The Coming of Grace

by | Dec 3, 2023 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

As we see exemplified in the life of Mary, God’s grace always comes first in our lives. It is God’s grace that calms our fears, makes all things possible, and gives birth to abiding faith in His saving work through His Son Jesus Christ. This Advent Season come take a journey to joy, a journey that begins by receiving the grace of God in your life.


Well happy Advent to you all uh today we begin an advent series that will culminate with our our Christmas Eve services and it’s called a a journey to Joy a journey to Joy you know Advent is uh as I mentioned at the beginning of the service is uh is for coming and so during the season of La of the season of Advent we’re uh we’re preparing for not only the remembering that Jesus came uh and looking forward to and preparing ourselves for his second coming because he promised he will come again and make all things new uh but we’re celebrating the fact that he’s continuing to come and transform our lives here and now and so in this season of of Advent we’re on a journey together we on a journey to Joy because you know Advent is is a really a season of of the Fulfillment of the deepest longings of the human heart I know that’s a bold and a big statement right uh but Advent is the the Fulfillment of the deepest longing of the human heart because advent’s about the coming of Christ and Jesus is the Fulfillment of all things that we most hope and desire for so that’s the season that we’re in right now and you know that that that longing uh that is part of this time of year we can even find it in the secular world and you know which is surprising somewhat but uh do anyone like listening to chis secular Christmas music this time of year uh you know we do uh we love uh listening to kind of the the pop or at least I do I should say I don’t know if my kids do they uh they’re they’re forced to because we listen to it uh but if you listen to these just secular Christmas songs that that that don’t even acknowledge Jesus in any way all the songs speak to this deep desire for something more and this feeling that Christmas there’s something magical about Christmas that fulfills it you hear it over and over and over again one of them uh that I’ve grown quite partial to is uh Taylor Swift’s Christmas tree farm have you heard this one uh it’s great it’s a it’s a fun song and uh I’m not going to sing it for you but I but I will give you some of the uh some of the verses uh and she said my winter nights are taken up by Static stress and holiday shopping traffic but I close my eyes and I’m somewhere else just like magic so she starts off by talking about this reality that she’s longing for something more right there there’s a longing of the something more Beyond just what the shopping and the consumerism that that’s become the Christmas season and then she says in my heart is a Christmas tree farm where the people would come to dance under the sparkling lights bundled up in their mittens and coats and The Cider would flow and I just want to be there tonight you know there you hear that words of of longing again she’s longing for for Community something that’s meaningful and something that’s more fulfilling these relationships and connection uh in her life in this song that somehow Christmas becomes a time of Hope for those things but then I I’ll give you one more she said sweet dreams of Holly and ribbon mistakes are forgiven and everything is icy and blue and you would be there too cat that mistakes are forgiven this longing for a place in a space in our lives where we find forgiveness for the mistakes that we make in life it’s really beautiful it’s really it’s really quite deep you know although you know there’s nothing here that satisfies it other than just this hope of a magical Christmas right uh where everyone’s going to act nice and uh and there’s going to be peace uh because everyone’s nicer to one another but it never really happens does it maybe for a little bit but then you get to the Christmas dinner with the family and you realize it didn’t work um you know there there’s still something longing there’s still some longing that’s left uh in all this but today as we begin this journey to Joy and looking at the Fulfillment of the deepest longings of the human heart in Christ coming into our lives We Begin where we have to begin if we’re talking about a journey toward is joy we have to start at the very beginning and the very beginning is the coming of Grace into our lives that’s where where it all begins Grace is the beginning of a journey to real and Lasting and abiding Joy in our lives and Jesus came we’re told in John chapter one that he came full of grace and truth he came full of grace and truth and so we’re going to begin today looking at the coming of Grace together and in our passage uh from Luke chapter 1 that we’re going to be working through each week this uh up up to Luke Chapter 2 as we take this journey of Joy together so I invite you to to pull out your your bulletin uh as we look at the coming of Grace in a new and special and beautiful way uh a Grace that’s for every one of us this gift that God has given us so you can open your bulletins or open your Bibles to Luke 1 beginning with the 26th verse we’re told in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the House of David and the virgin’s name was Mary so to begin with we’ve got our first uh character in The in this account is uh is Gabriel and we’re told Gabriel is a a messenger sent uh sent from God an angel of God but what’s significant about this this Gabriel well the first time uh that we hear about uh about Gabriel is in the Book of Daniel uh The Book of Daniel in Daniel’s life Daniel’s been given a revelation from God but he doesn’t quite understand it and he’s struggling a little bit with it uh and Gabriel is sent to Daniel to help understand what this Vision that that God has given him uh is all about uh and listen to this that that Gabriel said or were told about Gabriel at the beginning or this is what Gabriel says to Daniel at the beginning of your please for Mercy a word went out and I have come to tell you for you are greatly loved that was the message that that Gabriel was sent by God to deliver to Daniel that you are greatly loved what a powerful message that Gabriel gave and then the the next time we see Gabriel is uh in a few few verses before uh this passage and that is his visit to Zechariah uh Elizabeth’s husband before the the verse or before the birth of uh uh of John the Baptist uh and in verse 19 we’re told this about Gabriel and the the angel answered him I am Gabriel I stand in the presence of God and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news Gabriel is a Herald of good news he’s one who sits in the presence of God and speaks on God’s behalf and so far the two messages that that Gabriel has offered that you are loved by God and that I bring good news those are the first two messages and we get the third one here this morning but before we go got jump into the the message itself who does he come to he comes to Mary and and what do we know about Mary we know that Mary’s a uh is a virgin that she’s betrothed to Joseph who’s of the House of David and that’s basically all we know you know that she’s young she’s not fully married yet they’re they’re in the process the as the process goes it takes a couple years uh they’ve just met that that first uh that first stage of it but that’s all that we know about Mary in fact the only other thing that we possibly could uh deduce from this is that she’s come she’s humble of humble birth she’s not royalty she’s not Majestic in any way she’s just an ordinary girl that’s the message that we’re getting here and then 28 to 30 we’re told we’re told this and he came to her Gabriel and said greetings o favored one the Lord is with you so the the same Angel Gabriel who was sent to say that to to Daniel you’re loved and he was sent to Zechariah to proclaim the good news is now declaring to Mary you’re the favored one you’re a favored one in God’s eyes oh favored one the Lord is with you the Lord is with you but she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be

