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The Expectation Of The Son Of The Most High God

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Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation

Luke 1:26-38

The Expectation Of The Son Of The Most High God

Waiting For The Son

All of the evidence said that a sudden trip to the hospital was unavoidable.  Mom was “eating for two,” and the doctor kept saying, “It won’t be long.”  But as the ninth month passed, the big question became, WHEN would the new member of the family elect to make his appearance?  He defied the expectant parents’ impression of the due date and forced them into a prolonged period of thinking, “Maybe tonight!”  For more than 4 weeks he frustrated the doctor’s predictions, tied them to the nearest phone, and made some friends wonder if he could manage to hold out indefinitely, but he didn’t.  Almost before they knew it, Robert’s 2-o’clock feedings were reminding them that what they knew would eventually take place had happened.  Just because his timetable disagreed with theirs didn’t diminish the fact that a son was coming, and all concerned had better be ready.

       Even as a pregnant wife and her husband expect a child, we, the pregnant Church, spiritual mothers and fathers, should expect a Savior, during the Christmas season!  Christmas should signal to us that we are pregnant and expecting the Messiah to be born in our hearts and spirits.  We are involved in a series of Messages entitled:  “Christmas:  A Season Of Expectation.”  We receive our mood of expectation from the narratives of the very first Christmas.  In the first sermon, we explored “The Expectation Of A Forerunner.”  Today we come to “The Expectation Of The Son Of The Most High God.”

(Please turn with me to Luke 1:26-38.  Let me read this aloud for us.)

       In this short series of messages, we are using the same outline, because it is the pattern of the Christmas narratives.  The outline is

·        The Divine Announcement

·        The Divine Promise

·        The Divine Expectation

·        The Divine Fulfillment


(Let us rush forward and deal with:)

1.     The Divine Announcement (vs. 26-29).

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent as a divine messenger to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.  The Greek word translated “sent” is the word apostello.  We get the word “apostle” from it.  Nazareth literally means “separated,” “crowned,” or “sanctified” (Hitchcock’s Bible Name Dictionary).   This angel was officially sent from heaven with an announcement that would crown, sanctify, or set apart the city of Nazareth.

       This angel was not just sent to a city, but specifically to a virgin in the city, i.e. a chaste woman, by the name of Mary, who was espoused or engaged to a man named Joseph.  Hebrew espousal was the first stage of marriage and it usually lasted about year before the marriage.  Sex was not allowed during the espousal, even though epousal was treated somewhat like marriage.

(The details of this story should be raising our expectations.  If our expectations aren’t being heightened, perhaps the next detail will do the trick.)

       Joseph was a descendant of David!!!  This let’s us know that he is in the genealogical line of the Messiah.  Do you sense any expectation yet?

       As the angel approached Mary, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one!  The Lord is with you.”  The phrase “favored one” is more literally “endowed with grace.”  So, the angel addresses her with the utmost of respect and then gives her important information, “The Lord is with you.”

       I can hear some of you saying, “Why Mary?  Why is she being favored?”  The answer is that God is sovereign and He can chose whom He desires, for His own reasons.  I can tell you one thing:  “Favor at fair!”  It has nothing to do with human fairness, but divine sovereignty.

       The words of this angel can be applied to everyone of us during this wonderful time of the year.  Every believer in Jesus Christ is a “favored one,” i.e. one who is “endowed with Grace,” and the Lord is with each one of us!!!  We are indwelled with the Holy Spirit and God is with us.  And, just like Mary, God wants bless each of us in an unusual way.  To prepare ourselves for the blessing we need to be like Mary, i.e. a virgin, chaste, or holy in our lives!!!  Even though God’s choice is sovereign, we do some things that seem to attract God.


       Now this salutation perplexed and upset Mary.  She was probably upset at seeing an angel, which she probably thought meant death, and she couldn’t understand why the angel was saying these words to her.

       Mary had a built-in reason to be trapped in a stronghold.  She had never known a man, so how could God fulfill His will in her life.  Do you remember the definition of a stronghold?

“a stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something that he/she knows is contrary to the will of God.”[1]

       Aren’t we the same way?  We don’t understand why the Lord’s messenger, or angel of the house, or pastor is talking to us and why he is saying that we are favored?  We don’t feel favored and we don’t understand how we are favored!  We are looking for our own worthiness.  We are looking for human fairness, but “favor ain’t fair!”  God is going to bless you, because He wants to!  Tell somebody, “God is going to bless me, just because He wants to!!!”

       But the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid for you have found favor or grace with the Lord?”  I don’t think Mary could understand why she had been singled out for such a greeting, but the reason was grace or favor—and again, somebody said that “Favor ain’t fair!”  God chose Mary for His own sovereign reasons.  There were probably other chaste girls in Nazareth, but God, for His own inscrutable, unsearchable reasons, chose Mary.

       And let me say to you, “Favor ain’t fair!”  God has chosen you, this Christmas, for a special blessing.  Aren’t you starting to build any expectation yet?


(The angel now moves from saluation to the promise of the prophecy.  So, let’s look at:)

2.     The Divine Promise (vs. 31-33).

The angel announced his prophecy of divine promise to Mary and to the world.  You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call Him Jesus.  He will be called great and the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.  All of this is keeping with the specific prophecies of the Messiah, but to Mary the immediate impact was “you shall conceive in your womb.”  You are going to be pregnant!  You are going to be expecting!!!

       The angel doesn’t stop there, but does a spiritual ultrasound and then tells Mary that she is going to be having a Son and He is going to be the Son of the Most High God!!!

