- Sermon Notes
The Day of God’s Favor
ILLUS – “Man, don’t make the mistakes I’ve made.”
1. For many, the idea of God wanting to bless their lives with His favor is hard to accept.
2. Sure, they can believe that God wants to bless someone else, and even be quick to tell them it is so.
3. But when it comes to believing that the same is true for themselves, all they can think about is their failures and give reasons for why God would not want to bless them.
4. Tonight, we will study another familiar passage from Luke’s Gospel and discover what God’s favor means and how He wants us to respond in The Day of His Favor.
1. After 400 years of silence, God broke the silence and announced to his servant, Zacharias, that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to a son; who would be the forerunner to Messiah.
2. Instead of welcoming the angel Gabriel’s exciting news, Zacharias doubted the heaven-sent messenger because he was an “old man” and his barren wife was “advanced in years.” (18)
3. From a heart of doubt, Zacharias asked for a sign. So, Gabriel gave Zacharias a sign; in fact, Gabriel made Zacharias the sign; he was unable to hear or speak until his son was born.
a. His ears were closed so that the last words he heard for nine months were Gabriel’s words.
b. His tongue was silenced so that his first words would be words of faith in the promises of God.
4. Six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God dispatched Gabriel again; not to a priest in Jerusalem this time, but to a young woman who lived in the northern region of Galilee, in a town called Nazareth.
5. What Gabriel shared with this young virgin marked the beginning of a new day in human history; a day that would forever change all days thereafter.
I. Today is the Day of God’s Favor (26-37)
• It is clear from Luke’s Gospel that though God had been silent for 400 years, the will of God was and has been steadily moving forward.
• God is on the move.
• The world is lost and is aggressively heading away from heaven, not towards it.
• But God is on the move to rescue His creation and pour out His favor on those made in His image.
A. God uses the simple things of this world
1. There is a theme that we see running all through the Scriptures; that God uses the simple things, the base things, the foolish things of the world.
2. Here was this unknown girl, Mary, from an unknown town, Nazareth.
3. Nazareth was a wicked city with a bad reputation.
a. Nazareth was known for its loose living and immoral woman.
b. Why? Because Nazareth was a “pass through” place, similar to today’s “rest stops” or “truck stops”; not a destination just a Podunk place.
ILLUS – Years later, when Philip told Nathanael that, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46)
4. But in the midst of this perversity there was a godly young woman, probably 15 to 16 years old, that God noticed.
5. Gabriel’s greeting perplexed Mary, “Greetings,
favored one! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” (28, 30)
APPL – Again, what we read here should encourage us.
• We often think of ourselves as insignificant people from insignificant places, yet that’s the kind of people God looks for and wants to use.
• God delights to use the simple and the foolish for His glory.
ILLUS – David was just a young shepherd, the youngest of eight sons. His own dad did not think of him as the stuff of kings. Yet God saw David’s heart. Though no one else sees, God sees the heart!
1 Corinthians 1:27-29, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
Transition – But how can we know for certain that God’s favor is available for us, today?
B. God’s favor is only offered through Jesus
1. God’s favor is available for all through Jesus.
John 1:14, 16, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
2. Please notice the five things that Gabriel told Mary about the Child she would carry in her womb, give birth to, and raise to adulthood.
3. “You shall name Him Jesus” (31)
a. First, the Child would be a Son.
b. Second, the Child’s name was named by Father God which signifies a unique relationship and calling.
c. The name Jesus means “Yahweh is salvation.”
d. God’s mission for His Son is revealed in His name; Jesus came to save.
Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
4. “He will be great” (32)
a. This speaks to the measure and value of Jesus’ personhood; that He is eminent in rank, virtue, and power. He is without peer.
b. Jesus’s greatness will be realized through His submission to His Father’s will.
Philippians 2:8-9, Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name
5. “Called the Son of the Most High” (32)
a. Jesus eternally exists as the Son of God.
b. At the incarnation, Jesus added humanity to His deity, so that He is fully man and fully God.
c. Jesus is all that the Father is.
John 14:9, He who has seen Me has seen the Father
ILLUS – Family resemblance.
6. “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (32)
a. Messiah must come from the line of David.
b. God promised King David that One would come from him and reign eternally on David’s throne.
2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.
7. “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end” (33)
Isaiah 9:7, There will be no end to the increase of His
government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
APPL – Why does God want to bless us with His favor; give us His grace?
• Is it because we are perfect? No.
Romans 3:10-12, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.
• It’s because of love. God loves us.
Romans 5:6, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
APPL – Like Zacharias, Mary had a question. But unlike Zacharias, Mary’s question was not due to doubt; she simply asked how she could have God’s Son since she was a virgin. (34) Gabriel answered Mary’s question by declaring three things:
• Immaculate Conception: “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.” (35)
• Sign: “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.” (36)
• Assurance: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (37)
APPL – Is anything too difficult for God?
• God spoke creation into existence, moves mountains, raises valleys.
• God heals broken lives and hurting hearts.
• God’s favor is available to all through His Son, Jesus.
APPL – So God makes known His will and His desire to bless.
• We are left with a choice.
• What say you?
II. Enter into the Favor of the Lord (38)
A. Surrender to the Lord’s will
1. Mary’s response was simple, pure, and profound.
2. The matter was settled in her heart. She was on God’s side and was completely committed to God’s will.
a. “Behold” – “Look here!”
b. “The bondslave of the Lord”, meaning she freely submitted her will to the will of the Lord for the rest of her life.
ILLUS – The difference between a slave and a bondslave.
Luke 9:23, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
B. Submit to the Lord’s Word
1. Mary continued, “… be it done to me according to your word.”
2. Please note that Gabriel’s words did not originate with Gabriel. He was merely a messenger dispatched by God with God’s message for an unknown girl living in an unknown, Podunk town.
3. Mary was not merely surrendering her body to the Lord so that she could bear His Son.
a. Any parent knows that when you have a child, you are committed for life.
b. But in Mary’s case, her reputation was at stake. Who would believe that a “virgin” from a wicked town like Nazareth would be chosen by God to bear God’s Son?
c. Mary could lose her fiancé, Joseph.
d. In fact, Mary could lose her very life.
e. Yet, when she weighed it all in the balance, she was willing to endure it all because God’s favor was upon her. So, she submitted to God’s will and to God’s word.
o No conditions.
o No ultimatums.
o Just perfect submission; complete faith.
APPL – Just to be clear, God’s favor does not mean living a life on easy street.
• God’s favor does not mean champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
• God’s favor may bring opposition and persecution from the world. But take courage, Jesus is our victory.
John 16:33, In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
• God’s favor may bring spiritual warfare. But take heart, our God is greater.
1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
APPL – Ultimately, when we surrender, we gain more than we give up.
Philippians 3:7-8, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ
APPL – Have you entered into God’s favor? It begins with placing your faith in Jesus Christ; receiving the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life by receiving God’s Son.
APPL – Are you enjoying God’s favor?
• Surrender to God’s will.
• Submit to God’s Word.
• Today is the day of God’s favor.
Luke 4:18-19, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
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 [a]engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the [b]descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was [c]Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, [d]favored one! The Lord [e]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 [f]can this be, since I [g]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 [h]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 [i]she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For [j]nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the [k]bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.