|Father God, we rejoice in you this
glorious day. As we remember those who have given their lives for our country, let us also
remember Jesus who gave up his life for our salvation. We are so thankful to live in a
place and time when we can freely meet together to study your Word Lord. We praise you and
thank you for this.
satan, we come against you and all of your schemes to disrupt this study. We bind you and rebuke you and cast you and your foul demons out of this holy place in Jesus Name!
Father, thank You for loving us, for Your grace, and most of all for Jesus, your son our Lord. hi kinzie Holy Spirit, we invite you to be our counselor and teacher, and to give us understanding of the Word and the ability to bring it to pass in our lives. Lord anoint the teachers and the learners we pray in JesusName AMEN and AMEN. Thank You father in the name of Jesus. AMEN
Last time we talked about the angel Gabriel's visit to the priest Zachariah in Luke 1. Although Zachariah was a priest, he did not have faith to believe what the angel said. Therefore he was not able to speak until his promised son, John, was born. We also began talking about Gabriel's visit to Mary.
Protestants have really downplayed Mary's role in Jesus birth for fear of Mary Worship. But we can still honor her for her faith and submission to God, and use her as an example of holy living. Gabriel greeted her as one "highly favored" "The Lord is with you!" What an accolade, such praise coming from an angel! Do our lives exhibit such grace that angels would greet us this way? How about the people in our community? Are we living so close to God that His favor shines through us?
Luke 1:30-31 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.
The Amplified says"And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace - free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving kindness - with God."
Dakes says Mary was "endued with grace". The word "grace" in the Biblical context ALWAYS means unmerited (unearned) favor with God.
Notice that both Zechariah and Mary were fearful when they saw Gabriel. But in both cases the angel told them not to fear. Gabriel announced to Mary that she had found favor with God. Lord, that we also would find favor with you! Help us live in a way pleasing to you.
Gabriel said very simply, "You will be with child". Imagine an angel appearing to you in fearsome glory, greeting you as favored by God and then announcing you will be with child. The angel further states that the child will be a son and will be called Jesus. Jesus in the Old Testament was the same as Joshua, or Yeshua in Hebrew, meaning salvation. Salvation is soteria in Greek and means much more than spiritual salvation, it includes deliverance from oppression and physical healing as well. All this would be provided by this child Mary is to bear.
I think angels still bring messages from God, but demons also pretend to. If you or anyone believes that they have had an angelic visitor, you need to test what is done and said by the Word.
Why did God choose Mary?
I think there are several reasons. First of all, she was a virgin, and it was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 that the Messiah would be born to a virgin.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Mary had faith in and complete submission to the will of God. Mary was also of the lineage of David, and of Jesse, David's father. Both Mary and Joseph were of the line of David. Mary's genealogy is given in Luke, Joseph's in Matthew.
Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
She also was highly qualified to be a mother. She had stability of personality, she was reliable, she was faithful to the scriptures, she was humble, dedicated, faithful, courageous, tender. She followed the law, as we will see as we read further (Luke 2:21-24, 39). Jesus had to be born under the law so that He could fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
She also had a tremendous inner strength to be able to endure what was ahead of her (Luke 2:35). She had great nurturing skills (Luke 2:40) and exercised an anxious care over her son (Luke 2:48).
The Bible doesn't state Mary's age, but scholars infer that she was probably a teenager, because is was customary for girls to be married quite young in those days. These points about Mary's qualities will be supported I believe as we go along. The point is that God saw all this in her and more, and that's why He chose her. Whether she had all these mature qualities or just the potential for them, I don't know. But God saw in her what He needed. Gabriel goes on to say:
Luke 1:32-33 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."
eternally secure - The Lord always was interested in the young. Why? because the young are without guile and are teachable, they believe what they are told.
Try to picture yourself there with Mary, a virgin, betrothed to Joseph, and feel how stunned she was that she was going to be the mother of such a son! He would not only be great but be called the Son of God. "Most High" was a title used in the Old Testament for God. Not only was He to be the Son of God, but the son of David (by Mary), and would reign on his father David's throne, not just a lifetime, but forever! "The house of Jacob" is another way of referring to Israel. "His kingdom (rule, reign, authority, government) will NEVER end."
