John Anderson guests writes for us this week. John is one of our pastoral trainees at Grace Community Church.
In this past Sunday’s sermon, our Pastor focused on the impossible. Particularly, he took us to Luke 1:26-38. In this section of Luke’s gospel, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces that she will have a son. This child will be called Son of the Most High and will be a King in the lineage of David, who was the greatest king in Israel’s history! In fact, this child, whose name will be Jesus, will be a King whose reign will last forever! As if these grand announcements were not impossible enough, Gabriel gives another unimaginable revelation to Mary: She will remain a virgin, conceiving and birthing her son under the powerful overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Truly this announcement was unbelievable! And yet Mary believed God.
Our Pastor made the point that this impossible news serves as the greatest announcement ever made. His claim is no exaggeration: Jesus, the eternal second person of the triune God, came to earth born of a virgin, lived a perfectly God-honoring life, suffered as a guilty man (though truly innocent), died on a cross to pay the penalty for sin, rose to life (proving truly He was God on earth), and ascended to heaven. He now sits at the right hand of His father, actively working in the world through His Holy Spirit, and awaiting his second coming.
When God’s people Israel had proven ungodly for centuries; when the world wallowed in evil, hatred for one-another, godless rebellion and sin, this son Jesus entered the world to live the life God required and to pay the price for sin. No longer under God’s judgement, followers of Jesus now enjoy the impossible. They enjoy the impossible reality of a true and real relationship with the Holy God! They enjoy the reality of having God live inside them through His Holy Spirit!
Followers of Jesus enjoy impossible things because of one reality: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His own disciples could not believe that any person, due to the reality of sin and evil, could have ever been accepted by God. And they were correct, actually. They were evil, ungodly. We and they alike cannot truly know God under our sinful condition. This reality seems hopeless. Jesus, however, offered the greatest answer to this seemingly-unsolvable problem: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” God achieved the impossible when He sent his perfect, holy Son to take the punishment that you and I deserve. This act could only be done by One who is perfect. This act could only be performed by God. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
So, Christ has achieved the impossible: He restored sinners to a true and vibrant relationship with the Almighty God! Believers in all locations face seemingly impossible situations: broken relationships, sin patterns that feel unbeatable, physical ailments that wage war on the soul, and countless other circumstances. Believers tend to forget, however, that God does not sit passively by while we suffer. In fact, He never stops working in us to live lives that make a real impact for Him and allow us to experience the joy of an active relationship with Him.
When we are faithless, He is still working and faithful. He promises us that when we, day by day, make ourselves at home and close to Him, we will bear fruit. Instead of learning of God’s impossible promises and walking away, we must lean in, believe, and live our lives in light of these truths! The God who impossibly saved us will also impossibly use us to make a difference in the world, particularly to personally grow in godly character and bring sinners to a true relationship with God through Christ! This reality enlightens or dims as we lean in to God and His will; as we remain faithful to our local church, seek to pray for others, stay close to the Word of God, and take steps of faith to reach those who do not know Christ. All of these steps may seem impossible.
So, perhaps the first and by far the most important application to God’s great impossible mission is to remember. Remember that God has sent Christ. Remember that your sins are forgiven. Remember that you are growing closer to God, even when your feelings betray you. Remember that you have the Holy Spirit. Remember that God is love. Remember that God has taken you, a needy, evil sinner; and declared you righteous. Remember, and lean closer to the forgiving, merciful God. And see what he does in you and through you.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
You can watch the sermon from this week here.