This morning we’re going to talk about “Embracing the Supernatural.” What is the supernatural? The supernatural is something that happens beyond scientific understanding or laws of nature. In other words, the supernatural is the miraculous.
Now, quite frankly, according to the Bible, even the laws of nature are supernatural. The laws of nature do not function on their own. They are just the way that God normally does things in our world. According to the Bible, God is a supernatural God, beginning in the creation of the world in Genesis and continuing to the new heavens and new earth in the final book of Revelation.
Let’s talk some more about how does miracles on the earth. God is a trinity, Father, Son, that is Jesus, and Holy Spirit. The Father and Son are in heaven and God does His supernatural work on the earth through angels and the Holy Spirit. God is not disengaged with people or the world. He is doing supernatural miracles all the time and He desires for you and me to be involved in His supernatural work. The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be many people who …
2 Timothy 3:5 (ESV) having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Many people who want a religion that they can control, a natural religion without any supernatural power. They reject the power of the Holy Spirit, saying that God no longer works that way. We are to avoid people who deny the supernatural power of God. As we’re going through the Christmas story in the gospel of Luke, we see the supernatural everywhere, miracles, the Holy Spirit and angels. The supernatural power of the Spirit is emphasized through Luke and continues with the book of Acts, also written by Luke. At the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus commanded His followers, which includes you and I, to not do anything without the power of the Spirit.
Acts 1:4-5 (ESV) And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The power of the Holy Spirit began to be poured out in special measure on the day of Pentecost on everyone who embraced it.
Acts 2:17 (ESV) “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
This verse shows us that God will continue to pour out His Spirit throughout the last days in which we are living. As we look at the Christmas story, God wants to teach us several things. First of all, we learn of what happened, how God miraculously brought Jesus into our world. Secondly, He wants us to learn from the examples of people who embraced the supernatural, who embraced the Holy Spirit. They received the power they needed to carry out God’s plan for their lives. And as we learn to embrace the supernatural, we will receive the power of the Spirit to carry out God’s plan for our own lives.
Luke 1:39-40 (ESV) In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
After the angel appeared to Mary and told her about Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary decided to quickly go and visit her. The trip was a long walk of about seventy miles from Nazareth to the Jerusalem area where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. So, we have the meeting two pregnant women, pregnant in both cased by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:41-42 (ESV) And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
In this multiple supernatural things happened. When Mary spoke and greeted Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Elizabeth’s son, leaped in her womb. We know that this baby was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. In the next verse we will see that the unborn John leaped for joy. An unborn child can not only be filled with the Spirit, but can experience emotions.
Next, Elizabeth as filled with the Holy Spirit at the coming of Mary. How did this happen? I believe that Mary was filled with the Spirit from the moment the Spirit came upon her at the conception of Jesus. When one person is filled with the Spirit, they can in essence spread the Spirit to another person who has an open heart. Oftentimes, one person filled with the Spirit can pray for another and they will be filled as well. Here, it seems as just the proximity of the two women resulted in Elizabeth being filled.
Finally, as Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit, the Spirit gave her a prophetic word to speak concerning Mary. Elizabeth pronounced that both Mary and her child, Jesus were blessed by God. A prophetic word is when God gives someone a prophesy to speak by the Spirit.
Luke 1:43-45 (ESV) And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth describes Mary as the mother of my Lord, for she knew that the son Mary was carrying was Jesus, the Lord, as the angel had revealed. John the Baptist, filled with the Spirit, leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Finally, Elizabeth pronounces a blessing on Mary, not just for carrying Jesus. She pronounced a blessing on Mary for her faith. Mary believed that what the Lord had spoken to her through the angel would take place. For that she was blessed. Now let’s look more closely about what we can learn about spreading the Holy Spirit.
God’s Word instructs every believer to be filled with the Spirit. And no, this does not generally happen automatically, you have to seek to be filled. Once you are filled with the Spirit, you need to be continually filled, as you can be unfilled. To learn more, I would encourage you to read through the gospel of Luke during this message series. One chapter a day, which should take less than 10 minutes will lead you to completing the book in 24 days. In 28 more days, you can go on to read the 28 chapters of the sequel, the book of Acts.
