Methodist logo

Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

Home
Meetings
Weekly Bible Reading
Sermons
Events
Links & Tools
Youth Info
Contact Info


 

Transforming Power of Christmas

Get Your Act Together!

Luke 1:26-38


Intro

“GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!” I am sure you have heard that term before. It normally is spoken to people that are wasting their lives on trivial, meaningless pursuits.

It is said to picky people that are so caught up in all the details that they never see the total picture.

We say to some who have their values reversed – giving their energy to things that don’t deserve it and ignoring the things and people that need their attention the most.

It is also what you want to say to the Bah Humbugers of this world. We have been looking at the movie “A Christmas Carol” which demonstrates a person that with some help is starting to get his act together. Scrooge is in a need of a transformation. So why am talking about getting your act together on Christmas Eve because we are celebrating the Transformers Birth. Christ came to transform the world.









The Christmas account is a story of transformation where Mary accepts God’s meaning and purpose to her life.


Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)
26 In the sixth month, 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 be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 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 the house of Jacob 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 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. 36 Even 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. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.


There are a few principles that we need to live by:


  1. Change comes when we receive God’s word with humility.


  1. Look at how Mary responds first fear then a delightful humility. She wasn’t argumentative or sarcastic but humbly receptive.

  1. I like watching people and how they respond to things especially challenges. Here is Mary and what a challenge she has been handed – but her eventual response “I am the Lord’s servant.” She responds with sure “I’ll do whatever the Lord wants me to do.” Wow!

1. Mary is a teenager – what kind of response would a 14-16 year old girl make today?

2. Could you hear 21st century teen “Yea who is going to believe that I’m pregnant with Messiah?” My old man will throw me out on the street.


3. In a culture where being pregnant without being married is punishable by being stoned to death.


  1. What kind of response do people have today when challenged – especially challenged by God. Most people will have some kind of excuse why someone else ought to do it – just like Moses.


  1. Or they would think this is some kind of prank – they start looking for the hidden camera.

  1. How many of us would respond the way Mary did when she heard the miraculous announcement? Though troubled by Gabriel’s news she responded “I am the Lord’s servant.”


  1. She accepted God’s plan and her role in it. She neither demonstrated pride of being found worthy nor the arrogance of protest. She realized that God was God and that He had every right to work as He saw fit.


  1. Humility knows how to say “here I am use me, I am your servant Lord,” without degrading itself.

  1. Humility knows how to say, “I am wrong,” without despising one ’s self.

  2. Humility knows how to say, “Please, forgive me,” without crawling.

  3. Humility know how to say, “Let me have another chance to make things right.”


VIDEO CLIP


  1. When Scrooge awoke from his sobering encounters with the spirits of Christmas, he humbled himself and retraced his steps of the day before correcting his offenses that he committed on Dec. 24th. As he did he discovered what Mary already knew – that is more blessed to give of one’s self. His heart was transformed.


  1. The promise of the gospel is that God makes us new creations. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!


  1. We can become different people because of the One born on Christmas day – the One that came to transform lives – Jesus.


  1. Sometimes like Scrooge we have to reach the end of ourselves before we allow Christ to transform us. Sometimes we have to get so caught up in ourselves that something dramatic happens to awaken that grace that God has been offering us from the birth of His Son. We have to be shocked into hearing the message.


  1. I am afraid that we have become so accustom to the Christmas story that we miss the transforming call by God on our lives through Christ.


  1. The second principle that we learn from Mary is that God’s power works through our availability, not our ability.


  1. Mary did not claim any merit for herself. The Bible gives us very little about Mary and I believe that is important. Mary was a humble servant and it was Christ that makes the difference. Mary made herself available to God.


  1. What is important in God’s eyes is our availability and then he will equip us with what we need and empower abilities to serve.


  1. Our greatest purpose is to make ourselves available. We can willingly serve God, knowing that God’s lowest servants are greater than this world’s highest leaders.


  1. You see the problem isn’t that we think too much of ourselves. We think too little of what God wants to do through us, if we will only be available to Him. We are important to Him because it is through you and me that Christ’s transforming love is shared in the world.


  1. Change comes by faith, when we believe that nothing is impossible with God.


  1. One of the greatest lies about Christianity is that you have to be good enough to be loved by God. What could ever change our lives?


  1. It is not “what” but “WHO!” The truth is that God loves us. He loves us just the way we are but loves us enough to change us. We are constantly under construction by God.


  1. Nothing is impossible for God. Scrooge changed. Christ is transforming me every day. The angel told Mary “For nothing is impossible with God."


  1. God believes in us. Christ proves that. He came to transform lives. He changes us from the inside out. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Christ is the most important gift that we can give to others.


Conclusion:

He is born in the manger but is the Divine Christ Child

Come and behold Him born the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Every year we celebrate His birth not just in Bethlehem but each one of our lives.

Three cheers for the gift of a second chance.

Praise God who can make all things new.

Misers become wiser and learn how to give.

The wounded find healing and sing

Hurtful memories are dethroned. Happy ones are crowned.

Scrooges become saints-in-the-making.

Humbug becomes hallelujah

Tomorrow or next day someone will ask you “How was your Christmas?” Tell them it was a hallelujah event. It was a wonderful transforming event where Christ changed our humbugs to hallelujahs.

 

Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.