- Sermon Notes
As we continue in the book of Luke, we should remember that at this point it has been 400 years since God has spoken to Israel. There has not been a prophet since Malachi.
These were dark days in Israel and though God has not spoken through a prophet, the Word that God had already spoken to Israel was surely and steadily coming to pass. God had given to the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel a large picture of world events.
Israel as a nation had been destroyed by Babylon 600 years before these events in Luke chapter 1. They had taken many Jews captive and young Daniel was one of them. And by God's hand he had risen to the place where he was trusted for his wisdom and gift for interpreting dreams.
One night Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a disturbing dream and so he gave orders to call in the magicians, conjurers, sorcerers and wise men to tell him what the dream was as well as its interpretation. All the wise men of the day were unable to do it so the king ordered them to be killed.
But God then revealed to Daniel both the dream and the interpretation. In the dream there was a single great statue which was large and of extraordinary splendor and awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of gold, the breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs made of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. A great stone struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them and then the whole statue was crushed all at the same time and became like chaff blown away by the wind. But that stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The gold, silver, bronze, along with the iron and clay are all kingdoms beginning with the great Babylonian kingdom, followed by the Medes and Persians, and then would come the Greek kingdom and finally the Roman Empire. Finally, the 10 toes represented a divided kingdom, some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle, they will combine with one another, but they will not adhere to another.
An interesting analogy might be Europe itself where some parts are strong and other parts brittle, combined together, but not really adhering to one another. But the alignment of nations in the last days will be destroyed by the Rock which is Christ Himself, coming to rule and reign over the earth in the latter days.
So, coming back to the book of Luke, though God has been silent, the will of God has been steadily and surely moving forward and now God is on the move. First, Gabriel announced to an old priest named Zacharias that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son in their old age and it would be he who would be the forerunner to announce the coming of the Messiah and turn many hearts of the sons of Israel back to God.
Now, as we come to verse 26, Gabriel comes to Mary and announces that she would be the one who would fulfill Isaiah 7:14, "The Lord Himself will give you a sign; behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Emmanuel."
Here we read of Mary’s heart when she responds first to the angel announcing that she would carry the Son of God and then later to her cousin Elizabeth. In these words, we see a response to what the Lord has done that touches the heart of what God wants to do in us as well.
I. Nothing Will Be Impossible with God
- Verse 37 – The angel assures Mary that God will do what He said He would do. Elizabeth will have a child in her old age as evidence of God’s power.
- Again, Mary's response becomes an example of humility and godly faith for all of us.
A. Live according to His Word
- Mary responds to the angel by saying, “Let it be done according to your word.”
- The world is lost and is headed in a direction that’s away from heaven, not toward it.
2 Corinthians 1:20, For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our "Amen" to the glory of God to us.
- Verse 38; “Behold, the bond servant of the Lord." This is real faith and true humility that we see in Mary. She's willing to surrender her life to the will of God, realizing that it will cost her dearly.
Romans 12:1-2, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Illus - When you come to faith in Christ, it may cost you something. When you surrender your old way of life, you're going to have to explain the change that's come over you. Mary's explaining would be much more difficult.
B. God uses the simple things of this world
- "Nothing will be impossible with God," Gabriel said. He told her what the Holy Spirit was going to do in her and that the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God and then as evidence of the power of God, told her that Elizabeth had conceived in her old age; she who was barren was even in her sixth month.
- There is a theme that we see running all through the bible; that God uses the simple things, the base things, the foolish things of the world.
- Here was an unknown girl from an unknown place. God will use an ordinary person to accomplish extraordinary things.
- Nazareth itself had a bad reputation. It was a small, Podunk town that was known for its godlessness. An apt phrase of the day might have been, "What happens in Nazareth stays in Nazareth." It was a place to pass through, not a destination.
Illus - When Philip told Nathaniel, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote… Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathaniel responded, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
- But there is a theme we see running throughout the scriptures that should encourage us. We often think of ourselves as insignificant people from an insignificant place, yet nothing shall be impossible with God.
- He delights to use the simple and the foolish for His glory.
Illus – David was just a young shepherd kid yet God saw his heart. His own father didn't think of him as the stuff of kings. Though no one else sees, God sees the heart.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
C. Transformation begins in the soul
- In verses 46-47, Mary says that her soul exalts and her spirit rejoices. Real and lasting change will not happen without the transformation of the soul.
- But notice that it began in faith. Verse 45, "Blessed is she who believed…"
- What did she believe? The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was without sin as Jesus was, but notice in verse 47 that she says, “God my Savior.”
- “My savior” is personal. We must have a personal relationship with Christ, not someone else’s.
Illus – Mark Lowry wrote a song that captures it beautifully "… Mary Did You Know? That your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered would soon deliver you."
John 1:12-13, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…"
II. God Changes Your Desires
- You know what's interesting? In these 10 verses which we call the Magnificat, there are 23 quotes from God's Word. She's probably only about 15 or 16 years old, what a great example.
- In verse 53 Mary exclaims, “He has filled the hungry with good things.”
- However, there is another theme running through these verses as well. “He has scattered those who were proud,” “He has brought down rulers,” He sent away the rich empty-handed (those who think they need nothing).”
A. Worldly desires cannot satisfy
- The soul is empty without God and therefore hungry and thirsty, longing to be satisfied. The desiring of the world is worldly.
- But there is a principle of diminishing returns; it takes more and more of the same thing to bring that rush; and then it doesn’t end so well.
Romans 6:21, Therefore, what benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
- We are driven by our desires and what we desire has everything to do with who we are and who we will become.
Proverbs 18:1, He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.
- We are to be masters over our desires, not subservient to them.
1 Corinthians 6:12-13, I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. The body… is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
B. Jesus is the Joy of Man’s Desiring
Illus – That saying actually comes from the composer J.S. Bach who wrote, I.N.J (in the name of Jesus) at the beginning of his manuscripts and SDG (Soli Deo Gloria; to God alone be the glory) on the last page of every manuscript.
- The theme of the season is to be joyful and there are many things about this “wonderful time of year” that are truly wonderful.
Illus – Don’t you love our "fireplace" in the Fellowship Hall? And then there’s the smell of pine needles, the taste of eggnog, all the lights on the houses, the Christmas songs, etc. All make this season a wonderful time of year.
- It’s very easy to forget that the reason we have Christmas is because we need a Savior.
Luke 2:10-11, But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
- There is also a joy that comes simply from being in the presence of the Lord, and there is a heaviness and emptiness that comes from being away from Him.
John 15:9, 11, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
C. The joy of the Lord is our strength
- Mary’s psalm speaks of all the things the Lord had done for her. Vs 49, 51, and 53.
- And we can say the same thing. What a wonderful response to the Lord, recognizing the great things the Lord has done.
Illus – We used to sing a very simple praise song with the words, “The Lord, has done great things for us… for he has filled our mouths with laughter, filled our tongues with singing, the Lord has done great things for us.”
- But it begins by coming unto Him. His yoke is easy; that means giving Him the reigns…
Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Luke 1:26-55 NASB