Discipleship

The Angel Declared

THE ANGEL DECLARED

Benjie Bensing

Photo Credit: tomperna.org

Photo Credit: tomperna.org

We know that God moves throughout history to accomplish His perfect will out of imperfect people. And we also know that God can do anything because there is nothing that is beyond His power to accomplish. He will just say the word, and it will come to pass.

The birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Eternal Creator, who existed prior to the existence of time – is something that is difficult to grasp and understand. It is something impossible as most critics would affirm.  But with God, all things are possible.

Why would God chose to be with His people? The answer is love. Pure, unconditional love.

In Matthew 1:21 – this Son will save His people, the Jews, from their sins.

1Timothy 1:15 – Christ came into the world to save sinners – a generic term for all people, not just the Jews.

Jesus is from the Greek word IESOUS, which is equivalent to the Hebrew word JOSHUA which means SAVIOUR.

JESUS=SAVIOUR

Aside from being a Personal Savior, Jesus is also known as:

Willing Savior – 1Tim. 2:3-4/Titus 2:11 He wants all men to be saved. He willingly gave up His life to save yours; He saved mine by giving up his own – willingly.

Living Savior – He lives forever to intercede on our behalf.

Present Savior – always present, always near you – just a prayer away.

Sympathizing Savior – He sympathizes with our weakness. He understands us. He knows what we are going through.

And most importantly, Jesus is always ready to welcome us if we repent. Let us not waste the opportunity!

For more than 2,000 years since the days of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.) God has been preparing for Christmas, for this moment in history, when the Word will become flesh and will dwell amongst us.

If we look at the Old Testament, promise after promise, prophecy after prophecy had pointed to the day when a son of David will come and sit on the throne of Israel.

In Rev. 22:16, Jesus Himself said, that He is a descendant of David, and He is the bright morning star.  Although Solomon, a son of David partially fulfilled this prophecy, Jesus is the complete fulfillment of it.

In Luke 1:33, the angel declared “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will never end”.

Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius, Alexander the Great, Caesar – their empires & thrones did not last long.  But God’s kingdom where Jesus sits as king will never end.

In Hebrews 1:2 the Bible says that God appointed Jesus to be the heir of all things. All things include: the deepest oceans, the farthest stars, the darkest corners, the brightest light, the highest mountain – everything in that galaxy far, far, away belongs to Him.

2 TYPES OF PEOPLE TODAY:

Those who live by earthly values – produces rewards that pays-off quickly but disappears quickly.

Those who live by kingdom values – produces kingdom rewards that are slow to come by but they last forever.

You can choose to live a worldly life or you can live for the kingdom of God. The choice is yours.

In the Old Testament, very important people like prophets, kings, priest, or judges, are usually chosen to receive divine revelations – either by an angel of the LORD or by the Holy Spirit coming upon them.

The appearance of the angel Gabriel would have been scary for Mary. Mary was young – she could be 14 to 16 years old. Secondly, she came from a poor family – so she had little standing in the society. Lastly, as a girl, she had no right or voice in a male-dominated society.

Angelic visits were rare on those days. In fact from the end of the OT (Malachi) to the beginning of the NT (Matthew) is a 400-year gap. During this time, no divine revelation was heard from God.

Naturally this kind of angelic visitation brings anxiety. And it troubles Mary because angels do not always bring good news.  In the Old Testament, most angelic visits, or, in some instances direct divine revelation, were messages of doom & impending judgment.

Abraham – judgment of Sodom & Gomorrah

Moses – judgment of Egypt

Isaiah/Jeremiah/Hosea/Amos – they all received messages of impending judgment for Israel & Judah

Jonah – judgment of Nineveh

However, the angel Gabriel assured Mary that she was chosen for a great purpose. The Holy Spirit will literally create life within her womb.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is given to each one of us and it has the power to change our lives just like it changed Mary’s.

It has the power to regenerate a believer and give new life or create a new spirit in a believer. The Holy Spirit can transform a defeated life into a victorious life. And it’s not too late to start today. Living by the Spirit will enable us to overcome our own personal battles, and will enable us to taste heaven on earth.

Luke 2:10, “But the angel said to them (the shepherds), “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people”…

In Matt 1:20, …”Joseph, son of David,” he said, “don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife”….

In Luke 1:30, the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God”.

When God desires to grant you favor, it doesn’t matter to Him where you live and what is your personal circumstances. Whether you are in prison, in the hospital, in Manila, in Libya, UK, etc. God’s favor reaches to His children wherever they may be.

That is why we should not fear. This what the angel declared to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds: the same message that God wants us to hear this morning: “Do not be afraid”.

Christmas is about Jesus. It’s not about the gifts, nor the holiday gatherings, nor the noche buena, nor the Christmas carols, nor the Christmas bonus.

Christmas is about second chances, forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, humility, and love.

Christmas is about Christ.

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