The Way God Leads Us & Mary's Example - Jacob Stanley
In our December series we are remembering the story of Christmas, It’s the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But Christmas story isn’t just about a cute nativity story, it’s a big, important story about God and humanity. It’s a part of your story, it’s a part of my story. It’s a story about a God who so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believed in him would have eternal life. It’s a story about God coming to us, his love being stronger than ours, his faithfulness being greater. It’s about a God who wanted to persue a people that chose to reject him again and again.
Christmas is a reminder of Gods desperate love, as a father runs to meet the lost son, as a shepherd leaves the 99. God came to us.
Humans could never bridge the gap, so God, the great Almightly God, demonstrate his love by the most vulnerable act, he humbled himself to a be born a human baby in an animal stable to a pregnant teenage middle eastern girl in in a tiny country serving the Roman Empire. He came in humility
And Jesus was no ordinary boy born in Bethlehem. He was born a God-man, his father was not Joseph, his father was God, the power of Holy Spirit, miraculously made Mary pregnant with the son of God. This is a critical piece of theology for a Christian. Mary was virgin, Joseph was not Jesus’ dad. It was miracle, God became flesh.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.(God with us)
This is our series for the next three weeks
But today I want to talk about a standout hero of the faith in the first chapter of Luke. Mary.
Luke 1:26-38 NIV 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.” 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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” (ESV SAYS NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD) 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. ————
Mary is an underrated hero of the faith.
I admire Mary. This young teenager can be a shining example to all of us as to how to follow the call of God. Mary’s response to Gabriel reveals her heart.
How does Mary respond so well?
1. Mary had already given her life to God, there was a predetermined decision to say yes to God, no matter what the call. When God asks her to surrender to costly call, she respondes with a declaration “I am the Lords servant”
2. Mary responds well because She knows who she is. She is a servant of God. Her decision to say yes comes as a result of her identity.
It’s out of the overflow of our identity that our heart responds.
Make a predetermined decision Take on the identity.
When God calls, often there is a price to pay. A small sacrifice to make.
You can imagine Mary’s questions; What if I’m not a good mum? Should I tell him who he is? What if something happens to him?
God often calls us to do things that are impossible It’s the call of God that invites us to become part of a bigger picture
God does not call us to a self serving, comfortable life. God calls us to do things that are hard, where we feel out of our depth.
God calls us to self sacrifice God calls us to serve God calls us to put others first God calls us to lay our lives down God calls us to do things with him that are scary. God calls us out of our boat, into the impossible, into the unfamiliar,
Out of control into trust.
See sometimes the call is a big scary proposition or dream to make an impact in some way, but sometimes the call is simple, like a yes or no. Like a stop or go. Last week Ps Paul talked about the different ways God leads us. Yes, No, yes, but not now. Wait.
1. Go is obviously the best. We love an internal yes from the Holy Spirit
2. No is also great. Even though it can be inconvenient in the short term, anyone who has been a Christian for a while learns to love the no of the Holy Spirit. A no from God can save you years of heartache. Learn to love the no.
3. But the hardest, is the yes, but not now. Wait. When something is really good and right, but for some reason God is saying to wait. Waiting hurts.
Waiting demands trust.
Mary trusted God.
Process and timing are very important to God. Will you trust him to lead you in his timing?
When we lay down our desires and say yes to God, we make a declaration of trust.
When I was 21, I had a funny experience. A girl at church walked past, and I thought to myself “I could marry her” she had just turned 18. God gave me the orange light. Yes, marry her! but not now. It was very hard. We ended up dating. But because he hadn’t obeyed God and trusted him with the timing and the process, our dating relationship turned sour. It wasn’t good. The light turned red, and It was clear to both of us that we were living in disobedience, and we had to give it up, and surrender our lives again to him. That was hard season. It was a season of trust. Could I learn to trust God to fullfil my deepest longing? We had broken up, but it wasn’t till after about ten months, I finally, after prayer and fasting, let go. I internally surrendered to God. The holy spirit spoke to me in prayer, and said ‘what if you are single until this age’? It cut right to the core of my fear. In prayer I handed that fear over to God, I surrendered, and I fell into trust. —-
Luke 1:39-43 NIV 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. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” ESV 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Only a couple of months after I whole heartedly, finally surrendered to God, I got a green light. But this time it was very different. It felt like God was leading me into it, walking beside me. it felt like he was pleased to lead me into this blessing. It felt like it was his will. The blessing of God shone on that relationship in that season. It was healthy, positive, holy, uplifting, full of peace and joy.
We were in the in the centre of God’s will. In the right timing, in the right process, the good thing became the God thing. The painful process developed trust.
But the point of surrender is the highlight. Whatever happens from that point is secondary to living in centre of God’s will.
Peace, fulfilment, and joy don’t come from the good thing, they come from being in obedience to God.
The doorway to stepping in to abundant life that God has for you, is a doorway of surrender.
—————— Band up ——————
God has plans for your life. Would you trust him today, with his leadership?
If you allow God to lead you in the micro, he’ll lead you in the macro.
If you allow God to lead you in the small decisions, you will find yourself over months and years exactly where you need to be, living the big, exciting call of God. Because the big call, is made up of many small acts of surrender.
As days to turn to months, months turn to years, the fruit of daily obedience will fill your life with abundance.
Would you trust his yes?
Would you trust his no?
Would you trust his wait?
Why don’t you declare this with me this morning: “I am the Lord’s servant,” “He leads me in the small things” “I trust him with the big things” “I will not miss out” “His promises to me will be fulfilled.” “His plans for me will be fulfilled.” “In his timing”