Summary: A series of Advent messages where we are told "Fear Not!"
Luke 1:26-35, 37-38
December 6, 2015
Last week, through the prophet Isaiah, God told us FEAR NOT! We’re going to continue with that theme and for the next 3 weeks we’re looking at stories where 3 different times angels told people in the Christmas story . . . FEAR NOT!
Today we’re going to look at the first Fear Not story. It’s when an Arch-angel named Gabriel appeared to a teenage girl named Mary.
Before we get into the story, has there ever been a time when you’ve been afraid of what God has asked you to do? Have you ever been there? I believe there are a lot of people who sometimes treat God like they treat the annoying person that always wants something from them. I think we all know someone like this. There are some people, whenever they call you, you know they want something, and you give thanks for caller ID, so you don’t answer.
Or maybe you see them in public, and you’re like, Oh, there’s so-and-so — and you pretend you don’t see them. You know what I’m talking about!
Sometimes, without realizing it, many of us treat God that way. We want to be close enough to God to get the good stuff! We want the promise of heaven and we want His blessings, BUT we don’t want to surrender to God so He has total access to every area of our lives! If we did that, He might make us give up something we enjoy, or He might make us do something we don’t want to do.
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about that. Because sometimes there’s this fear — What if I give it all to God, and then life doesn’t go the way I thought it would go? And fear overwhelms us. And we freak out and we freeze.
We spend a lot of life thinking about the WHAT IF’S. We end up placing our faith more in the what if’s than in God. What if the economy falls apart? What if I lose my job? What if someone I love gets really sick? We can what if ourselves to a life of misery. So, we end up placing our faith in the worst case scenario.
Why is it we’re often afraid of God’s plans? There are a lot of answers to that one, and today, we’re going to look at 2 answers based on this story.
The first answer is — God’s interruptions are usually inconvenient.
You’re going to see this in Mary’s story. So, let’s look at Luke 1, starting with verses 26 through 29, and then we’ll move on from there ~
26 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.
Now, let’s get into the backstory, and start thinking about what’s going on in her life. We don’t know for sure how old she is. In her culture, girls were married or bethrothed when they were around 14, 15, or 16 years old.
She’s probably nervous and all excited about her marraige. If it’s modern day, she’s searching on Pinterest, trying to find all the creative ideas to make her wedding day – unforgettable. She’s practicing signing her name with her husband’s last name. Or she’s naming her future children. And suddenly, this angel interrupts all of her plans, and it’s incredibly inconvenient to the way she had her future mapped out.
What can we learn from this? This is what I’m thinking . . . God sends us invitations . . . but because we fear . . . we call them interruptions.
So often when we feel like God is interrupting us, He’s actually inviting us to something bigger and better.
Think about it – What did God do with Moses? He interrupted a regular day with a burning bush, and invited Moses to become the deliverer of God’s people. God interrupted the prophets calling them to proclaim His word.
God interrupted a boy who was a shepherd, named David, to become a king!
God interrupted Joseph and he was displaced to Egypt and put in prison, so he could help God’s people.
When Paul was killing Christians, God interrupted him with a light from heaven, and invited him to be a leader in the early church.
God interrupted Peter and James and John from a life of fishing to become fishers of people. God interrupted plans with an invitation to something better.