introducing ordinary people to extraordinary, ever-growing life in Jesus, our Savior

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Jesus Is Announced

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Description: God is ready to send Jesus to earth. Going on ahead of the Lord, Gabriel visits Mary to prepare her for her important task of being the mother to our Savior.

Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh

Date: November 29, 2015

Series: Luke

Speaker: Pastor Tim

Church: Whitehall

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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Audio: Listen to this Sermon (time 44:37)

Notes: Read Sermon Notes

Transcript (new way)
1 “Jesus is Announced” (Luke 1:26-38) CLARENCE REHRIG: “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. “And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ “But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. “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 bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ “And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a 2 son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ “And the angel departed from her.” May God bless the reading of his word. PASTOR SCHMOYER: All right, friend. It’s Christmas time. We’ve done the carols, we’ve thought about getting our houses ready. How many of you already put up your tree, the tree is up? Anybody? We’re doing it this afternoon. We’re excited. Kids, you didn’t know that, but that’s what we’re doing. Nathaniel says, I’d rather be playing video games. We’re putting up the tree. Are you getting your house ready? Let’s be honest. How many of you have already got all of your gifts purchased? A couple of you are already on the ball. Sarah, Pastor Smith asked us where to buy your gift. I saw him raise his hand. That means we helped him on his journeys. The purchase is made. All right. We talked last week about John being announced. That the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, and announced that this old 3 couple without kids is now going to have a boy. His name is going to be John, and he’s going to run on ahead of the Savior. Now Gabriel six months later comes to Mary and announces to her that she, though impossible, she’s going to have a child. I know a lot of you teased me when we started Luke in chapter 3. A lot of you said, How can we start a series on a book of the Bible in the third chapter? And I said at that time back in September, when Christmas comes we’re going back to chapter 1, and you’re going to be glad that I waited to do chapter 1 till Christmas time. And now I think we’re all going to be very glad. We’re in chapter 1 today, and the angel comes to Gabriel. How weird would that sermon have been back in September? How many of you hear that Gabriel visits Mary in September? That doesn’t work. It has to be during advent, we have to hear the story. In fact he probably came to her in March, because by my math that’s nine months before Christmas. So come March we’re going to end Luke and go back to chapter 1. We’re not going to do that because that’s Easter time, and we need to put our emphasis on Easter. Today we’re going to talk about God announcing to 4 Mary that she’s going to have a boy. He’s going to be the Savior of the world. We want to look at this from Mary’s perspective; we want to look at this from God’s perspective; we want to look at this through our perspective of not seeing a whole lot and having to blindly put faith in things that seem impossible. Through all of those vantage points and through all of those filters let’s come to God’s word and see what God wants us to handle. In our first idea, verses 26 through 30, God comes to this girl and says to her — she’s probably 13, 14, 15 years old. She’s not yet married. They got married younger back then. And said to her, I know you’re about to be married. Listen, you’re going to have a boy. God is going to conceive this special baby in your womb. And the natural question that we think to ourselves is, why did he pick Mary? Why Mary apart from any other young girl in Nazareth? The scriptures say that the Savior would be called a Nazarene. So it had to be a boy from Nazareth and had to be a mom from Nazareth. But why Mary? There were plenty of other girls I’m sure. And a lot of churches get very excited about Mary. A lot of churches get very excited and say, 5 well, Mary because Mary was unique, Mary was special. God looked on her with favor because of her performance in spiritual matters. She was a pray-er, she was humble, she was obedient, she was tender to the ways of the Lord; and all of those things are not in this passage. Look in verse 26. “In the sixth month” — now, that’s likely the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy — “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.” If you’ve ever been to Nazareth, I wouldn’t call it a city. We’re talking a dinky little village. For what did the Pharisees say later on as Jesus was full-grown? What good can come out of dinky old Nazareth? Hey, my family came from Nazareth. Plenty of good comes from Nazareth. To a virgin, verse 27. It doesn’t say she was anything special, anything unique, any Holy Roller. She was a virgin. Today that might be something unique; back then I don’t know. “Betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph.” She’s not unique, he’s not unique. They’re engaged. “He was from the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” He came and he said to her (verse 28) ‘Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.” 