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SERIES: ADVENT

  • “The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.” – J.I. Packer

TEXT: Luke 1:26-38

MESSAGE: “Responding to God’s Greatest Gift”

“Someone usually says, “This is the first Christmas; let’s look at it.” I’d like you to consider today that when we listen to Mary, how she received the message from the angel, and how she responded to it, what you have here is the first Christian. She’s the first one to ever hear the message of Christmas and, therefore, the specifically Christian message about Jesus, and she responds to it. Her response is nothing less than a conversion.”
— Timothy Keller
“They say Aslan is on the move- perhaps has already landed.” And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different…At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer…”  C.S. Lewis

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

QUESTION: What is Mary responding to? 
 
Its God’s…(1. Presence 2. Grace 3. Promise)
  1. Presence (v. 28-29)
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.

“When Christian Smith…took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Smith explains, this faith “is about belief in a particular kind of God…one who is (not) personally involved in one’s affairs–especially affairs in which one would prefer not to have God involved. Most of the time, the God of this faith keeps a safe distance…In short, God is something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist: he is always on call, takes care of any problems that arise, professionally helps his people to feel better about themselves, and does not become too personally involved in the process.”  Albert Mohler

  1. Grace (v. 30-33)
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.”

“…while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified. The many books of the one Bible are not like the many pennies in the one jar. The pennies in the jar look the same, yet are disconnected; the books of the Bible (like the organs of a body) look different, yet are interconnected…underneath and undergirding all of these…is the motif of God’s grace, his favor and love to the undeserving. Don’t we see the grace of God in every book of the Bible?” — Dane Ortlund

“Jesus is not just the beginning of the New Testament but also the fitting climax of the Old…Jesus came into our world as a man to embody grace.” —Preston Sprinkle
  1. Promise (v. 34-37)
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.

“If ours is an examined faith, we should be unafraid to doubt. If doubt is eventually justified, we were believing what clearly was not worth believing. But if doubt is answered, our faith has grown stronger. It knows God more certainly and it can enjoy God more deeply.” – Os Guinness 

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
—Genesis 3:15
TAKEAWAYS: What can we learn from Mary’s response? 
* Behold the Story Until it Changes You
* Understand Who You Are and Who God Is
* Surrender to His Word
 
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” — Hebrews 4:12
 
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”— John 1:14