- Sermon Notes
Receive Your King
There was a survey done recently asking people, “Who is the most influential person in all human history?” Some of the names are predictable; Socrates, George Washington, Alexander the great, Thomas Edison, Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, Mohammed, Franklin D Roosevelt, etc. But it should come as no surprise that number one on the list was Jesus Christ. Without question, He is still the most influential person not just in world history, but even now.
What does it mean that Jesus is influential? It means that He has made an impact on your life; that He has an influence because He has affected the course of your life; He has brought change in how you live.
The wisest thing you could ever do is to have the influence of Jesus Christ on your life. Think of all that He wants to do for you and in you. Through Him you have eternal life, through Him you have the favor of God poured out on all you do; through Him you have the words that will change the course of your life.
How has Jesus influenced you personally? It only happens when you hear His words and receive them, but not just receive them, to set the course of your life according to them. That is influence. The title of this message is, Receive Your King; it’s only when you receive Him as your King does He truly influence your life.
Here’s an example; in Isaiah, we read that the Messiah will be called Wonderful Counselor. His wisdom is high, His counsel is amazing, and if you take hold of His word, it will impact every area of your life.
Let’s say that I give you 10 basic principles of how to communicate and solve conflicts in your marriage. You could hear these principles and respond, “Wow, those are great principles,” but then if you don’t actually use those principles in your marriage then they have not made an impact on your life. They’re not influential.
Many of you know that I enjoy using the latest technology. For Christmas I just ask my family to give me Amazon gifts cards so I can buy the latest, greatest techno gizmo. I got a smartwatch to help me stay connected, but it also keeps you on track to stay active, or it tries to. But if you just ignore it, you receive no help at all.
The message of Christmas is about recognizing how much God has done for you. If you step back and look at the big picture, you see that God changed the world that day of Christ’s birth and is still changing the world today; but He is changing it by what he does in the soul – one soul at a time; for those who receive Him as King.
In Luke 1, Mary is responding to the angel announcing that she would carry the Son of God. In these words, there is a beautiful response to what the Lord has done that touches the heart of what God wants to do in us as well.
I. God’s Favor Deserves a Response
- When Gabriel addresses Mary, he said to her, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” And then later, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”
- The favor of God is upon us also. “God so loved the world that He gave… His only begotten Son…that you would have everlasting life.”
- When Mary recognized what great things God had done for her, she responded to God’s favor with what is famously called the Magnificat - Mary’s declaration of the greatness of God.
- When we consider what great things God has done for us, we should also respond, even if our response is not equal to what He has done for us.
Illus – At Christmas it’s common to compare the value of what you gave against what you received and if they aren’t close to the same, well, that’s not right!
- But there is simply no way that anything we give to God in response to what He has done for us could possibly compare.
Illus - When the wise men brought the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the gifts were not equal in value to the gift that God had given them. But it was the right response.
When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, one of them came back to Jesus to give thanks. That small gift of saying thank you was not equal in value, but it was the right response.
Whatever we do for God will not be equal in value either, but it’s right; God’s favor deserves a response. This is what we can do in response…
A. Live according to His Word
- Mary responds to the angel by saying, “Let it be done according to your word.”
- When we live according to God’s word, it accomplishes His purpose. The world is lost and headed in a direction that’s away from God, but living according to God’s Word brings us closer to God.
Ephesians 2:12, “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ ... without hope and without God in the world.”
- When we live according to His Word, it brings godly, heavenly direction to our lives.
- God’s word transforms you from who you used to be and toward who God wants you to be.
- One of the things that make Christmas stories powerful and moving is when someone with a cold and hard heart is transformed.
Illus – Nephew Fred, “A Merry Christmas, Uncle Ebenezer! God save you.”
Scrooge, “God save me from Christmas. It’s another humbug.”
Nephew Fred, “Christmas a humbug? Come, now. Surely you don’t mean that.”
Scrooge, “And I’m sure that I do mean that. Merry Christmas, indeed. What reason have you got to be merry? You’re poor enough.”
Nephew Fred, “What reason have you got to be miserable? You’re rich enough.”
Scrooge, “There’s no such thing as rich enough, only poor enough.
Nephew Fred, “Don’t be so dismal, Uncle Ebenezer!”
