Christmas Characters (2)

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Christmas Characters – Mary
Luke 1:46-55

I. Who was Mary? –

Mary – same as Miriam,
She was a Jew
From Royal family of David – through Nathan (Luke 3:31)

II. Where was Mary From?

Verses 26-27 –
Mary came from Nazareth, a Galilean city west of the Sea of Galilee
She traveled, before the birth of Christ to see her cousin Elizabeth in Judah which was a 3-5 day trip.

III. What was she like?

- When Gabriel appears to Mary, she is probably about 14 or 15 years old. She is betrothed to Joseph, the contract being as solemn and as binding as marriage itself. According to the text, she has maintained her sexual purity, as well as her spiritual purity. She is living close to the Lord and is living a good life before the Lord. Mary apparently has it all sewed up. A bright future is awaiting her; she has everything for which to live.
I really like it when my life goes just as I have planned. There are times when we sail the calm seas of life, but those days often seem few and far between when compared to the days when trials surround us on every side.
Verses 28-37 -
When Gabriel makes His announcement to Mary, her life is immediately turned upside down. Mary is called upon to bear shame, reproach and humiliation for the glory of God.
Her's is to be the greatest honour ever afforded to woman, but at the same time it carried with it a tremendous social stigma. (Very much unlike our day!)
When our lives do not go as we have planned it is easy to fear that which is unknown.
Often, God will allow things to happen in your life and mine that are hard to bear and hard to understand,
yet the Lord sends them our way so that we might grow in Him and come to know Him in a better way.
When these times arise, it is easy to question the Lord and His judgment.
It is always easy to question but it is far nobler to comply with the Lord.
You see, one inescapable part of being a Christian is the area of cross bearing, Matthew 16:24
Matthew 16:24 KJV 1900
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
No one said such a life was easy, but the end results are worth the trials of this life!
So what was Mary like, what kind of character was she?

A. Faithful – Luke 1:27

We are told that the angel came to “a virgin.”
We all know what a virgin is.
In fact, the virginity of Mary is affirmed twice in verse 27.
Contrary to what liberals and others may say, the word does not simply speak of a “young woman,” but it speaks of one who has never engaged in sexual relations with a man. The vessel God chose to use to bring His Son into this world was a perfectly pure vessel.
We have hit this several times already in previous messages, so we wont belabor the point.

She was Faithful to Her Husband

She was faithful to Her God

To watch Mary as these verses unfold is to see a young woman who has been prepared for this moment. History tells us that every faithful Jewish girl was looking for the messiah. We are also told that every Jewish girl hoped that she would be the vessel chosen through which God would send His Messiah into the world.

B. Submissive – Luke 1:38

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

She was Submitted to the Will of God

When the angel appears to Mary, she is amazed and she is startled, but she is a woman prepared to respond to the will of the Lord in faith and faithfulness, Luke 1:38.
It appears that God, in His grace, had begun a work in her young heart long before this moment, so that when this moment arrived, Mary was ready and willing to do all the Lord desired of her.
Imagine the faith required for Mary to respond to the Lord as she did. For a young unmarried woman to become pregnant in that day was to be the focus of shame, disgrace and a possible death sentence. But, Mary was willing to bear the shame and the burden of being the vessel through which God would send His Son into the world.
Thank God for people like Mary who are willing to do all the Lord requires, regardless of what it may require of them. May the Lord find a heart like that beating within every one of our chests! After all, nothing reveals our love for
Jesus like our unquestioning obedience to all He requests of us, John 14:15, 21!
You and I would do well to learn to submit to the will of the Lord in every detail of life. We need never fear the providential hand of God, for He will never do us wrong! Regardless of what may come our way in life, we can rest assured that God is going to use it to get glory to Himself and to help us learn more about Him.

She was submitted to The Work of God

God had just informed her that He was going to do a mighty work in her life.
She did not rebuke God. She did not argue with God. She simply asked how He would do such a thing.
Its not wrong to ask God how He is going to accomplish the work He has set you out to do. Just be aware, He may not give you the answer you want.
Im sure Mary did not expect the answer she was given, but she submitted to it.
We may wonder how God is going to accomplish His work through us? Its ok to wonder how just dont wonder from.
Allow God to use you and you will be amazed at what can be done. Just be in Submission to His Will and His Work!

C. Thankfulness

Luke 1:46-55
In these few verses, Mary expresses her personal praise to the Lord for His blessings to her own life.
In doing so, she sets an example that every Christian should seek to follow.
The first object for which she lifts her voice in praise is for

Her Salvation

V. 46-49
Like the rest of us, Mary was born in sin and stood in need of a Saviour.
In verse 47, she declares her dependence upon God in Heaven for salvation.
She is simply praising the Lord for the salvation she possesses.
Your life may be falling apart this evening, but if you have been redeemed by the precious Blood of Jesus, then you have a reason to praise the Name of the Lord!
According to Luke 10:20 , simple salvation is a good reason to praise the Lord.
Luke 10:20 KJV 1900
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Think about it, because you have been saved, you will never go to Hell,
you will never stand in judgment,
you will be granted access into Heaven,
and you will experience the presence of the Lord throughout eternity.
We have abundant reason to rejoice, as did Mary! I challenge every Christian under the sound of my voice to offer the sacrifices of praise unto the Lord today - Heb. 13:15
Hebrews 13:15 KJV 1900
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
(Ill. Some may argue, "Preacher, I just do not have anything to praise the Lord for!" Well, Mary is speaking out of a personal relationship. She knew what she was talking about. When you’re saved and you know, it will put some rejoicing in your heart! You may not shout, but you will want to!)
In the first part of verse 48, Mary verbalizes why she is so thankful for her salvation. She is a nobody, but she has experienced the grace of God first hand.
Mary knows that she does not deserve wonderful favour of the Lord that has been extended to her. Yet, the Lord did it anyway.
Many in here tonight can say the same thing as Mary, a matter of fact we should praise Him even more than Mary because at least she was consecrated to Him as she was a Jew.
we were not even at the hight of being a simple handmaid of the Lord. We were enemies. We hated God, but yet He saved us. That alone is reason to praise Him this evening.