When you are filled with the Spirit, you embrace and enter into a supernatural where miracles happen. You can learn to move in spiritual gifts such as prophecy, you can pray for others to be filled or healed. Embrace the supernatural and spread the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:46-47 (ESV) And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
Now Mary, filled with the Spirit begins to prophecy. The Holy Spirit begins to speak through her words of praise to God. Mary begins by choosing to worship the Lord and rejoice in God her Savior. This praise is very personal and reflects what God is doing in her life. Mary is praising God and rejoicing for being part of His plan.
Luke 1:48 (ESV) for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
In the world’s eyes, Mary was nothing, just a simple peasant girl. Yet, she was now prophetically praising God for noticing her and allowing her to part of His marvelous plan to bring the Messiah. Mary understood that all generations down through history would call her blessed. She was the one privileged to be the mother of the Son of God, Jesus.
Luke 1:49-50 (ESV) for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
Mary praises God for His might in doing great things for her. She praises him for being holy and being merciful. She recognizes that God’s mercy is for those who fear him. And God’s plan is for His praise and Spirit to be passed down from one generation to the next. Mary’s prophetic praise so far is praise for what God has personally done for her. The Spirit gave Mary words to say that were recorded and are now part of God’s Word. We also must learn to praise through the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is available to help you to thank and praise God in every situation. You ask, how can I thank and praise God in every situation? Because every situation in your life as a believer has been permitted by God. Every situation that you go through is a good gift from a loving God.
You might think that Mary’s situation was obviously great. Not so fast. Mary knew that in a few months, she would be vilified for what seemed to be conceiving a child before she was married. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you thank the Lord, praise the Lord and rejoice in the Lord no matter what you’re going through. Not only does God desire you to praise Him through the Spirit, but you also must …
Luke 1:51 (ESV) He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
In this second part of Mary’s prophesy, she changes from praising God for her personal blessing to praising God for what He does in the world. She praises God for His great power that thwarts the thoughts and plans of the proud. The proud are not believers, the proud are not filled with the Spirit. Their ungodly plans will not come to pass.
Luke 1:52-53 (ESV) he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
In the kingdom of God, the normal ways of the world are turned upside down. Those who are mighty in the world are removed by the Spirit’s power from their thrones. Those who are humble and trust in the Lord are exalted into positions of influence. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled with God’s gifts. Those who are rich with worldly goods will receive nothing from God’s hand.
Luke 1:54-55 (ESV) He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Israel for Mary represented the people of God, the true believers of her day. Today, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we recognize Israel as the people of God, both Jew and Gentile in the church of God. God is merciful to his children, who are the spiritual children of our father in the faith, Abraham. God’s mercy extends to all those who call on Him forever. How could a young woman, aged 12-13 years old come up with such profound, timeless truth as we have just read? Only through the power and filling of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:56 (ESV) And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
As Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when Mary heard about her, the time for the birth of John must have been imminent when Mary returned to her home. Believe in the Spirit’s power.
This second part of Mary’s praise to God reminds us that God is not just in control of believer’s lives. God is supernaturally involved in our world in every dimension. We can cooperate with God through thanksgiving, praise and prayer.
When we watch the news, do we moan, groan and grumble about where the world is going? Or do we thank and praise God for what we know He is doing, even though the media is not reporting it. Yes, we still should pray for the evil in the world to be thwarted and the proud brough low. But we pray in faith, believing that God is bringing his kingdom from heaven to earth as we pray and embrace the supernatural. We must believe in the Spirit’s power.
This story about Mary visiting Elizabeth is not just about what happened 2000 years ago. It is a story about two Spirit-filled women who were used mightily by God. They serve as examples of what God can do with believers who embrace the supernatural.
First step is to be filled with the Spirit on a daily basis and spread the Spirit. Second, no matter what your situation is, praise and thank God for what He is doing in it.
Finally, believe in the Spirit’s power in our world. Even though it’s not on the nightly news, God is doing miracles every day in countless lives. He is bringing down the proud, thwarting the evil and bringing His kingdom to this earth. Let’s embrace the supernatural and expect God to work miracles in our lives, church, city and country.