6 And this is where we begin to think and focus on why is she favored. What was God’s favor focusing on this young woman? Was she unique? Did she stand out? Was she an A-plus student at school? Did she always do her chores without being asked? Lots of churches invent extra things that aren’t in the Bible, and they say she was so unique that she was conceived in a holy manner; she did not inherit original sin from her parents. Well, that’s pretty darn unique, but that’s not biblical. In our sermon next Sunday, look in verses 46 and following. “Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit rejoices in” what? God my what? A CONGREGANT: God, my savior. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Why is a perfect, blemishless woman, without sin, calling God her Savior? Why is a sinless person calling God Savior? See, sinners need a savior. She’s confessing her sin. Verse 48, “He has looked on my humble estate.” She was nothing. She admits, there is no reason that you picked me, but your favor came on me. I am lowly, nothing. I am not worthy, and you have called me to be worthy. Now, I’m not going to preach on that because we’re doing that next Sunday, but I’m just setting the 7 stage for why did God pick Mary, and the answer is God puts his favor on people who do not deserve it. And that says to me and you, I don’t deserve God’s favor either, and God is greatly impressed with me. Not because of anything that I’ve done but because he looks at me and sees the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. He sees a person whose sins have been washed away, and he says, now that is a person I take great delight in; not because we’re perfect in our own strength but because God has declared us such through the blood of his Lamb. And when the angel comes to Mary, he says, “Greetings, favored one.” She already admitted that she’s a sinner in need of a savior, that she’s humble and lowly in her estate. She doesn’t deserve God’s favor, and God puts his favor on her. And I’m telling you that that God does that for you and God does that for me, and God does that for your unbelieving friends and your family members that are far from the Lord. He shows his favor to people who don’t deserve it. He looks at you and smiles because he sees the blood of his son, Jesus Christ, because Jesus has washed away everything wrong you’ve ever done. “God, my Savior,” she says in verse 47. That God looks on her with favor not because of her but because 8 of himself. And you think to yourself, out of all the 7 billion people on this planet, why did God show favor to me? And a lot of Christians wrongly answer that: Well, I was something special. That’s wrong. You were something nothing, and God takes this nothing and transforms it and renews it and brings it dead to life; and he restores you, and now he says, This is my glory; this is what I can do in a reckless person; this is how I can change someone. And that’s why God shows his favor to you, because he allows you to be a transformed individual, that he receives glory because you’ve been changed; not by yourself, not by your deserving, but by his unearned favor towards you. Do you see that? He gets glory because you are his piece of artwork. You were marble that was in the rough, and he chiseled away and brought beauty to that formless nothing. He brought beauty into your life by changing you from what you were into what you now are. And now all we can say is, God, would you chisel some more, because I’m not what I want to be yet, I’m not what you intend for me to be yet. Would you keep chiseling away? God favors us not by our deserving but by his free choice. He looks at you and says, Now I can do 9 something with that. Not because you deserve it but because he delights in taking nothing and making it wonderful. Keep a finger here. Go to I Corinthians. I’m just moved by the Lord right now to go somewhere I didn’t intend, and that’s all right. God will receive the glory here. I Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18, all this idea about God’s favor to the undeserved. This also speaks, by the way, while you’re turning there, speaks of why Jesus was born in a stable, in a manger, rather than being born in a throne room and elevated to emperor of the universe. He was humbly born so that he could connect with humble people. I Corinthians 1 verse 18. We’ll read through a couple verses here. “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart. “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of 10 what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs, Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews, foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, the weakness of God is stronger than men. “For consider your calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in this world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in this world to shame the strong; God chose what is low, what is despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no human might boast in the presence of God.” No human might boast in the presence of God. Going back to Mary, why did God pick Mary? She was low, she was sinful, and God showed his mercy to her the way he shows mercy to all of us so that — what did the verse just say? So that no human being might boast in the presence of God. If we think we’re something, and God surely must pick me because look at how great I am — you hear the pride there. If we think that, then when we stand 11 before God one day and we say, God, you must let me in because look at how suave and hip and cool I am. And God will say, beat it; just beat it. I had to throw that part in there, had to. Love it. My girls are dancers, man. They throw on Spotify, they dance all the time. And Molly for the Halloween parade at school, they always do Beat — Not Beat It. What’s the one? A CONGREGANT: Thriller. