Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Responding to the Faithfulness of God, the Power of God, and the Incarnation of Christ (Luke 1.26-38)

Scripture: Luke 1.26-38
Translation: 1.26And in the sixth month [of Elisabeth’s pregnacy], the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city in Galilee, the name of which was Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, from the house of David. And the name of the virgin was Mariam. 28And coming in to her, he said, “Hello woman who is truly made favored. The Lord is with you!” 29And she was thoroughly confused at the message and was wondering what kind of greeting this was supposed to be. 30And the angel said to her, “Don’t be scared, Mariam, because you found favor before God. 31And look, you’re going to get pregnant in your womb and give birth to a son and you will call His name, Jesus. 32This [son] will be great and will be called Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the Throne of David, his father. 33And He will rule over the house of Jacob forever. And there will be no end for His kingdom.” 34And Mariam said to the angel, “How will this be, since I don’t know any man sexually?” 35And the angel to answer said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come on You and Power of the Most High will cover over you. And because of this the [child] who will be born will be called Holy, the Son of God!” 36And look, Elisabeth, your relative, also has herself conceived a son in her old age. And This is the 6th month for her, the one called barren, 37because every message is not impossible for God. 38And Mariam said, “Look, [I’m] the slave of the Lord. May it happen for me according to your message. And the angel left her.

1.      Structure
a.       Background/Setting (vv.26-27)
b.      Rising Action (vv.28-34)
c.       Climax (vv.35-37)
d.      Resolution (vv.38)
2.      Themes
a.       God’s Power
b.      Holy Spirit
c.       David’s Throne and Lineage
d.      Angelic messenger
e.       Messages
f.       Miraculous Pregnancies
g.      Names/Naming
h.      Grace/Favor
i.        Ruling/Reigning/Kingdom
j.        Faith
3.      Doctrines
a.       The Virgin Conception and Birth of Jesus the Messiah
b.      The faithfulness of God to the Davidic Covenant
c.       Faith is necessary to please God
d.      Angels to exist, and can serve as God’s messengers
4.      Notes
a.       The grammatical issue in v.37, of το γεννωμενον αγιον κληθησεται υιος θεου, is moderately difficult, there being three possible ways of interpreting the statement
                                                              i.      “the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” This takes γεννωμενον as an adjectival participle modifying αγιον.
                                                            ii.      “The [child] being born will be holy; He will be called the Son of God.” This understands the sequence of words to be two clauses not one, where the first clause is a verbless clause, and the second begins with κληθησεται.
                                                          iii.      “The [child] being born will be called “Holy,” “The Son of God.” Here, “Son of God” serves to further define the title of Mary’s child beyond just “Holy.” In translation, I have taken this route

