Welcome to Christ’s Community Church. Today, we’re going to look at the beginning of the Christmas story in Luke’s Gospel, in chapter 1, but before we do I want to share with you a story found in Mark chapter 10, where some people were bringing little children to Jesus to have him bless them. The disciples however, supposing that Jesus was just too busy, that he was too important for children’s ministry, rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant, you could say that he was outraged, and he said to them in verse 14,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15).
And Jesus was telling the disciples then, and he tells us now, to come to him believing with the purity and with the simplicity of faith like a child. Now what I want you to do today is to imagine hearing the Christmas story for the first time, but hearing it like a little child. Let’s begin in the 26th verse of the first chapter in the gospel of Luke; as an angel of the Lord appears to a teenage girl named Mary, a girl who is just barely older than a child.
“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).
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 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 1:29-33).
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34)
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).
"For nothing is impossible with God." And suddenly with the announcement of the angel Gabriel, 700-year-old prophecies are beginning to unfold. God was doing something that no human being could ever do. What was impossible with man is totally and completely possible with our God. It’s just as Jesus said in Matthew chapter 19,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)
And God through a young virgin girl would be born, become flesh, and live in this world, because our God can do anything. I pray that today, the truth that the angel proclaimed would become a personal truth for each one of you as you believe with faith like a child that nothing is impossible with God.
Now you may ask why is this so important? And I’ll tell you why, because whether it’s you or the people that are around you, you’re either just coming out of a hard time, you’re in the middle of a hard time, or you are about to go into a hard time. And I can guarantee that right now at this moment there are many of you who are facing impossible challenges, very significant trials, and difficult situations that you just don’t know how to get out of and you truly need the power of my God who can do anything. And so, I know that there are those of you, either in your life or in the lives of people that are very close to you, that really need the faith to believe in a God who says, "With me all things are possible." My goal today, is to help build your faith through the power of God’s word to believe that all things are possible with God.
And so, the first thing I want to share with you to help build your faith when you’re facing something impossible, when you can’t see any hope, and honestly you don’t know what to do about it, the first thing I want you to think is…
I just love Jeremiah's words in Jeremiah 32, verse 17, when he says:
“Oh, Sovereign Lord, you've made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arms. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
And he reminds us, that sometimes you just need to stop and recalibrate your soul, you need to pause and look at the glory of God’s Creation, praising him and saying like Jeremiah said, "Nothing is too hard for you!" We can say, “My God can!” And we can come to Jesus with the faith of a child, because for some of us today, maybe you have a broken relationship and you just can’t seem to forgive and move on. Some of you are in financial trouble and you need to know that we serve a God who is your provider and who can rescue you from financial bondage. Others of you have people that you love that don’t even believe in God, but you believe that God can reach them by his power this Christmas. And still others of you are or know someone who is facing serious health issues, and you believe in a God that heals, that the name of Jesus is bigger than any other name, and that at the name of Jesus and by his stripes that we can be healed. And so this morning, if you’re here and you believe in a God who heals, say, “My God can”. If you believe in the power of God say it. If you believe that God can, I want you to say, “My God can!” You see, I believe with all my heart that, "My God can do anything!" And so I want to help build your faith in a God that can, but also to believe my God will. Not only can my God but number two …
I love the faith of a young boy named David. The Bible tells us that back in the day, the Philistine army came against the Israelites and the biggest strongest Philistine, a giant named Goliath, came out at the beginning of the day and challenged the Israelite army. In first Samuel chapter 17 Goliath said,
“Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he’s able to fight and kill me, we’ll become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you’ll become our subjects and serve us” (1 Samuel 17:8-9).
Now the Israelites saw this man who was over 9 feet tall and hearing the giant Philistine’s words they were terrified. But it didn’t end there. The Bible tells us, for 40 days Goliath came out every morning and every evening and made this challenge. It was a standoff, until one day the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out and shouted his usual defiant banter, and young David heard it. Goliath challenged the Israelites and they trembled with great fear. But David, a young boy who should’ve been tending the sheep just happened to believe that his God was bigger than this giant. He stepped out, took up the challenge and said in verse 26,
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).
With the faith of a child, David took his staff, a sling, and five smooth stones, and approaching the Philistine said in verse 45,
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands" (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
You see, the Armies of God thought that Goliath was too big to beat. But David knew that with God, Goliath was too big to miss, and with a stone and a sling he took that giant down, because he didn’t just believe that his God could, but he also believed that his God would. And today the problem for many of us is that we believe that God could, but we just don’t believe that God will. You know, he might do it for somebody else, he might do it over there, but you don’t believe he’ll do it for you. This morning, we need to have faith like a child to believe that God can, and not just that he can, but that he will. You need to allow that kind of faith to sink deep into your soul so that you totally believe in a God who says, “With me all things are possible.”
