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Sermon Notes: 12/17/23

"OPEN FAITH!"

Pastor Albert Almore



I want to preach a message this morning called:

OPEN FAITH!


I’m talking about the type of faith that screams how you scream, after a long day, and you finally change into your comfy clothes, and you finally get under your comfy blanket, and you finally settle into your comfy place. You got your remote, you got your comfort food, for me it’s 5 gallons of ice cream, and finally everything is still, everything is perfect, and you’re finally taking a load off AND THEN…SOMEONE KNOCKS ON THE DOOR. Since it’s not too late and since family and friends always pop in, the door isn’t locked just yet, so you do what any normal person would do…you scream to the top of your lungs…IT’S OPEN! they’re still knocking and you’re still screaming, IT’S OPEN! IT’S OPENNN!


That’s what we’re talking about today, OPEN FAITH!


The type of faith that screams like that when God shows up. I’m talking about the type of faith that screams like that when miracles shows up, when your time shows up, when your answer to prayer shows up. I’m talking about the kind of faith that screams out to opportunities, it’s open, come on in! I’m talking about OPEN FAITH!


That’s what Mary had. Mary, the mother of Jesus had Open Faith.


“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭26‬-‭27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29) But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭28‬-‭29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭32‬-‭33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“Then Mary said to the angel, “HOW CAN THIS BE, since I do not know a man?””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


In essence, Mary was saying, "Awesome! Let’s do this. Now tell me HOW this is going to go, because as you know, I am a virgin.”


OPEN FAITH.


On the other hand, before we get to Mary, we find Zacharias & Elisabeth. Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭6….

”And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ ‭KJV‬‬


”And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬


”But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭13‬-‭14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭15‬-‭16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


And Zacharias said to the angel, “HOW SHALL I KNOW THIS? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”But behold, YOU WILL BE MUTE and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“Zechariah said to the angel, “HOW CAN I BE SURE this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Ladies and gentlemen, what we’ve just witnessed in our presence is CLOSED FAITH. What we’ve just witnessed is THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF FAITH.


“Zechariah said to the angel, “HOW CAN I BE SURE this will happen?…

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ ‭NLT‬‬


We know this is THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF FAITH because the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 says,

FAITH MAKES US SURE of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1 CEV


Vs “Zechariah said to the angel, “HOW CAN I BE SURE this will happen?…


FAITH MAKES US SURE of what we hope for…


Look at the first thing the angel said to ol Zach when he showed up in Luke 1:13,

”But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for YOUR PRAYER IS HEARD…”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭13‬ NKJV‬‬


Zach, was praying, hoping and asking for this, but somewhere along the line he lost faith that this could actually happen.


📝 Do you have ACTIVE or INACTIVE faith?


📝 Inactive faith sarcastically says, "Oh, it’s just another day in PARADISE.” Active faith boldly says, "This is another day in HIS PROMISES!”


Somewhere along the line, Zach lost faith that this could actually happen. I believe the answer was clearly layed before us in verse 7,

”And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well STRICKEN IN YEARS.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬


”Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’M AN OLD MAN NOW, and MY WIFE IS ALSO WELL ALONG IN YEARS.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ ‭NLT‬‬


📝 Don’t allow TIME to close the door on your FAITH.


”But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words WHICH WILL BE FULFILLED IN THEIR OWN TIME.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


It was going to happen. It was just a matter of time, but when God’s set time was different than Zach’s set time, Zach lost faith.


…and they both were now well STRICKEN IN YEARS.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬


Stricken: to be seriously affected by an UNDESIRABLE condition or UNPLEASANT feeling. To be AFFLICTED or OVERWHELMED by DISEASE, MISFORTUNE, or SORROW.


📝 Don’t allow STRICKEN moments to rob you of your faith.


“And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭35‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


The Angel was simply telling Mary…


📝 GOD will.


Isn’t that exactly what the Father of Faith, Abraham told his son Isaac, when Isaac asked his father, where’s the sacrifice.


”But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”“

Genesis‬ ‭22‬:‭7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”And Abraham said, “My son, GOD WILL provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering...”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭22‬:‭8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


📝 When you have OPEN FAITH, in due time, your testimony will go from GOD WILL, to GOD DID!


And here’s why, Luke1 :37…

”For WITH GOD nothing shall be impossible.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭37‬ ‭KJV‬‬


Zechariah was praying, hoping and asking for this, MARY WASN’T. That’s another reason why I believe that the angel dealt with Zechariah differently than he did Mary in this moment. How would Mary respond to this?


Open Faith responds with our key scripture for today:


KEY SCRIPTURE

”And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭38‬ ‭ESV‬‬


How do you nurture OPEN FAITH?


  • SURRENDER


”And Mary said, “Behold, I AM THE SERVANT OF THE LORD; LET IT BE to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭38‬ ‭ESV‬‬


My heart is open for you to do whatever you want to do! My heart is open for HOW you want to do it. My heart is open to WHEN you want to do it. My heart is open to WHO you want to do it through—teenage me! I have OPEN FAITH! No matter my age. No matter my lack of experience. No matter my background. No matter my lack of qualifications. I’m not going to talk myself out of this moment Lord. MY response to you today is LET IT BE LORD. LET IT BE! I am your servant, and my heart is surrendered. I’ll take you at your Word because….


📝 It’s not my responsibility to BRING God’s Word to life. It’s my responsibility to BELIEVE that God’s Word has life.


  • SURROUND


“Now indeed, ELIZABETH YOUR RELATIVE has ALSO CONCEIVED A SON IN HER OLD AGE; and this is now the sixth month for her WHO WAS CALLED BARREN.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country WITH HASTE, to a city of Judah, and ENTERED THE HOUSE of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭39‬-‭40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


For every Mary there is an Elisabeth.

Elisabeth must share.

Mary must search.

Elisabeth must open her home.


  • SING.


”And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭46‬-‭47‬ ‭ESV‬‬


”for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭48‬-‭49‬ ‭ESV‬‬


📝 SING what God says, until you SEE what God says.


I will not allow stricken years, I will not allow stricken moments, I will not allow stricken relationships, to rob me of my song. I will not allow stricken seasons to close up the womb of my faith!


In Genesis 1 we see God opening all creation.


In Genesis 2 we see God opening Adam’s side make Eve. In Genesis 7, we see God opening the heavens for earths first rain and for earths first flood. In Genesis 21, we see God open up the first barren womb with Sarah. In Exodus 14 we see God opening the Red Sea. In 2 Kings 6, we see God opening up a man’s eyes. In Acts 12 we see God opening up the gates for Petet. In Acts 16 we see God opening prison doors for Paul & Silas. We serve a God who has the power to OPEN THE HEAVENS. We serve a God who has the power to OPEN WOMBS. We serve a God who has the power to OPEN EYES. We serve a God who has the power to OPEN DOORS. We serve a God who has the power to OPEN RED SEAS! All He needs from you is OPEN FAITH!


And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word…"


Mary had to make room for God to do whatever God wanted to do. Even after the angel spoke to her, she still had to clear out the science behind it.

She still had to clear out the nature behind it.

She still had to clear out the logistics behind it. She still had to clear out the WHAT IFS behind it. She still had to clear out everyone else’s opinions about it.

She still had to clear out how she thought it was going to look, when it was going to happen. MARY HAD TO MAKE ROOM FOR GOD TO BE GOD, and there’s only one way to do that—OPEN FAITH!


The type of faith that cries out without every line item detailed, LET IT BE LORD, LET IT BE. LET IT BE LORD, LET IT BE. LET IT BE LORD, LET IT BE. LET IT BE LORD, LET IT BE!

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