Summary: Adapted from a sermon by Brian Atwood. God cannot nor will He use proud people to do His work. Proud people get in the way because if you aren’t yielded to God, you begin to think you can handle things on your own.
Last week we saw an angel come to Zechariah with a message that the prayers, he and his wife Elizabeth were praying had been heard and that they were going to have a son.
Let’s pick up the story in the first chapter of Luke’s account of the greatest story ever told. READ
Have you ever given much thought to the world into which Jesus was born?
It was a time of spiritual darkness. Remember what I said, last week? It had been four hundred years since the last Old Testament prophet was inspired to write God’s words. Until this time God has been silent.
Rome rules the "civilized" world and the Greek culture is flooding the world, including many immoral and unfulfilling philosophies.
I love what E. Stanley Jones said…Instead of saying, "Look what the world has come to!" the Bible says, "Look what has come to the world!"
It was during this dark and lonely time that darkness met its match in the light of Jesus!
The Good News of the birth of Christ is the most positive and uplifting news anyone has heard in over 400 years and that’s how Mary received it.
She could have been fearful. As a poor young woman (most believe still in her teens) she could have been overwhelmed by her circumstances. She could have been filled with apprehension at the message of the angel that she, a young virgin, would bear God’s ONLY Son.
Mary’s response to God’s revelation is an example to us all!
I want you to answer the question: “How should I respond to God?”
There are three vital Ways you and I should respond to God:
1. Respond to God with humility.
Look at Mary’s response when she heard the incredible news that she would give birth to the Son of God.
Luke 1:38 (NCV) "I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!"
Humility is all about how you see yourself - and Mary saw herself as a servant and that’s one of the reasons God chose her.
God cannot nor will He use proud people to do His work.
Proud people get in the way because if you aren’t yielded to God, you begin to think you can handle things on your own.
When that happens, your pride will inflate your ego to the point you believe you don’t need God and you will eventually make a mess of things.
When God picked a town for Christ to be born in He picked the one camel town of Bethlehem.
He chose a cattle stall as the delivery room where His Son was to be born.
When the angels announced Christ’s birth it was to humble shepherds on a hillside…not to Herod in the Jerusalem palace.
When He needed a servant to bear His Son He chose a humble young woman from Nazareth.
God hasn’t changed. He’s still looking for big commitments from people who are small in their own eyes.
Proverbs 3:34 (GNT) He (God) has no use for conceited people, but shows favor to those who are humble.
Here’s a reality for you. Being humble is simple, when you realize that it’s a matter of perspective.
The naturalist, William Beebe told how he and Teddy Roosevelt would go out on the lawn together after an evening of talk. They would search the skies for a certain spot of light near the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Then Roosevelt would say, "That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one hundred billion suns, each larger than our sun."
Then Roosevelt would grin and say; "Now I think we are small enough! Let’s go to bed."
What does it mean to be humble?
Andrew Murray said, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him.
He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor.
Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility."
In the year 59, the Apostle Paul wrote these words in 1 Cor. 15:9: "I am the least of the apostles."
Four years later, he wrote: "I am the very least of all the saints." In Eph. 3:8.
And a year after that in 1 Tim. 1:15: "I am the foremost of sinners."
Here’s something for you to take home today. As Paul matured he thought less of himself.
Even at a very young age, Mary possessed the humility of spirit that God blesses.