Now this is what the angel SAID. Probably what Mary HEARD was that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, an earthly king who would free them from Roman domination. The reason I think this is because Mary struggled with the idea of Jesus being an eternal king bringing a spiritual salvation, like the rest of the Jews did, at first. But praise God! She remembered what the angel said word for word and repeated it to Luke, and he wrote it down for us. Thank you bro Luke!
Mary's mind must have been racing around like crazy. Hearing these words from an angel! All of a sudden the divine intersects her daily life, she must have been dumbfounded. But the thing that puzzled her was:
Luke 1:34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
Last week, I asked those of you who were here to be thinking about Mary's question and compare it to Zechariah's. After Gabriel told Zechariah of the coming birth of his son John, He asked this question, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
Zechariah's question expressed doubt that God was able to fulfill His promise. We'd probably say something like, "Are you crazy? I'm an old man, and my wife is old too! Prove it to me!"
Zechariah was a priest and should have had more faith in God than that, especially since Abraham, the father of the Jews, had a son when he was 100 and his wife was 90. We are told that Abraham regarded not his own body, but trusted in God who raises the dead and calls things that be not as though they were, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised. Let's look for a few minutes at Paul's explanation of Abraham in the book of Romans:
Romans 4:17-21 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
The point is not your age, but the power of God. God who gives life to the dead, and spoke all of creation into existence.
Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Abraham didn't look at things from a human perspective, because man will always tell you, "It's hopeless".
Romans 4:19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead.
This is exciting stuff, folks! It doesn't matter if you are dead in trespasses and sins, Jesus can raise you up! It doesn't matter if you feel brain dead and depressed, God can bring you to life!
Romans 4:20-21 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
mom1 - You know, I just realized that Zechariah had Intelligent/Educated Faith, where Mary had Heart Faith.
The difference between Abraham and Zechariah is that Abraham was fully persuaded in his faith in God. Although Zechariah was blameless and law abiding, he was not fully persuaded that God would answer his prayer, or even COULD answer his prayer for a son, because humanly it was impossible.
Now when we look at God's promises, are we like Zechariah, and try to figure out on a human level how it can be done? Or are we like Abraham - fully persuaded that God CAN and WILL do what He says!
Zechariah was a great man, no doubt, the father of the forerunner of Christ. And, as always, the Bible tells it like it is. Because we struggle with the same doubts and fears as Zachariah had!
Zechariah as a priest should have been well acquainted with the history of Abraham but it never occurred to him to relate it to his situation. He was upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. Yet somehow he missed that relationship with God that brings true faith. He evidently was praying for a child (v.3), but seemed surprised that God heard him. Did he really expect an answer?
The key I think for us today, is not AM I WORTHY?, but that Christ IS WORTHY, and has received all these benefits for us! The Bible says that all God's promises are YES and AMEN (SO BE IT) in Jesus!
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 (NIV) For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(KJV) For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
(Amplified) For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, the Messiah, Who has been preached among you by us, by myself, Silvanus and Timothy, was not Yes and No; but in Him is [always the divine] Yes. For as many as the promises of God, they all find their Yes (answer) in Him (Christ). For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him - that is, in His Person and by His agency - to the glory of God.
Part of it too is making that connection of the promise to our need, and KNOWING that IN CHRIST the answer is YES!
So Zechariah's situation had occurred before, to Abraham and Sarah with evidence that God would act in response to such a prayer; but Zechariah failed to make the connection with his needs.
Jesus said that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains:
Matthew 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Luke 17:6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you."
James 4:2b You do not have, because you do not ask God.
Mary, on the other hand, was faced with a situation that never had occurred before - a virgin birth. She was not educated as Zechariah in the Law. She was a commoner, poor, not exceptional as the world sees it. Yet God chose her as worthy to bear His Son.
Notice that her question does not express doubt: "How will this be since I am a virgin?" NOT "How can I be sure of this?" "It's physically impossible!" The way Zechariah asked his question.
