- Sermon Notes
Say Yes to God’s Best
Intro: Which way?
This morning we are going to begin a two-week journey through a few situations and Scriptures leading to the birth of Jesus by looking at our first introduction in Scripture to his mother, Mary. At the time she is first mentioned by name in Scripture, she was engaged to be married. Surely, she had grown up with hopes and thoughts as to what her engagement and marriage would be like when she got there. But while engaged, she finds out that the path toward marriage would take a turn she was not expecting as the will of the Lord was revealed in her life.
God’s will in her life was surprising, perplexing, and unsettling, what is reveal is that which would likely have been avoided, questioned, or rejected by most, but as God’s will is revealed in Mary’s life, she understands that God’s will for her life, was God’s best in her life, and despite it not likely being the course she previously thought she would take in her life, she was willing to say yes to God’s best.
Read: Luke 1:26-38
Mary’s situation and story is a powerful one. Despite the difficulties both real and perceived, Mary heard the word of the Lord and said, “Let it be…”
When given the opportunity to respond to the will of the Lord in your life and mine, many similar elements can apply. The choice one makes will send them on a journey that can bring about difficulty, degrees of inconvenience, or an interruption to the outcomes they thought they would see. But saying yes to Jesus, is turning to Him rather than the way you had it all planned and realizing that the place you must get, is where you, like Mary, remain determined to let His will be done.
- Embrace the Word God Gives
Luke 1:26-27, Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
- Verse 26 references the “sixth month,” which is a reference to what was recorded earlier in Luke chapter 1.
- It was six months or so earlier that this same angel, Gabriel, had announced to a priest named Zacharias that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son despite their being advanced in years. Up to that point they were unable to have children and it would be the son God was giving who would be the forerunner to announce the coming of the Messiah and turn many hearts of the sons of Israel back to God.
- We will look a bit more at their story next week, however, with Elizabeth now six months pregnant, Gabriel comes with another announcement, this time to a young woman named Mary.
- Mary was likely around the age of 14 years old when she meets Gabriel, she was a virgin, and had already been betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph.
- In Bible times, Jewish marriage customs regarding a couple’s engagement were much more formal and stringent than what we know today.
- Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, often even without consulting the couple. In this arrangement, the groom’s parents would pay a bride price and it was immediately deemed binding, they were pledged to one another, often for many years.
- Betrothal could only be voided by death or divorce. It lasted a year and was a time whereby the bride would prove her faithfulness and purity, while the husband was to prepare a home for his bride-to-be.
- In the midst of this season of anticipated marriage, when Mary is proving her purity and faithfulness, she is greeted by the angel Gabriel with these words:
Luke 1:28-29, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement and was pondering what kind of greeting this was.
- Mary’s posture toward her being called “favored one” was that of being “perplexed,” which is a Greek word diatarasso: meaning troubled, agitated greatly, disturbed, or confused.
- The word God applied to Mary was, charitoo, which means “highly favored,” “much graced,” or “one who is pursued with grace.”
- The angel Gabriel was about to divulge the direction associated with the will and word of the Lord for her life, yet in that moment, she was perplexed by the assertion that she was “favored.”
- That favor, though perplexing to perceive, was the result of what the angel said next. It was because the Lord was with her.
- Interestingly, there is one other time in scripture where the Greek word charitoo, meaning “highly favored,” “much graced,” or “pursued by grace” is used. And it is not concerning Mary, but concerning those who are in Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-7, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace.
- Because of God’s glorious grace, those in Christ Ephesians 1:6 is the same word used regarding Mary, which is translated, “highly favored, “much graced,” “full of grace.”
- You might be perplexed that the word applied to you and I who are in Christ is “highly favored.” But it is in Scripture and seen clearly, the only other description of the great favor on Mary, is when those in Christ are described.
- We are highly favored, not because of who we are, but because of whose we are. We belong to Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
- Place Your Plans in His Hands
Luke 1:30-31, The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
- The angel tells Mary that she didn’t need to fear, or be afraid, why? Because she had found favor with God.
- Not only was Mary “highly favored,” she had also “found favor,” so she didn’t need to be afraid.