so what that word means to be favored is it means to be filled with grace it’s as simple as that it’s to have Grace in your life and so what Gabriel was proclaiming uh proclaiming to to Mary was God’s grace is with you God’s grace is upon you he’s with you God’s grace is here and that’s where the Journey Begins for Mary it begins with God’s grace at work in her her life and Grace itself means unmar favor there was no there’s nothing that it can do to earn it it’s a gift of God God’s grace is upon her why her why Mary you know what what’s so special about Mary what did she do to deserve and to Merit this great grace that God and gift that God has bestowed upon her once again nothing and the only thing we could possibly deduce from this from this passage and from the text is that it’s just her own

humility and even that wasn’t a merit there was nothing in particularly special uh about her you know this takes us back to the uh to the Old Testament it it reminds me of uh of Abraham’s call in the beginning because the same question comes up up about Abraham doesn’t it well what’s so special about Abraham to Warrant God calling him and this is this is this is what we’re told in uh Genesis CH 12 now the Lord said to Abram go from the country go from your country in your Kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you and I will make you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing and I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse and in you all the families of the Earth shall be blessed wow that’s that’s a marry moment right you’re you’re going to be you know for Mary it’s hey you’re going to be the mother of the Messiah uh but to to Abraham it’s that you’re going to be the father of all the nations and all of them will be blessed through you what was so special about Abram

nothing he came from a pagan culture polytheistic culture they worshiped many gods and yet God reached into his life with his grace and spoke to him and called him to himself and what was the result here for Mary though of of of hearing this message before the anels she was she was afraid right she was filled with fear this is the normal way when you when you encounter a Divine being whether it be God himself or whether it be one of his Messengers an angel the the consistent mess throughout scripture is one of fear and reverence fear and reverence because when you come into the presence of a holy and a majestic and a sinless being you’re suddenly aware of your own sinfulness how far short you fall of the glory of God and it brings fear into the human heart but what is Gabriel declared too not be afraid for you have found favor with God you have found favor with God and then behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus he will be great and he will be called the son of the most high and the Lord God will give to him the Throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end and then Mary asked the obvious question right how will this be since I’m a virgin

well then the angel goes on to explain it to her but then he comes to to this part after he also explains that to her and he also tells her that uh that Elizabeth her cousin who’s in her old age and has been Barren is now going to conceive a son she’s in her sixth month in verse 37 uh Gabriel says this for nothing will be impossible for God nothing will be impossible for God and Mary said behold I am the servant of the Lord let it be to me according to your word and the angel departed from her what an amazing response of faith and trust in God after what he’s asking of her and and we’ll get to that uh in just a moment there there’s really three things about Grace as the coming of Grace into our lives as we continue or begin this journey towards Joy together that that has to be found in our lives that this passage reveals and the first one is this Grace comes first Grace always comes first and in this sense we are Mary for for all my Catholic or ex-catholic friends I’m not trying to offend you here I’m not trying to say that Mary’s not to be honored and celebrated that’s not what I’m say saying here at all but in this sense we are Mary God’s grace comes first into our our lives uh we read about it right the APO the Paul proclaimed it in Ephesians

