Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When God chooses a person to do his work, he does so with perfect insight and understanding of what kind of person he needs to get the job done. Our role is not to question his instructions but rather to submit and obey.

I love the movie “A Christmas Story”. You know – the one with the young boy who dreams of getting a b.b. gun for Christmas. It’s got schoolyard bullies and neighbors dogs roaming through the house, and childhood dreams and memories of the way life used to be all wrapped up in one.

This year Hollywood is once again treating us to a full slate of movies that have nothing whatever to do with the real meaning of the holiday.

• “The Santa Clause 3”

• “Deck the Halls”

• “Unaccompanied Minors”

But in addition to these forgettable movies, one has opened that is worth seeing, because it actually tells the story of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s called “The Nativity Story” and it was produced with the same cultural and historical accuracy as “The Passion of the Christ”.

In a couple moments I’ll be showing a brief clip from the film, but before I do, I want to set the scene by reading from the 1st chapter of Luke, verses 26-40.

Luke 1:26 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. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Luke 1:29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

Luke 1:35 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.

The clip I’ll show to you now has us listening in on a conversation between Mary and her Aunt Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s home.

SHOW CLIP: “Why is it me?” (0:53)

Mary asks, “Why is it me God has asked?” and that is a great question. Why did God choose Mary out of all the women in the history of the world? The movie does a great job of portraying Mary as a simple but faithful Jewish young woman. But weren’t there plenty of other young women who he could have asked? Maybe there were, but God chose HER!

The scripture gives us a few hints as to why God chose Mary, but what I’d rather talk about is a broader question: What kind of person does God look for when He needs something accomplished?

1. God looks for people of faith.

“You have found favor with God.” v30.

Although a young girl, most likely between the ages or 13-15, she had cultivated a relationship with God. Her heart was such that she found favor with God. God knew that Mary’s faith in Him was sufficient to carry her through the fear and the disgrace she would bear as she carried Jesus to term and then raised him. And it was because of this heart of faith that she found favor with God. She did not earn his favor. I don’t believe she was chosen because of anything she had done, but rather for whom she was.

This reminds me of the call of Abram in Genesis 12 – seemingly out of nowhere God calls Abram to leave his home and go to a place the Lord would show him later. He also told Abram he would use him to be the father of many nations. Why did he choose Abram? We’re told why in Galatians: because of his faith.

Gal. 3:6-9 (NIV) Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith…

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