Now let’s bring this back around to Mary again for a minute. But I don’t want you to think about it as if it was just another year of hearing the same old story. Today I want you to think about it as if you were the parent, Jesus was your child, and imagine the price Mary paid when she said, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). You know, it wasn’t easy being a virgin who wasn’t married and became pregnant. And I’m sure everybody believed that the baby was God’s, right? And so now, she was considered an immoral outcast, she was ridiculed by the neighbors, and all because she had the faith to say, “Yes” to God.
Imagine how she felt and the pain she endured on that long and difficult journey. Yet, if there’s one thing that we can learn from Mary it is that God can make the details of your life fall into place according to his purpose for you. That the events of your life are not nearly as random as they seem, because God is in control, he has his hand in every day of your life. You know, Proverbs chapter 21 tells us,
“The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1).
And so, no matter whether it’s a king, your boss, your friends, your enemies, your family members, or your neighbors; they may think they’re in control of the situation that affects you, but their power is nothing like God’s power. He’s in control, and he can work out the details of your life in order to work all things out for your good. Because with God nothing is impossible, but what do you do when you know he can, you believe he will, and he doesn’t? What do you do when you really do have the faith, you know it’s got to be his will, and you ask him and believe, but he doesn’t? What do you do?
When the angel came to Mary and told her that she would give birth to a son, Mary imagined what might happen. She knew she wasn’t married. She knew that her fiancé might not believe her story about the angel. She knew that her family might not understand, and she knew that people would talk. That’s why Luke tells us in verse 29,
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words…” (Luke 1:29).
Now, fast forward 30 years, and imagine her watching as her son, Jesus, was brutally tortured and abused, beaten so badly that his face was unrecognizable. Imagine the horror of being his mom as she watched them drive the stakes into his wrists and his feet on the cross. Wouldn’t you imagine that she had faith to believe that God could stop that? Wouldn’t you have asked God to stop it? I mean, even Jesus prayed in the garden in Matthew chapter 26,
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:39).
Mary knew that God could do anything, she’d been part of a miracle, but I believe number three, that the deepest kind of faith is the one that says: "My God can and my God will but …
Today, I want you to know that if you reach that place of surrender to the will of God like Mary did, the impossible will become possible, because there’s no limit to what God can accomplish in your life. You can have more joy, more power, more love, more influence, and more opportunities than you ever imagined possible. It’s not that you’ll have a life without challenges, but that you’ll know they’re not meaningless, there’s a purpose behind everything that happens.
And so my goal today is to help build your faith and to see you come to that place where you would stand with me and believe that all things are possible with our God. Because even if God doesn’t do things the way that I think he should, the way that I thought he would, or the way that I know he could, I believe in a God whose ways are higher than my ways. I believe in a God who is for me and not against me. I believe in a God who is with me always and promised to never leave me. I believe in a God who forgives me, has plans to prosper me, and not to harm me. I believe in a good God who’s working in all things to bring about good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. But my faith in God is not based on what he does, but on who he is, and I know him so intimately that my faith is big enough to handle his will, even when I don’t understand it, because I do believe my God can, my God will, but even if he doesn’t I’m going to trust him, because I still believe.
You see, my God is all-powerful. He’s a personal God who loves us, and therefore I have faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you remember when King Nebuchadnezzar said in verse five, Daniel chapter 3 verse five,
“You must fall down and worship the image of gold.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused and replied in verse 16, "Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
You see, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed our God can: they said, “the God we serve is able to save us…” They said, “Our God will.” not only is he able, but “He will rescue us from your hand O’ king.” Then with the deepest kind of faith you could ever have, they said in verse 18,
"...But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
This morning, we believe our God can, we believe our God will, and even if he doesn’t we still believe. It’s my prayer today, that this Christmas season would be like no other, and that this Christmas would be a season of miracles, because nothing is impossible with God. You see, it was because of Christmas that the impossible can become possible. A virgin gave birth to a son fulfilling prophecies given over 700 years earlier. Wise men worshiped him, shepherds gathered, a star hung in the sky. And if our God can bring the Savior of the world through a virgin, then we serve a God who can do anything.
Jesus reminds us that all things are possible with God and with God nothing is impossible. When you surrender to God, you allow his plan to come alive in your life, and he causes the details to fall into place, and the impossible becomes possible. It’s a Christmas miracle that works any time of the year, every day of your life, because my God can, my God will, and even if he doesn’t I still believe.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
December 11, 2016
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Preaching Library, and PC Study Bible.
Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.