Luke 1,2 New Testament in a Year


spirit and birth of christ

The Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ

The birth of Jesus Christ sees a bursting forth of Holy Spirit activity. In the Old Testament just 150 people over some 2,000 years had been filled with the Spirit, usually for a special task. Suddenly we see 7 filled with Spirit in a short space of time!
1 John the Baptist 1:13-17
Filled with the Spirit from birth
Greatest Old Covenant Prophet – “with the spirit and power of Elijah”
His job v17 has both vertical and horizontal aspects
i) Horizontally – turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. He’s going to reconcile people to each other
ii) Vertically – Turn the disobedient to righteous. People are going to repentant and get forgiven
iii) Most importantly he is preparing the way of the Lord
Matthew’s Gospel tells us in 11:11 that John the Baptist was the greatest – but now the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he. So that means this
The same Holy Spirit is on you
• To bring people back to God and each other
• To guide you and empower you to be a witness
2 Mary 1:35
The obvious person with whom the Holy Spirit is involved in the birth narrative. The Holy Spirit came on her, overshadowed her so that she conceived Jesus.
It’s a miracle with a ton of mystery, but it happened so that Immanuel would happen God with Us. So that Jesus could be born fully God and fully man but with no original sin.
It’s impossible, but as Luke 1:37 tells us “Nothing is impossible with God”. Bill Johnson wrote “It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.”
We want to see people save, people healed, people delivered, people raised from the dead – we have an appetite for the impossible in our spiritual DNA!
To make the impossible possible. Hudson Taylor wrote There are three stages in the work of God – Impossible, Difficult and Done!
What’s the big thing you are dreaming for God to do? What’s stopping you?
The same Holy Spirit is on you
To do the impossible!
3 Elizabeth – John the Baptist’s mum 1:39-45
She has already experienced the miracle of her womb being opened so that she can get pregnant with John the Dipper. Now when Mary comes to visit as soon as she hears her voice, she is filled with the Holy Spirit, which causes her to bubble up with a load exclamation of truth and blessing over Mary!
She discerns what is happening in her spirit and proclaims the truth that the Spirit has put in her. I say discern – too often we use discern negatively – discerning the demonic. Here Elizabeth discerns the mighty works of God in her cousin.
Do you know what? The same Holy Spirit is on you
He wants you to bless people when you discern God is at work!

4 Zechariah – John the Baptist’s Dad 1:67
Earlier he had made the mistake of doubting angel and been struck dumb while his wife was pregnant. Now though his tongue is loosed as John the Baptist is born. He is filled with the Spirit and prophecies God’s plan and John’s destiny in that plan.
The Holy Spirit enables us to hear God and to prophecy. He is available to all – the promise at Pentecost guarantees that. We all have the ability to hear God’s voice – Jesus promised that my sheep know my voice.
So the same Holy Spirit is on you
Have you prophecied yet?

5 Simeon – Luke 2:25-32
Jesus has been born in Bethlehem, a small village near Jerusalem and on the eighth day is taken to the Temple to be circumcised and consecrated. There’s some great symbolism here – ceremonially washing that pictures that Jesus death on the cross cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The sacrifice of a dove or two pigeons (all that they could afford – they were exception clauses in the law for the poor) because a blood sacrifice is required to atone for sin. These were done for baby Jesus and picture what as a full grown man He would achieve for us on the cross.
Simeon was a righteous and devout man – who prays a lot and waits on God. The Holy Spirit has spoken to him that he will be around for that strategic moment in time when God’s sovereign rule over history will break with the Messiah!
Simeon is acutely aware that the new covenant long prophecied and eagerly awaiting is breaking in. The Spirit moves him to go to the temple courts to find Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Simeon takes him the arms and prophecies.
So here is Simeon, holding Jesus. God become a man. It is not that men and women become gods as the lie of Genesis 3 says and nearly every religion since articulates and emphasizes; it is that God humbled himself and became a man. It is not that we ascend necessarily up to God, but God descends down to be with us.
And Simeon has an occasion where he gets to hold God incarnate, the second member of the Trinity, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, in his hands and he prophecies through a prayer
1. God has fulfilled his promise to Simeon that he would see the long prophecied Messiah. God fulfils promises. He will fulfil His promises over your life too.
2. Salvation has come. God has prepared that Jesus would come, God in the flesh, born to a dirt poor family, live a sin free life and die on a cross to cleanse us from our sin and wash away our guilt
3. It’s for the Gentiles and the Jews.
Simeon was a good man, who loved God, held onto the promises God had given him and was full of the Spirit!
The same Holy Spirit is on you
To fulfil His promises over you. What has God said to you? Pray it back to Him! That’s what most of the great prayers in Scripture do. God you said…
Empower your prayers of blessing – who have you blessed? Simeon took Jesus in his arms and prayed. Often in Scripture people lay hands and pray. Same Spirit is on us to impart blessing to others.

6 Anna 2:36-38
Anna is 84 years old. She was married for seven years and then lived as a widow until she was 84. She loves God, and prays day and night, fasting. The Spirit is on her with the gift of prophecy – in fact to a level of gifting that she is a prophetess. (To the cessationist – none of her other prophecies are recorded as Scripture! Prophecies don’t have to be Scripture level!)
She comes up gives thanks and prophecies over Jesus too.
Anna is an old lady who prays a lot. She has devoted herself to praying God’s will would be done. That the kingdom would come and it has!
The same Holy Spirit is on you
Whatever your age you are useful to God!
Some of you are called to pray and fast a lot.
She gave thanks to God when someone else is being used by God. We can all give thanks when God is using someone else too!
Last one in the list the Holy Spirit was on is the most important! Jesus!
Within the trinity – One God in three persons – there is perfect equality and relationship and there is submission too. Jesus brings glory to the Father and the Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus to glorify Jesus John 16:14
Like John the Baptist Jesus would have been filled with the Spirit from birth and in Luke 3 we see the Holy Spirit come on Jesus at the start of his ministry
Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus is God and Man – God become flesh, full of grace and truth. But He is also the fully Spirit Filled One and after the temptation went to the Synagogue and read part of Isaiah 61. I say part because he missed out the judgement bits – that’s for His second coming not the first. He read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
The Spirit was on Jesus so he could
Preach good news – you can be saved from hell!
Proclaim freedom – you can be set free from all that puts you in spiritual prison – sin, oppression
Recovery of sight – you can be healed
Release the oppressed – you can be set free from oppression
Year of the Lord’s favour – you can be filled with every spiritual blessing!
The same Holy Spirit is on you
So you can receive those benefits and bring them to others!
Same Spirit, different gifts for each of us – different shoes as Andy King put it last week.

Application
Be filled with the Spirit
Walk in the Spirit
Do the stuff – what resonated with. Ask the Spirit to use you!


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