A Humble Response to Christmas – Deric Bartlett

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Sermon Notes

Pastor Deric concludes his survey of the Advent season with a message based on Luke 1:37-38.

Ice Breaker: What was your all-time favourite Christmas gift as a child?
1. Mary was “greatly troubled” by the angel’s greeting in Luke 1:28-29. Putting yourself in her “sandals”, how would you have felt? Why? What was so troubling about the angel’s greeting [cf. Judges 6:12; Matthew 1:20; and Matthew 2:13]?

2. Reflect on the description of Mary’s Son in Luke 1:31-33. What do you learn about Him that sets Him apart from all others? Why is worshiping Him the only legitimate response [cf. Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:21]?
3. How do you explain the difference between Mary’s question in Luke 1:34 that receives an answer from the angel, and Zechariah’s question in Luke 1:18-20 that receives a rebuke? What do you learn about a fitting response to God’s Word [cf. Luke 1:45; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6]?
4. Nothing is impossible for God [Luke 1:37] makes a bold call for faith. It occurs several times in Scripture [Some examples: Genesis 18:14; Matthew 17:20; Luke 18:27]. Why is this true? How are you living this out in practical terms?
5. What do you understand about Mary’s character and heart from her statement in Luke 1:38? What makes her such a marvellous model for all faithful followers of Jesus [Luke 1:46-55; Luke 2:19]?
6. God’s plan for Mary’s pregnancy completely derailed her life plans and placed her in a precarious predicament. Even Joseph, her betrothed, required a divine dream to alert him to the unique situation [cf. Matthew 1:18-25]. What does this reveal about who God is and His right to direct our lives?
7. What did you find helpful or challenging about this Sunday’s message?
“The virgin birth is posted on guard at the door of the mystery of Christmas; and none of us must think of hurrying past it. It stands on the threshold of the New Testament, blatantly supernatural, defying our rationalism, informing us that all that follows belongs to the same order as itself and that if we find it offensive there is no point in proceeding further.” (Donald Macleod, The Person of Christ)