This is the audio from the December 18, 2022 sermon, “The Christmas Surrender: Living As the LORD’S Servant!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Luke 1:26-38
Today continued our Christmas sermon series with a look at the surrender element which is central in the Christmas story. At the very center of the Christmas story is Jesus who surrendered His position with the Father as something not to be grasped onto, but emptying Himself and becoming a servant of all. And then there’s Joseph who wanted to both protect Mary and do the right thing from his understanding of the wrong which must have occurred, but surrendered his will and understanding to the message of God through an angel. And of course, there’s Mary. At the heart of Mary’s surrender is the statement in Luke 1:39, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” As we gaze into the life of Mary, we discover how to surrender when we choose to live as the . . .
- Listening Servant. Luke 1:26-28
- Our journey to a Christmas surrender begins by choosing to be a listening servant. The Lord’s servant must realize the relationship between servant and Lord and seek to listen fully to God. It is through listening that we learn about God, about our self, and about others. As we share the feast of Christmas with the people around us, we serve them well when we listen to God and listen to them.
- Observant Servant. Luke 1:29
- Our journey to a Christmas surrender continues as we choose to be an observant servant. One of the great barriers to people gazing deeply into God’s Word and doing what it says is when we are greatly troubled by what we see. Our honesty with God and His Word needs to carry us to a point of faith even when our initial observation leaves us with a lack of clarity. God’s message to Mary was troubling to her yet she continued to watch and listen for what God would do and say. As we share the feast of Christmas with the people around us, we serve them well when we deliberately observe the working of God in His Word, in us, and in others.
- Respectful Servant. Luke 1:30-34
- Our journey to a Christmas surrender also continues as we learn to be a respectful servant. I suspect this becomes most tested when the request that is made is something we either don’t understand or don’t like. One of the keys to being a respectful servant of God is to always keep in mind He is God and you are not. Mary was troubled by the message delivered to her by the angel and I suspect there was great confusion in her mind yet her initial response is a respectful question. Being a respectful servant doesn’t mean that we have no questions, or that we can’t ask questions, it simply means we honor God with the respect He deserves.
- Decisive Servant. Luke 1:35-37
- Our journey to a Christmas surrender also continues as we learn to be a decisive servant. Having doubts and questions when it comes to serving God is a very natural thing. We can express those doubts and ask our questions of God, but being a servant says that we will decide to do what God says no matter what. There comes a time in our questioning and doubt that we must decide if we believe God and will walk by faith or if we will continue to stumble in the darkness. Mary took her questions to God and listened to the answers given which led her to a moment of decision. When we choose in the light to follow God’s Word no matter what, it makes it easier for us to be a decisive servant even in the midst of darkness.
- Submissive Servant. Luke 1:38
- Our journey to a Christmas surrender culminates when we take each of these characteristics we’ve talked about and use them to lead us in being a submissive servant. In many ways, that is a rather redundant statement as you’re not really a servant if you are not submissive and a submissive spirit will always lead you to serve. Mary’s response is one that ought to echo from our lips and our hearts each day that we live. Our willingness to serve God is not measured by our words, but rather by our actions . . . and not just our actions toward God, but also our actions towards others. When we choose to say each day, “I am the Lord’s servant.”, we find that our life will reflect the level of surrender found throughout the Christmas story.
Today, how will you live as the LORD’S servant?