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1. Mary- the First Christian. a. Mary is not what the Roman Catholics say. b. Mary is the first Christian, in the sense that although the Old Testament is filled with people who walked “with”God, Mary was the first person who had God inside them. c. Mary had God inside her by grace, not works. As a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, not by works which she had done. d. ”The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:” (Luke 1:35) i. Gen. 1:2 ii. Ps. 104:30 iii. “Overshadow” may seem like a strange word, but it is used several times in Scripture to indicate God’s presence. For example, in Exodus 40:35 when the Israelites complete construction of the tabernacle, the cloud of God’s glory “settles” on it. The Greek translation of the Old Testament uses the same word. In Luke, the same word is used in 9:34 when a cloud overshadows Peter, James, and John on the mount of transfiguration, right before God speaks to them out of the cloud. e. The reason we welcome the Holy Spirit to “overshadow” us is so He can form Christ “in” us. i. “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” (Gal 4:19) ii. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col 1:27) 2. The Miracle of Christmas a. The miracle of Christmas is summed up in two words. b. INCARNATION- God became Man. Jesus became fully God and fully man. i. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Mat. 1:23) c. INVASION- The Kingdom of God invaded this fallen world and became something “within us.” i. “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). 3. The Manifestation of Christmas a. The birth of Jesus was not a miracle. It was the conception of Jesus that was a miracle. b. The fact that Jesus was conceived outside the work of man is a miracle. But there was nothing miraculous in the birth itself. We are not told the birth was without pain. Mary went through the normal process of pain and agony and stretching and tearing that every woman goes through. (except not usually in a barn). c. This is where we make a mistake. We think that Jesus will come out of us the same miraculous way He comes into us. d. He comes into us by miracle, but He is manifested in ordinary human ways. i. A cup of water, a kindness, a shared word of encouragement… ii. We think prayer can only happen when we feel it. Worship can only happen when we sense something. e. Mary had a miraculous conception, and she did not enter into doubt just because the manifestation was not miraculous. We go through some hard stuff, we go through pain, but that does not mean God is not inside you. f. The miracles around His birth, the angels with the shepherds, the wise men, etc… happened only after Mary went through normal stuff of life. If we wait for a miracle to manifest Christ, it will never happen. Your miracle is waiting for you. 4. The Ministry of Christmas a. Mary needed a Joseph. i. Joseph had nothing to do with the conception, but he was the midwife in the delivery process. You need someone who will not use you, but stand by you and help you manifest the King in your life. ii. Joseph could hear from God. iii. Joseph was loyal and loving iv. Joseph kept them safe and supported his family. b. Mary needed an Elizabeth i. I need to talk to someone who also is carrying a miracle. ii. I need to talk to someone whose “baby jumps” when we talk. iii. I need someone who is facing what I am facing to encourage
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