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Date: 10 December, 2020
Text: Luke 1:26-49
Title: Containing Christ
ill. Life has some incredible opportunities. There were some in the news this week.
- Nasa Artemis program
note: As of April this year, more than 12,000 people had applied to join the new astronaut program.
exp. they announced this week that they have selected 18 astronauts who will travel to the Moon under the Artemis program. They are seeking to return to the lunar surface by 2024.
- Neil Simpson - BBC article - Aberdeenshire Para-skier Neil Simpson says being on the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year shortlist is "a big honour".
The visually-impaired 18-year-old has been nominated along with footballer Jude Bellingham and diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix. (Sir Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney and Tom Daley are among the previous recipients of the award.) "I must be doing something right to get into the top three," said Simpson."It's a big honour and definitely encouraging, it makes me want to work even harder.
exp. The astronauts and this young man have worked hard to qualify for these positions and have been given an incredible opportunity and rare privilige.
note: The story before us this morning is one of incredible opportunity and one of incredibly rare privilige. (The story is of a young lady from a poor family who was chosen by God to carry Jesus in her womb.)
26...the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
HIS MESSAGE TO HER WAS INCREDIBLE.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
exp. The King of Kings was to be her son. He was to be called JESUS. He would be given David's throne for all of eternity.
note: Praise God for a disciplined young lady who was prepared to take this incredible opportunity.
MARY WAS A GOOD VESSEL
def. container: Christ would be "contained" in her womb.)
She was what Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 2:21 "...a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
God has other incredible opportunities out there for prepared vessels.
BE A GOOD VESSEL THAT IS USEFUL TO GOD! Are you a good vessel? Will God use you?
Be a good vessel that God can use.
I. Be a good vessel that pleases God.
A. To be favoured by God is a high privilige.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,
def. favourite - past participle of 'to favour'
ill. Growing up I had a favourite fishing pole. I bought it to fish the boundary waters. I snapped it on a snag after my third cast. (spliced, as good as new) I could have returned it, but decided to keep it.
- It was my favourite - I would chose that one if I could.
I had a favourite golf club. My three wood (it was really a metal club), if I was in the fairway and far enough from the green, that was my club of choice.
- I would use that one if I could.
exp. a golf club or fishing pole is not alive, but if these things were living you could almost feel badly for those that existed but were never used. (My two iron - a club I had made, but never played and when I tried it just didn't work out very well.)
app. If you aren't used by God, I feel badly for you today. It is an HIGH HONOUR to be useful to God. Has God tried and it just hasn't worked? You ought to be jealous for God to take hold of your life and use you effectively.
B. You can find favour with God.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
exp. Mary is not what Catholics make her out to be. She is human and therefore had a sin nature. But, as she grew, she grew into a young lady that pleased God. "thou hast found favour with God."
ill. John Mark didn't do so well on his first mission trip. He made it to their first destination and then returned. Paul didn't like that and turned John Mark down on his second mission trip.
Act 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. (He didn't find favour with Paul.)
exp. But eventually John Mark would prove himself a worthy vessel for the Lord Jesus
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
exp. Mark had found favour and would be given a greater opportunity to serve God. (By the way - he is the human author of the book of Mark - so he FOUND FAVOUR WITH GOD.)
app. Are you at a point in your life where God is pleased with you and is ready to pick you up as a "favourite" of his to use for His work? "meet (convenient) for the Master's use.
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God.
II. Be a good vessel that is close to God.
28 ...the Lord is with thee:
exp. Jesus would feel at home in the womb of Mary, because Mary was at home with God.
note: God uses those who are godly.
ill. Paul's other companion on the first mission trip was a man who was close to God.
Acts 11: 22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. (He told them to do what he did.)
24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
ill. Missionary James Stewart - Pamphlet - She was only 22 - Helen, remarkable sense of the presence of God, wherever she sent - including at her death - as testified by those who buried her.
app. Are you someone who is truly Godly? Someone who is walking with God. Is the Lord with you and are you with the Lord?
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, that is close to God.
III. Be a good vessel chosen by God.
....blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
exp. Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel, who declares that she is the happiest of women. "Blessed (happy) art thou among women." Why? Because she is God's choice for this high honour.
note: Mary was chosen by God to be entrusted with a great responsability.
ill. I enjoyed reading an article on Fox News this week about KayLeigh McEnany - White House Press Secretary - young mother, who is married to a professional baseball pitcher.
“It is hard to describe the sheer joy I felt when I learned that I would be President Trump’s next White House press secretary,” McEnany said. “The years and years of hard work and sacrifice were culminating in an opportunity to communicate the Trump agenda directly to the American people.”
The Tampa, Florida native said she followed a path created by her faith.
“I knew that God put me in this position, at this moment in time, for a reason,” McEnany explained. “I recall both a former Democrat colleague at CNN as well as my Dad telling me you come into your position ‘for such a time as this’-- words from the book of Esther, a book that my hometown church ironically did a series on during my time here at the White House.”
She added: “I tell you this to emphasize I approached this position with a sense of responsibility to live up to the task God had planned for me.”
app. How do you approach the responsabilities for which God has chosen you? 2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, that is close to God, that is chosen by God.
IV. Be a good vessel that is pure for God.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
exp. Mary knew that for a child to be born there must be a relationship between a man and a woman. She wasn't married. She was engaged and had guarded her sexual purity.
ill. Our world doesn't value sexual purity.
British statistics - on promiscuity - don't feel comfortable sharing most of them.
1/3 of those interviewed lost their virginity before the age of 16.
