Luke 1:26-38 NIV
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.”
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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
We who are followers of Jesus all have the Savior of the world living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God is living within us, not physically, but spiritually. So, we all carry God’s Son in our bodies, in our lives. We have all been called of God to carry his Son. The Lord is not only with us, but he is living within us. We are all favored of God, for we have received his grace.
And how does this happen to us? Well, God has to call us, too. He has to draw us to faith in Jesus Christ. He has to persuade us as to his divine character and will for our lives and of our sinful condition. Then he has to convince us of our need of salvation from sin, and of our need to repent of our sins and to obey him, and then he births in us the faith to believe in Jesus, which is birthed of God’s Spirit (Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10).
And when we believe in Jesus, we all become servants of the Lord, too. And if Christ truly is in us by God-given faith in Jesus Christ, and we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, because we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been raised with Christ to newness of life in him to be lived to his glory, for the old has gone and the new has come, then we will echo Mary’s words “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11]
Servants of the Lord
Going back to the story of Mary’s calling of God, think with me practically for a moment what that might have looked like for Mary, especially under the Old Covenant and in that day and time. Now she was pregnant. She was engaged to Joseph, which back then was a marriage contract, but they had not yet consummated their marriage, so she is pregnant out of wedlock.
She could have been stoned to death, as far as my understanding of the Old Covenant law goes, or Joseph could have had her put away. But an angel visited Joseph and told him what had happened to Mary, and so he believed the angel, and he did not put Mary away, but he did not consummate his marriage with Mary until after Jesus was born.
But still, Mary had now become pregnant. And people are going to naturally assume that she did something wrong, and so she was probably shunned and called all sorts of names, perhaps out in public, too, and perhaps Joseph was too, for since he did not put her away, people may have assumed he and Mary had had sexual relations. But what else were they to think? They didn’t understand that this child was the Son of God.
Now, let me parallel that to our lives. When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, and we die with Christ to sin, and we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and now we walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, and the Spirit of God lives within us, it should be as apparent as Mary’s pregnancy. It should show on the outside.
And if we have biblical faith and a true transformation of the Holy Spirit whereby we truly forsake our former lives of living for sin and for self and where we now walk with the Lord in obedience to his commands, not only should it be evident outwardly (by our fruit), but people who have not had that experience should not understand the transformation that took place in our lives, and many of them may mock us and call us names, too.
For, Jesus said that if we love him, and if we follow him, and if we, thus, come out of living according to the flesh and according to the ways of the world, and we now live (walk) according to the Spirit, the world (and worldly Christians) will hate (persecute, reject, despise) us. They won’t understand us, we will be an offense to them, they won’t like the message we are bringing to them, and so they typically will not want anything to do with us.
And since so much of today’s church, at least here in America, has gone the way of the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings, they won’t want us in their gatherings lest we might offend someone with the truth. And that is because they don’t allow the Holy Spirit in their gatherings for he would convict people of sin and call them to repentance and to obedience, and he would warn them of divine judgment if they did not obey the Lord.
Let it Be to Me
So, we need to have Mary’s attitude about all of this, too. If we are going to carry the Son of God in our lives, which will be evident by the fruit we bear, we should accept the fact that we will be shunned, hated, rejected, persecuted, falsely accused, and called all sorts of names. We should expect the church which is following the ways of the world to reject us, too.
They will reject us because we are not of the world and most of them are. They have joined forces with the government, with the world, and with big business to now turn the gatherings of the church into a marketplace to be marketed to the flesh of man. Thus, they have also diluted the gospel to where it does not require repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord. But it gives out feel-good messages to appease people’s consciences.
So, if you are one who is still holding on to the truth of the gospel, and who is teaching that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness, you will not be welcome in these institutional market-driven and flesh-driven gatherings called “church.” But that’s ok, because God has called us to come out of Babylon so that we don’t share in her sins and in her punishment.
So, you need to go where the Lord sends you. The Lord sent me to the internet seventeen years ago, and that has been a blessing in my life. I am finding true Christian fellowship there and so far I am able to share the truth of the gospel there. And the messages are going to people all over the world. All glory to God. So, where doors may close in our faces, God has something else for us, and so we need to go where he sends us.
Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Chris Eaton
I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
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