Questions Of Christmas


 Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

I thought since we have few who attend our mid-week prayer service that we would go a little deeper tonight than I go on Sunday mornings. Those who take the time to come to Wednesday night services perhaps have a stronger relationship with the Lord than the occasional Sunday morning visitor. I’m not saying this to puff you up, nor to denigrate our Sunday morning crowd. I am grateful for every person who comes, and makes up the assembly of Christ’s Church. But Wednesday nights are important. As we are told in Hebrews 5:13-14:

“For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

I was amused – somewhat amused – lately when a local Church who has no mid-week prayer meeting advertised with excitement on an upcoming prayer study and emphasis. Hopefully this means that this Church will go deeper into prayer, and all of Christ’s Churches will go deeper into prayer and study of God’s Word. If we are to survive in this pagan and secular world we ALL need God’s Word and God’s Presence.

The message tonight is called “Christmas Questions”. As I pondered Mary and Joseph a question came to my heart. It was:

Why did God choose Mary and Joseph – of all the billions of people who lived – to be the guardian and parents of the Messiah?

What Set Joseph Apart From Other Believers?

When I think about Joseph, I think he is probably the most under appreciated man in our faith. Do you know how many words Joseph spoke that were recorded in the Bible? None. Absolutely N-O-N-E. Zilch. Nada. We know what Joseph thought, for the Bible says things like:

Joseph was minded to put her away privately.
thought on these things.

Joseph encountered God in a dream (see Matthew 1). The Lord spoke to him through an Angel, but Joseph never questioned what he was told to do. Joseph was a man of few words. He proved his faith in God by not what he said, but by what he did. And I thank God for it, and you should, too.

  • Herod, who wanted to kill the baby Jesus, had his words written in Scripture (Matthew 2:8).
  • Pilate, who had Jesus executed, had his words recorded in Scripture (Matthew 27:2, 13, etc).
  • Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus, had his hypocritical words “Will I betray You, Master?” (Matthew 26:25) recorded.
  • Lucifer, that old devil who wanted to kill Jesus, had his conversation recorded (Matthew 4: 1-10) as he sought to tempt our Lord to sin.
  • Demons are recorded as speaking to Jesus along with Pharisees, Scribes, rich people, lepers, crippled … and on and on. . It seems as if everyone has had their words recorded. Everyone.

Except for Joseph.

Joseph never questioned, never complained, never commented. Joseph just did as God said. And I believe this is why God used Joseph as He did. You see, God loves those who have faith in Him. Not just a “Sunday go to meeting” faith, but a genuine faith that gets outside of the comfort zone and does what God says. Joseph had that quiet but an active faith. Joseph’s heart was focused on honoring God. Right after the Magi visited Jesus in Bethlehem the Bible says:

Matthew 2:13-15 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

A good carpenter has to have a good mind and a willingness to work. Joseph was a good carpenter. A good Christian has to have a good mind and a willingness to work.
Joseph was a good Christian.

Joseph kept his mind on God. He was open to God. Throughout his life there was no door of doubt to hinder him from serving the Lord he loved. When God spoke to Joseph in a dream Joseph didn’t wake up and sit there wondering what it was all about. What does the Bible tell us Joseph did?

“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night,
and departed into Egypt (verse 14)”

Joseph did the same thing that Father Abraham did when God called him. He didn’t question. He didn’t argue. He just got up and moved. Joseph had the treasure that the Magi had brought Jesus to finance that move, but Joseph did not take his time. He moved! Do you know how far it is from Jerusalem to the Egyptian border? It is around 106 miles! Joseph had no car, but probably a donkey, a wife, and a young son. Joseph kept his little family safe until Herod died. After Herod died:

Matthew 2:19-23 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Again, God speaks to Joseph in a dream. “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.” Does Joseph debate God? Does he argue? No. He moves. He gets up, packs up, and moves, all without hesitation. Joseph moves in faith. God defines “faith” in:

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Joseph “diligently sought” God. He lived his faith. If he had not been faithful then Jesus would have never been born. Jesus could have been killed in Bethlehem. He could have been killed when Mary first became with Child. Joseph’s faithfulness is a great blessing to us. He was chosen of God because the Lord “Who searches the hearts” (Jeremiah 17:10) knew Joseph, and knew that he was faithful.

God Uses Faithful Servants For His Glory

When the Angel of God came to Mary, he came because God had seen Mary’s heart. When the Angel told Mary that she would be the means by which Messiah would come into world, Mary asked:

Luke 1:34 … How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Her question was not doubting God. When Zacharias – the father of John the Baptist – questioned God, the Lord took away his ability to speak (see Luke 1:20). Why? Because it came from a heart of unbelief:

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

God despises unbelief. The Master has said,

James 1:6-8 … he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

When Zacharias spoke, he spoke from a place of unbelief. For this reason God took his ability to speak away. When our hearts are filled with unbelief, God will not bless us.

