Summary: God comes near! 1. To reveal the divine dimension to us (vs. 26-28). 2. With answers for our anxieties (vs. 29-30). 3. To teach us the truth about Jesus (vs. 31-37). 4. Seeking servants with faith to follow the Lord (vs. 38).
God Comes Near
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - December 9, 2012
*Christmas is a time when God came near. And God comes near today.
*Joe McKeever told the story of a little girl named Rachel. Like many preschoolers, Rachel had a problem waking up in the middle of the night, scared and crying. The only thing that would sooth her fears was crawling into bed with her mom and dad.
*But Mom had to go out of town for a few days on business. That’s when Dad came up with a new solution. He said, “Rachel, I have an idea. -- While Mom is away, suppose I sleep in your room on the top bunk bed.”
*She thought it was a great idea, and that night, Rachel went to sleep on time.
-A couple of hours later, when her dad crawled into the top bunk, she was sound asleep. And she slept like that all night.
*The next morning, Dad congratulated Rachel on a full night’s sleep.
-And she explained, “It’s because you were in the room with me.”
*“But how did you know I was there?” Dad asked. “You were asleep when I came in, and you never woke up the whole night.”
-Rachel answered: “Because you said you would be there.” (1)
*Church: Jesus said He would be here with us today. In Matt 18:20, He said: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
*By His Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is here today!
-God comes near. -- And this part of the Christmas story helps us see why.
1. First: God comes near to reveal the divine dimension to us.
*The Virgin Mary reminds us of this truth in vs. 26-28.
26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by 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. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’’
I wonder what Mary was doing before Gabriel got there.
-Maybe she had just finished her breakfast.
-Maybe she was making wedding plans or washing clothes or cooking supper.
-Maybe she had just laid down for a good night’s sleep.
*But God can turn ordinary days into extraordinary days.
-And that’s what He wants to do in our lives.
-God wants to reveal the divine dimension of life to us.
*Many people believe that the natural world is all there is.
-But if this was just a natural world.
-If this world only consisted of what we could see, smell, hear, taste and touch.
-If life was just 70 or 90 or even 100 years, and then the end, there would be no point in living at all.
*But there is much more to life than meets the eye, and God comes near to reveal the divine dimension to us.
-The Lord wants to expand our perspective.
-He wants to give us new dreams.
-He wants to give us God-sized dreams.
*God wants to give us a divine view of our destiny.
-He wants us to look at our lives from a Heavenly point of view, and what a difference that makes!
*God comes near to reveal the divine dimension to us.
2. He also comes near with answers for our anxieties.
*We can see God’s answer for Mary’s anxiety starting in vs. 29. This verse tells us that when Mary saw the angel:
29. . . she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
*Mary was “troubled.” That word means she was “greatly disturbed, agitated and alarmed.” Mary was troubled when she saw that angel. Who wouldn’t be? If an angel appeared right here this morning in all of his glory, I would be pretty shook-up, and you would be too!
*But Mary was also troubled by the astonishing message the angel brought her in vs. 28, troubled by the amazing plan God intended for her life.
*She was troubled. But God had an answer for her anxiety, as the angel simply said: “Fear not.” “Do not be afraid.” This is the encouraging message that God sent three other times the first Christmas.
 One preacher called the first message the “fear not of unanswered prayer.” (2)
-Don’t be afraid that God has forgotten you.
-Don’t be afraid that He’s not listening to your prayers.
*Here in Luke 1, God sent this message of comfort to Zacharias the priest. Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth had prayed for a baby for years. Now they were both way too old to have a baby, or at least they thought they were.