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Yeah, Thriller, they do that. And Molly, man, she was on point is what we’ll say. But even that, she can’t boast before God in his presence. All right. That’s bringing it full circle. Let’s go back to Mary, Luke chapter 1. God shows his favor to her, to you, to me by his free choice, not because we deserve it. God showed favor to this young woman. He says, “Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.” “She was troubled,” verse 29 of chapter 1. She was trying to understand and discern what that greeting might be. He says, “Don’t be afraid.” Do you know every time in the scripture when someone sees an angel they’re afraid. Last week Zechariah was afraid. Every time an angel shows up the person is afraid. 12 I think of Gideon in the book of Judges. An angel of the Lord stands before Gideon and says, “Hail, mighty warrior,” and Gideon is there shaking in his boots like — he’s just here to hide from the Midianites and thresh some wheat in the winepress and hears, “Hail, mighty warrior.” Every time an angel shows up the person is afraid. And he calms her down, “Don’t be afraid.” Verse 30, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God.” Favor. You have found favor with God. Friend, when God looks at you, you need to be able to say to your crummy self, when you feel horrible, when you feel unworthy, when you feel unacceptable? You must by faith look at a God who says to you, “I favor you.” By his choice, not by anything you’ve done. And so anything you do, that you screw up? He says to himself, I still favor you, because I favor you by my choice, not by what you’ve done. He at all times looks at you with his accepting favor, with his gracious eyes of acceptance and love. And so this week one way I would take away this principle of his favor, one way I would take that away and go home with it is on our connection point on your 13 sermon notes. Look at what it says under point No. 1. “I will talk to God this week about my feelings of unacceptability.” Sometimes we feel undeserving, and that’s a correct feeling, but then you must connect it to, but I trust in your grace. You see, we should never say I deserve your love; I earn your favor; I deserve my standing in heaven. We must never say those things. We must always say, it is not anything I could do. I am unworthy. But by faith you must connect it to the next step, which is: And God still looks on you with his favor. Because it was never anything you’ve done, it’s always been what he’s done. Which is why he goes to the cross. Instead of saying: All right, now you have potential; get with it, let’s go. He says, You’re unable to come to me, so let me die your death for you; let me pay the penalty of your sin in your place. He goes to the cross, he earns God’s favor, and he gives it to you as a gift. And so when you feel unacceptable, this is what you should pray: God, I am unworthy, but your grace is great. Would you allow me the privilege of feeling your grace in my life right now? I don’t want to feel worthy in my strength; I want to feel worthy through 14 your grace. And friend, if you struggle with that, if you pray that and you can’t connect that, if you can’t feel that grace working in your life, some scriptures to just join ahead and — you know, if you struggle with this idea of grace, here are two great passages to read through this week. Ephesians 2 verses 1 through 10 or Romans 5 verses 1 through 10. And here’s just an idea to read through. Read through the whole ten verses, and then take a day and just read one of those verses and say it back to yourself every day, because those verses are so true and so life-transforming. They really focus on his free choice giving us his favor. Hail, favored one. Let’s go to point No. 2. In verses 31 through 36 Gabriel tells Mary an incredible story. The fish was this big, right? It was one of those crazy, unbelievable stories. He says, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son. You will call his name Jesus.” I’m sure after those couple words she wasn’t listening at all anymore and she was just running through her brain, how could this be; how could this be? What is going to happen to me? What am I going to tell my parents? What is the town going to think? 