NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
!!!!! SERMON – The Messenger of Good News
*Scripture: **Luke 1:26-38*
*26** *Now in the sixth month the angel *Gabriel* was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, *27** *to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
The virgin's name /was /Mary.
*28** *And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored /one, /the Lord /is /with you; blessed /are /you among women!"*~***
**29** *But when she saw /him,/*~*** *she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
*30** *Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
*31** *And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
*32** *He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
*33** *And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
*34** *Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" *35** *And the angel answered and said to her, "/The /Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
*36** *Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
*37** *For with God nothing will be impossible."
*38** *Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word."
And the angel departed from her. NKJV
Christmas is here again and God in His mercy has allowed us to see another one.
Many of us have heard the “Christmas story” so often and in so many different versions that if we each told the story there would be no two that are exactly the same.
To some people it has become so familiar that we don’t really pay strict attention to it.
We know of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, the animals, the star, and of course baby Jesus.
All the nativity scenes depict these images.
But there is a person of great importance involved with the Christmas story that for the most part has been over looked.
Jesus is the central figure and rightly so but if we focus only on baby Jesus we may miss many great lessons for us that are entwined in the Christmas story.
*GABRIEL *g¹ br¢- l [Hebr.
/ga»rî°¢l /— 'God is powerful,' 'man of God' (?); Gk. /Gabri¢l/].
A celestial being or personage who is mentioned by name only four times in Scripture.
We know of Him as being the one to bring the message of two unusual births, one to a couple in their old age well beyond child bearing years and again to a young unmarried virgin that never knew a man.
I believe that it is highly possible that Gabriel was the angel that also told Joseph in a dream to marry Mary.
I am led to say something about Joseph that I believe has application for people today.
All we know of Joseph is that he was a righteous man.
/Matt 1:19 /*/19 /*/Then Joseph her husband, being a just //man,… //NKJV/
If that is all people ever know of you and I, that is saying a lot.
Joseph accepted the word of God (for the angel Gabriel spoke as directed by God).
In today’s society there are women with children from broken marriages, or were born out of wedlock.
There are also women and men with past lives.
A lesson I see here is that Joseph made the decision to marry Mary as being guided by the word of~/from God and I don’t believe he ever brought it up in Mary’s face again.
Joseph accepted the role as stepfather believing in the word of~/from God.
Can you imagine how good this made Mary feel?
Joseph’s act demonstrated first his love for God and seconds his love for Mary.
That is the order we should love.
Stepmothers and stepfathers understand that God may have brought you into the life of a child for you to be God’s blessing on that child.
If two people decide to get marry and the past is known, then my advice is for you men and women to leave the past right where in is, in the past.
There is never any need to throw it in the others face.
Let’s look more at Gabriel:
· Stands in the presence of God
· A messenger of God
· Supernatural powers of swift flight and healing.
· Took on the appearance of a man
· Listed as one of four Archangels
· Believed to be the angel in /1 Thess 4:16-17 /*/16 /*/For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 and 2 Enoch of the Apocrypha
1 In 1 En.
*40 *:3 he was represented as one of the four presences that looked down from heaven upon mankind.
2 He was believed to be supreme over all powers (*40 *: 9),
3 He was included among the Lord's glorious ones.
4 In 1 En.
*9 *:1-11 he was one of the four angels who took to God's presence the prayers of the martyrs as they appealed to God for an end to the lawlessness upon earth along with Michael, Uriel, and Raphael.
5 In 2 En.
24:1 Gabriel was described as one seated at the left hand of God in a position of supreme power.
Gabriel visited Zachariah and Elizabeth with the message to them from God that they would have a child in their old age and to name him John.
The angel, Gabriel, cause Zachariah to lose his voice because He did not believe.
/Luke 1:18-20 /*/18/**/ /*/And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this?
For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."
/*/19/**/ /*/And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
/*/20/**/ /*/But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
Contrast what He said to Mary and what Mary said in response to Gabriel’s message.
/Luke 1:34 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" NKJV/
Both began their response with the word “How”.
Why was Zacharias chastised and Mary not?
I think there are a few reasons for this
Zacharias and Elizabeth have been praying for a child.
2. Zacharias was a priest and should be first to believe God.
3. Didn’t he know of the story of Abraham and Sarah?
4. He was in God’s House (temple); what better place to hear from God?
He was given the message and instructions to go along with it by direct word of God.
When God’s word is clear to those of us that say we believe in God, especially those of us that stand before the people as representatives of God; that is not a time for questions but a time for obedience.
Mary as a young person, probably only in her early teens, was not expected to have the same faith as Zacharias.
God has different expectations for each of us here.
He is a loving God but not a God to play with, not a God to keep putting off, not a God we can continue to sin against or disobey and expect Him to bless us.
I mentioned that Gabriel is mentioned by name only four times in the bible.
The two in the NT are when he appeared to Zachariah and to Mary.
Each time His message came true.
In the OT Gabriel appeared twice to Daniel.
On both occasions Gabriel was to make the visions given to Daniel clear.
First time to Daniel was about the time of the end.
/Dan 8:15-17 15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
*16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision*."
17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; *but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."*
Notice Verse 16.
The voice like a man’s is that of God.
Gabriel speaks the word of God.
Second time to Daniel refers to the time of tribulation.
/Dan 9:21-23 /*/21 /*/yes, while I //was //speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.