Here He Comes – Believe

Here He Comes – Believe

Here He Comes – Believe!

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CHAPTER 7

SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – BELIEVE!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:26-28

TEXT: In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:26-28)

INTRODUCTION: God meets us in the commonplace events of life most of the time, but there likely will be a few times in our lives when God reveals Himself in rather dramatic and unexpected ways, all for the purpose of deepening our faith in God and increasing our love for God.

PROPOSITION: Here He comes! Jesus is coming! So believe and receive!

I. Divine Initiative – Human Confusion (v. Luke 1:25-29)

A. Divine Initiative (v. Luke 1:26-28)

B. Human Confusion (v. Luke 1:29)

II. Divine Revelation – Human Amazement (v. Luke 1:30-34)

A. Divine Revelation (v. Luke 1:30-33)

B. Human Amazement (v. Luke 1:34)

III. Divine Reassurance – Human Submission (v. Luke 1:35-38)

A. Divine Reassurance (v. Luke 1:35-37)

B. Human Submission (v. Luke 1:38)

CONCLUSION: God takes the initiative to reveal His shockingly wonderful plans to us, causing a human response of confusion or bewilderment. God's plans are challenges to man's ability to trust and believe and obey. In the midst of human bewilderment comes God's reassurance and God's call to submission and trust.

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CHAPTER 7

SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – 'BELIEVE'!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:26-28

TEXT: In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:26-28)

INTRODUCTION: "Here He Comes" – that is the proclamation of Advent or Christmas. Jesus is the God who comes to mankind! He is the one who makes His abode with mankind.

Have you ever wished that God would come close to you, would reveal Himself to you in intimate and wonderful ways?

"God is constantly seeking to meet us in the common and unexpected moments of life. He does not wait for what we are pleased to call the 'grand moments' but He will make the common place the grand. We walk about blind to the glory that is around us because we do not expect to find it there. We mortgage the joys of the present, the quiet homely joys of humdrum days, to our anticipations of some distant time of overwhelming happiness of a kind that never comes to most people. God has not concealed our happiness in some fabled EL Dorado. It is all around us if we would only learn to see it in common things." (Daily Readings; 185, Sangster)

God meets us in the common things of life. A minister tells of a time when he went to view outdoor fireworks with some friends. While the fireworks went off, the minister was fascinated with a most glorious sunset, and he sought to draw the attention of his friends to the exquisite sight. But the friends were so preoccupied with the view of the man-made fireworks that they did not once turn around to view the God-made sunset. They were so fascinated with man's manufactured beauty that they failed to meet God that night in the commonplace things of life – things like an evening sunset.

Do you wish to meet God and as a result become a man of greater faith, full of belief'? Then meet God in your daily Quiet Time. Meet Him in the routine of mundane duties. Meet Him in the beauties of nature. Meet Him in the struggles of life, common to all men. See Him in a sunrise or a sunset. Hear Him speak to you in a grand sweep of music, or in the chirping of a bird, or in the coo of an infant. God will come to you in the round of daily events and speak to you in the commonplace things of life.

God meets us in the commonplace events of life most of the time, but there likely will be a few times in our lives when God reveals Himself in rather dramatic and unexpected ways, all for the purpose of deepening our faith in God and increasing our love for God.

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God came to a young Jewish woman in a rather dramatic way. Doubtless, God had come to Mary on many occasions during her daily walk with God, but on one special day, unexpectantly, God came to Mary to reveal a special message to her.

In studying the divine-human encounter, as related in our Scripture, there is a clearly discernable pattern, a pattern that is often repeated in Scripture.

There is a divine action, followed by a human response. Here is the pattern as illustrated in Luke 1:26-28.

Divine Action Human Response
1. Divine Initiative (Luke 1:26-28) 1. Human Confusion (Luke 1:29)
2. Divine Revelation ( Luke 1:30-33) 2. Human Amazement (Luke 1:34)
3. Divine Reassurance (Luke 1:35-37) 3. Human Submission (Luke 1:38)

PROPOSITION: Here He comes! Jesus is coming! So believe and receive!

I. Divine Initiative – Human Confusion (Luke 1:26-29)

A. Divine Initiative (Luke 1:26-28)

"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth." These words reveal the kind of God we serve. God is always the God who acts. God is not passive; He is active. God is not complacent; He is caring. God always takes the first step towards mankind. God always acts according to His divine purpose. God does not simply wind the clock and then let the clock (the world) run on its own. He, the Winder of the clock (the Creator of the world), is intimately involved in the running of the clock (the running of the world).