I would NEVER tell a sick person that they didn't have enough faith or they OUGHT to be healed. That's being presumptuous. But the Bible is a faith book and the promises are brought into reality by faith in the God Who made them.
I personally have been healed and also have some problems which have not been healed. But I'm growing in my faith, and KNOW that one day I'll be whole, whether on this earth or in Heaven. I'm willing to wait on God's timing. It's not a push button thing, where we can push a "healing" button and it's automatic. We trust in God for the WHEN and the HOW.
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 [So the child to be born will be called holy] the Son of God.
So Mary's question, How WILL this be? was not a question of doubt, she believed it WILL happen, just didn't understand HOW. So "How will this be?" is an acceptable question in God's sight. The angel's explanation may not satisfy us scientifically, but Mary understood that it would be a supernatural occurrence. "For nothing is impossible with God": and she accepted it. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Servant here literally means "slave". Mary saw herself as God's possession, to be used as He wished. Gabriel went on to say:
Luke 1:36 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.
Zechariah needed a sign and he got it - He was rendered deaf and dumb by Gabriel. Mary did not ask for a sign, but received one - the pregnancy of Elizabeth and witness of the Holy Spirit. With Elizabeth, it seemed to be too late to give birth, with Mary it seemed to be too early
Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God."
Think about it - NOTHING is impossible with God! We have Gabriel's word on it. Jesus said, "With God all things are possible". Do we REALLY believe this?
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Luke 18:27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
mom1 - And, if nothing was impossible for Mary through the Lord, nothing is impossible for us through Him, too.
When you and your spouse (or child or doggie) are having problems, do you REALLY believe it's possible for God to work it out? When the bills pile up and the money's not to be found, do you REALLY believe God can and will act?
Should we ask for signs today? What about Elijah? Elijah prayed for God to answer by fire on Mt. Carmel, but it wasn't because of his doubt, it was because of Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Gideon asked for several signs when the Lord called him to lead the army, but remember Israel had strayed and his own father worshipped idols. Two of the signs involved a lamb's skin, "putting out a fleece". Should Christians ask for "signs" today? I don't think so, but each Christian needs to decide for himself.
There seem to be Christians in the world who don't have prayers answered, but I can't answer for anyone but me. Lord, am I believing you? Do I have faith in your Word? Do I really believe that nothing is impossible for you?
mom1 - evil and sin are results of The Fall and man's sinful nature. Look at the governments and rulers who produce situations where the people are martyred or starved. Those governments and authorities are not ruling in Christ.
OlePappy - Also God's answer to a Christians prayer for healing is to take them to heaven....that is the ultimate healing
Cowgyrl - I feel the reason God gave us his word in the bible was because he already knew what life we had to live on this earth because of what Eve did. The bible is a handbook to help us out in our trouble. God didn't intend for us to sin but we chose too. God is a just God a loving God he made us dominion over the earth he gave us a choice. So whatever road you go down,that was your choice God only wants good things for us. If we listen and obey him we can't mess up Cause God don't make mistakes. Give God all the Glory,Praise him on high.
Mary didn't argue or ask for a sign. She accepted Gabriel's explanation and said:
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.
After the angel left her, Mary was left with her own thoughts. We are not told what happened until she went to see Elizabeth, her cousin.
Luke 1:39-41 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Apparently Mary hurried to see Elizabeth, and when she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth, John leaped in Elizabeth's womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Gabriel had prophesied that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb, and here we see that being true. Remember Elizabeth was about 6 months pregnant.
Luke 1:14-15 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth [from his mother's womb].
Kinzie - was Elizabeth one of the first ones to be filled with the holy spirit?
Kinzie, in the NT, yes, but the Holy Spirit filled certain people in the OT too, such as the prophets. Then Elizabeth had her a shouting spell!
Luke 1:42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
Now how did Elizabeth know that a) Mary was pregnant and b) Who the BABY was going to be? Elizabeth certainly knew of the prophecies, but to know Mary was pregnant immediately? I think this is an instance of what Paul calls a Word of Knowledge. When the Holy Spirit gives you knowledge that you couldn't possibly get by normal means.