15 Oh, my goodness. She’s just rattling through all of these impossibilities. Because we all know where babies come from, and Mary knows I haven’t done that. Verse 27. I’m a virgin betrothed; I have not yet had relations with a man. She even says that in verse 34. “How can this be? I’m a virgin.” The angel tells her, but I want to connect all these dots and explain to you why Jesus had to come in this manner. “You’ll call his name Jesus.” Do we know what the name Jesus means? Jesus is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Joshua. Joshua means God is our Savior. That’s a good name. It’s a good name for the savior of the world. Amen? It’s not Mahershalalhashbaz, for example, or Shibboleth or Mephibosheth, all these great Old Testament names, which have great meanings but they don’t mean God is our Savior. Here God is going to come into the world as a man named Jesus, a son named Jesus. Some scripture just to connect some dots for you Old Testament-wise. Isaiah 7 verse 14 we read at the beginning of our gathering. “A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which means God is with us. And then Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6: “A son shall 16 be given to us . . . He shall be called Wonderful Counselor.” What’s the next one? Almighty God. Almighty God. “The Son shall be born to us, and his name shall be Almighty God.” Wrap your head around that. And in case you just flippantly dismiss that one, what’s the next name that Isaiah 9 verse 6 gives? Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God? Eternal Father. Eternal Father. That is clearly Yahweh God, this is clearly the God of Israel will become a son. There is no other alternative. When he is called Eternal Father in Isaiah 9 verse 6, we have to say to ourselves, God is clearly saying he is coming as a baby. Now when Gabriel announces it, the mother to be says, How can this be? This is impossible. And for you and I today to wrap our theological minds around this idea that God came to earth as a man, he’s a hundred percent God and a hundred percent man; and Luke chapter 1 unpacks both of those, doesn’t it? In verse 32: “He will be called great. He will be called the Son of the Most High, the Lord God,” and then . . . so the Son of the most high. So clearly he’s God. And then the verse goes on, right? And the Lord God will give him what? “The throne of his 17 Father David.” So he’s called the Son of the Most High, but he’s also called the Son of David. So he’s God and he’s man, and Luke is trying to connect us and force us to realize he’s a hundred percent God, a hundred percent man, and we agree with Mary, verse 34, how can that be? Because we all laugh at the coaches and the sports players that joke and say they gave 110 percent when it’s not possible to give more than a hundred percent. That’s the definition of a hundred percent. If you gave what you call 110 percent, that actually means you gave a hundred percent and last week you were just only giving 90 percent, because a hundred percent means all that is possible to give. So how can Jesus be both at the same time? And this man that comes into the world, and a paralytic is dropped from the ceiling and Jesus says to that man, “Your sins are forgiven,” and the Pharisees ridicule and say, “This man blasphemes, because only God can forgive sins.” And now we go back to chapter 1 and laugh because we know from chapter 1 verse 32 he is God, so he can forgive sins. We kind of know the punchline. But the Pharisees are ridiculing, but they don’t even realize that they’re 18 non-intentionally blaspheming Jesus. God sends Jesus to the earth to be both fully God and fully man so that Jesus can bridge the gap that we could never connect. Because we’re over here sinful, God is over here blameless, and we can’t get to him because we’re not blameless like he is. So Jesus comes down, becomes both God and man so that he can bridge us to God. This reminds me of what Jesus said in John 14 verse 6. “I am the way, the truth, the life.” What does he say? A CONGREGANT: No man comes. PASTOR SCHMOYER: “No one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus says. Jesus becomes the bridge to cross between sinful, blame-filled humans and a holy, blameless God. Jesus is the bridge. And we see that in verse 33. “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will have no end.” You see this world spinning out of control? Do you feel it? I think a lot of you feel it because you’re watching those zombie shows, and it’s not so much really about the zombies as it is about we know something crazy is about to come. We feel it in our gut. Between the cold war that’s going on in Syria, right? Russia and Iran are together helping one side 19 of that controversy. Saudi Arabia and America are on the other side helping the other side of that controversy. It’s Vietnam all over again, and we feel it going out of control. The Russia/Ukraine business, it’s going out of control. The girls in Africa kidnapped from the orphanage and sold off as sex slaves. Nothing done about it except some stupid hashtag, and the problem still exists and continues. This world is out of control. We feel it spinning wildly. We see our own country defiling itself in so many impossible ways. And then we see this promise that Jesus will reign forever, and it gives me calm. Because as my Sunday school teacher taught me: “I read the end of this book. God wins.” I don’t have to worry about what’s happening now. I know God’s got me, and I know where I’m going, and I know that all I got to do is try to take as many people with me as possible. I hope that’s your passion; I hope that’s what you live for; I hope that’s what makes your heart tick. To join Jesus in being a bridge from disbelief to belief, from a life lived without God to a life lived with God. Every human heart wants that. They just don’t understand that they want it, so they try to fill it with everything: romance, experiences, 20 sports, job, work-aholic, alcoholic. We try to fill it with