       In the Old Testament, the womb is likened to the innermost being, i.e. the spirit, or the heart of the heart.  So, child of God, this Christmas, you are going to conceive in your innermost being or spirit.  You are going to be spiritually pregnant!  You are going to be expecting!!!  Remember a man’s expectation is uniquely different from a woman’s, but we are still expecting in our spirits!!!

       By now you are probably thinking, “Expecting what?”  Deep in your spirit, you are to be expecting a manifestation of the Son of the Most High God!”  Are you expecting yet?

(Let’s look again at:)

3.     The Divine Expectation.

The first Christmas was filled with divine expectation.  It was the expectation of a baby.  It was the expectation of a baby who was also the Son of the Most High God.

Therefore, the mood of Christmas is one of expectation or anticipation.  It should be the mood of an expectant mother or father!!!

       Now Mary wanted to know how this could be, when she had never had sex with a man.  The angel answers her with powerful words, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be the Son of God.”


       Some of us can’t understand today how expectation and anticipation can be birthed in your heart, when it is hardened, wounded, bruised, and shut down, and no other human being has been able to encourage us towards expectation.  But, what Luke captures here is Charismatic!  Not the Charismatic religion or denomination, but what Stronstad says in his excellent book, The Charismatic Theology Of Saint Luke.  Stronstad says that Luke’s Theology is charismatic which means “God’s gift of His Spirit to His servants, either individually or collectively, to anoint, empower, or inspire them for divine service.  As it is recorded in the Scripture, therefore, this charismatic activity is necessarily an experiential phenomenon.”[2]  The power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary.  This was an experiential phenomenon in which Mary was anointed to conceive and give birth to the Messiah!  This is the same motif as the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was to come on the Great Day of Pentecost.  We are going to conceive divine expectation, in keeping with the promise of God, through the experience of the baptism in the Holy Ghost!!!

       The mood of expectation is not the result of human aspiration, but is divinely imparted, planted, or sired expectation.  You don’t have to drum up Christmas expectation or spirit, all you have to do is yield to the power of the baptism or Lukan filling of the Holy Spirit and expectation will be divinely sired in you.

       Human aspiration is humanly sired.  Divine expectation is sired by the Spirit.

       Please hear me!  This mood of expectation is usually initiated through a supernatural announcement.  In these passages, an angel brings the word.  Bishop Joseph Garlington said that God doesn’t do anything without a divine Word!  Our divine expectation is not just based on good feelings, it is based on the divine Word of God.  The mood is centered in the seed of a promise—the promise of the coming of the Son of the Most High God!  And, as your pastor, the man of God, I am making a divine announcement that God is going to give you divine expectation this Christmas.

       This is not only the mood of Christmas, but the mood of every great move of God.  Do we sense such a mood at this time?

       Well, the angel went on to tell Mary that God was working other miracles in keeping with the miracle He was working in her life.

       Let me alert you to the fact that God is working other miracles in keeping with and to support the miracle of divine expectation that God is working in your heart.

Now I want you to take note of something:  Mary had a divine announcement, a divine promise, and a divine prophecy, but she still had to go through carrying the baby, labor, and childbirth.  This is part and parcel of childbirth.  A full-term pregnancy is usually regarded as one that ends in delivery anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks.

Mary would have to face the long months of pregnancy and the pain of labor and childbirth.  The conception was divine, but the rest of the process was natural, and labor—as painful as it was—still spoke of expectation.

But, notice Mary’s words, “…be it done to me according to your word!”

(How do we apply this to ourselves?)

       The mood of divine expecation must be nurtured or incubated in a womb or heart of faith.  Don’t worry men, your womb is your innermost being, i.e. your human spirit!!!  We must put forth the effort of faith to carry and nurture the mood of divine expectation.

James 1:5-8 (NASB-U), “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (emphasis mine).

       The mood of divine expecation usually enters a period of labor before it is born (this labor entails an act that is in keeping with the faith that is incubating).  The mood of divine expectation is not just for our emotional sensation, but it is to signal the birth of something.  Birth is always preceded by labor.

·        Labor signals the preparation for delivery (contractions, water breaking, etc.).

·        Labor speaks of pain.

·        Labor speaks of vulnerability (exposure and helplessness in keeping with the promise).

·        Labor speaks of work (pushing) (faith without works is dead).

·        Labor speaks of potential (birth).

·        Labor speaks of the immediacy of birth.

This woman is about to bring forth.  God is about to birth someone through this woman that would change the course of history, and we are about to bring forth something that will change our worlds and the worlds of those around us!

       In the spiritual world, men must go through labor just like women.

Keep in mind that the mood of expecting is the condition that gives birth to the fulfillment of the promise and the joy.  It is conception and expectation that leads to receiving and gratification.  We usually get what we expect!

       We’ve got to speak the promise into existence, even as Mary did.  We have to say,

·        “Lord, be it done to me according to your word!!!”

·        “Lord, let Your Holy Spirit overshadow me!”

·        “Lord, let Your power overshadow me!”

·        “Lord, let your expectation be conceived in me!”

·        “Lord, let your Son, be conceived in my heart!”

·        “Lord, let the joy of Christmas and of Jesus, be conceived in me!”

(Let’s look at the final point of our outline.)

4.     The Divine Fulfillment.

The divine fulfillment of the divine promise and expectation is seen in

Luke 2:4-11 (NASB-U), “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”

I proclaim to you that divine fulfillment is yours today!!!

(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1] Edgardo Silvoso, taken from a memorandum to supporters and friends on “Plan Resistencia,” September 15, 1990:  p. 3.

[2] Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology Of St. Luke, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody Massachusetts, 1984, p. 13.

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