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Summary: I pray that each of us would FIND FAVOR WITH GOD this morning. We can learn how to FIND FAVOR WITH GOD from the Christmas story of Mary...

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FINDING FAVOR WITH GOD

Introduction: For many of us, this is our favorite time of the year. We will sing our favorite Christmas Carols, eat our favorite meals, visit with our favorite friends and relatives, and hear our favorite Christmas story.

At Christmas time, life is packed full of (all kinds of) favorites. Oddly enough, God doesn’t have any favorites. He does not ever show partiality with His children. Nevertheless, the Bible does say that God does have FAVOR for His children.

Proposition: I pray that each of us would FIND FAVOR WITH GOD this morning. We can learn how to FIND FAVOR WITH GOD from the Christmas story of Mary...

Text: Luke 1:26 thru 30

Prayer:

Interrogative: In understanding how to find FAVOR WITH GOD, we need to first ask,

“What kind of relationship do you have with God?”

Great

Good

Average

Indifferent

Distant

Transition: During this time of year, many of us will become more aware of what is important in our lives. My wife and I got a call last night from one of our grand children to tell us that she had just accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. I pray that this Christmas we all will become aware of our relationship with God.

Sad to say - During the holidays you may look around to see some of your friends and relatives who might not be experiencing the real meaning of Christmas.

You might find yourself alone in your commitment to Christ and the real meaning to Christmas.

Don’t become discouraged. Just like Mary, you must understand that “…you have found favor with God.”

Well, what exactly does that mean?

I. (First off) Mary was “highly favored”.

A. This is not to be confused with “highly exalted.”

B. (Recently we have learned) There is only One Who is to be “highly exalted”…Jesus!

1. We are not a denomination that worships any man, woman, boy or girl. (There are many religions that do this in opposition to the Word of God.)

2. We worship Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, etc., etc…

3. The story of Mary has much to teach us, but we will not elevate her, rather we will glorify Christ with this important scripture.

4. Many preachers/teachers avoid the story of Mary so as not to be confused, and consequently they miss the point…

C. The Angel, Gabriel, referred to Mary as the “favored woman” (NLT)

1. In the Greek, the word “Favored” is “charis”. This means a “divine influence of God on the heart.”

2. Much more than a warm feeling of goodness, rather it is life changing

D. We are no different than Mary, in that, we cannot do anything of ourselves to earn our favor with God.

1. Mary lived a very normal and average life as a Jewish peasant girl, from the troubled town of Nazareth.

a) The religious Pharisees spoke of where Jesus came from and asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

2. You won’t have to be a well-known person to FIND FAVOR WITH GOD.

a) God can just as easily choose you (today) to FIND FAVOR in.

Transition: Mary was not only “found favor with God”, but…

II. Mary was also a busy and loving mother to other children (besides Jesus).

A. Four natural born brothers to Jesus – James, Joses, Judas and Simon

1. (These are common Jewish names that should not be confused with any other prominent N.T. characters.)

B. There were even a few unnamed sisters who lived obscure lives. (ref. Matt. 13 and Mark 6)

C. Just like many of our Mom’s & Grand-mom’s, Mary had other responsibilities in her life besides her affections for Jesus and her devotion to serving Him…

a) Mary kept a close eye on Jesus with love and admiration while making sure her other children were fed, clothed and cleaned up after…

D. While living responsible lives, we must never allow anything or anyone to keep us from “keeping a close eye” on Jesus, and loving and serving Him.

Transition: Mary was a great woman of God, but I am sad to say that….

III. The unusual story of Mary became a legend by those who were thought to be religious.

A. There is no valid reason for this to have happened (other than heresy).

B. This began about the fifth century by heretics of the church. (I may not please some with this information, but…)

1. Obviously, this falsehood has not dwindled away, but has grown significantly for the past 1500 years.

2. This movement became a cultish practice of idolatry, disguised as being religious, & we see it even to this day…

a) Example: concrete statutes, jewelry, clouds in the sky and (more recently) a $22,000.00 cheese sandwich sold on E-Bay.

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