"THE MASTER’S CHOICE"
Minister Zenola Diggs
October 23, 1999 * First Sermon Service * Mt. Zion Baptist Church-Nashville, Tennessee
Many of you sitting here today have come to know Rodney and me as the "Marriage Ministers". We have spent many hours teaching and counseling many of you in one form or another about marriage, covenant relationships, and relationships in general. However, if you came here tonight expecting a sermon on one of those topics, not that they’re not important mind you, but God said, not so.
You see, it’s important to learn some basic fundamental principles about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, before we are able to go on our spiritual journeys developing relationships of any kind. So allow me, if you will, to speak briefly about another subject we can all relate to in one form or another-a God kind of relationship.
THEME OF THE TEXT: Turn with me if you will to the first chapter of the gospel of Luke. It reads as so from the New International Version beginning at verse 26:
" In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the House of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be’, Mary asked the angel, "Since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
Let’s look at (v.38) as well " I am the Lord’s servant, Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."? Then the angel left her.
I have chosen as the title of my text, "The Master’s Choice
The word Master is significant in my title as God is introduced here because it indicates that the creator has already accomplished everything on earth. . He knows the world inside and out, top to bottom, east to west. God also knows us the same way. He is supreme.
If you want to examine the word Master from a different angle, we can say that God has already matriculated in every area known to man and all creation. So when the Master chooses one of his children for assignment, it’s not because God can’t get it done without us, it’s because God is placing us in position to be blessed.
I’m sure everyone knows someone in their community, on their jobs, in their neighborhood, in their families and yes, even in the church that is struggling with feelings of being "not good enough". Perhaps it’s because of past mistakes you just can’t seem to shake, or maybe it’s because you’ve done this, you’ve done that or you’ve should have gone here, when you’ve really should have gone there. You just feel as if God would be making his first miraculous mistake if he chose you to do anything.
Maybe you’re the kind of person that knows God has designed an assignment just for you. It’s not necessarily significant from the world’s perspective or particularly grand, but you keep finding excuses and reasons, legitimate or not, why you can’t, you don’t want to, you don’t have the skills, the physical ability, the education, and the spiritual smarts, so on and so forth.
Perhaps you fit into this last scenario. You are working according to knowledge and what you believe to be your purpose, but someone in the crowd always has something negative and discouraging to say about you. You know, the yuck mouth people. You always seem to do too little, too late to satisfy these people or a certain someone. As a matter of fact, you just go about your business everyday, in every way minding your own business and hoping these people or a certain someone will buy a clue and leave you alone.
What it boils down to is this, no matter what you do, people or this certain someone are always positioning themselves to tear down what you have been trying so hard to build up for so long. Your self-esteem has seemed to hit rock bottom and you keep asking yourself, "How in the world can God use me?"
We can all relate to one of these scenarios or another, maybe there’s a combination of all three that is plaguing your current situation. You have been the victim of negativity and just plain old haters for so long that you’ve really forgotten that satan is a liar and every word of God is true.
The Master’s Choice
As we look here at the virgin girl named Mary, we see nothing remarkable or outstanding about her prior to the angel Gabriel’s visit. Even her name was common; it wasn’t even catchy or unusual like Miriam-Moses’ sister, Deborah-the only woman judge of Israel, Esther-a confident and courageous queen, or Zenola-your speaker for the hour. If you want to know the truth of the matter, I’m sure her peers were looking down on this so-called virgin girl from Nazareth for being young Jewish, female, pregnant and unmarried. If her accusers were anything like us, I’m sure they were also discussing the fact that the man she was engaged to wasn’t even her baby’s daddy. Yet, Mary, the pregnant virgin, was still The Master’s Choice.
Luke, records in his gospel, the Master of the Universe- God, chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience ever demanded of anyone- to give birth to the Messiah. The birth of Jesus to a virgin is a miracle that many people find hard to believe, but we have to understand a God that cannot lie planted a seed inside of Mary. Therefore, when Mary told her story, it may have sounded like a lie but in reality Mary was literally about to give birth to the truth. No one could say without conviction that Mary was a liar and the truth wasn’t in her as she explains how her pregnancy came to be.
Luke, of all people, a great physician, knew full well how babies are made. We don’t know if Luke was an OB/GYN, but it would have been just as hard for him as it is for us to believe in a virgin birth. But we don’t see any accounts of Luke administering a pregnancy test, or see any accounts of ultrasound pictures being produced, yet Luke reports the fact- the truth, just the same.
Tradition holds that Luke actually sat down and talked with Mary about the events he recorded in the first two chapters of his gospel. After he spoke with Mary, that was all the evidence he needed. Isn’t it funny that God has given us the privilege to speak directly to him by virtue of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, yet many of us still don’t believe miracles can and do still happen?
Let’s walk a mile in Mary’s sandals for just a moment. There’s three very important points we must understand as we further examine what being The Master’s Choice really means and how this divine appointment applies to our daily lives.
My first point is this:
Point 1: WHEN THE MASTER CHOSES YOU, HE IS LOOKING FOR A WILLING RESPONSE (repeat)
If we research the scriptures we will find that God’s announcement of a child to be born was met with various responses. If you look at verses 9-15 of Genesis 18, you will see Abraham’s wife Sarah laughing. If you look further up the page of the first chapter of Luke, around verse 18, you will see doubting Zechariah, but as we visit Mary in the verses associated with our text, Mary simply submitted.