I Corinthians 12:8 (KJV) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
BSoC - Definitely a word of knowledge!
Luke 1:43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Elizabeth continues to rejoice over what God has done for her and Mary, Israel and the world! The Holy Spirit in her also revealed to her that Mary was pregnant with HER LORD.
Luke 1:44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
And not only did Elizabeth know it, but the UNBORN baby did too! I don't know where you stand on abortion, but here we have a certified case where an unborn child had knowledge, feeling and action!
Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Now the Bible doesn't tell us about Elizabeth before Mary's visit, but we can infer from what is told how she reacted to Zechariah's news. We do not know how he communicated with her or how he told her to name the baby John, but evidently Elizabeth had real spiritual insight. Nowhere is it suggested that she showed doubt that God would answer her prayer for a child. The power of speech and hearing was not taken away from her.
She knew that John would prepare the way for the Lord (Luke 1:17). (She probably could not read or write; women were not usually taught those skills). And the Holy Spirit filled her when she saw Mary and she knew that Mary would be the mother of the Lord (Luke 1:43) And the unborn baby John leaped for joy also.
Her exclamation was "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" This was for her as well as Mary, because she had to have faith that at her age she could not only conceive but carry the child to term (Zachariah and Elizabeth were probably in their 60's).
"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" How about you? Are you believing that the Lord will accomplish in your life what He has said He will do do for you and through you in His Word?
Do you truly believe that in your life that nothing is impossible with God? Are you limiting Him because of your age, appearance, physical or mental ability, or any other factor? Are you walking in faith like Mary and Elizabeth, or stumbling along in doubt like Zechariah? Are you hearing anything from the Lord? If not, how much time are you spending listening to Him?
We must have faith in God, walk in the light He has given us, and He will give us more light to walk in. We hear God primarily through the Word. It is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe. As I meditate on His Word, I can see and hear more clearly what His purpose and plans are for me. It wasn't always so. I tried to live by man's wisdom for a long time.
It's a daily battle for us all. I'm not perfect by any means. But I've learned to listen to the Word. And then God can speak to me through prayer, through my husband, through other believers, through books, etc.
There are at least 5 voices that whisper to us: the world, the flesh, the devil, our minds and the Lord. Discerning which one is speaking takes practice and time in the Word. If it doesn't measure up to the Word, ignore it.
WORLD: I John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)
FLESH: James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (KJV)
DEVIL: 1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (KJV)
Your MIND: Colossians 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.
The LORD: John 10:3-4, 27 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
That's why it's IMPERATIVE, NECESSARY, ESSENTIAL to know the Word, know the Word, know the Word! I'm so glad you're all here! That shows you know this need and are trying to take care of it. And one thing I often say, is don't accept OT's word for anything! Check it out for yourself. Look up the verses we study and understand them. I post the notes every week. Make sure they are spiritually sound!
I've found that most who wear those WWJD bracelets, etc, merely guess "What would Jesus do?"; they don't really know Who He is or what He'd do! I've even seen that jewelry with ankh's on them, kind of like a cross with a loop. This is an ancient Egyptian symbol for RA the Egyptian sun god. What has that got to do with Jesus?????
You knock over tables when people make the Lord's house a den of thieves instead of a house of prayer!
ANY born again believer has the right to approach God's throne and ask for wisdom! It's a child saying, Daddy, what should I do to be more like you? Daddy I have this hurt, can you kiss it and make it all better?"Father God we thank you for Your Word that has gone out this evening. Bless the hearers. Help them to remember what Your Word says and to put it into action in their daily lives. Help us to have heart faith like Mary, not just head knowledge. Help us to trust more and more in You and learn to hear your voice, Lord. Peace and blessings to all. AMEN
Praise You Father in Heaven, creator of all things, Giver of grace. Father I thank you for all those gathered here tonight, that You will give them peace and health in the week to come. Thank You Father for the place You have prepared for us there with You. In the blessed name of Jesus AMEN
Remember, whenever God
gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate
on what you've learned!
|*Picture Source: Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Handbook. Revised by Gary N Larson. Moody Press, Chicago, 1966: 1984.|
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