Summary: Join me in taking a closer look at the heavenly message declared to an unsuspecting teenage girl. It is a message about “the wonderful birth of PROMISE” that we can all learn and be encouraged by!
Heavenly Messages of Christmas #3:
“The Wonderful Birth of PROMISE”
For the past two weeks, Pastor Ellison has started us in a wonderful series of messages reflecting on the heavenly messages proclaimed in the days surrounding the very first Christmas. We have reflected together not only on the meaning and significance of these messages when they were first proclaimed, but we have also discovered that they continue to hold great meaning and significance to us today and the lives we each live! Amongst all the thousands of voices clamoring to be heard, God’s voice continues to echo and to speak directly to us in wonderful and miraculous ways!
First, Pastor Ellison guided us to reflect on the angel’s message to a hurt, doubting and struggling Joseph. It was a message of prophecy of the coming peace, power and person of ’God With Us’, Jesus Christ. Last week, we looked at an angel’s message to Zacharias - the father-to-be of John the Baptist. Reflected in this heavenly message was the importance of living a life of purity if we are to live a life of power or effectiveness in fulfilling God’s calling in our lives.
This morning, I invite you to join me in taking a closer look at the heavenly message declared to an unsuspecting teenage girl. It is a message about “the wonderful birth of PROMISE” that we can all learn and be encouraged by!
GOD’S PROMISES . . .
COME UNEXPECTEDLY (1:26-29)
God’s promises rarely come when or how we expect.
God’s promises most often come to those who least expect them.
1.) Mary was a young girl, probably around 14-yrs-old and possibly as young as 12, who lived in a
small, unremarkable village.
2.) Mary’s expectations and ambitions were likely no different than the other girls in her village: to
marry her betrothed, bear children, raise a family, and lead a good and simple life.
3.) Clearly, she had no clue whatsoever that this day would be any different from any other. That
this day she would receive an unexpected visitor from a far and very unexpected place,
delivering a completely unexpected message. And, yet, that is exactly what happened! And it
happened to her.
4.) If there is still any doubt, Mary’s own response to what would seem to a very welcome and
exciting greeting shows just how surprising it really was: (v. 29) “But she was deeply troubled
by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.”
What can WE learn from this?
We should always be ready and alert, realizing that God may speak to us at any time about any thing. In fact, the Biblical pattern seems to be that He is most likely to speak to us and give us our life’s direction when we least expect it. When He does speak, will we hear Him? How will we respond? Will we doubt or reject?
(say together) God’s promises come unexpectedly. . .
TO THE UNLIKELY (v. 30)
One of the temptations we face when confronted with God’s promises is the deadly and deceptive allure of DOUBT!
Think about it. We read that after receiving a welcoming encouragement regarding her favor with God and His presence with her, Mary was “deeply troubled.” Further, the angel’s response to this - “Do not be afraid, Mary” affirms that she was not only ’troubled’ but frightened. Now, look again at the opening words of the angel that elicited this response: “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” With this picture in mind, ask yourself, how could someone possibly find anything in these words that is frightening? Or, what kind of person would be frightened by such wonderful words?
Answer: A person who doubts it is really meant for her. A person who thinks a mistake must have been made. A person who can’t possibly imagine how Almighty God could or would feel that way about her. A person who is afraid that she’ll never be able to live up to God’s words or expectations for her. A person who feels utterly unworthy of the attention or praise being given her.
Have you ever been that person? I have. There are many times I have read God’s promises, sensed His calling upon my spirit, and yet hesitated, doubted, or, like Jonah, just wanted to run away! That’s great, God! Wow! What a promise! How exciting! But it can’t be for me. I’m not that. I can’t do that. I’m just a nobody. I’m “Average Joe.” I’m not who you apparently think I am. Thanks for the confidence you’ve shown, thanks for the opportunity, but I’m sure this is a mistake. I just can’t be or do that.
What can WE learn from this?
This can be a tough struggle that we all go through. Chances are that many of us are struggling with self-doubt and defeatism even now. Keep reading God’s Word with me. You see, the angel doesn’t stop with just telling Mary not to be afraid. No, he continues and with one powerful phrase answers all these questions of her mind, and counters all her self-doubt.