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  • Becky Carriker

Sunday, 12/10/2023

SURPRISE ITS CHRISTMAS!

THE PROMISE, THE PRESENCE AND THE POWER OF GOD, FAVORS HUMILITY AND SUBMISSIVENESS


Luke 1:26–38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


Nazareth was a “hick-town” of between 400–500 people. 


John 1:46 “ ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ ”


Gabriel also ignored the temple


Mary was a teenager probably between thirteen and eighteen years old, engaged to a man named Joseph. 


God majors on taking nobodies and turning them into somebodies thru Christ for His glory!


The greatest news ever proclaimed in Israel and in the world came to the humblest of its people! 


Luke 1:46-48a, “ ‘My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant’ ”.


Luke 2:14 “ ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’ ”. 


The Lord comes to needy people—those who realize that without him they cannot make it—those who acknowledge their weakness and spiritual lack. 


Matthew 5:3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 


Surprise warning of Christmas: The Incarnation, salvation, resurrection, Christmas are not for the proud and self-sufficient.


Mary is a model for those who experience the birth of the Savior in their lives.


There are a lot of misconceptions about Mary and this greeting. Not once in the Bible does it say we're to worship her. Not once does it say she was perfect or sinless. It does not say she was God. It doesn't say we're to pray to her.  


In fact, what is special about Mary was her plain ordinariness. God took an ordinary woman and used her in an extraordinary way. That's what makes her special.  

Just because others have thought too much of her, we must not think too little of her. 


Matthew 28:20b “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Gabriel’s dual declaration to Mary is one of God’s special favor and his special presence. 

Young and inexperienced as she was, Mary was not a fickle, shallow “young thing.” She was reflective and meditative. 


Meditation or contemplation is not a mental or emotional trick but a spiritual grace. 


The surprise truth of Mary’s example is that Those who experience the birth of the Savior in their lives are those who take the time to contemplate God’s Word to them. 


 “God, how is it possible?” Do you have this blessed curiosity? Have you asked, “God, how can I experience the life of Jesus within me?” 


The word “overshadow” is used in the Greek Old Testament to describe God’s presence in the sanctuary and in the New Testament for his overshadowing presence at the Transfiguration where the cloud of glory overshadowed our Lord and his apostles.


What was described by Gabriel is nothing less than the virgin birth of Christ. Surprise that is the truth!!


Those of us who have experienced the birth of Christ within us have also experienced the presence of God and the miraculous life-giving work of the Holy Spirit as he has come upon us, bestowing life within. 


John 3:6 “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. 


1 Corinthians 12:13 “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body”. 


And, surprise truth: if the Spirit has come upon us and has given us new life, we know it!


Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”. 


Each person has a ‘spirit’, an ‘inner self.’ 


The sense that one is a child of God is not only communicated by the word of God to the mind, but equally it is communicated by the Spirit of God to the ‘spirit’ or inner self.


Surprise its Christmas! This is one of the wonders Christ offers each one of us—new life from above—something we cannot do for ourselves—something palpable and living and growing—something we can know for sure! 


For us to know that we are God’s children through Christ, and therefore that God is not our judge but our ‘Father’.


God would fulfill his word! Surprise! Nothing is too hard for God! 


Mary is a fine example of belief and discipleship.


Mary’s obedience made her at the same time the mother and a disciple of Christ. 


Acts 1:14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. 


Submission. A Surprise truth: We cannot experience Christ and his ongoing power without totally surrendering ourselves to him.


Have you ever said, and can you now say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said”? 


We must cultivate a humble heart


We must also intentionally nurture a reflective heart that meditates on God’s Word 


We must have believing hearts and a visual confidence 


We must have submissive hearts



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