everything except God, and it doesn’t work. And Jesus is the bridge, and we can join Jesus in being the bridge. Which drives me to our takeaway for point No. 2. Right underneath point No. 2, “I will share the good news of our reconciling God with people who need to experience its life-changing joy.” If you want more on that, read II Corinthians chapter 5, the entire chapter. It starts beautifully and gives us our hope of eternal lie. It ends beautifully with our call by God to be his ambassador and to share that good news with other people. We’re going to meet a lot of hopeless people this Christmas, and we have the only answer to that hopelessness. It’s Jesus. He’s going to reign forever and ever. There will be no end to his government. So join him now, follow him now. Finally, point No. 3. In verses 34 to 38, here we see Mary wrestling with the fact that this is impossible. Let me just read it. 34. “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I’m a virgin?'” Wrestling with the impossibility. 35: “The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will 21 overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called the Holy Son of God. Behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has conceived a son. This is the sixth month with her who has been called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And so she replies, “Behold, I’m your servant. Let it be done to me according to your word.” She wrestled with the impossibility. The angel calmly explained how it could possibly be. She comes to the place of acceptance. And I guess I want to tell you from this, model your life after this woman of God, right? God wants us to believe the impossible, and the plausible happens because that’s what we expect to happen. When we don’t fervently pray for God to do things that seem impossible, he doesn’t do the things that are impossible because he wants people to have faith. He wants us to have deep faith. He wants us to have a deep faith that says to a mountain, hey you, go into the ocean, and that mountain jumps into the ocean. I don’t have that kind of faith. You go up to Blue Mountain and say hey, you, let’s jack up Atlantis, go out to the Atlantic Ocean, and Blue Mountain just hops on over there. I don’t have that kind of faith. Do you? Jesus said it, go do it. 22 God wants us to believe the principle of verse 37. And it’s so short, maybe just this week verse 37. “Nothing will be impossible for God.” With Zechariah, when God told him the impossible, he did not believe, and God punished him with muteness; he could not talk. This week Mary asks the same question: “How can this be?” He said how can this be since I’m old; she said how can this be since I’m young. We’re all asking: God, We don’t think you can do things. And God’s waiting for the person that says, I believe; I think you can act. God, would you please do this? And he’ll do it because you believe he’ll act, you believe he’ll do it. You believe the principle of verse 37, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Nothing is impossible with him. He could do everything, he could do anything. Ephesians 3:20 says that he can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we can ask or even imagine. And if he can put his precious cargo in the womb of this virgin, the Savior of the world through a virgin; if he can do that. If he can take these two good-as-dead people, Zechariah and Elizabeth, and he can open that womb that’s been closed for decades . . . If he can do that and he can do this with Mary, 23 then he can do anything you could possibly dream up. He can make a rock so big he can’t lift it. You just puzzle that one around in your head. If God can do anything, can he make a rock so big that he can’t lift it? Yes. And then he’ll lift it because he can do anything. He can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we even imagine. And if we would just believe that our God can do impossible things. One of the impossible things that I always wrestle with is, this person has been antagonistic towards God for decades. God, what can you do in that? That hard, stubborn heart, what can you do in that? And then I open up to Acts, and he opens up the stubborn heart of Saul, who we now call Paul. He wrote most of the New Testament. Why? Because God can open up the stubborn heart of a stubborn disbeliever. And he could do it with your family member, too. If we would believe, if we would ask, if we would go to him in all faith and say God, I believe you can; now I’m asking that you would. Faith in the impossible. I think the reason that God does the impossible with this? He doesn’t bring Abram into the world this way; he doesn’t bring King David into the world this 24 way. Even Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, he didn’t give birth to Solomon this way. God did the impossible through the birth of Jesus why? Because God wants to showcase in the life of Jesus Christ, now here is something that you need to listen to; now here is a message that needs to shake you, because look what I did to bring him about. In many faith traditions of the world, in many non-Christian religions, they actually do believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. They just don’t connect the dots to why would God do that exceptional thing in this instance? They don’t connect the dots and they don’t say, well, we should follow him because clearly he is the one unique person