(The age of consent in Britain is 16)
"In England and Wales, babies born to unmarried mothers were fewer than a fifth of all newborns until the mid-1980s, and hit 40 per cent in 2001. In 2017 the proportion ticked up from 47.6 per cent in 2016 after remaining virtually steady for five years."
Scotland - from 2010 - The proportion of births to unmarried parents (including births registered solely in the mother's name) was 50.2 per cent in 2010 compared to 42.6 per cent ten years earlier and 27.1 per cent in 1990.
exp. If you would be sexually pure in our day, you will be in the minority.
note: Praise God sin can be forgiven! But, Mary could not have born the Christ child if she wasn't a virgin.
app. Young people and adults, guard your sexual purity.
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, close to God, chosen by God, pure for God.
V. Be a good vessel empowered by God.
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
exp. Mary knew that biologically this birth was IMPOSSIBLE. But, God would remind her that with God all things were possible.
ill. Gabriel illustrates God's power by telling Mary that Elizabeth, "in her old age" - past child bearing year - was pregnant. John the Baptist was in her womb. This was such a miracle that John's Godly father, Zacharias, didn't believe the angel which told him that this would take place. As a consequence of his unbelief, he was unable to speak until his son was born.
ill. God is a God of miracles - My dad should have died or been paralyzed - but he walked out of the hospital 13 days after his car accident.
app. If you are a good vessel for God - God may ask you to do something impossible for you. But, if you know God has asked you to do it, you ought to trust Him for His power to get it done. There are many in full time ministry for God who know that they can't do what they are doing for God.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, close to God, chosen by God, pure for God, empowered by God.
VI. Be a good vessel submitted to God.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
exp. Mary has just spoken directly with a messenger from God who did not ask her to do what she was going to do. She had received her orders from God and she took them as from the hand of the King who would take up residence in her womb.
WHAT A STATEMENT OF SUBMISSION TO GOD.
"Be it unto me according to thy word."
question: How submitted are you to God?
hymn: "Have thine own way Lord, Have thine own way, thou art the potter I am the clay, mold me and make me, after thy will, while I am waiting yielded and still."
exp. Do you sing the words but mean in reality - I'll have mine own way Lord, I'll have mine own way."
ill. Duchess doesn't like the fire alarm. We don't think about bacon being cooked, but she does. She's not allowed upstairs, but she came up this week and I couldn't get her down. She was not going to go down, no matter if I pushed or pulled.
ill. In contrast, if we accidentally use the word walk - she is running to where her lead is kept and can't wait to do what she thinks we are going to do.
app. How do you feel about God's will for your life? Are you running away like Jonah or running to it like David - Psa 119:32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Be a good vessel submitted to God!
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, close to God, chosen by God, pure for God, empowered by God, submitted to God.
VII. Be a good vessel filled with faith in God.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
exp. Elizabeth filled with God's Spirit is given revelation by God.
- She immediately knows that Mary is pregnant.
- She knows that this son is the Christ.
- She knows the Mary received this blessing by faith.
FAITH IS KEY TO EVERYTHING GOD WOULD HAVE US DO AS HIS VESSEL.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
ill. Jesus - had the power to change men's lives, if they would only believe Him.
Mar 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Luk 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Luk 8:48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
Luk 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Luk 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
question: What don't you have because you don't believe God?
Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
ill. Hudson Taylor - Spiritual Secrets - one of my favourite biographies to read. Started a mission agency that was supported by gifts from God's people - by the time of his death they had 825 missionaries, 300 stations, 500 local chinese helpers, and 25,000 converts. (Taylor determined to live a life of faith.)
app. I say to all of us, God is still able to do great things through good vessels that are filled with faith in God. Are you someone who will wait on God in faith?
transition: Be a good vessel that pleases God, close to God, chosen by God, pure for God, empowered by God, submitted to God, filled with faith in God.
VIII. Be a good vessel humbly serving God.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
exp. She would exhalt the Lord!
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate (low rank) of his handmaiden (female servant): for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
ill. Catholic churches push mary up to the Godhead.
The Hail Mary (Latin: Ave Maria) is a traditional Scripture-based Christian prayer of praise for and petition to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic version of the prayer closes with an appeal for her intercession.
exp. The Catholic church has put Mary in a position she does not have and one which she would refute. SHE HAD A HIGH HONOUR OF WHICH SHE FELT UNWORTHY.
ill. C. H. Spurgeon - called the Prince of Preachers by others. Was a humble young man that God could use. When asked to take on the pastorate of New Park Street in London at the age of 19 he said, "“There is but one answer to so loving and cordial an invitation. I ACCEPT IT.” But he continued: “I entreat of you to remember me in prayer, that I may realize the solemn responsibility of my trust. Remember my youth and inexperience, and pray that these may not hinder my usefulness. I trust also that the remembrance of these will lead you to forgive mistakes I may make, or unguarded words I may utter…Oh, that I may be no injury to you, but a lasting benefit.”
app. If you are a good vessel for God, you will be a humble vessel that gives all glory to God.
There are some amazing opportunities in life. No opportunity in life will be as great as the one God can give to those who are A GOOD VESSEL THAT HE CAN USE.
1.) Do you please God? Have you found favour with God?
2.) Do you dwell with God? Are you close to Him?
3.) Have you been chosen by God? Do you view his call as a sober responsability.
4.) Are you a vessel that is purified for God? (Our world is wicked, but we must not be.)
5.) Are you a vessel empowered by God? Doing what is impossible without His power.
6.) Are you a vessel submitted to God? "Have thine own way Lord" Be it unto me according to....
7.) Are you a vessel filled with faith in God? "Be it unto thee according to thy faith."
8.) Are you humbly taking the opportunities that God gives to you? (unworthy of Him.)