2 for by Grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God grace comes F comes first you are saved by grace through faith that word faith is the same way as as what the scriptures speak of is that uh God spoke his word through His prophets right it’s God’s word spoken through the prophets it’s God’s grace that comes first that gives birth to Faith that gives birth to Faith and we’re going to talk about more about that in just a minute but here’s the truth I think in our lives we get it backwards we get it backwards we believe that we’re Saved By Faith through Grace the emphasis therefore being on our own work on our own responsibility that we just got to do more we got to believe more and then that we’ll we’ll be saved everything becomes dependent upon our faith and our work and not on God’s grace that he has given to us but what this what this is telling us this passage is Grace comes first and gives birth to Faith you know we see this abused all the time and it happens a lot in uh in some of the healing Ministries the unhealthy ones that that are going on and that is this this hyperf Faith movement of if you’re not experiencing God’s grace in a tangible way in your life and particularly through healing well it’s because you don’t have enough Faith you need to believe more if you just believe more and you just open yourself up more then God’s grace will act in your life and then you’ll find healing and all the things that your heart desires that’s an anti-gospel

that’s not the good news that’s not the de Declaration of Gabriel that you are loved that you are favored by God that his grace is upon you that’s the good news that’s the proclamation of the Gospel Christianity is not a merit-based system it’s a grace-based system we’re not a merit-based church we are a Grace filled Church independent church God’s grace is upon you therefore you trust in him it doesn’t work the other way around you do not trust him therefore his grace and favor is upon you the first message we’ve got to get right if it’s going to be truly a journey to Joy at the end is that God’s grace comes first because if it doesn’t then the opposite happens instead of joy our lives are filled with fear our lives are filled with fear uncertainty there’s never a bit of confidence in our lives because how do we ever know that we did enough we never will because there’s never enough that we could possibly do to earn God and to deserve him and his favor in our lives and so this is the second point then the first point is that God’s grace comes first the second point is this it is God’s grace alone that calms our fears it’s God’s grace alone that calms our fears another song for you this time we won’t go to the secular World we’ll we’ll stick with a good Christian hymn right uh you know the old hymn over for a thousand tongues we sing my great redeemer’s praise the glories of my God and King the Triumph of God’s grace and then in verse three Jesus the name that comes our fears that bids our sorrows cease is music in the sinner’s ears is life and health and peace it’s the grace of God that calms our fears and that’s what Gabriel proclaimed to to Mary who was naturally and rightly afraid of being in the presence of of God’s messenger the Holiness of God being there with her she was afraid but he declares to Hero not be afraid God’s favor is with you God’s grace is with you friends it’s God’s grace alone that calms our fears because it’s God’s grace alone that tells us it’s that we don’t deserve it but God is given it to us because he loves us and he wants us to know his good news that he sent his son into this world to save us and to Deliver us from our sins it calms our fear ears when we know that it is not by our own works but by the gift of God in our lives alone that brings us to our third uh third point after the telling Mary that Elizabeth was now the barren one was now with child in her old age he made that comment that all things are possible With God all things are possible the third point is this God’s Grace makes all things possible nothing is impossible now that’s great news that’s good news but that doesn’t mean that this is some sort of name it claim it type of gospel this doesn’t mean that now if I if I want uh fulfilled in my life anything uh that I will now get it that’s not what is being said here God’s grace makes all things possible but it doesn’t always make things easy it doesn’t always make things easy because God’s Grace has a purpose and the purpose is for the Salvation of the world that he is at work doing and his grace is meant to call us into a life of faith and into being part of his plan for the Salvation of the world and that often times is hard just think about about Mary who’s just been told what’s going to happen to her this isn’t this isn’t just the happy news of finding out you’re pregnant that’s not what was happening here this is this isn’t some ways a complete Maybe not maybe this is over uh H hyperbolic on this but uh you know it’s a death sentence certainly culturally she’s just betro she’s not actually married and here she’s pregnant and she’s not going to be able to hide it people are going to know they’re going to see in a culture where it is

shunned and just think about now her relationship with with Joseph this is certainly going to be called into question right I mean what if you were Joseph and and she comes and said hey I I I’m pregnant but don’t worry it wasn’t somebody else God did it you know what would you guys what would you think if you heard those words right uhhuh I believe that um you know this is this is an incredible burden that she’s been given through God’s grace that she’s favored but she’s being called to a challenging decision in her own life you the same’s true for us you know think about it especially in the context of what God’s calling us into in this one initiative that that we’ve begun today I’m asking you to turn in a name of that one person that that God’s put on your heart that that you are going to be praying for and that that he might use you and their life to reach God’s grace then for us means a possible difficult decision right it could put us into uh into uh uh certainly an uncomfortable one with this person at some point it could it could be painful at some point it’s possible that even though we’ve prayed and even though we’ve given this person over to the Lord and the Lord opens that door and we have a chance to share with them the gospel we could be completely