Faithlessness takes away our voice.

But Mary did not speak from a place of unbelief. She merely asked – believing – how God was going to accomplish this wonderful work. The Angel of God tells her:

Luke 1:35-37 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Mary’s faith is seen in both her voice as well as her actions. She replied simply:

Luke 1:38-39 … Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me ACCORDING TO THY WORD. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

This is what comes from a heart of faith. Mary said, “I belong to You – dear Lord. Be it unto me ACCORDING TO THY WORD!” The phrase “according to thy Word” is found frequently in Psalm 119:

Psalms 119:9 … BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto ACCORDING TO THY WORD.

Psalms 119:25 DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me ACCORDING TO THY WORD.

Psalms 119:41 VAU. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, ACCORDING TO THY WORD.

Psalms 119:58 I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me ACCORDING TO THY WORD..

Psalms 119:154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me ACCORDING TO THY WORD..

Psalms 119:169 TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding ACCORDING TO THY WORD..

Psalms 119:170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me ACCORDING TO THY WORD..

Mary relied on the Word of God to live her life. God said that her cousin Elisabeth was with child. Since He said that, what should Mary do if she believed? She would get up and go be with Elisabeth. Faith goes. Faith does. Faith does not hear and talk about doing, but faith does. Faith works!

The Mature Believer Is Used Of God:
Your Maturity Is Proven By Your Tongue!

When I was a little boy and felt sick, mama put a thermometer IN my mouth to see what my temperature was. If it wasn’t 98.6 then I was sick. God puts something in your mouth – but it’s not temporary like a thermometer. It’s your TONGUE. If you are in GOOD SPIRITUAL HEALTH your TONGUE will prove it. As Mary was blessed of God she never bragged on herself. She magnified God with her tongue.

Luke 1:46-48 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Mary was not prideful in her faith. She realized that what she was about to receive was entirely of the Grace of God. Mary said “my soul doth magnify (or declare Him great) the Lord”. The source of Mary’s relationship to God was not that she was perfect or sinless – for she was not.

Mary prayed to “God my Savior”. If she were perfect and holy apart from God then God would not have had to save her.

Mary spoke of the “low estate of God’s handmaiden”. The word translated “low estate” is actually used several other places in Scripture. The same word is translated VILE in:

Philippians 3:20-21 For our {citizenship} is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: {21} Who shall change our VILE body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Our bodies are indeed VILE, the products of corruption. Mary said “God has regarded the vileness – the imperfections of His handmaiden”. She recognized that God because of His great love saved her, and now would use her to be an instrument through whom God would save others.

How can God bring a Sinless Savior out of a sinful receptacle?
With God, all things are possible.

If God can bring Messiah out of Mary, He can take a wrecked life and make it whole. If God can take a child of satan and, converting him, lead him into the Family of God, God can do anything. God regarded the low estate of His Mary – and blessed her with Messiah anyway. God regarded me a sinner and, regardless of my great sins, paid for my salvation in Christ.

God is able! God can do it!

Mary may have been a good woman who loved the Lord, but her strength was in recognizing her own weakness. When pride tells us “you can do it”, then pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). The power of the Christian life is to live surrendered to God, to rest in His loving embrace. As the Apostle Paul said in another place:

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

God can do great things in the yielded life. When we are prideful and self actualizing, we are in a good position to fail. But when we realize that we are at best “sheep” and God our Shepherd, then we are in a place to be used of God and blessed.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

God saves us, and God blesses us … but we must remember that we are at best “Sheep”. Our strength is in obeying the Lord. Our strength is in being open to serve and glorify God our Father.

Who was Mary before God called her into His plan? She was nothing, no one to any one. She was unknown to Herod, to Pilate, to Caesar, to anyone of power and wealth. Even today we know little of Mary the mother of

the humanity of Christ. She was nondescript, and yet her name is known by billions. Why is her name so well known today?

Because she was willing to be used of God.
Because she was possessed of God.

Her focus in life was to honor and serve God her Savior. God saw this on her heart, and so used her to bring His Son into this world. Oh that we, like Mary, would say “Yes, Lord” to Him. We are to be like John the Baptist in our faith. Christ must increase, and I must decrease (John 3:30). Let us not drown in the river called “Pride”. Let us, like Mary did, put our pride away and serve the Living God.

Mary continued with her praise of God:

Luke 1:49-55 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

God blesses those surrendered to Him, but He breaks down those who rely upon themselves. Mary relied on God. Thus Mary and Joseph were blessed.

This holiday season may we all learn to rely on the Lord. This is where the power for living comes. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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