1.      Outline
a.       The Faithfulness of God is proven, so we should trust and worship Him
                                                              i.      In 2 Sam. 7, God promised that David would have a descendant ruling on his throne forever. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise, and while we are still waiting for it to be completely fulfilled, the first part has been fulfilled: There is a Davidic King who lives forever and rules the Universe forever.
                                                            ii.      However, this is not the only time God promised to send the Messiah, Jesus. In fact, God promised to send a Davidic King Who would rule perfectly, justly, wisely, humbly many many times. He promised it to Micah, to Jeremiah, to Ezekiel, to Daniel, to Isaiah, to Zechariah, to others many times over. Jesus is the promise God made, kept. That is why the text makes such a big deal about the Throne of David, and Jesus ruling over all Jacob forever. The promise of the Perfect Eternal Davidic King has been kept!
                                                          iii.      This promise kept proves how much we can trust God, because God was faithful despite the failures of His people, and the impossibility of the circumstances. God may take longer that we desire, or keep His promises in ways we could not exactly expect, but He does keep His promises to us and we can count on Him to be faithful
                                                          iv.      We should trust Him with all that He has promised us then, with…
1.      Eternal life
2.      Empowerment to live for Him
3.      Comfort
4.      Callings
5.      Peace
6.      Forgiveness
7.      Hope
8.      The Holy Spirit
9.      Cleansing
10.  Growth
                                                            v.      He will be with us as He was with Mary, because He promised and we can trust Him in that.
                                                          vi.      However, we should not just be brought to a deeper faith in God when we see Him keeping His promises, but moreover we should be drawn into worshipping Him
1.      We worship God because of things. All worship requires a basis, something that makes it legitimate. And God being faithful as He promised is a great basis, and not just a basis for worship but a powerful pull towards worship.
2.      When we see God for Who He is, regardless of whether we see His faithfulness as we see here today, or His love, as we can see in other places, knowing better Who God is, should draw us to worship Him, because He’s AWESOME!
3.      If we go home today, and think “I learned that God is faithful today, great. I don’t get how that affects my life” then our hearts are hard and have a problem, because in fact learning that God is faithful should make it easier for us to trust Him with everything, but it should moreover make us want to worship Him, because He is so good and true and faithful! He deserves praise because He is faithful! In fact, there is a psalm in the Old Testament that verse after verse praises God because of His loyalty to His people!
4.      Don’t sit there in your chair right now passively hearing the message, but either not listening or not caring enough to let this awesome truth settle down into your soul and cause it to explode with worshipful joy! Sit here as we worship and praise God for His faithfulness! Worship God as we continue to look into His Word!
b.      The Power of God is clear, so we should trust and rely on Him
                                                              i.      Over and over in this passage the power of God is implied or declared
1.      The implication of God power is found is the statements that Jesus will be grat and will be called The Son of the Most High and that God will give Him David’s throne forever and ever, because at that time Israel wasn’t even a country that had a king. There was no throne to give Him, but God will make that happen forever!
2.      It is directly stated as the way that Mary will get pregnant without having sex: The Power of God will cover her!
3.      It is also stated that: Nothing at all, no promise no matter how impossible, is impossible for God! God has more power than all circumstances, than the whole Universe!
                                                            ii.      The power of God is clear to Mary, because her relative in fact is already pregnant. There is no doubting the power of God, because Mary can already see it clearly at work in her relative.
                                                          iii.      The power of God is clear, but this is not just a story it is a truth that we can bank on. We can live our lives trusting in God because He actually has the power to do something. One of the reasons that we can trust God at all is that He is powerful, all-powerful. If God had no power to do anything, then it would be hard or at least pointless to trust Him to act. But because our God does have the power, infinite power in fact, we can trust Him with everything! We can trust Him to act, even when it seems impossible. What good would our prayers do if we didn’t have a God that could something about it?
                                                          iv.      But we do have a God Who is Powerful, and Who’s power is clear to us! Elisabeth got pregnant when it shouldn’t have been possible, and so did Mary. Jesus was born. You may say, well, it’s only Christians who believe Jesus was conceived miraculously, but that’s not true actually, all muslims believe that Mary was a virgin too.
                                                            v.      The Power of God is also clearly demonstrated in our own time. God still does miracles. People still see God do impossible healings, people who should have been unable to get pregnant have their prayers answered and they conceive.
                                                          vi.      So we should not only trust Him, but actually rely on Him to act.
c.       The Humanity and Deity of Christ the Davidic King is true, so we should trust and follow Him
                                                              i.      The humanity of Jesus is clear. He is conceived as all humans are, is born of a woman as all humans are, is named as all babies are, has a human lineage and right to rule from King David—all clearly human.
                                                            ii.      The Deity of Jesus is all clear. He is given the Title Son of the Most High God, is conceived by the Holy Spirit, is announced by angels, as God often is, is said to reign forever, indicating that He will live forever, as only God does in an of Himself.
                                                          iii.      Thus, the greatness and supremacy of Christ is true and clear in His deity and humanity. It is clear that He is both fully human and fully God. He is King over all, because of God’s promise to David, but also because Jesus is God!
                                                          iv.      So we should trust in Jesus as our Savior, Lord, King, and God. But as our God and King He demands to be followed. We must follow Jesus in everyday life
1.      At home
2.      At school
3.      At work
4.      At church
5.      In everything
d.      Responding in Faith to the call of God is right, so we should trust and serve Him.
                                                              i.      what we should do in the things that God has called us to do, no matter how crazy, no matter how hard, no matter how costly, no matter what.
                                                            ii.      God still calls people to do things that are crazy or impossible. We have to respond in faith like Mary did when God clearly tells us the impossibility He will make possible.
                                                          iii.      We need to serve Him in all that we do. The fact is that God has called you and me to serve Him and to live for Him in all things. That can seem kind of big and vague, but the problem is not that it is not clear or understandable, but that it is so all-encompassing that there is no area of our lives that is not intended to be used for serving God. Our schoolwork, our chores, our friendships, our relationships, our looks, our smarts, our money, or talents, our goals, our achievements, our dreams, our desires—everything!
                                                          iv.      So we should not shrink back from the great and even impossible things God calls us to do, but to instead respond in faith and serve Him in them
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       What makes you want to worship God?
b.      Does God’s power make it easier for you to trust Him? Why?
c.       In what area(s) of your life do you need to rely on God’s power rather than your own?
d.      How important is it that Jesus is fully God and fully human? Why do you think so?
e.       In what areas of your life is it easier to follow Jesus? What areas are harder?

f.       What might God be calling you to do that seems crazy or impossible that you need to trust Him with and serve Him in?

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