A young unmarried girl who became pregnant risked catastrophe, then, as well as she would today without the proper support and understanding of those who know and understand God’s grace and mercy. Despite the odds, still Mary says in verse 38, "May it be to me as you have said." She only knew that God was asking her to serve him, and she willingly obeyed. Of course, she was skeptical at first; the Bible says she was troubled by the angel’s words. Perhaps it was because she was used to folks walking up to her, telling her what God told them to tell her in the past. You see, everybody who looks like an angel has not been necessarily sent by God. Perhaps she was used to being overlooked and passed up by people who seemed to be more popular and seemed to have it really going on. She may have even volunteered to serve on the Jewish women’s council in the past and no one followed up or ever printed her name on the scroll.
Mary had every good reason to say, "I don’t think so, there’s plenty of women who would like to have a child more than me, God", yet she gave a willing response to the Master’s call and because she may have been burnt in the past, she was wise to do a little investigating. She didn’t just jump to the call without finding out if this was a genuine message, however she didn’t get caught up in wanting to see the bottom line before offering herself to the Master. Offer yourself willingly even when the outcome seems disastrous. If you avail yourself, the master will give you the ability because all he expects from us is availability.
Our response to the Master’s demands should not be skepticism, laughter or doubt, just a willing response.
Perhaps my next point brings the theme of our text home a bit further.
Point 2: CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, BEING THE MASTER’S CHOICE WILL NOT BRING INSTANT SUCCESS OR FAME.
There are blessings and burdens we must face when we become The Master’s Choice. Why Mary and you may be asking, Why me, Lord? Because God wants someone who can humbly follow his call. Mary didn’t come up with a trunk load of excuses though her natural response in verse 34 was, "How will this be?" Christians can rest assured that whenever God appoints us, he can and will anoint us. Not only will God do that, but also God provides protection as well as provision.
Those who find themselves being The Master’s Choice are not chosen because they are special, yet they are special because they are chosen by the Master. The Master’s chosen find themselves entering into a very strange and extraordinary world-a world in which they often find themselves the recipients of unspeakable favor and at the same time victims of overwhelming misfortune.
I’m sure being chosen to give birth to the Messiah was quite an honor for Mary after she got over her initial shock, but even honor leads to pain. Her peers would ridicule her, her fiancé’ would come close to leaving her, and the son she would give birth to would grow up to be someone who would be spit on, despised, rejected and murdered on a cross at Golgotha.
The Master’s chosen, like everyone else has high days and low days. You’ll find out that people whom you thought would be for you will be against you, and those who you thought were against you, will be for you. However, we have to be motivated by the Holy Spirit. This person is never sure of the outcome or experience of his or her divine assignment, only confident in the presence of God and the fact that "all things work together for the good of them who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).
My third and final point is this:
Point 3: GOD DOES NOT CHOOSE US TO ABUSE US
Isn’t it interesting how God, our Master manages to put us in the most uncomfortable situations? It seems as though once he finally places us where he wants us to be, the devil meets us at every turn. We begin to doubt ourselves and wonder if being The Master’s Choice is really worth it. We find ourselves asking the question, "God if you really love me, then why do I feel so neglected and abused?" And God’s response is, "Serving me involves sacrifice."
Can’t you hear someone saying, "God, my name is Mary too. I’m pregnant and the man I’m going with said he wanted to be with me, but he’s not going to take care of some other man’s kids." God says, I’ll work it out because I’m your baby’s daddy. In fact, I’m your husband and your daddy too. You don’t have to shed another tear, because I’ve sent my son to take care of you.
You see God, I’ve been locked up, and now people are looking at me funny and they don’t believe me when I tell them I’m sold out for you instead of selling drugs out on the street. God says, I know. Don’t you remember, we use to run together, but you always treated me like you didn’t know me when we were out on the street. I forgive you and I want you to push the Holy Ghost now instead of that poison!
You see God, the last time you asked me to do something, I messed up and people started judging me. I can’t show my face in that place again. People are just waiting for me to mess up again, they’re taking notes on me. They’ve done this thing before and I can’t possibly measure up. God says, but I chose you. Mary trusted me to finish working out my plan and the Savior was born. Just imagine what I can birth forth in you.
If you’re wondering how God has positioned us to work out his plan today, God has placed his children in key assignments for a divine purpose. The preacher preaches and souls are saved, the physician administers the proper medicine and healing occurs, the teacher teaches and some of the most brilliant minds are developed, couples honor God’s covenant and marriages are healed.
The works of God are never ending! We as Christians and non-Christians, if there are any in the house today, must realize that everything we are or will be is by the grace of God. Pastor Walker said it best, when he reminded us that God is just waiting for us to start what he has already completed.
We have all experienced times when we were the last picked to be on the winning team. Some of you ladies may have a closet full of used bridesmaid’s dresses right now and you’re praying that the next wedding you’re in will be yours. Maybe it looks as if life is passing you by. You’re stuck in a rut because God has chosen you to go to another level and you’re too afraid of what people are going to say. What does God say?
Are you the Lord’s servant? Will it be to you as God has said?
You May Not Find Instant Success or Fame
But Know That God Will Not Choose You to Abuse You
What will you do when it’s your turn to be chosen by the Master? Can Gabrielle leave now, or is he still trying to convince you?