From Heaven to Earth Reactions
Sermon Summary
This message examines the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, his message to her and her reaction to that message. In Gabriel’s message we find that Mary had found favor in God’s eyes and God’s presence was with her already. We can see Mary was a humble servant who walked with God and trusted His will for her life. The information brought to her concerning her upcoming pregnancy carried potential risk for her socially and even physically. However, Mary fully submitted to God’s will and as a result, she was given one of the greatest honors of all time: The honor of giving birth to the Messiah, and Savior of the world! While Mary was asked to carry Jesus in her womb and later give birth to God’s gift for the world, we are asked to carry Jesus in our hearts and to share God’s gift to our world!

Small Group Discussion Guide
1. Discuss the implications the angel’s message had for Mary and how difficult it would be for her to get others to believe her story.
2. Mary carried the Savior of the world in her womb. We have been called to carry this same Savior in our hearts. How does Mary's story help us understand how we should carry Jesus to the world?  Rom 10:8b  ... "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: Rom 10:9  That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom 10:10  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Rom 10:11  As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, Rom 10:13  for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
3. Mary was chosen by God for this task for more reasons than her blood line. What are some of the characteristics of Mary’s life that may have been behind her being chosen? Hints....Luke 1:30  But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. Luke 1:38  "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:46  And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord Luke 1:47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, Luke 1:48  for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
4. Mary broke out into song once she arrived at Elizabeth’s home. How could accepting Jesus as personal Savior change the theme song of a person’s life? How did accepting Jesus as your Savior change your tune? If the song of your life in Christ has faded, how could a re-commitment to following God’s will restore the melody and passion of your song? Phil 1:9  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, Phil 1:10  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, Phil 1:11  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

Sermon Notes

From Heaven to Earth
Luke 1

Last week we talked about the amazing preparation and detail God put into His gift to the peoples of the earth! There were many different reactions to the gift He was going to send. We talked about Zechariah and Elizabeth and their reactions to the heavenly messages they received about their role in God's plan.

One of the questions for our small groups last week was this…"What would your reaction be if you had been in Zechariah's shoes?" Now, I know we don't have too many literal visitations by angels these days, but God does have a way of confronting us with His message. Our reaction matters!!!

Today we're going to talk about an amazing person in the story of Heaven's gift to the world! It's powerful and has so much to teach each one of us concerning our reaction to God's gift. Let's pray and ask God to bring home the message in a powerful way for each of us today!! PRAY!!

Take your Bibles and open them up to Luke chapter 1 beginning with verse 26...

26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

This is the same Gabriel who had brought God's message to Zechariah while serving in the temple in Jeruselem. Today's story finds Gabriel in the small town of Nazareth. Luke points out that Nazareth is a town in Galilee.

This is further proof that Luke was writing his gospel to reach gentiles. Jews knew the geography of the Holy Land. Another reason to point out Nazareth was to show the world that no matter where you're from, no matter how lowly your background, it's the call of God that counts.

You might remember some would later question the concept of the Messiah being from anywhere other than Bethlehem. Listen to what would happen years later...

45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the

prophets also wrote —Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

Unless you knew the story of how Jesus was born in Bethlehem you would be right to question this. His parents would later move back to Nazareth where Jesus was raised. So can any good thing come out of Nazareth? It sure can when God's in it!! Let's read on...
God sends Gabriel ...

27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

The information in this verse is vital to our story. Mary was a virgin and she was pledged to be married to Joseph. Joseph was not a rich man or of high position, but he was of royal linage. A descendant of King David. These facts shed light on just how precarious Mary's situation was, given the information she is about to receive.

To be engaged or betrothed to someone was a legally binding agreement in New Testament days. To break this agreement carried serious consequences. Social embarrassment and rejection were assured. Breaking this agreement was tantamount to divorce. If a woman was found to have been unfaithful, she could be stoned to death.

This information may be new to you, but Mary was well aware of these things. With this in mind we read on...

28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

What a greeting!! Mary is told she is highly favored and that The Lord is with her. This gives us insight into the integrity and innocence of Mary. The Angel did not say she was perfect. Remember, Jesus is the only perfect person who has ever lived, but Mary was a very sincere and Godly person.

God's presence was with Mary. Obviously Mary walked with God in her daily life. We don't know what she was doing when the Angel spoke to her, but God was with her.

Here's a powerful thought…God was with her already, but she would soon carry in her womb the One who would be called Immanuel which means "God with us!"

Even though the Angel starts off with such positive words, Mary is still very scared. Even in Bible times, visitations from Angels were rare and could be positive or not…
Let's read on...

