Summary: How to Be Used by God Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – Dec. 9, 2018

How to Be Used by God

Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)

Brad Bailey – Dec. 9, 2018


Last Sunday… was the start of launching into a new season.

Launching into the Gospel of Luke…. Encountering Jesus

Launching into Advent season…Luke offers us what we could call the Christmas Prequel

To appreciate what was at hand…Illus: InSight Mission to Mars…

Most don’t make it… Launched last May…travelled for 6 months…300 Million miles…entering Mars atmosphere at 12,800 MH… heat shield reaches 2700 degrees F.

As it descends… it loses communication in the final 7 minutes… 7 minutes of Terror… Years of work… $ 870M… and silence waiting… if they hear nothing… it’d done.

So it was with human life. A people called…final prophet… then 400 years of silence…broken.

This is what Advent season is about.

God comes to Zechariah…and announces that he and his wife Elizabeth will bear a son … who will be the one who prepares the way. They are to name him John…and he will be the one who God foretold would be a prophet who prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah… the Savior of the world.

Today we pick up with God coming to the one who would bear that Savior.

But let me stop and ask us a simple question.

Do you remember the story in which God forced his will upon another?

Do you remember the incident in which God came an indwelled a person without their desire?

No. Because it is never told.

He may have used the hardened hearts of various people to play out his work…but no where does God simply take control of someone. [1]

That may give us comfort… but it should also help us realize that… our role…is affected by our will. So we do well to consider…

Do we want God to work with us?

And if so…to realize…

Our role will be affected by our response.

Christmas is about what God has done. But what God did… involved human response. There is no Christmas that does not involve the process by which God comes to people and their response.

And so it is that when God comes to Mary… we discover how to be used by God.

Luke begins…

Luke 1:26-27?In the sixth month, 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.

I know many of us may have heard these words many times. We’d be wise not to let them lose their wonder… their wow… their “what?”

Luke as a doctor had explained that he has sought to get the facts and write an orderly account…and so at the very start we get the details in the timing. He begins: “In the sixth month..” that is, the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.

“God sent the angel Gabriel… to Nazareth, a town in Galilee”

An angel. Many today may dismiss such a figure as being part of some ancient idea…that is outdated. But in fact today more people believe in angels today than in ancient time…and more claim to have experiences with angels… sometimes as more of a personal support figure…sometimes more like a personal “pet.” But here we hear of the rare time in which God sent a messenger.

Where did he send this great messenger?…

Not Jerusalem. Not Jericho. to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. This is a little hill town in the mountains. In this area od the Middle East…it is like telling us God chose to come be born through one in… Lompoc… Barstow … Bakersfield… Mohave.

What would we think? We all know that the important things in life… NY…LA….so it’s just doesn’t fit.

And the recipient? A virgin named Mary…pledged to a man named Joseph.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph… another word used is “betrothed.” It is similar to being engaged…but more binding. It was generally a 6 to 12 month period before the wedding…in which they were often referred to as husband and wife…and could only be separated by divorce. And they were not to have sexual intimacy…as such, Mary was a virgin. So it’s rather untimely to become pregnant. It’s socially scandalous. [1b]

The work of God appears to be…

Wrong place… wrong people… wrong timing.

So the first thing we learn about How to be Used by God

1. Don’t expect God’s work will fit our expectations.

Of course this is what has long been the wonder of the events in the Christmas story.

Perhaps no where is it as amazing as here in God entering humankind.

But it Is always the way of God.

We develop lots of ideas about the way things are supposed to be… what is usual…what we can expect. We expect our life stories to play out according to what others have defined…what we want… what we are comfortable with.

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