Look at a few examples of God's initiative.

God's Creative Initiative (Genesis 1:1)

God's call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1) – 'The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your country. '"

God's call of Moses (at the fiery Bush) – Exodus 3:2.

God's call of Gideon (Judges 6:11-12)

God's call of Amos (Amos 7:14-15)

God's call of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-8)

God's call to Paul (Acts 9:3-6)

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It is when you least expect God's call that God's call may come to you – when you are preoccupied with your own affairs and plans, when you feel least qualified to carry out the task God assigns to you.

"This is what the Lord says, he who made earth, the Lord who formed it and established it – the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great unsearchable things you do not know. '" (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

While you are calling upon the Lord in your prayers, daily and routinely, nothing may seem to be happening. But one day, unexpectedly (like as in the case of Mary), the Lord will come to you in an unusual way to reveal Himself to you, all for the purpose of blessing you and deepening your faith in the living God.

Do you lack faith and belief? Then just keep praying, keep walking in all the 'light' of truth you presently have, and the day will come (like it did to Mary) when the Lord God will reveal Himself wonderfully and surprisingly to you.

B. Human Confusion (Luke 1:29)

When the Lord breaks through to you and speaks to you, your initial response may be like Mary's: "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be." (Luke 1:29)

Initial confusion is not an unusual human response to God's divine message. I feel sure that Abram was confused at first when God told him to leave his country and people to go to an unknown land. (Genesis 12:1-20) When God called to Moses out of the fiery bush, "Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God." (Exodus 3:6) When God's angel appeared to Gideon and announced to Gideon that the Lord was with him, Gideon responded in great confusion: "But sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our father told us about when they said, 'Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian." (Judges 6:13) When God called Jeremiah to be His prophet, Jeremiah's response was one of reticence, of confusion: "Ah Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." (Jeremiah 1:6)

When God took the initiative to reveal Himself to Saul the Persecutor, Saul was totally 'taken off guard', confused and baffled! "He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked." (Acts 9:4-5)

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When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, her response was not unlike the response of many before and after her who have been encountered by the living God: "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be." (Luke 1:29)

When God comes in unexpected ways and at unexpected times to reveal Himself and His message to you, it will not be surprising if you at first react with confusion, questions, wonderment.

The message which God wants to give you may be so wonderful that you at first shake your head in unbelief!

The Lord is getting you ready for a new revelation in your life which, if you accept it, will result in deepening your faith and belief in the living Christ. Don't allow your initial confusion to keep you from experiencing the full blessing of the new revelation of God to you. Say to yourself, when the Lord comes to you in new and strange ways: "My soul, wait thou only for the Lord, for my salvation cometh from the Lord." (Psalms 62:5)

II. Divine Revelation – Human Amazement (Luke 1:30-34)

A. Divine Revelation (Luke 1:30-33)

It was while Mary was confused and 'greatly troubled' that God's angel spoke to her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)

Amidst human confusion, divine comfort is offered. Human confusion soon gives way to human amazement, at the announcement of the divine message! When God catches your attention dramatically, He has a dramatic message to share with you. Again, let it be emphasized that God, for the most part, reveals Himself to His people in what might be called the regular and routine and commonplace ways. Never minimize these regular revelations to you – revelations through the beauties of nature, through the warm affirmations of a friend, through the moving stanzas of a musical, through the smile of a child, through the exhortations of a sermon, through the inspirational paragraph from a Christian book, through the challenging impact of a Scriptural passage, and on and on. Yes, God reveals Himself to us in so-called commonplace events, but there may be times, as in the case of Mary, when the Lord shall come to us in rather shocking ways. You probably will be just as confused as Mary was when the Lord comes to you in special and unexpected ways.

Just remember: the Lord never comes to you in order to baffle you, but in order to bless you! Your confusion will give way to comfort if you hold steady and listen for God's message!

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Think of the wonderful content of God's message to Mary. "But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever,' his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:30-33)

"Do not be afraid, Mary." Fear is one of man's paralyzing problems. Often the Lord comes to us and says, "Fear not." When God calls us to a new realm of responsibility, we sometimes are filled with fear – fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or many other fears. It was so with Joshua, the successor of Moses. Joshua had big shoes to fill, and he was afraid when God gave him the task of leading the Hebrew people into the land of Canaan. The Lord told Joshua to 'Fear not': "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous." (Joshua 1:6-7 a)

"You have found favor with God." God comes to you because He loves you and wants to bless your life, not because you are perfect or sinless. Mary was a devout young Jewish girl, perhaps in her late teens, a girl whose affections were fixed on the living God. Any person, young or old, whose life is centered in God, whose daily devotions are filled with delight, whose desires are godly, is greatly favored of the Lord. Not that we can earn God's favor, but only he whose life is open to God can be filled with God. If you seek God in your daily life consistently, you can expect God to reveal Himself to you someday dramatically.

