This morning, we’re continuing our message series entitled, “God Encounters.” As we look forward to what this Christmas season holds, we also look ahead to what God has planned for us in the midst of it. We’re going to learn about God encounters as we work toward the ultimate God-encounter ever experienced; the pregnancy and birth of Jesus! Immanuel, literally God with us!
So far, we were challenged to seek after God encounters in the midst of our daily routines as to avoid missing them as Jacob almost did and proclaiming, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” We were reminded that God has a reason for the seasons of waiting in our lives and He has given us hope as a placeholder until we’ve received what He has promised.
This week, we turn to a God encounter that was perhaps the most significant and least expected in all of mankind’s history.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
“No word from God will ever fail.” Failproof; that is the nature and essence of God’s word because this is the nature and essence of God, Himself! In this ever-changing world full of unreliable things where the only thing that seems to be certain is uncertainty itself, we desperately need something certain and failproof that will never let us down. God’s word is exactly that!
Listen to what God says about His word:
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Have you ever been really hungry, but nothing seems to satisfy that hunger? You eat some potato chips, a couple Little Debbie snacks, a bowl of ice cream, a handful of cereal, but you’re still hungry. Why is that usually the case? Because you chose to eat a bunch of junk food with loads of calories, but very little nutritional content. Your body is craving the food that it was created for, but you continue to choose to fill it up with lesser things. A sandwich made with a few slices of thick bread would have brought the satisfaction and health that your body longed for.
Our souls are no different. If we continue to fill our mind with hours of empty content browsing through our Facebook timelines or binge watching TV, we’ll still be left empty, frustrated, and confused. If instead, we turned our ears to fill up our minds with what God says about us, we would be left satisfied and healthy. In fact, God says:
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
God’s word will never fail, it will always accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. God’s word is intended to satisfy our desires. If God’s word is the meditation of our minds and the longing of our hearts, joy and peace will be the fruit of our lives.
God’s word gives us guidance and direction in life. It gives us a definitive standard and a framework by which to live. It unveils to us our purpose in life and how to live our lives to their fullest potential.
God’s word is rock solid and upon its firm foundation, we can build our lives, our families, our businesses, our schools, our churches, anything that we set our hands to build in life. It’s principles and precepts are certain and true.
Christmas time is a season for us to reflect back on this amazing truth. God’s prophesies and promises spanning generations were all coming to pass right then and there. Can you imagine being Mary? A teenager engaged to be married who was entrusted to carry within her womb the long awaited savior, the very son of God, the King whose reign would never end. Her response to all these things was simply this, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
How much better would our quality of life be if we simply held this same attitude toward God’s word that Mary had? She considered herself to be God’s servant and trusted that His word would be manifest through her life. What if we just obediently trusted God at His word and faithfully did our part to bring it to pass?
That doesn’t mean that life won’t be without challenges or opposition. Recall that this simple pregnancy caused King Herod to decree that all boys under the age of two in the vicinity of Bethlehem to be murdered. An angel had to tell Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and RUN AWAY!
However, it does mean that in the midst of those challenges and opposition, we will have a compass to guide us through them. When we know for certain what God’s will is, it enables us to endure hardship and press onward without losing hope or courage. It gives us confidence to know that God is with us and for us when we are walking in the light of His word.
Despite countless attempts, the plans for Jesus’ life were never deterred nor derailed. He lived life in obedience to His Heavenly Father and therefore overcame every opposition; even defeating death itself! Jesus was clear evidence that God’s word is failproof!
King Herod was determined to put a stop to the church. He imprisoned many members of the church intending to persecute them. In fact, he had James put to death by the sword and Peter was next on his list. The church came together and prayed earnestly. An angel released Peter from prison and he showed up at the door while the church was praying. Despite such harsh and intentional opposition, Acts chapter twelve says:
But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.
The word of God is failproof, it simply cannot be stopped! What better place to be in than in agreement with it? Jesus said:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
God’s word may not come to pass when we want it to nor how we would anticipate it, but God’s word is failproof. It always accomplished the purposes of God and it never fails!
After all, who would have ever dreamed that God would choose to come in the flesh by means of impregnating a single teenager at the risk of her being rightfully and legally stoned to death? Who would have ever imagined that He would entrust the most valuable life of all time to this young and inexperienced couple? God’s word may not come how we thought it would, but it will always come at just the right time and in just the right way!
What path does God have you on in life right now?
What are some of the obstacles that you are facing?
Whatever they might be, God’s word has something to say about them. If His word was powerful enough to bring everything in all of creation into existence, imagine what it can do in your life. Imagine what just a single word from God at just the right time can do to transform your life. It’s able to transform us into an entirely new creation leaving the old us behind and moving us forward into the new us that God is creating us to be.
God’s word was able to bring light into darkness and everything out of nothingness. No circumstances are ever too difficult for God to handle. No sin is ever too great to forgive. No relationship is ever too broken. No life is ever too far gone for God to do a good work in and through.
God’s word is powerful enough to transform anything in accordance with His will, His plans, and His purposes. Just a simple word from Jesus is able to even bring life from death as Lazarus lived to tell about.
What area of our lives is God trying to speak into saying, “Come out!” What area of our lives needs the resurrection power of Jesus? Our responsibility is simply to listen and obey; to allow the word of God to penetrate our lives and saturate us. God does all of the hard work of transforming us, we simply yield to Him and permit Him to do it.
This Christmas season, as we recall the birth of Christ and look forward to His return, let’s seek after a God encounter like Mary had and realize that God’s word is failproof!