in all of human history. God does the impossible through Jesus to showcase the importance of Jesus. And so perhaps this holiday, in the stillness of your day, in the stillness of your week — and I know there’s no stillness, I know that — you still need to take time. Otherwise Christmas will be of no value. We pedal the wheels and we get so busy going down the track, and we never take time to reflect, and so Christmas never does anything to us. The buzz wears off on January 1st of all of the filling and cookies and eggnog and presents and family 25 times and all of the rituals that we participate in and the tree comes down, and you go back to life as usual and nothing different happened because we never took time to be still and think about it. And this Christmas God wants you to think about this last takeaway. God, show me something impossible that you can do. God, show me how you can do the impossible once again. God, in my circumstance do something impossible so I can see and bring glory to you through it or so that I can point someone to the fact that you did that thing. Reflect on a God who does the impossible. Let’s wrap it up in prayer. God, we love you. We thank you for your precious word. We thank you that it is still true 2,000 years later that this baby boy, Jesus, is still the God who saves as his name implies; that this Jesus still is the Son of the Most High God, and yet he bridges the gap between humanity and God by becoming the Son of David as well, for Joseph was a descendant of David, and Jesus becomes a descendant of David through that bridge. Lord, that you bridged the gap between humanity and yourself through your son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And perhaps, Lord, there’s someone in this 26 room that is hearing this business of God saves through Jesus, God forgives through Jesus, God gives us eternal life through Jesus, and maybe there’s someone here today that has not yet ever experienced the joy of what that forgiveness is all about. And, God, perhaps today’s the day you’re going to become Jesus all over again, the God who saves. Friend, maybe today is the day that you need to come to God through Jesus. You’ve lived a life that God is good, God provides, but you’ve never thought in your heart about how God provides forgiveness, how God provides eternal life. And friend, maybe today is the day that you’ve been receiving all of his provisions but you’ve not yet received the provision of forgiveness, of heaven. And Jesus stands ready to give you that gift like he’s been ready to give you all that you have all your life long. And friend, if you’re ready to pray to ask Jesus to come into your life and to cleanse you from your sin and to give you the gift of eternal life, there is no high hoop you need to jump through, you do not need to get your act together before he can come into your reckless life. He is ready and active now to take that granite in the rough, that marble in the rough and to chisel something beautiful and to bring life to 27 your soul. And so all it involves is praying. Praying is just talking. We give it a special name because it is a special act. We’re talking to God. And in the quietness in this moment, in the stillness of your heart God knows what you think, he knows what you feel. And so just pray along with me in the quietness of this moment. Jesus, I thank you for coming on Christmas Day. I thank you for coming down to this world to live life with us and to be born in a very humble manner. I know that you went from bad to worse. You went from a feeding trough in your birth to the worst death imaginable, the cross. And you went to that death for my sake because my sin deserved my punishment. And I believe, Jesus, that you went to the cross to take my punishment away, that I did all the wrong and you graciously took it away. But I’ve never asked you to do it, and, God, now I’m asking, please forgive me. Come into my life and save me from my wrongdoing. Jesus, give me the gift of eternal life because your word promises, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in the Son will not perish but have eternal life. 28 And so you promise it, and so I ask for it. Jesus, give me that precious gift. Help me to follow you, help me to trust in you, help me to believe this impossible truth that God wrapped himself in flesh, died on the cross, was buried, and burst out of the tomb on Easter Sunday three days after his death. I believe, Jesus, you rose from the dead, and I believe even if I died I will live with you forever in heaven. Friend, if you believe in what Jesus did and you ask him into your life, you will receive those gifts. He has promised it. God does do the impossible, and he did that impossible in your soul even this morning. God, as we as believers conclude this gathering of worship and as we think of how to take your word and put it into practice this week, Lord, maybe it’s just trusting you in a deeper way, believing the impossible, that you will and can act today. Maybe, Lord, it is sharing this good news with others the way that Jesus shared his good news with those who were lost. Lord Jesus, perhaps it’s just fostering a deeper trust in you and reflecting on you and building faith in you. Lord, whatever we need to do based on your word, help us to put it into practice this week. We do pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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