Scrooge, “What else can I be when I live in a world full of fools babbling ‘Merry Christmas’ at one another? What’s Christmas but a time of finding yourself a year older and not a day richer? There’s nothing merry in that.”
The story is powerful only because Scrooge is transformed from a miserly, selfish, cold-hearted, lonely man into a generous, loving, and warm-hearted friend.
Illus – In the life of David there was a time when he ran into a grumpy old man named Nabal who returned David’s kindness with a grumpy, sharp rebuke. That man’s cold and hard heart doesn’t change, however; and the story doesn’t end well.
- In John 4, a Samaritan woman with a sinful past meets Jesus and her life is transformed.
- Then there’s the woman caught in adultery. Jesus showed her mercy and love and she was transformed as well.
B. Respond by pouring out your soul
- In verses 46-47, Mary said, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Real and lasting change does not happen without the transformation of the soul.
App – The heart that is hard doesn’t receive anything from God and doesn’t give anything to God either.
Psalm 42:4, These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
- There are some who believe Mary was without sin as Jesus was without sin, but notice that she says, “God my Savior.” She needs a savior just like all of us need a savior.
Illus – Mark Lowry wrote a song that captures this truth beautifully… “Mary did you know? That your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered would soon deliver you.”
C. Respond by serving others
- As you grow in your relationship to the Lord you want to do something for Him and what He wants is for you to serve and to bless others.
- When people first come to the Lord, they often focus on what they want God to do for them.
- But as you grow you realize you want to do something for Him that recognizes who He is…
Illus – When you give a gift at Christmas, you connect the gift to the person. My wife likes frogs and she likes experiences that makes memories…
Matthew 2:11, “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
- Each gift recognized who He was:
-Gold; for a king
-Frankincense; an expensive element of the priest’s incense and anointing oil. It is obtained by slashing the Boswellia tree and allowing the resin to bleed into tears. The tree has the unusual ability to grow on solid stone.
-Myrrh; gathered from the cuts of the Myrrh tree, used in embalming. Mixed with wine it was offered to Jesus on the cross (He refused to drink it), It was also used in anointing His body after death. This gift recognizes that God’s purpose was that Jesus would die for the sins of the world.
- When we bring the gift of serving others, it speaks to who Christ is as well.
Matthew 25:34-40 …“You did it unto Me.”
II. Keep Receiving Your King
- In verse 53 Mary declares, “He has exalted those who are humble. He has filled the hungry with good things.”
- We need to be continually filled. This is where many people miss out. They have a moment of revival and then fall away.
A. Worldly desires cannot satisfy
- Worldly desires are worldly. They appeal to the flesh, but cannot satisfy the soul and the soul is the most important part of us because it is eternal. The flesh is just temporary.
Romans 6:21, Therefore, what benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? The outcome of those things is death.
Galatians 6:8, But the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap life, even eternal life.
- We are driven by our desires and what we desire has everything to do with who we are and who we will become.
Isaiah 55:1-2, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.”
B. Jesus is the Joy of Man’s Desiring
Illus – Tis the season to be jolly. What does that mean? Does that come from drinking the wrong kind of eggnog?
- The theme of the season is to be joyful and there are many things about this “wonderful time of year” that touches something very deep in us.
Illus – The smell of pine needles, the taste of eggnog, all the lights on the houses, the Christmas songs, etc., all make this season a wonderful time of year.
- These things are special because they touch a deep need in the soul. We have a need for family to be together and to be at peace, for the glow of a fire, hot chocolate warming deeply; because we are trying to fill the longing of our hearts. These things are like a touch of heaven.
C. The joy of the Lord is our strength
- What we need is the joy of the Lord that satisfies the soul and then we need to stay there.
- Mary’s psalm speaks of all the things the Lord had done for her.
- And we can say the same thing. What great things the Lord has done for us.
- All other major religions of the world have man saving himself by his own works; only faith in Christ gives us “the greatest gift of all” eternal life simply by faith.
Psalm 126:1-3, “When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; and we are glad.’”
Illus – Many years ago we sang a very simple praise song with those very words, “The Lord, has done great things for us… for he has filled our mouths with laughter, filled our tongues with singing, the Lord has done great things for us.”
Luke 1:26-38 NASB
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 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 bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; 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 His kingdom will have no end." 34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered and said to her, "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 called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God." 38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.