Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Nativity - Part 4: Mary

The Nativity
Part 4 - Mary
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION

In describing the nativity scene over the past few weeks, we began with talking about the shepherds in the field visited by the Angel of the Lord. The Angel told them that the Savior was being born, and where they could find Him, and what the signs would be to prove the words he spoke to them.

They listened, and they checked out the angels words and found Mary with Jesus.  They were astonished, and ran to tell everyone.

We also talked about the “Wise Men”, or magi, who also came to visit the Lord, bringing gifts, which were valuable, but also carried spiritual meaning, showing Jesus was born a King because they gave Him gold.  The gift of frankincense shows us that He is the High Priest, and the myrrh, used for embalming the dead, symbolizes that from the beginning, Jesus’ plan was to die for humankind.

Last week we spoke about Joseph and what little the scriptures say about him.  We saw that he was from the line of King David.  This was important, because prophecy foretold that the savior would come from this line, and take the rightful place at the throne of David.

This week, we will be looking at Mary, the mother of Jesus.


SCRIPTURE READING

Luke 1:26-28
 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”



I.                   WHO WAS MARY?

a.      Bloodline of David
                                                                         i.      Both Joseph and Mary were from the bloodline of King David. (Luke 1:27;Luke 3:31)

b.     Sexually and Spiritually pure
                                                                         i.      When the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, theologians calculate her to be about 14 or 15 years old.

                                                                      ii.      Betrothed to Joseph, we see from the greeting by the Angel that she is both sexually and spiritually pure.

c.      Her Life was About to Change Forever
                                                                         i.      I am sure Mary had started to plan her life with Joseph and the things that would be in her future.

                                                                      ii.      Everything in her life changed from the moment the Angel said, “Greetings...”

                                                                   iii.      Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
   but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

                                                                     iv.      When we seek the Lord, putting Him first in our lives and all we do, He leads us and guides us for His purpose, not our own.  Many times in life, we have plans, which may or may not include the Lord.  Then the Lord steps in, and leads us into His direction.  If He is truly our Master, then we will follow Him.

                                                                        v.      Many times in life, the message we receive is hard to take in.  Mary struggled with the angels greeting, and wondered at what it meant.

1.      v29 “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.”

                                                                     vi.      The angel saw her distress, and comforted her with these words, “But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”

1.      These words of comfort can also be ours.  If we find favor with God, we do not need to be afraid, no matter what the message the messenger brings.

2.      We can find favor with God through our submission to Him, by loving Him with ALL of our mind, body, soul and strength. 

d.     Are you in God’s favor right now?  If so, has He given you a message, a direction or path He wants you to follow in His name?  Fear not, but obey.

e.      Many times people want the prize without ever running the race.  However, this is not how it works.  Great rewards ONLY come after great sacrifice.  Many today refuse to sacrifice self for the Lord.

f.       Mary is our example, one who sacrificed all of her dreams, her future she planned for herself, and followed the Lords leading.

                                                                         i.      A question, do you realize that submission to the Lord is in essence crucifying the desires of your flesh?  If you are following your own plans, then you are not following the Lords.

                                                                      ii.      Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

                                                                   iii.      We must ask ourselves if we are truly following the Lord.





II.               MARY’S CHARACTER

Luke 1:31-33
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

v34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

a.      Faithful
                                                                         i.      Some liberals teach that the Greek word par-thenos simply means “a young girl”, but we see the prophet in Isaiah 7:14 say explicitly, that a “virgin” (al-maw in Hebrew), shall conceive, this being one who is sexually pure.

                                                                      ii.      Mary was this faithful vessel, one who was pure. 

                                                                   iii.      Why is this fact important?
1.      Because God promised that the Savior of humanity would be “the seed of a woman,” in Genesis 3:15.

2.      This simply means that God would send the Savior into the world through the body of a woman without the aid of a human male.  Why would He do this?

3.      At the fall, Adam’s sin plagued all of his future offspring with sin.  

a.      Romans 5:12 “...sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...”

b.     Just as Adam passed along his human nature he also passed along his sinful nature to his children, they inherited his sin and continued to pass it on down the line.

III.            God’s plan to send a Savior into the world involved Him sending a pure and perfect Savior, not someone who would inherit the sinful nature of man.

a.      God accomplished this through the virgin birth of Jesus.
                                                                         i.      Galatians 4:4-7 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

                                                                      ii.      When you submit to the Lord, you are adopted to sonship, and because you become sons of God, you receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ into our hearts.

b.     Mary’s Submission
                                                                         i.      Despite the shame that would come her way, despite the humiliation she would bear, Mary was willing to submit her life to the will of the Lord. By doing so, she has set an example of obedience and surrender that every child of God should follow.

                                                                      ii.      v38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”


CONCLUSION

Today, let us thank God for choosing a faithful servant, who like Joseph, obeyed the Lord, sacrificed their own plans, and followed His.

This week, examine yourself, and ask the question, “Am I following God’s plan for me in my life, or my own?”