Someone said that the soul gets on by a series of crises. There is a day-by-day walking with God, sometimes with little feeling and with seemingly slow progress. And then suddenly and unexpectantly a new vision or revelation will come to you from God. A sudden turn of events, or a new miracle, or a new insight into God's Word, or a new decision which has lifetime results, or a new call into Christian service – these are the revelations which come to God's people which show that they "have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)

"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:31-33)

No woman has been more favored than Mary. She was given the honor of carrying and giving birth to the Son of God! Mary was chosen to become a tool for God's great saving purpose. His name would be 'Jesus', which means

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'Saviour'. He will be the 'Son of the Most High'. He will reign on his father David's throne. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Mary's Son, a Kingdom which shall last forever and composed of all true believers of all ages.

God's special revelations to us are all concerned with God's saving purposes which He desires to accomplish in our world, using us as His instruments to accomplish those redemptive purposes.

So, anyone who claims to have a special revelation from God which is characterized by selfishness can be quickly 'set straight'. God never reveals anything to anyone that is contradictory to his saving purposes, purposes which are clearly outlined in His Holy Word – the Bible!

God may have a special revelation to give to you as He did to Mary, but the content of that revelation will always be the content of salvation – perhaps a special call to take the Gospel to a certain obscure area of the world, or a call to start a Christian Day School, or a call to communicate the Gospel by setting up home Bible studies with unsaved friends, or some other kind of saving purpose.

B. Human Amazement (Luke 1:34)

When God reveals Himself to you in special ways, you may be just as amazed as Mary was. Mary responded, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34) You, too, may respond to God's special call to you: "God, how can this be? Surely your request is impossible for me to fulfill!"

When God told Moses that He was sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses responded with as much amazement as Mary manifested when Gabriel told her she was to give birth to Jesus. Moses responded "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:11)

The Lord came to Gideon and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian 's hand. Am I not sending you?" Gideon responded with great amazement: "But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Judges 6:15) Amazement mixed with feelings of deep inferiority and inadequacy!

When God reveals the content of His call to you, you can expect to respond with amazement. You will, like Mary, feel overwhelmed and perhaps even say "How can this be? This assignment is humanly unaccomplishable!" Mary, a virgin, could not bear the Son of God without a miraculous conception! You and I cannot fulfill God's call without divine intervention!

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III. Divine Reassurance – Human Submission (Luke 1:35-38)

A. Divine Reassurance (Luke 1:35-37)

When the content of God's special revelation is shown to us, the inevitable human response will be amazement, for we know that the assignment cannot be fulfilled, short of a divine miracle! It was when Mary was filled with amazement and unbelief that God's angel gave reassurance to Mary. "The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.'" (Luke 1:35-37)

It is the Holy Spirit who is the source of power to accomplish the otherwise unaccomplishable! Just as the Holy Spirit empowered Mary and overshadowed her, so the Holy Spirit will do the same for us when God calls us to work for Him.

The Holy Spirit accomplishes the miracle, in this case, the miraculous conception of Jesus whose life and ministry would be holy. The miracles that God accomplishes through our obedient cooperation, will also be wonderful. The results will be holy and sacred. The impossible is possible with God! The weak are strong in God's strength! That which is foolish in the eyes of men is wise in the eyes of God!

God is always ready to reassure our hearts, to strengthen our wills, to quiet our fears, to still our doubts.

One way in which God chooses to reassure our hearts when we are tempted to doubt His power or are tempted to center on our inadequacies, is to direct our attention to persons in whose lives He is working similar miracles as the miracle He wishes to accomplish in our own lives. As a part of His reassurance to Mary, God's angel directed Mary's attention to Elizabeth. "And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." (Luke 1:36-37)

What a great encouragement it is to us, when we are struggling to believe God for a new and great miracle in our lives, to look at another person who is a living illustration of God's miraculous power in action. The miracle God wishes to accomplish in my life will be unique from that in any other person's life, but to get my eyes on God's miracles in any form gives a great impetus to my ability to believe God for the special miracle He wishes to work in my own life.

