit of God. Now he is seen coming to the Temple at a time when there was no scheduled meeting or service. He was so sensitive to Godís Spirit that he could feel the divine impression upon his heart and obey it implicitly. We should ask if you have ever felt clearly a divine impression on your heart to speak to someone, to reach out, to help someone who is needy, to testify on the Lordís behalfĖ do you desire earnestly the direction of Godís Spirit in your life? There are three areas in which the Holy Spirit worked vividly in Simeonís lifeĖ He led him...
A. To the House of GodĖ Lk. 2:27 "into the temple"
The opening chapters of Lukeís Gospel begin in the house of God (Lk. 1:5-2:52)
This portion reminds us that the family of the Lord Jesus was dedicated to the instructions of the Scripture and the House of God. At least five times in this portion we are told that Mary and Joseph were responding to the requirements of Godís law (Lk. 2:22,23,24,27,39). The Lordís family were obeying the Scripture, yet Simeon was obeying the Spirit for this was not a prescribed meeting for him. He was so directed by Godís Spirit that he arrived at the Temple by special leadership. We should also note that one who is directed by Godís Spirit will always draw closer to the House of God. We have the Scriptures to remind us not to "forsake" the meetings of the House of God (Heb. 10:25), and the Holy Spirit to prompt us to come in an attitude of worship.
B. By The Word of GodĖ Lk. 2:29b "according to thy word"
He recognized in Jesus the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. Only Godís Spirit can open the volume of the Scripture to our hearts and minds. He had some insight that Christ was coming from the Scripture and some discernment that he was living on the brink of the appearance of the Messiah. His devotion to God, His Word, and the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart made this meeting with the Lord and His family so special. How real the Holy Spirit makes the Word of God in our lives when we walk with Him and seek Him.
C. In The Worship of GodĖ "and blessed God" (2:28a; 2:34a)
All to often some of Godís people come into the Lordís house with a grieved or quenched Holy Spirit. When we come to the House of God with a wrong relationship to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves "on the outside looking in" when it comes to the joy and praise of true worship. If we come aright we can be on the "inside looking around" as a participator instead of a spectator.
Simeon came into the House of the Lord and found the Lordís family, the leadership of the Spirit and the presence of Jesus himself. What a combination and atmosphere provided for WORSHIP!
1. He Embraced ChristĖ 2:28a "took he him up in his arms"
When he came by the Spirit to the Temple he came in contact with the real presence of the Lord Jesus. He took the Lord Jesus in his arms in embrace. We can only imagine hearing the broken voice, and tear filled eyes of Simeon as he requested of Mary, "Let me hold him, can I hold him Mary?" The desire of our hearts in worship to God should be to get closer to Jesus and embrace Him in worship. May we seek to touch Him and ask Him to touch us as we come together for worship.
2. He Exalted ChristĖ 2:28b "and blessed God and said"
He embrace Christ and exalted Christ! He began to "bless the Lord" and lift his voice in praise to God and in exaltation of Christ. His worship was directed to the Lord (vv30-32) yet it was also a blessing to the Lordís family (v34a). His blessing the Lord turned to a blessing for the Lordís family (2:34a). Oftentimes our search for a blessing will end when we bless the Lord and seek to be a blessing to others. Many times those who are "blessing seekers" in the local congregation are overcome with the worst sort of self centered covetousness. They are more concerned about what they can "get out of the service" than what they are contributing to it.
Of all the times of year, Christmas may be a time when we just need to ask the Lord for a fresh filling of His Spirit so we can stay close to Him and worship Him in these days. Are you conscious of your need of Godís power for devotion, discernment, and direction in your life? How long has it been since you knew assuredly you were filled with Godís Spirit? Seek the Lord today for the filling of His Spirit so you may be what God desires.