Tom Scott - 8/12/2013
Date: December 9, 2013
Christmas is a great time of the year for the giving and receiving of gifts, at least that is what Apple, Amazon and Wal-mart want us to think. As we decorated our homes this year, did we stop to consider the story of Mary and Joseph as they prepared for the birth of Jesus. They are a real testament of faith. In the message yesterday, I talked about the faith that these two individuals possessed and how they speak to us today. Here are some questions to help you reflect upon the message.
1. The new Ipad Airs came out a couple of weeks ago and Apple is promoting them through emails and on television ads. One email suggested that they are the biggest gifts no matter what the size. They may make great gifts, but they are too expensive for most of us to give them to everyone on our list. What is the most expensive gift you have given someone for Christmas?
2. Mary was a young Jewish girl living in the town of Nazareth when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. The angel would announce that she was highly favored by God. Luke’s account of the story records Mary’s words in response to the angel’s message. In verse 38 Mary would say that she was Lord’s servant and that she was up to the task. How easy do you think it would have been for Mary to have said those words to Gabriel knowing what was about to take place?
3. Joseph was described as a man who was righteous before God in Matthew chapter one. When Gabriel came to Joseph, he would tell this young Jewish carpenter to take Mary as his wife and that the child she was carrying was of God. Joseph had to make a decision as to what he would do with this news. We see that Joseph did take Mary as his wife. Has there ever been a time in your life when your faith has been tested like this?
4. Mary and Joseph can serve as a testament of faith for us today as we go about our lives. We can see how their issues relate to ours. When we are presented with difficult tasks and are wrestling with touch decisions, we have to put our faith in God like Mary and Joseph did. James 1:5 and 6 tell us to ask in faith for wisdom. Genesis 18:14 reminds us that nothing is too difficult for the Lord. Is it natural for us to turn to God in faith when dealing with the issues of life or do we tend to rely upon ourselves to see us through?
5. We can be a testament of faith when speaking with other people. I used a story from Jesus’ life to illustrate this point. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus is dealing with the rich, young ruler who asks Jesus a question. The disciples would then ask Jesus if it was possible for a rich man to be saved. Jesus responded by telling them that with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. He gave his disciples a gift of faith by speaking to them the words of truth. As we speak with others, we need to let them hear words of faith flowing out of our mouths. What opportunities has God given to you recently to give someone the gift of faith through your words?
The best gifts that we can give to people this year come from our faith, hope and love. In the bulletin Sunday, we shared a list of 25 inexpensive ways that we can share these three gifts with others. Let me encourage you to consider how you might be a testament of faith this holiday season.
A TESTAMENT OF FAITH
Luke 1:26-38 December 8, 2013
Introduction: Many of us have decorated our homes for the holidays by now. As you set out your nativity set, did you stop to consider the faith of Mary and Joseph? These two individuals are a testament of faith. This morning, we will look at the scriptures that talk about Mary and Joseph prior to Jesus’ birth. As we look at these scriptures; I want us to think about the testament of faith that we can be in our world today.
I. Mary and Joseph are a testament of faith.
A. They had to believe in God.
1. Mary was favored by God. Luke 1:28
2. Joseph was righteous before God. Matthew 1:19
B. They had to believe in each other.
1. Mary had some explaining to do. Isaiah 7:14
2. Joseph had some options to consider. Deuteronomy 22:23-24
II. We can be a testament of faith.
A. When presented with difficult tasks. Genesis 18:14
B. When wrestling with tough decisions. James 1:5-6
C. When dealing with everyday life. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
D. When talking with other people. Matthew 19:26
Conclusion: Christmas can be a very stressful season in our lives, but it can also give us lots of opportunities to share our faith with those around us. One of the best gifts that we can share with people this Christmas is our faith in God. Let’s consider how we might share the gift of faith with others this Christmas.
Key Thought: Mary and Joseph had incredible faith to believe in the promises of God.