Summary: No weapon formed against us can defeat us when we stay true to the Lord as Mary found out in the Christmas story.

No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper

12/20/98 Christmas Sunday Luke 1:26-38 Matt. 1:18-25, 2:13-18

Have you ever had the experience of planning to make something absolutely wonderful and at the last moment something went wrong and messed it all up? Have you ever played in a game, and it looked for certain that your team was definitely going to win, and somehow things started to go wrong and you just could not believe you lost? Have you ever met a person and you knew deep inside, this was the person you really wanted and you were hoping to spend your life with, but somewhere the relationship went sour and came to a painful end? Life is full of situations that come into our lives and alter our plans for the future. Sometimes we make bad decisions and are forced to deal with things we do not like.

Sometimes though, difficult and painful circumstances can come into our lives simply from us making a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. I want you to meet a young lady who was alive and well during the first century. Her family had gotten together with the family down the street and they had arranged for her to marry the other family’s son. She and her fiancee was in what was called a betrothal.

Now a betrothal was like an engagement only it was a much more committed relationship. A couple would be in a period of a betrothal for a year. During that entire year they were to remain sexually pure and not be involved having sex with each other. The young woman would continue to live with her family, and the man would live with his family. Even though they still lived apart, to break off a betrothal, one would have to go through the process of getting a divorce.

If either party had sex with another person during this period, they would be guilty of adultery and could be subject to stoning. At the end of the one year period, the groom would lead a party of men through the streets, making known his intention to go and claim his bride. Once the bride was picked up at the house, they would march through the streets to the cheers of the people and head to his house for a wedding feast. It was a very festive and glorious occasion.

Well this young lady was looking forward to the completion of her betrothal when she would march through the streets and have the people cheering her on. She would be such a lovely and beautiful bride. It was all she could spend her free moments thinking about.

While she was thinking about all of this, God was looking over every baby, every boy, every girl, every woman, and every man from time in the past, to the present, and even into the future. God saw that all of them were out of relationship with Him. Without being right with God, they were all headed for judgment. Without a savior to help them, they would all pay for their sins and the only punishment for sin was death. God saw the world racing toward hell and destruction.

The real meaning of Christmas is that God wanted to stop people from going to hell and bring them into a relationship with him. For the Bible tells us, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son

So God called forth the mighty angel Gabriel and said "Gabriel, get ready to go to Nazareth. I’ve got a message for you to deliver to a young woman who’s making some wedding plans." Gabriel hurled out of heaven in the blinking of an eye and was standing in front of Mary. He said, "What’s Up, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!"

Now when Mary saw and heard this angel she was greatly troubled at His words and wondered what exactly did he mean. First of all, how could she be highly favored by God. After all, she lived in Nazereth which was a poor city despised by the Jews and the Gentiles. 30 years later, people were still asking the question, can anything good come out of Nazareth. So Mary sort of lived in the hood of the hoods, yet God knew where she was and how to reach her. You see when God has a plan for your live, you don’t have to have all the right credentials.

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