Self on the Shelf: A Reason for Hope
Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice, From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Last week, we talked about Zacharias and Elizabeth. In the first part of Luke 1, we read the story of how the Angel of the Lord appears to Zacharias and announces the upcoming birth of his son, John the Baptist. Today, we bring into the conversation a contrasting story that is found immediately following the one from last week, and of course this is the Angel’s announcement to Mary of Christ’s birth. This takes place about six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy and, while similar in content, vastly different in consequence.
Luke 1:26-45 (NLT)
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. 39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town. 40 where Zacharias lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
It is important for us as we continue talking about putting the right perspective in our hearts for Christmas that recognize the miracle that is Christmas. God with us.
1. Christmas is a reminder that Christ reigns
v32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!
1. Christmas is a reminder that Christ reigns
32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!
Five descriptions of Jesus:
1. He will be great – this not the same as being great in the sight of…
2. Called the Son of the Most High – His divinity (John called “prophet of Most High in Luke 1:76)
3. Throne of His ancestor David – messiah
4. Reign over Israel forever – God’s promise to David
2 Sam. 7:16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’
1 Kings 9:5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.
5. His Kingdom will never end – Isaiah 9:6-7
Is. 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice, From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
– It is easy in today’s world to feel as if we are on the losing side
– As a result, we see many Christians who find themselves discouraged
– Not only through, outside influences but also from internal struggles
– The birth of Christ was a declaration from God Himself that Jesus will rule and reign forever
2. Christmas is a reminder of His power
v37 For nothing is impossible with God.
– The Christmas story itself was actually the first miracle of Jesus’ life
– The fact that He was born in those circumstances left Mary and Joseph with no doubt who their child was
– This should also be true of us
3. Christmas is a reminder of God’s plan
45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.
– Believing in God’s perfect plan for your life brings nothing but blessings
– It is difficult to be truly discouraged when we believe in the sovereignty and power of God’s plan in our lives