This Sunday’s message was based on 2 precious passages that describe the angel’s encounter with both Mary and Joseph. Both passages show the strength of character possessed by Mary and Joseph and their heart for God.
Brother Damien pointed us to the risks involved for both Mary and Joseph and how they responded. Both were in a position to be ridiculed by their family, friends and community as a pregnancy in their betrothal period was absolutely against God’s law and outside society’s norms. Their reputation was at stake in regard to men but their integrity with God was pure. God knew their hearts and the circumstances, and He sent an angel to speak with them separately to reassure them that what was happening was of God not of man. God knew their thoughts and addressed their fears with soothing words, “Do not be afraid.” Not only did God’s message tell them not to be afraid but gave them reason for hope and commitment as the purpose of Mary’s pregnancy was revealed. They were to be a part of something greater that would affect the world eternally. Yes, there were personal risks to be taken, but the rewards would be for their good, the good of all mankind and for God’s glory! They would also have the privilege of raising God’s son while here on earth. What an awesome responsibility and blessing God placed in their lives.
What risks is God asking you to take to live differently for Him? Is He bringing you to a new place, opening new opportunities for you to share about Jesus, giving you a new ministry to be involved in or perhaps it is a new child, job or home? God has a plan for each of us that requires us to step out in faith and trust Him. He knows the way and will lead and provide just as He did for Mary and Joseph.
What did Mary and Joseph have to do to accept God’s challenge for their lives? Both of them had to respond in faithful obedience. Mary said yes to the Lord and her response is filled with her faith in and for God. Here are her words from a portion of the scripture known as the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-50 “ And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me--
holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.”
What an amazing response of gratitude to the Lord for His work within her. Joseph likewise responded in faith. Matthew 1:20-23 describes the situation and the work the Holy Spirit will do within Mary. He is not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Verse 24-25 tells us what he did after his miraculous dream “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” He immediately acted upon the Lord’s request and took Mary as his wife. He did not stop to question the angel or ask how or why, but he obediently did as the Lord required.
Obedience is an expression of love and respect, and God desires us to be obedient. Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Obedience also will result in our remaining in God’s love and having joy. John 15:10-11”If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. Mary and Joseph both expressed their love for God by accepting His call upon their lives. They were obedient to follow His commands. Their obedience led them to have the privilege of having and knowing God’s Son. He would be in their home, with them and with their future children. They knew they were part of something bigger than their own lives. Their child was to save all mankind from their sins. Where is God calling you to live obediently? You can be assured that following what God has called you to do will bring blessing! God keeps His promises.
As Damien continued to share, I was riveted by his testimony because it showed over and over how God had plan for Damien’s life, a purpose and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Just as God knew the plans He had for Mary and Joseph, He had/has plans for Damien’s life. He sought to bring Damien face to face with his Savior, Jesus. God protected, loved and guided Damien because He knew what wonderful things He had in store for him, the plans for his life in Christ. When Damien finally got to the place where he accepted Jesus and decided to walk with him in obedience, he has experienced the blessings of obedience just like Mary and Joseph. Loving God, walking with Him brings blessings into our lives. Thank you Jesus!
May you experience the love of Jesus and the blessings of following Him in obedience this season.
This Christmas | The Family Perspective
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Sermon series, "This Christmas" Today Damon teaches from Luke 1:30-35 & Matt 1:18-25
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