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B. Human Submission (Luke 1:38)

Luke 1:38 reveal Mary's submission to God's plan. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." In spite of the miraculous nature of God's revelation, Mary was convinced of its reality and therefore submitted in humility to God's will "And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'" (Luke 1:38)

Mary believed and so must we when God reveals Himself to us!

Abraham believed God and God rewarded him in amazing ways. Moses reluctantly obeyed God and went to Pharaoh, and, as a result, God used Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan. Gideon was slow to submit to God's will, but God was forbearing and Gideon finally obeyed decisively and became God's instrument for a decisive victory over the Midianites. Mary was quick to submit herself to God, and she became one of God's greatest instruments for His saving purposes.

How are we brought to a new level of belief in our lives? First, by learning to see God in the commonplace things of life and learning to respond to God as He reveals Himself in our devotional life, daily and routinely. Second, by responding obediently to God's special calls and revelations in our lives, as illustrated wonderfully in the submission of Mary to God's special revelation to her.

CONCLUSION: Here is the process: God takes the initiative to reveal His shockingly wonderful plans to us, causing a human response of confusion or bewilderment. God's plans are challenges to man's ability to trust and believe and obey. In the midst of human bewilderment comes God's reassurance and God's call to submission and trust.

When God confronts us with His plans and challenges, we can either harden our hearts in unbelief (like those did in Nazareth who heard Jesus preach, Luke 4:28-30), or we can open our lives in humble submission to God's leadership like Mary did when she was told that she, a virgin, would conceive and bear a Son whose name would be Jesus!

Walk humbly with thy God daily and then someday, perhaps when you least expect it, God will come to you with a special plan or a special miracle or a special blessing – all of which, if you accept them, will result in a deepening of your faith and belief in Jesus!

Experience God's miracles in your life – this will expand your faith and deepen your belief immeasurably! That's what Christmas is all about! Experiencing God in the commonplace daily events of life will someday result in experiencing Him in some unusual way.

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Chapter 7

Questions

  1. Give your personal reactions to the following quotation: "God meets us in the common things of life. Meet Him in your daily Quiet Time. Meet Him in the routine of mundane duties. Meet Him in the beauties of nature. Meet Him in the struggles of life, common to all men. See Him in a sunrise or a sunset. Hear Him speak to you in a grand sweep of music, or in the chirping of a bird, or in the coo of an infant. God will come to you in the round of daily events and speak to you in the commonplace things of life."

  2. How does Luke 1:26 show that God is not passive but active, that He is not complacent but caring, that He is the God who always take the initiative in seeking mankind? Give other examples from Biblical history when God took the initiative to communicate to mankind.

  3. From your own experience, share how the following statement reflects the truth regarding the nature of God's special calls: "It is when you least expect God's call that God's call may come to you – when you are preoccupied with your own affairs and plans, when you feel least qualified to carry out the task God assigns to you."

  4. Give examples from Biblical history that illustrate the typical reaction of one who receives a special call or revelation from God. (Note Luke 1:29; Genesis 12:1-20; Exodus 3:6; Judges 6:13; Jeremiah 1:6; Acts 9:4-5) When God comes to you in new and perhaps 'strange' ways, what (according to Psalms 62:5) should your response be?

  5. How does God comfort His children (and thus alleviate their fears), following the new revelations of Himself to believers? (Note Luke 1:30)

  6. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "If you (like Mary) seek God in your daily life consistently, you can expect God to reveal Himself to you someday dramatically!"

  7. For what purpose does God give 'special revelations' of Himself to people?

  8. Tell to what extent you personally identify with the following statements: "All of God's revelations are calls to accomplish the humanly unaccomplishable! Mary, a virgin, could not bear the Son of God without a miraculous conception! You and I cannot fulfill God's call without divine intervention!" Give an illustration of a personal call or divinely given assignment, the fulfillment of which was dependent upon divine empowerment.

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  9. Ponder the following statement: "One way in which God chooses to reassure our hearts when we are tempted to doubt His power or are tempted to center on our inadequacies, is to direct our attention to persons in whose lives He is working similar miracles as the miracle He wishes to accomplish in our own lives." (Note Luke 1:36-37) Can you think of friends whose testimonies (regarding God's miracle in their lives) have served as sources of inspiration to you, to enable you to build your own faith in God's power to work miracles for you?

  10. With what attitude should we respond to God when He calls us to special assignments or when He reveals new and amazing plans for our personal lives? (Note Luke 1:38)

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