A Birth of God's Promise
A Birth of God’s Promise
What does it take to give birth to your ‘Vision’?
Read Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
We often quote that for encouragement, or try and motivate others to move forward in what seems to be impossible endeavors. But it becomes a source of divine encouragement when you understand that God believes in you, and desires to strengthen you, and use you, to do His will. For men to do so is very helpful at times. But when God is the one doing it, it reaches a new level and magnitude of impact.
That verse, in its rightful context, was Paul’s statement in response to identifying various things God had required of him. And no matter what God asked of Him, Paul knew that he could "do all things through Christ, who would give him strength." And likewise, we can be assured of the Lord’s help and strength to assist us in accomplishing what He requires of us.
That is one of the main points of this message: "I can do whatever the Lord asks of me, for HE will give me strength." And it is on the basis of that truth that I want to talk out of Luke 1, about "How To Give Birth To God’s Promise." What does that mean? I believe that God is calling individuals and churches to "give birth" to things that are of a divine origin. Not a concoction of man’s ingenuity. But that which originated, and proceeded from the throne of God. Just like Christ did.
God is placing a higher call on His people, and we need to answer that call, and meet that challenge, by knowing that "we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength." Let’s look at several points.
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law," (Galatians 4:4, NKJV)
This says that Christ came into the world, born of a woman, and that it happened, "in the fullness of time." Christ didn’t just happen to come when He did. He arrived by appointment of His Father. It was a part of God’s eternal purpose and plan for the ages. He came at a specific time, to a specific place, born to specific people, and in a specific setting. (The specifics of Christ’s first coming could be an endless list.) *And His second coming will also be a specific event! It will be God chosen, and God ordained.
But in the same manner, I believe that we are where we are, when we are, alive in this specific day and hour, under divine appointment and plan. This is a specific time that God has ordained, and there is a specific heavenly agenda that He wants to be carried out. Just as He ordained that His Son be transferred from heaven to earth, I believe that God has ordained that there be specific things transferred from heaven to the earth. I believe he wants you to be a part of that process!
And though it is not God’s only begotten Son that we are to give birth to, it is nonetheless the offspring of God. It is "God’s baby" if you will. Let me give you, then, a definition of what God’s baby is: The result of God’s power working through individuals to bring about His divine purpose on earth. We all have things we need God to birth IN us and THROUGH us. And those things must be instigated from heaven. It will require a Sovereign Move of God. (Mary was minding her own business when God gave her a promise.)
But what do we do to facilitate such a move, such a manifestation? What must we do, or become, or embrace in order to enable ourselves to be used in this manner? Let’s look at several things about Mary’s situation that will help us.
1. It started with a VISION.
The angel "appeared" to Mary, and began to convey to her God’s plans and desires. This is how anything heavenly becomes a reality in the earth. It starts with vision. Probably not an angel, but with an inward unveiling of the prophetic purpose and future for your life, or your church. The angel proceeded to describe God’s desires. And the important vision for Mary wasn’t the angel, but was the unveiling of God’s plans. The same is true for us. So first, we must know God’s objectives.
2. There is an issue of worship in the text.
One version says, "Hail..." in v. 28 But the word is really "Rejoice!" Here are several reasons to rejoice: You have God’s favor. The Lord is with you. And you are blessed. But one other thing could be seen here. If I was Mary, I know this would be my reason for rejoicing: Rejoice because you’ve been CHOSEN! We should worship, simply because God has deemed us worthy to be a channel for the heavenly to come to earth. Rejoice that God believes in your ability to carry out this task.
3. In v. 29-30, Mary wasn’t sure what this was all about.
Why this appearance by an angel? But the angel spoke this to her: FEAR NOT. Simply stated, "Calm your fears about the uncertain future." How do you do that? Partly by looking at v. 31-33. It speaks to me that what God wants you to bring forth, will assist in establishing His Kingdom, Rule, and Authority. Calm your fears, and know that God has a purpose and a plan, and He will strengthen you in your endeavor.
4. The most crucial issue comes right before the climax.
This is the decisive factor: We must settle the "How shall this be?" question. How can we bring this to pass? How can we accomplish it? Let’s find 4 things out of v. 34-37. 1. It doesn’t require connection with man. It’s not by human methods. 2. It’s based upon the timing, movement, and involvement of the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit to overshadow you means for Him to be in the foreground, and you in the background. 3. Always remember that God has brought others from barrenness to blessedness, even if He used different methods. 4. God is with you, and that alone makes it possible.
