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"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." Acts 16:31

Friday, December 23, 2011

Luke 1:26-38 
Sermon By Pastor Mark Taylor

(Adapted from the sermon “Christmas According to Mary” by Jonathan McLeod)

I certainly want everyone to have a "merry Christmas", but I think we can learn something from the life of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  These thoughts were taken and edited from sermons preached about Mary's willingness to be used of God to become a mother and deliver God's Son into the world.  
No matter who you are,
The Lord can use you 

Mary teaches us God is not as interested in your abilities as He is in your availability. No matter who you are, God can use you. Vs. 26-27 paint a picture of an ordinary girl with some serious problems: "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man name Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary."
She was young. Mary was pledged to be married. At that time, it was customary for girls to be engaged at 12-13 years of age (around the time of reaching puberty). 
She was poor. We read Luke 2:22-24 that Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to be circumcised. They were required to bring one of two offerings: either a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering.  If a lamb was too expensive, the parents could bring a second dove or pigeon instead. Mary and Joseph brought the two doves, because they couldn’t afford a lamb. You and I might have thought this family was too poor to provide for Jesus but apparently God didn’t think so. Mary was young, and poor.
She was from Nazareth. Apparently, Mary was a young girl from Nazareth which was a town with a bad reputation. This is what Nathanael said when He learned that Jesus was from Nazareth - "And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46
Mary was young, poor, and from Nazareth — all these characteristics made her seem unusable by God. But God chose Mary for one of the most important jobs He ever asked anyone to do. Through God’s choice of Mary, He teaches us no matter who you are, the Lord can use you. 
She had two vital characteristics God looks for: humility and faith. She knew she wasn’t worthy of the honor God offered her. Yet she still believed God could use her, if she trusted Him. Do you believe God can use you? Or do you think you’re too small—too young, too poor, too weak to be used by Him? 
No matter what problems you face,
the Lord is with You
Mary teaches us that no matter what problems you face, the Lord is with you. 
The angel says in vs. 30, “Do not be afraid.” But we wouldn’t blame Mary if she were afraid.  Imagine the fears she might experience as a result of her pregnancy:
A possible divorce by Joseph as he first assumed that Mary had been unfaithful to him.  He decided to divorce her (which, according to their law, was necessary to end the engagement) before he was told in a dream that Mary’s baby was, in fact, conceived by the Holy Spirit.  But right now, Mary doesn’t know how all of that will work out. But she does know God will be with her, whatever Joseph does. 
There could be possible rejection by her family. Did Mary’s family believe her story that the baby growing inside her was the Son of God?  But Mary did believe that God was with her, no matter how her parents would react to her. 
Possibly, and most likely, certain rejection by her community could happen. Imagine the gossip that must have circulated in Nazareth. The people in Nazareth could have accused her of adultery—a sin that was not looked on lightly as it is today in some places. It’s likely that Mary was shunned by those who had once been her friends. But Mary believed God was with her, even if her friends abandon her. 
The same Lord makes that same promise to you and to me. 
Psalm 118:6 “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5 “…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
No matter what He promises,
The Lord can do it.

The Bible records several instances where there was not a “normal birth.” God sent a son to Abraham and Sarah long after they thought having a baby was possible.
John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, was in her sixties or seventies when she gave birth to the prophet. But none of those special births was as amazing as the birth of Jesus Christ. His birth was a virgin birth 
When we talk about the virgin birth we mean that Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother, Mary, by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father. Now that doesn’t sound any more normal or possible back then than it does today. But look at Mary’s reaction in Luke 1:38: "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the odd; be it unto me according to your word."  Even though the angel’s news was unbelievable, she believed it. Mary didn’t understand it, but she also didn’t doubt it. She believed that no matter what He has promised, the Lord CAN DO IT.   The virgin birth means that Jesus Christ is unique—He is both God and man. He is qualified to be our Savior. Mary believed and said: “Let it be to me according to Your Word, O Lord.” 
The virgin birth means that Jesus Christ is unique—He is both God and man. He is qualified to be our Savior. 
Mary knew that a virgin birth was impossible, but she also believed that “nothing is impossible with God.” Whatever God promises, He delivers. No matter what He promises, He will do it. 
It doesn’t matter how impossible they seem—there is nothing, nothing, nothing impossible with God. Whatever He promises, He always does, without fail. 
Mary can teach you and I: 
No matter who you are, the Lord can use you. 
No matter what problems you face, the Lord is with you.
No mater what He has promised, the Lord can do it.