His Manifestation

V. 48b-49
Mary realizes that God is doing something pretty wonderful through her life.
After all, she is to be the means by which the God of eternity enters human history.
While many in her day ridiculed her and talked about her, she knew that in days to come, others would look back on her obedience and know that she had been blessed by the Lord.
Her reward was in the fact that God was to be glorified and that others would be blessed by her actions.
Every one of us in this room who have been saved would have to acknowledge that the Lord has done "great things" in and to us.
I mean, think of the change He made in your life, 2 Cor. 5:17.
Think of the blessings you have enjoyed.
Think of the benefits that are yours as a child of God.
Think of the glory that awaits out there in the future.
We have been blessed abundantly! Like Mary, we all have reason to praise the Name of the Lord!
Are we doing it as we should?

Her Illumination

V. 50
Mary knows that she isn't the only one who has received grace from God.
His grace is to be revealed to every generation, until the return of Christ to this earth.
She was illuminated to the fact that God’s grace is not only sufficent for her but for all those that come to Him in faith.
Go has illuminated us that The grace of God is operating even today!
There is grace to save sinners.
Grace to reclaim backsliders.
Grace for battles, trials and valleys.
Grace for every situation we face in life. 2 Cor. 12:9
2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV 1900
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This, in and of itself, is a wonderful motivator for praise and worship before the Lord.

His Compassion

V. 51-52
Mary praises the Lord because He did not come to reach out to the proud and the mighty.
In fact, God chose to reveal Himself to those who were poor and humble.
In His working of this great miracle, God has demonstrated His power and has put to shame all those who thought they had Him figured out, 1 Cor. 1:27
1 Corinthians 1:27 KJV 1900
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
In one great act, God has reversed the order of society.
Those who are considered great by men will be brought low, while those who trust in the Lord, though they may be poor and humble, will be exalted by their faith in the Lord.
This evening things remain the same. Only those who are willing to humble themselves before the Lord can expect anything from the Lord.
Salvation comes to the humble - Matt. 18:3
Matthew 18:3 KJV 1900
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Those who are willing to admit their sin, can expect to be saved.
Those who are willing to admit their need, can expect to have it met.
Before we can expect anything from the Lord, we must be willing to humble ourselves in His sight.
When we do, we can experience His grace in a very real way. There are many who will die lost and spend eternity in Hell, simply because they were unwilling to come to the Lord, admit their sins and receive the Lord into their lives.
God is longsuffering but He wont suffer long!

Her Satisfaction

V. 53
Mary reminds us that those who realize their lack can come to the Lord and be filled,
while those who think they have need of nothing can expect exactly that from God.
Mary saw in the perpetual grace of God a reason for rejoicing.
Things haven't changed. He is still the God of all grace, 1 Pet. 5:10
1 Peter 5:10 KJV 1900
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Mary praises the Lord, not only for His blessings in her life and for His blessings upon successive generations, but she also praises the Lord for remembering to do what He has promised to do.
She exalts His Name because He did not forget her people.
(Ill. The bondage of the Jews and their longing for a Messiah. Mary praises the Lord keeping His Word!)

His Provision

V. 54 - 55
For centuries, the Jews had lived on the promise of the Lord that HE would one day send a deliverer, a Messiah to redeem the people and to restore the nation to a place of righteousness and favour with God. Jesus is to be the fulfilment of those promises and Mary exalts the Name of the Lord for remembering to keep His promises.
The Lord still keeps His promises.
He will never allow anything He has promised to do go undone, Rom. 4:21!
That is why He can be trusted in every situation in life.
Whether it be for salvation or for daily provision, Phil. 4:19
Philippians 4:19 KJV 1900
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
God will do what He has said He will do.
Therefore, learn to trust Him and learn to praise Him for His goodness, even if the answer has not yet been seen!
If there is one thing we can be sure of this evening, it is that we can depend on the Lord, He will never let one of His promises fall to the ground - 2 Pet. 3:9
2 Peter 3:9 KJV 1900
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
V. 55
Mary rejoices in the fact that the Lord hasn't forgotten about the people of Israel. They were His people, and they still are.
She praises His name that He remembers those who have placed their faith in Him.
Christian, you need never fear in God forgetting about you. You are forever impressed upon His heart.
In fact, every time He looks at Jesus, He sees you - Eph. 2:6
Ephesians 2:6 KJV 1900
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
He will see you through this world and into the next.
He did not save you to lose you.
He did not save you to forget about you.
He saved you take you home to be with Him.
What a blessing!
We are indebted to Mary this evening. Not to the extent that we fall before her, or her stature and worship her. Not that we should pray to her. Not that we should hold her higher than anyone else who has ever lived.
We owe her a debt of gratitude for reminding us that whether it is for personal grace, favours for others, or for those times when the Lord proves Himself faithful in the lives of His children, we have a God who is worthy of faith, love, praise and worship.
With that in mind, I ask you this evening, do you have the same heart that dwelled in Mary?
Are you in a personal relationship with Almighty God today?
Are you in such a position in your walk with the Lord whereby you can truly celebrate Him this Christmas?
Is there a need for you to come to Him and meet Him on a personal basis?
Is there a need for you to come to Him and make some things right with Him today?
Is there a need in your heart to just come and bow before Him and worship Him today?
Whatever your need may be, please come to Him and let Him have His way in your life.
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