- That word “favor” means that which affords joy, pleasure, or delight… To find favor is to be met with it. Mary was having a meeting with the favor of God here, but the joy, pleasure, and delight associated with the meeting may not have initially seemed clear.
- Assignment was to bear and birth Jesus. Yet, she was a virgin in her betrothal period. There were many potential and real ramifications of the divulged destination.
- She was going to have a Son, but not just any Son, THE Son of the Most High, the Savior.
- Gabriel is specific about the Son that is to come, and also about the plan in place. You are going to bear a Son; you shall name Him Jesus (Vs. 31).
Luke 1:32-33, He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
- The reality that she was going to bear Jesus was an incredible expression of God’s favor and grace. The details of her assignment came with incredible blessings, but also an unplanned burden.
- For Mary, it would put her impending marriage at great risk. We know this was a real consequence and from Matthew 1:19, that when Joseph finds out, his first response will be to put a plan of his own into place to divorce her quietly.
- There were other extreme social consequences: If Joseph did not believe her story, she could potentially have been stoned to death,
- if he chose not to marry her, she would most likely have remained unmarried for life. If her own father rejected her, she could be forced into begging, or prostitution in order to earn her living. Risked being called a liar, crazy or worse.
- When faced with difficult destinations in following Jesus, when something looks to get in the way we had it all planned out, certain questions come, many wrong conclusions are then highlighted.
Illus. One year away.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man regarding us in this manner, as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.
- When we pursue His calling, follow His direction, surrender our plans into His hands, we can always know that He will bring us to the right destination.
1 Corinthians 2:14, But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.
- The “natural man” describes the materialist, who lives as if there is nothing beyond this physical life. Their appraisal of all things is without consideration of the Lord and His will.
- But when our lives are spiritually appraised, we focus not on the disruption to our say, but rather on what God has to say.
III. Proceed Knowing He is Who You Need
- In verse 34, we see Mary ask the angel Gabriel a question, New King James Version, “How can this be, since I do not know a man.”
- That the Messiah, the Savior, would be born of a virgin was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 7:14, The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
- Though it had been prophesied, Mary is wondering, how is all of this going to happen?
- In asking this question, Mary was not questioning the call, rather, she was wondering how this was going to happen, she was simply questioning the methodology.
- In doing so, she asks, how will I do this without what seems to be necessary, a man?
- And as God’s plan is revealed in many of our lives, this is often the same question we put forth.
- In verse 35 comes Gabriel’s answer to Mary. The Holy Spirit would bring this calling, this assignment, this miracle to fruition.
- And so often when we look for the same, a person to bring about the fulfillment of God’s will, the answer the Lord has for us to see is that it is not man who will bring about the fulfillment, it is the Holy Spirit.
Zechariah 4:6, This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
- The answer to Mary is the answer given to Zerubbabel when the reconstruction of the temple was stalled and there seemed to be no way, and it is the answer we need today…The Lord is the one we need.
Illus. Pool of Bethesda.
- When the Lord is in it, there is no limit or limitations, the angel Gabriel will make it clear that nothing will be impossible with God.
Luke 1:36-38, And behold, even your relative Elizabeth herself has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called infertile is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
- Hearing what God would do, what He had already done, and reminded that nothing will be impossible with God, Mary knew that it was the Lord who would work it all out and make it all happen, He would fulfill His will and her need, she responded, “Let it be done to me…”
- Oh, that we would do similarly. “Lord, you are the one we need, let it be done to me” Would you make that the prayer in your life today? Would you pray in your life today that His will be done?
- Mary didn’t wait until Joseph seemed open to the idea of the Lord doing this work in her. She didn’t wait until the most opportune time or wait for another sign.
- She trusted the Lord with all her heart. She did not lean on her own understanding. In all her ways she submitted to Him and trusted that He would make her paths straight.
- We know that Joseph have doubts and questions but would remain with Mary after the Lord sends an angel to reveal the truth to him. They would face some ridicule, people could count back the months, even implying that Jesus was an illegitimate child once…John 8…But they would all see…it would be 33 years, but all would see just who this son would be. The resurrected one, the savior, the coming king.
- Mary, said yes to Jesus, despite the difficulty…She knew that in choosing Jesus, she was choosing Gods best…
Philippians 3:7-8, But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this was. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth herself has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called infertile is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.