advent 2016

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Advent 2016 | Part 4


Luke 1:34-38


Christmas is Almost Here!


Can’t you feel the anticipation!

7 days away… presents are starting to show up under the tree… in our house, the Advent mouse is inching closer down the calendar… the anticipation (or ANXIETY) is building

There is this EXPECTANT WAITING AND ANTICIPATION of a coming day

That, in a sense, is what Advent is

  • Except, instead of looking toward SOME DAY on the Calendar
  • We are expectantly waiting and anticipating SOME ONE
  • SOMEONE who will burst forth into the calendar of our lives
    • so that it’s not just one day that’s different…
    • it’s not just a season of days that are different…


That’s Why We Are Celebrating Advent

  • It’s far more than a celebration of an historic moment 2,000 years ago.
  • In Advent we LOOK BEHIND us (to the promises completed in full in XJ)
  • BUT ALSO we LOOK FORWARD (to who Jesus is and His to return for us)


That’s why we look toward SOME ONE and not just SOME DAY


Microsoft commercial last night. To be clear, they were definitely featuring the artistic capacity of their touch screens, but there was also a message that MS wanted its audience to catch. Behind the impressive visuals was a catchy tune about there being beauty in the world. I wouldn’t argue with that. God gave us a common sense of beauty.


The central theme was this message, “Spread harmony.” This was, as promoted by MS, their corporate celebration of the “Spirit of the Season.”


But there’s the deal… the “spirit of the season”

  • did not create beauty
  • cannot reconcile discord
  • cannot bring about true, lasting harmony


Because the “spirit of the season” is only a shadow of the Savior of the Season: Jesus the promised Messiah


The Savior of the Season created beauty… reconciles discord… can bring about true, lasting harmony


Don’t settle for the shadow of the Christmas season, there is SOMEONE BETTER, the Savior of Christmas: JESUS the PROMISED MESSIAH


Here is Where We Have Been


1.) Jesus is better than the shadow because HE HAS DRAWN NEAR TO YOU


  1. To give you His grace
  2. To make Himself known to you


When a relationship is broken, someone has to make the first move toward the other person to bring about reconciliation – God moved toward you even when you wouldn’t move toward Him


2.) Jesus is better than the shadow because HE IS THE ONLY SAVING KING


  1. Jesus is the only King that saves completely
  2. Jesus is the only King that reigns currently


Now let’s keep reading, vv34-38


This Week (MIM)…

1.) Jesus is better than the shadow because His ADVENT is proof that God can make the impossible, possible


Since the Fall of man, the greatest display of God’s power to make the impossible possible was when God Himself came as a powerless babe


Why? It’s the only demonstration of God’s power that changed all of eternity


2.) God makes the impossible possible through THE HOLY SPIRIT


Mary displayed elated perplexity

  • elated, “This is great news!”
  • perplexed, “How can this be?”


How can a virgin have a child… not just any child, the Son of God… fully God and fully man?

  • We know now that our DNA strand is the unique identifier of a human vs any other plant or animal = 23 unique pairs of chromosomes
  • When a child is conceived, he is equal parts dad and mom… 23 chromosomes each
  • So Mary may not be thinking in quite these same terms, but still she’s wondering, “Where am I going to get my other 23 chromosomes?”
  • How can a virgin have a child… not just any child, the Son of God… fully God and fully man?



I would like to tell you with all boldness the biological details of what exactly happened… of how God took a single set of 23 chromosomes and put together 23 pairs.

But that detail belongs to the mystery of God

I would like to tell you how God did that… but that detail wouldn’t affect the way we live for Jesus.


However, with all boldness… confident in what the Word of God makes clear… there is a truth here that can change your life.

3.) Nothing is impossible with God, PÄN RHĒMA (v37)

“For nothing will be impossible with God, pän rhēma”

“For nothing will be impossible with God, every word.”

For the word of God will never fail. (NLT)


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can speak into nothingness and all of creation springs forth


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can tell an old, barren woman and an even older man, “Sarah you will have a child. Through you Abraham I will make a great nation, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can tell a virgin Jewish girl, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, His name will be called Jesus.”


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can come in the flesh… the Son of God… fully God and fully man… acquainted with every detail of humanity from experience


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

Jesus te Messiah can be tempted in every way, yet remain without sin


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

He can crush Satan, sin, death by His sacrificial death on the cross. He can make that promise 1000s of years before at the Fall of humanity into sin, and it still come to pass.


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God in human flesh can die yet be resurrected in the fullness of His glory


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can reign on high this very moment


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

God can forgive your sins when you turn to Him in faith


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma

He has said it, and it will be: Jesus is returning soon. The King is coming.


Because nothing is impossible with God, pän rhēma


In other words, “if God said it, it’s going to happen”

  • “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
  • “God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
  • God said these. These are true for you. His Word will never fail.
  • Whatever is lacking, God will fill up.
  • God will make the way where there is no way.
  • God wants to display His power working through you


Impossible situations are God’s canvas on which He paints His greatest masterpieces

When we see them we don’t just say how awesome the painting is BUT HOW GLORIOUS THE ARTIST MUST BE… not just an awesome miracle but an awesome God



George Muller

George Muller was born in Kroppenstaedt, Prussia in 1805.


