Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - Dec 6
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain
  • Away in a Manger
  • Doxology
  • The Christmas Experience – Week Two
    Experiencing God’s Favor
    Text: Luke 1:26-38
    Dominant Thought: There’s no better place to be than in God’s favor.
    In this section we’re told that Mary found favor with God. We don’t know much about Mary, so we can’t be completely sure why.
    We can guess a little bit about what kind of a woman she was to find favor with God and bear the savior of the world. Most likely she was a humble, patient, and kind woman but the Bible doesn’t tell us that directly.
    What the story of Mary does tell us is a little bit about what finding favor with God means. So, what does finding favor with God mean? And, maybe an even more important question, are you experiencing the favor of God?
    First of all we learn that...

    God’s Favor is Surprising

    (Luke 1:26-30)
    See, Mary’s not just startled by the angel’s presence but because the angel called her “favored.” She’s not sitting around expecting God to reward her at any moment. God’s favor is surprising to her.
    In verse 28 we’re told...
    Luke 1:28 CSB
    And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”
    This is what troubled Mary....
    Luke 1:29 CSB
    But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.
    It’s not just the angels presence that troubles her. Then the angel repeats himself...
    Luke 1:30 CSB
    Then the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
    So Mary is surprised she has found favor with God.
    But why?
    Because finding favor with God is not a magic formula that we can put together and then expect God to be pleased with us and bless us. It’s not a name it and claim it kind of relationship.
    We don’t go to God and tell him he must heal us because we have faith or because we’ve been good. Finding favor doesn’t have anything to do with telling God what he must do.
    When God finds favor with someone, it’s because they have a specific role to play in His plan, and there’s no way to predict exactly what He will do or when He will do it.
    Was Mary humble, and patient and kind? Probably. But that wasn’t why God choose her. God showed her favor because it fit his purposes and so Mary is rightly surprised.
    And we should be too, if we are experiencing the favor of God. If we are experiencing God’s favor we won’t be sitting around pridefully counting all our blessings.
    Instead we’ll be thinking why me? Why has God chosen to use me? I just don’t get it! That’s why God’s favor is troubling and surprising.
    So, God’s favor is surprising, but it is also...

    God’s Favor is Powerful

    (Luke 1:31-37)
    The plan the angel unfolds to Mary will, quite literally, require a miracle. Mary in verse 34 reminds the angel that she is a virgin and cannot become pregnant.
    Luke 1:34–35 CSB
    Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” The angel replied to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
    When I read this I imagine a long pause in the conversation while the Angel’s words words sink in and just when Mary’s brain is about to short circuit he says in verse 36...
    Luke 1:36–37 CSB
    And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
    Mary, don’t worry. God’s done this kind of thing before, not exactly, but “Nothing is impossible with God.” God’s favor is powerful.
    When God wants to use someone for His purposes, it will often seem impossible. But God’s power will be with us to make the impossible possible.
    Often, when God shows his favor on a person, and calls them to do something, there is no other plausible explanation for it being accomplished than the power of God.
    Salvation, itself, is like this. When Jesus told his disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God they were deeply troubled...
    Matthew 19:25–26 CSB
    When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    They thought none of us have a chance! It’s hopeless! Yes, Salvation is impossible with men but with God all things are possible.
    So, just as the conception of Mary was completely impossible, humanly speaking, so is our salvation. But God’s favor is powerful.
    God’s favor is surprising and powerful and...

    God’s Favor is Demanding

    (Luke 1:38)
    Mary’s response to this amazing unfolding of God’s plan is simply, “I am the Lord’s servant.
    Luke 1:38 CSB
    “See, I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
    “May it happen to me as you have said.” This plan of God will result in Mary and Joseph being ostracized from their community, and it will require a great deal of work on her part—as a mother and, specifically, as the mother of the Messiah.
    God’s favor doesn’t make life easier for Mary, it makes it harder.
    And, perhaps, if we don’t think we are experiencing the favor of God it’s because we don’t recognize it for what it is.
    God’s favor isn’t always pleasant. It’s not always sunshine and roses. Sometimes God’s favor means the call to hold a loved one’s hand as they go to be with the Lord. Sometimes God’s favor means enduring a difficult situation with no means of escape.
    Mary doesn’t flee from the demands of doing God’s will. She couldn’t escape if she wanted to but instead of trying, she embraces God’s demands.
    When God finds favor with us, it’s because He wants to use us for His purposes. Yes, in the end we are greatly blessed but in the present God’s favor almost always comes with pretty significant demands on our time, our money, and our entire lifestyle. But Mary’s response is fitting, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
    Are you the Lord’s servant? Or do you, like most people, think God exists to serve you?
    A student at a Bible school in the Philippines became disturbed over the condition of the men’s rest rooms, since they always seemed to be neglected in the cleaning routine.
    When nothing was done to eliminate the filth, he took matters into his own hands and complained to the principal of the school. A little while later, the student noticed that the problem was being corrected, but he saw with amazement that the man with the mop and pail in hand was the principal himself!
    Later the student commented, “I thought that he would call a janitor, but he cleaned the toilets himself. It was a major lesson to me on being a servant and, of course, it raised a question in my own mind as to why I hadn’t taken care of the problem!”
    Both the principal and the student had experienced the favor of God but only the principal recognized it for what it was, an opportunity to serve.
    God’s favor is demanding and no one experienced God’s favor more than Jesus Christ.
    And yet, God’s favor led Jesus to the Cross, to pain and suffering and death. Jesus didn’t run from God’s favor. He didn’t say well if that’s what favor looks like I don’t want it.
    Instead, He embraced God’s plan for his life which led to something wonderful: His glorification but also your salvation and mine.
    God’s favor is surprising, powerful, and demanding, but it is also so amazingly wonderful wonderful! There is no better place to be than in God’s favor.
      • Luke 1:28KJV1900

      • Luke 1:29KJV1900

      • Luke 1:30KJV1900

      • Luke 1:34–35KJV1900

      • Luke 1:36–37KJV1900

      • Matthew 19:25–26KJV1900

      • Luke 1:38KJV1900

  • Joy to the World

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