So, the last thing that we must do, to be able to give birth to God’s baby -
5. You’ve got to open your spiritual womb.
You must say (v. 38) "Be it unto me according to thy word." If God said that you can do it, then you can do it.
Open yourself up today to God’s power and Spirit, and let Him do something great in and through you. Can you give birth to God’s baby? I say, "We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength!"
Once we are impregnated with God’s promise and vision, then we must follow His process in bringing it to pass.
Have you ever wondered why should a pregnant woman and her husband travel a long distance during the last days of the delivery? Was it just to be registered / taxed at their ancestral home or was it for their honeymoon or was there some other underlying reason? In many Asian countries it’s a cultural trend for women to travel to their parent’s home just few weeks before they deliver. And usually they would stay there for forty days or more after the delivery. In today’s passage we will see both Joseph and Mary going to their ancestral home in order to be registered and taxed. Not only that, they had to be at the right place and at the right time for Jesus to be born.
(A) To be Registered / Taxed
1. Caesar taxed the entire world.
2. Not because he wanted tax.
3. Because one person (Mary) was out of place (to fulfill Micah’s prophesy).
When we use the word taxed or registered as a metaphor, we can easily see why we as individuals and as a church constantly face trials and tribulations – just because we are not in the right place. Why have we been having numerous problems – 9/11 / Afghanistan / Iraq / Israel etc. and constant natural disasters? It’s just because we as a church are not in the right place. We are fighting against the will of God! We are fighting against our trials and tribulations. It’s the act of being taxed (facing trials and tribulations) and yielding to it, brings us to the right place - just the place where we need to be in God’s plan.
The act of being taxed and yielding to it leads us to the next level of being in the right place-
(B) To be at the Right Place
1. Joseph and Mary went from Galilee (in Hebrew it means circuit), which was the wrong place.
2. Mary was at the wrong place at the wrong time. (Galilee)
3. Mary went to Judea or Judah (in Hebrew it means praise) even in the pain of rejection and birth pangs she walked that road to Judea.
The act of being taxed is to break that circuit (routine of life) to bring us to the place where the Church falls in line with its calling and the will of God. For Jesus to be born, Joseph and Mary had to get out of Galilee, which was the wrong place and travel to Judea – the right place. God wants to take us to a different level and He can’t do it as long as we continue to stay in Galilee (daily routine of life with no spiritual growth). He wants us to be in Judea (place or act of worship) so that we can bring forth what God has already conceived or planned for us. It could be a worship ministry, arts ministry, prophetic ministry, healing ministry, a prison ministry or even a church plant. No matter how hard we try, it can’t take birth in the land called Galilee but only when we move into the land of Judea that is the dimension of praise and worshipping God in whatever circumstances we are in.
In order for the vision that God has conceived in us to take birth, we need to come out of the land of Galilee meaning ‘Circuit’ (i.e. daily chores of life with our spiritual life being dead). We can’t afford to be in a land called programs, banquets and parties. But move to a land of Judah meaning ‘Praise.’
To be in the right place was not enough, Joseph and Mary had to be there at the right time.
(c) To be there at the Right Time
1. Beginning of birth pangs.
2. Perfect for the birth of Jesus (as prophesied by Micah).
3. So that the ‘Word of Prophesy’ is fulfilled.
For Mary giving birth outside Judea could easily result in a miscarriage and abort the baby. This could jeopardize the plan of God. Jesus had to be born in Judea as prophesied by Micah. Only in that aura of praise and worship to God, could it be fulfilled! I had to move to the Los Angeles in 1969 (the right time) so that the ministry could be established. If I hadn’t moved to that place at the right time, the ministry would have easily aborted even before it could take birth.
We need to understand what God does in our lives so that we can be in the right place at the right time for ‘His Will’ to be done in and through our lives.
Finally after Joseph and Mary had been taxed, arrived at the right place at the right time it was time to give birth to Jesus (their mission). Verse 7 says He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Why was Jesus placed in a place where beasts come to eat? It was very prophetic, signifying that He would die and His flesh and blood would redeem us from our sins.
So why did Joseph and Mary travel from Galilee to Judea when Jesus was to be born? They had to make this tiring and tedious trip to Judea to be taxed, so that they could be at the right place at the right time to give birth to what God had conceived in them – Jesus Christ (the Savior of the world was the ministry God had given them). Taking their example, I believe we need to be obedient and yield to God when we as individuals or as a body of Christ are taxed (i.e. undergo trials and tribulations) so that God shifts / puts us in the right place at the right time in order for that, which He has conceived (vision - any sort of ministry, which God is calling us into) in us takes birth.