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.

How cool is that? She had found favor with God. God had chosen to shine His grace on her in a special way. Remember, God looks at the heart. He obviously knew Mary's heart and she had found favor with God. Let's read on...

31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

32He 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,

33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Now at this point Mary is probably a bit overwhelmed. It would have been the dream of every young Jewish woman to have the honor of carrying the Messiah. Mary knew the language the Angel was using meant she had been chosen.

The name Jesus was not unfamiliar to Jewish people. It was the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which meant "Yahweh is salvation," and "The anointed one" or Messiah.

Can you imagine what is going through Mary's head right about now? "Ok, wait a minute. I'm going to have a child. It's going to be a boy. I'm supposed to give Him the name reserved for the coming Messiah? Boy am I going to have some questions to answer!"

Mary doesn't question the truthfulness of what Gabriel had said, she believed, but she didn't understand how this could happen so she very humbly ask a question...

34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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.

36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

37For nothing is impossible with God.”

Gabriel knows what a difficult thing this is for Mary to understand. The words he has spoken to her are mysterious, powerful and supernatural! He helps her to believe by telling her of the miracle which has happened to her relative Elizabeth.

Mary has to decide how to react to this amazing message. Her mind is racing. Her heart is pounding. She knows to accept these words, if they come to pass, she could face rejection by her husband to be and possibly death by stoning. She knew people would wonder who she thought she

was naming her child Jesus, the Savior, the Annointed One, the Messiah. So, what would be her response? What would she say? What would you say? What would your reaction be? She could have said, "This is too much. I don't want this kind of responsibility. I just want to live my life. Please choose someone else. I'm not ready.” But she doesn't. Let's look at this young hand maiden from Nazareth and see her phenomenal reaction...

38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Now we know why she was highly favored by The Lord! Now we know why God was with her. Now we know why God was able to use her for such an important task.
Mary was available to God! Mary was willing to serve God in any capacity. Mary trusted that God's will was superior to her own in every way! Mary was submissive to God!

Some of us here today may be thinking…"None of this really applies to me" and asking the question "what would I do is irrelevant because I'll never be in that position. Mary's situation was unique and is a one time occurrence in history. I would never face the same kind of question Mary faced!"

To this I reply, "Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions!"

What I'm about to tell you should wake some of you up from your spiritual slumber.
I'm no Angel, but I believe God has laid a message on my heart and it's for you!

If this message sinks into your heart you may leave here this morning feeling like you've seen an angel.
You ready? Remember, your reaction to God's message matters!
Here we go...

Mary was approached by God and asked to carry Jesus in her womb and give birth to the Messiah as a part of God's gift to the world. God is approaching you this morning with this question… would you be willing to carry the Messiah in your heart and share God's gift of love to your world?

The writer of Romans put it beautifully when he wrote the following words...

8... “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Just like Mary, there's a lot to consider. You may be ridiculed and thought a fool for believing in the message of Christmas. Some might say you're acting like you've seen an Angel or something.
You will have to decide whether or not you are willing to embrace God's will for your life rather than your own.

The same Holy Spirit that came upon Mary and brought Jesus to her, is the same Holy Spirit who will come upon anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord and will bring Jesus into the heart!

Here's the question, are you willing to make the same commitment to God as Mary did?

38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

I know it's a huge step to place your life in someone else's hands, but God's hands are big, strong and faithful. God's hands will lead you, protect you and provide for you! This doesn't mean you will never face difficulties or hardships. You will! The difference, you won't be alone!

Mary's life was certainly not easy and the task she was called to accomplish also came with some burdens and heartaches, but in the end she knew God knew best!
Let me ask you a question this morning. What kind of song does your present life cause you to want to sing?

Are you singing the blues?  Are you singing a song of discontent or malcontent? Is your life a song of loneliness or hopelessness? God's gift offer to you could have you singing a brand new song. When Mary made her decision to submit to God, she sang a new song. Let's see what happened as soon as the angel left…Luke 1:39

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,

40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.

41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful

55to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Four lessons
Mary was humble
Mary was a servant
Mary walked with God
Mary submitted fully to God's will

End Sermon here!

ETS: In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy the angel Gabriel comes to the virgin Mary and tells her she will be the mother of the Messiah, to which Mary willingly complies.

ESS: Mary's reaction to the angle's message teaches many lessons.
OSS: I want my hearers to learn from Mary's reaction and apply the lessons to their own lives.
Unifying Word: Lessons

Probing Question: What lessons can we learn from Mary's reaction to the Angel's news?
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the lessons we can learn from Mary's reaction to the Angel's announcement.