Living Out the Plan

12/19/2021

Message Title: Living out the Plan
Theme:
back to basics
Season: Advent
Main Text: all
Scripture Reading: all
RCL Scripture: Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55
Focus: Multiple prophetic voices point to Jesus as the plan for restoration.
Function:To shape our lives as prophetic voices pointing towards Christ.
Other Notes:

INTRODUCTION: New Beginnings—

  1. Previously: ice breakers (benefit of being a rookie), team building exercises, remembering names
  2. Work friends & Actual friends
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What is the difference between a work friend and a friend?
      1. Seinfeld Meme
    1. Joke about Jesus being in his 30’s and having 12 close friends.

TRANSITION:

SCRIPTURE READING:

Micah 5:2-5a As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces, one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you. His origin is from remote times, from ancient days. 3Therefore, he will give them up until the time when she who is in labor gives birth. The rest of his kin will return to the people of Israel. 4He will stand and shepherd his flockin the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. They will dwell secure, because he will surely become great throughout the earth; 5he will become one of peace.

Psalm 80:1-7 Shepherd of Israel, listen! You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep. You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures. Show yourself 2before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh! Wake up your power! Come to save us! 3Restore us, God! Make your face shine so that we can be saved! 4Lord God of heavenly forces, how long will you fume against your people’s prayer? 5You’ve fed them bread made of tears; you’ve given them tears to drink three times over! 6You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies make fun of us. 7Restore us, God of heavenly forces! Make your face shine so that we can be saved!

Hebrews 10:5-10 Therefore, when he comes into the world he says, You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering, but you prepared a body for me; 6you weren’t pleased with entirely burned offerings or a sin offering. 7So then I said, “Look, I’ve come to do your will, God. This has been written about me in the scroll.” 8He says above, You didn’t want and you weren’t pleased with a sacrifice or an offering or with entirely burned offerings or a purification offering,which are offered because the Law requires them. 9Then he said, Look, I’ve come to do your will.He puts an end to the first to establish the second. 10We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all.

Luke 1:39-55 39Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. 40She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. 43Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.” 46Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! 47 In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. 48He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored 49because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. 50He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. 51He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. 52He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. 53He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. 54He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, 55just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Micah
    1. Jewish lens:
      1. Threat of Assyria is strong, looking at their own demise on the horizon
      2. looking for restoration through an offspring of David, a shepherd and king
      3. “she” who would give birth could be a personification of Jerusalem (Daughter Zion)
    1. Christian lens:
      1. We hear words of Jesus coming to Mary
      2. -Scripture has layers-
        1. Cultural lens for the time the text was written
        2. For us today
        3. For those tomorrow
  2. Psalm 80
    1. Like Micah, this passage speaks of a people experiencing loss. Either they are in exile or about to return and attempt to rebuild. They’re looking for God’s restoration.
    2. Prayer for hope in God’s work.
    3. There are times, especially during great loss or suffering that the words of the psalms or prophets remind me I’m not alone in waiting on God.
  3. Hebrews
    1. Like the Micah passage, this passage has layers.
    2. The author of Hebrews uses the words from Psalm 40 to speak of Jesus and what he has accomplished.
    3. – scripture has layers-
  4. Luke
    1. Mary visits Elizabeth and we see 3 prophetic moments happen (just before a 4th)
      1. John leaped in this mother’s womb “this is the messiah!!!”
      2. Elizabeth proclaiming
      3. Mary’s Magnificat

INTERPRETATION:

  1. Prophets like Micah & poetry in the Psalms are traditional ways of speaking to God and hearing God speak. The majority of these voices came from older Jewish men (with few exceptions like Miriam, Deborah, or Hannah)
    1. In Luke, the prophetic word comes from 3 unlikely characters: the unborn, the “barren” woman, and the virgin woman. These are voices that would not have been listened to in formal or traditional settings.
  2. Think on the Magnificat for a moment:
    1. When Mary first heard from the Angel, her response was “let it be”
      1. Simple, honorable, but also reserved
    2. When Mary was with Elizabeth, her response was prophetic poetry called the Magnficat
      1. Grand, expressive, praise filled
    3. Mary’s prophetic moment was shared with a relative, friend, companion rather than the Angel.

APPLICATION:

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: If you are looking for a new product to buy (PICK ONE), what influences your buying decision: Advertisements, articles reviewing the product, or a friend’s review?
    1. Statistics say that the words of a friend have greater influence than advertisings. We trust the words of our friends more than we trust the fluffy, polished, photogenic words of a company.
  2. This same premise transfers over into other parts of our lives.
    1. A famous Methodist evangelist named Rodney Smith has a well known quote on the subject:
      1. “There are 5 gospels: matthew, mark, luke, john, and the Christian. Most people will never read the first four.”
    2. Another quote typically attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (though that is up for debate) says:
      1. “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words.”
  3. You are the avenue for people to hear the message of God—what message is your life sending?
    1. The message:
      1. God’s plan has not changed
        1. God desires a direct relationship with all of creation.
      2. This relationship has been tainted and Jesus has come to restore it.
      3. Jesus is the great equalizer- humbling the proud and elevating the lowly.
      4. Jesus is the purifier- satisfying the sacrificial system once for all time.
        1. Jesus removes the qualifiers.
        2. No longer do you have to be “good enough,” Jesus IS the good enough. Consider this a group project and Jesus’s grade is what everyone gets.
      5. Jesus came for all people and all creation—so that all may know God.
        1. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection opened those doors.
      6. God intends to restore creation and we are waiting for that day.
      7. Things will not stay this way.
  4. Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus is ALSO the reason for all of creation. Jesus is the reason for our relationships with others and with this world. We are Jesus’ ambassadors on this earth, waiting for the fulfillment of scripture so all may be reunited and restored.
    1. 2 Corinthians 5:20

CONCLUSION:  We’ve spent the past 4 weeks going back to the basics. At the very beginning, we learned that having a rookie attitude was a benefit. Keep a teachable spirit. Keep learning. Keep preaching the gospel through your lives.

Go from this place- announcing the birth of Jesus, not just with Christmas celebrations but also with the grace we provide and the love we share.

Series conclusion: Rookie smarts—benefit of starting new, having humility and a teachable spirit.

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