Throughout life, we all encounter challenges that have the potential to bring us down and dampen our spirits. Insecurities, doubts, and fears often plague us, and there are moments when we may even feel a sense of hopelessness. However, as Christians, we are bestowed with the promise of God's boundless favor and grace, which provides us with the strength to persevere regardless of our circumstances. In this sermon, we will delve into the captivating story of Mary who experienced the transformative power of God's grace and favor, and how it ignited her purpose and mission.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was highly favored by God despite her lowly status in society. When the angel Gabriel appeared to her, he greeted her with the words, "Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you." (Luke 1:28 ESV) Mary was puzzled by these words, but the angel explained that she had been chosen to conceive and bear a son who would be called the Son of God. Mary's response was one of surrender and faith, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38 ESV) Mary's obedience and faith in God's plan for her life demonstrate how the favor of God can empower us to fulfill our purpose despite our circumstances.
Similarly, Paul, formerly known as Saul, was an unlikely candidate for God's favor. He had persecuted Christians until he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. After this encounter, Paul was converted to Christianity and became a powerful advocate of the gospel, despite facing opposition and persecution. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 ESV) Paul's understanding of the grace of God empowered him to continue spreading the gospel even when faced with challenges and opposition.
The favor of God is not limited to biblical characters alone. As Christians, we have access to God's grace, which enables us to overcome our weaknesses and challenges. The Apostle James writes, "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" (James 4:6 ESV) When we recognize our need for God and surrender to Him, we open ourselves to His grace and favor. This grace is not earned, but it is given freely to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the grace and favor of God can lead us to fulfill our divine purpose. When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, God promises to provide for all of our needs. (Matthew 6:33 ESV) We become empowered to fulfill our purpose and calling as we align our lives with God's plan. We can trust in God's unmerited favor to give us the strength to persevere and overcome whatever challenges come our way. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14 ESV)
In conclusion, the grace and favor of God are gifts available to all Christians. Mary and Paul are just two examples of how God's favor can empower us to fulfill our purpose despite our circumstances. When we surrender to God and seek His will for our lives, we open ourselves to His unmerited favor and grace. This grace enables us to overcome our weaknesses and take on challenges with confidence. As we trust in God's favor, we can be assured that He will provide for all of our needs and lead us to fulfill our purpose.
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Rev. Garrett Luttman is an ordained minister of the Gospel and is an assistant pastor at The Master's House. Over 8 years he has faithfully preached and ministered to the members of The Master's House.