Initially, ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace, had to get glasses for reading. Since grace is such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll, I started thinking about the ways God shows us His grace on a daily basis. From His servings, His glasses, of grace to us - to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight), it made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born. Blessings and all, this is my life…

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Promise of Christmas

This past Sunday morning (Dec 21), Pastor Mel preached what I believe was the best sermon on the Christmas story that I have ever heard. Following are the notes:

The Promise of Christmas
Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25 - "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel" which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. "

***God loves the impossible - That is when He does His best work!

***Verse 22 is talking about the prophet Isaiah: "Now all this took place that the prophecy (of Isaiah) would be fulfilled."

***The prophecy and its fulfillment are both from God - God spoke through Isaiah 700 years earlier.

***God always keeps His promises.

***God had a sovereign promise to fulfill through Mary.

Isaiah 6:1-8 - Isaiah's Commission - "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

Isaiah 9:6-7 -
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this."

Luke 1:34-38 - ""How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 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." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."

***And Mary was amazed - She'd studied the scriptures and now realized Isaiah was talking about HER! (W - O - W!!!)

***Mary's assignment is not so different from ours because God has chosen each of us for an assignment.

***God knows your name and had a sovereign plan for your life. He is bringing about circumstances that you may hear and obey Him.

***Security does not mean isolation from all pain, but it means confidence in God's purpose and will.

***As long as you remain in His hands, God can do anything in your life. He is the same God to you as He was to Mary!

***No matter what your circumstances, choose to remain in the hands of God and trust Him.

***There may be times you feel ill-equipped and all alone, but God shows up and tells you not to worry...He has a plan.

***What has been written in heaven regarding your life?

This really was an excellent sermon to me. I absolutely LOVE the way Pastor Mel brings new eyes to things I've known in my mind for years, like this Christmas story. They are certainly very sobering thoughts! While I knew Mary realized what a miracle Jesus' birth was, I had never thought about the fact that Mary had studied the scriptures herself and what it must have been like for her to realize in the moment that the angel spoke to her that SHE would be the one all this would be fulfilled through. Can you imagine what a sobering realization that must have been for her? That thought has been on my mind all week. I really just can't even imagine!


Tonja said...

I agree, Diane...these are some great points on the Christmas Story! I am so happy that your pastor is filling his congregation with the Word! God has richly blessed you with this man.

Cherdecor said...

WOW, I really had to think about this one. Really good thoughts!
I know that you really enjoyed the Christmas season at your church and with your family. You are blessed!

Musicaljean said...

Even more amazing is when you think about how young Mary must have been - according to the traditions at that time anyway. I love that line in "Mary, did you Know?" that asks, "Did you know this child that you've delivered will soon deliver you?" That gives me chills.

Thanks again for sharing these notes from Mel's messages. How blessed you are, Dianne!

justabeachkat said...

Wonderful post Dianne!


Deedra said...

Such a powerful message, isn't it? The Sunday before Christmas, I wast talking to my SS class, which are Kindergardeners, and during the lesson something just hit me. I was talking about when the angel came to Mary and told her she would bring forth a son, and all the sudden I got chills! I told the kids to listen, that this is one of the most important, if not THE most important thing EVER said. That without this coming to be, our very salvation wouldn't have been possible!

Of course I got the typical blank stares of Kindergardeners.LOL. I think I went a bit over their heads for a minute or two, but I got so caught up! I can just imagine some of the things they told their parents when asked what our lesson was about that day! haha!

justabeachkat said...

Just stopping by to say hello. I missed you. Don't be like Tracey and disappear. Okay?