East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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December 9, 2012
"Facing Life's Challenges"
Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25

First, we have the introduction of Mary and Joseph . Read Luke 1:26-27). A) "In the sixth month" refers to Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy with her son John the Baptist. B) God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary. 1) Luke calls her a virgin. 2) She was pledged to be married to Joseph. C) In Jewish culture, a man and a woman were pledged to be married to each other for a period of time before the actual consummation of their marriage. 1) Betrothal was much stronger than an engagement period. 2) The two were considered husband and wife except that they did not live together until after the wedding.

Second, note Gabriel's announcement of Jesus' birth to Mary. Read Luke 1:28-38. A) Gabriel said that Mary was highly favored (full of grace). 1) She had found favor (grace) with God. 2) She was a special recipient of His grace because He had bestowed a special honor on her: she was to be the mother of a son. B) Gabriel predicted five things about Mary's Son. Read Luke 1:32-33). 1) He will be great. 2) He will be called the Son of the Most High (Yahweh). 3) He will be given "the throne of His father David" (Jesus, as David's descendent, will sit on David's throne when He reigns in the Millennium). 4) He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. 5) His kingdom will never end (Mary understood that Gabriel was speaking to her about the Messiah who had been promised for a long time.

Third, Mary did not seem surprised that the Messiah was to come . Read Luke 1:34-38). A) She was surprised that she would be His mother since she was a virgin ("since I do not know a man"). 1) Mary did not doubt Gabriel's words but wanted to know how such an event would be accomplished. 2) The answer: the Holy Spirit would creatively bring about the physical conception of Jesus (Read Luke 1:35). 3) This miraculous conception and Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ was necessary because of His deity and preexistence and also it prevented Him from inheriting our sin nature. B) Note Mary's response: "May it be to me as You have said" (she willingly submitted to God's plan, calling herself "the Lord's servant").

Fourth, Joseph's story is recorded in Matthew 1:16-25. A) He was an honorable man. 2) He also believed God's Word. 3) He was obedient.

Fifth, when facing life's challenges, remember the following: 1) God has a plan for our lives and gives us His grace to fulfill His plan. 2) We are quick to judge others without knowing God's plan for them. We judge others based on outward circumstances but God judges us based on our hearts . 3) God can use evil, mistakes and circumstances to mold our will and character so that we have the strength to live out His plan. 4) It is more important to be concerned about what God thinks of us than to worry about what others think of us.

Conclusion: God worked out His perfect plan of redemption for you and me in the birth of His Son at the right place and the right time.

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