How Would You Respond? – Ps Bruce Claridge [02/12/2018 AM]
Pregnant with purpose
Luke 1:26-31 (NIV)
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. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
- The First Christmas
- It started with Mary. She was a young Jewish girl who knew God. When the Angel Gabriel came to her, she responded to God by saying ‘I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled. She realised she had a revelation from God.
- How would do we respond?
- When we were young our Christmas used to be gift focus. We had pillow slips with our names on it.
- Our focus was firstly on the gifts and then on the food.
- Sadly Christmas is not always the greatest time for some people.
- When the Angel Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid, it almost seems as though she would have thought ‘Uh oh, there’s more to come’.
- God chose inexperienced parents, a teenage mum. Mary was pregnant with a purpose. She replied ‘I am the Lord’s servant. Be it unto me’.
- We often don’t understand the impact of His coming.
- How do I respond to God’s revelation to me?
- How we respond sets things in motion. Ripple effects that happen.
- There is a bigger plan of God coming to earth.
- An Angelic visitation will change your day
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
- Mary understands her identity and she responds with faith.
- She knew the truth of God’s Word. She understood the seasons in God and was willing to serve and let go of any plans that she might have had.
1. Understand it all starts with God’s heart. He has plans for you
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- Listen to His voice in the darkest times.
- Even in the darkest times He is there.
C.S. Lewis once asked,
“Why are so many holy places dark places? The cross, the tomb, the stable – they are holy because even in the dark of night God is at work, breaking through the husk around our hearts and bringing life from under dead leaves.” The stable is where the love of God for His creation was born; the cross is where the love of God for His creation was displayed; and the tomb was where the love of God for His creation exploded in hope. God is able to turn all suffering to good and glorious ends – out of the worst, Christ brings the best.”
- Out of the word He brings the best.
- Mary knew His character. She knew she could trust Him.
2. Any revelation will interrupt your life
- We want God to fit into our agenda.
- He will turn your life upside down.
- Bruce was in the Methodist church and it was a comfortable life. He then became part of a Pentecostal Church and his life became uncomfortable but in a good way.
- God’s revelation will challenge you to break out of your mould. It will lead you into exciting times.
3. In vs 34 Mary asked ‘How can this be? We need to ask inquiring questions.
- Prophecies can be crazy. We need to check if it lines up with the Word.
- Wise faith encourages. It is not blind faith.
- God always follows a revelation with plans.
- How do we respond?
4. Mary said ‘May it be to me’. It’s what we do with that revelation that counts.
- Faith without works is dead.
- Obedience to pray creates the ripple effect for generations to come.
- Flowing out of the generosity of God’s people.
- Faith sets us on a pathway to obedience.
- We go from glory to glory, to another season – as we respond to what God gives to us.
- What will come from how we respond to God?
- Faith is now. The evidence of things hoped for.
- Mary knew the character of God and also His power.
- Nothing is impossible for God.
- He will stretch you.
- What situation are you in that you need to trust God for
Suggestions for Discussion Questions
- How do you think you would have reacted to the Angel Gabriel if you were Mary?
- Are you in the habit of asking inquiring questions?
- Discuss what you think it means to be stretched.