He spent the first years of his life as a thief and a liar, not out of necessity but simply because he enjoyed the thrill. At the request of his father, George enrolled in Germany’s Halle University as a divinity student on track to become a Lutheran pastor.

Lutheran pastor’s were well paid and respected and George Muller saw a church congregation as easy prey for his manipulative tactics.


One night George attended a small Bible meeting with a friend and the Holy Spirit began to work on his heart. After returning to the Bible meeting several times, he knelt by his bed and asked God to forgive him of his sins through Jesus Christ.


This transformation was immediately evident in George’s life. He gave up his old ways of partying, drinking, gambling, and cheating people out of money.

The man who lived his whole life in selfish pursuits now loved God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind.


He was surrendered to God

Shortly after George became a Christian he decided to be a missionary. He married a woman named Mary Groves, and the couple eventually found themselves in Bristol, England.


One day as George was walking through the city he came upon a young beggar girl, who was about five years old. She was carrying her younger brother on her back.


She asked George for a shilling. As he spoke with her he discovered her mother had died of cholera and her father had never returned from the mines. She and her brother were living on the streets.


George gave her a shilling, but as she walked away, she took more than George’s money with her–she took his heart. From that moment George belonged to the orphans living on the streets of Bristol and there were many of them.


Due to the close quarters of the city and the poor sanitation, diseases spread quickly and epidemics were common. This left many children without either parent or anyone else to care for them.


George and his wife, Mary, began a “Breakfast Club” out of their home where orphaned children could get a hot meal and hear of the love of Jesus.


This “Breakfast Club” grew to be five large houses which, over the years, were called “home” by over ten thousand orphans. The “Muller Houses” were the first orphanages in Bristol.


Time and time again in these orphanages, God made what was impossible possible.


One morning George was in his office meeting with his assistant when he was interrupted by a matron of one of the orphan houses.


She informed him the children were at the table ready for breakfast but there wasn’t anything to eat. George got up to head to the dining hall.


But first he took with him the eight year old daughter of a friend who was visiting the orphanage and told her they were “going to see what God would do.”


When they arrived at the dining hall, the little girl was shocked to see the children standing at tables set with empty plates and cups. George prayed a simple prayer with the children,


“Dear God, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat. Amen.”


The children took their seats. Moments later, there was a knock at the door.


A baker had arrived with trays of beautiful bread claiming he hadn’t been able to sleep the night before and was compelled to bake bread for the orphanage.


The Holy Spirit had been working the night before in another man’s heart to answer the prayer George would pray that morning. After the bread had been given to the children there was another knock at the door.


A milkman had a broken wheel on his cart, which was parked right outside the orphanage. In order to fix the cart he needed to lighten the heavy load of milk it was carrying.


The milkman asked if the orphanage could use the milk free of charge. There was enough milk for every child and then some.


Nothing is impossible with God


Later, the friends of George Muller’s, whose eight year old daughter had witnessed God’s direct answer to prayer told him their little girl never finished a prayer without adding, “Like you do for George Muller.”[i]



Now George Muller did not have a prayer line by faith that is unavailable to you and me. He simply had Jesus.


Because Jesus came, died, resurrected and ascended we have a mediator (the only Medaitor between God and man) who is constantly making intercession for us



Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you. – George Muller




4.) A SURRENDERED life sees the impossible made possible (v38)


Not talking about

Not studying but praying to get an A

Poor financial decisions but you’re expecting God to bail you out

That would be God serving you


If you want to see God make the impossible things possible in your life?

It will not happen because God is serving you BUT WHEN YOU BEGIN SERVING GOD


This is what you see in v38 <<<

Mary was not taken over by some out of body experience


Mary was simply so taken by God’s loving, gracious choice of her, that she was completely surrendered to His will for her… SHE PLACED HER FULL FAITH IN GOD


Faith is not a negotiation with God but a surrender of yourself to Him

The Sacrifice of Surrender

Now I haven’t been pregnant but I know it completely takes over the mom’s life (morning sickness, uncomfortableness, exhaustion, not to mention the actual child birth)… “I KNOW THAT IT WILL COST ME, BUT IT’S WORTH IT”


Don’t lose sight of the certainty of social estrangement and shaming she would go through… MANY PEOPLE WOULD NOT BELIEVE THAT HER LIFE WAS LITERALLY CHANGED BY THE TOUCH OF GOD… Illustration: Chip & Joanne Gains


But all of those things fade away into the glow of God’s glorious grace poured out into her


The same will happen for you… KNOW THE COST. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT!


Those things you think would be too tough to endure and so you hold back – if you would give yourself over to God completely you will find the pain of what’s lost will pale in comparison to the joy that you’ll gain



Diagnostic: Are you surrendered?

Two questions that will help you diagnose if you are negotiating with God or you are surrendered to Him

1.) Are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do, whether you like it or not?


2.) Are you willing to trust God in anything He sends into your life, whether you understand it or not? (c.f. the perplexity of Mary)


If you can’t answer “YES” to these two questions, you may believe in Jesus in some general way, but you have never said to him, “I am the Lord’s servant.”[ii]


This is the surrender that God is asking us for.


Faith is not a negotiation with God but a surrender of yourself to Him




Will you surrender to this Immanuel, Savior, King?

What you thought was impossible, by grace is possible today.


[i] http://rickthomas.net/testimony-of-faith-in-god/

[ii] Timothy Keller, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ (Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. October 25, 2016), 91.