rejected they could even push us away completely

but yet the grace of God makes all things possible and we know that even if it’s not then and even if it does hurt us and it’s a struggle for us that God’s grace will reign and will triumph over all friends the Journey of Joy it begins with the gift of God’s grace for you and that his grace comes first always and and because his grace comes first that you don’t have anything to fear you and I can be confident in every way because God’s grace is upon us in his son Jesus Christ and that that Grace means that all things are possible in our lives you know one of the the joys I have as as senior pastor is when someone’s coming to to join the the church uh I ask that part of that process is they share with me their uh their testimony of of of how they came to know the Lord and uh and the impact the Christ has made in their lives I ask them to share that with me and so I I tell them though I do not share that with anyone else unless I talk to you about it and you’re open to it uh but I get the joy of hearing everybody’s stories and knowing how God’s moved in their lives in a powerful way and as I Was preparing for for this message of God’s grace at the beginning of Advent uh one of our our new members uh Veronica ammer uh come on up Veronica Veronica wrote me her her testimony and as I was as I Was preparing for this this uh you’re good as I Was preparing for this sermon her story came to my mind of of the power of God’s grace at work uh in her life and so uh I I called her and I said you know Veronica would you be willing to to share your testimony with our congregation this morning uh and as a testimony of all things are possible but not easy um she said she said yes and so I’m really excited that that you’re willing to share your story can I pray before before you begin sharing heavenly father thank you for the way that you have reached into Veronica’s Life by your grace and called her to yourself Lord I pray that you would be with her Lord would you uh calm her heart and mind as she shares what you have done in her life with us Lord will you open our hearts and Minds that uh that we may receive and that it may may spark in us a memory of that first time we received your grace in our lives will you use it as an encouragement and an edification of our walk with you Lord Jesus and so we pray this in your mighty name amen and so Veronica I’ll just start by by asking you uh tell us a little bit about how you came to to know the Lord certainly so I was really blessed and that I got to grow up in a home where I had friends and family to teach me about God and I was very actively involved in my local church however I believed a really big lie I didn’t think that what Jesus did on the cross his sacrifice was sufficient to cover my sins and I was relying on my own works for my salvation this led to a lot of fear Despair and anxiety as time and time again I stumbled and I failed I did things I shouldn’t have been doing and I didn’t do the things I knew I should do when I went off to college I met some other young women same age as me that had such joy and peace I was so jealous of the security that they had in the relationship with Jesus I wanted it and so I started working extra hard I attended more Bible studies I spent more time in the word and in prayer and I even signed up to go on a music mission trip um even that I still had a lot of fear and uncertainty because despite my strivings I felt like God was staying so distant from me when I went off on the music Ministry we had one week of rehearsal out in that’s your question because that was a big word you know how how you know how did you feel about the Lord being distant from you like can you tell us a little bit about how that felt and you know how you experienced that yeah it was definitely a lot of fear because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me when I died and it was also a daily thing like I was trying to fight through life on my own I wasn’t relying on him because he felt Out Of Reach like I couldn’t lean on him when I couldn’t feel him there next to me that’s hard thank you for sharing that yeah so I went out to rehearsal Camp um and because of the time difference because I was going from the east coast to the West Coast I woke up a little bit earlier the most of the team in the morning and so I would spend that time in prayer and I kept asking the same question every single day God do you see me do you see me you feel so far away do you even care about me and I didn’t tell anybody that because I wanted them to think I was a Christian and so I remember at the end of this rehearsal camp we were worshiping not rehearsing just worshiping and I was completely overwhelmed I was just standing there sobbing and one of my new friends who had been leading worship came down off the stage and she took my hands and she said he sees you as we read today Ephesians 28 and9 say for by Grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God not a result of works so no one may boast and so this whole time I had been trying to get relationship with God through my own Merit and I was failing over and over again because I wasn’t going the way that God had planned the only way to him is through Jesus Christ and so now I can experience the freedom in that by relying on him instead of myself and there is the joy and there is the peace amen amen thank you Veronica thank you bless you thank

you what what an awesome message of just as Gabriel went to Daniel and said you’re loved uh just as he he went to uh Zechariah and said I’ve got good news for you and just as he as he went went to Mary and said you are favored by God you know that moment Veronica where where that you through your friend God spoke I see you friends God sees you his grace is for you he loves you he’s calling you to himself and to the good news of the gospel and that is where our journey to Joy begins



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