Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

I Am The Lord’s Servant

Posted on December 24th, 2021

Luke 1:26-38, 46-50

Christmas time is upon us. When asked to name something about Christmas... many people will mention gifts or presents. It’s always exiting to receive a gift! This morning we are going to see how the Lord would provide Mary with a very special gift within her womb, the gift of a son. He would not be just any child though, but the very Son of God and Savior of the world! Something interesting about her gift is she would not be able to unwrap it until she submitted and believed the Lord’s promise to give it to her.

I want to ask you how you would feel if someone promised you a gift, but then said you could not receive it until you believed in it and asked for it. First of all, many you would think that’s ridiculous, and secondly you would have to make a decision to do what was necessary to receive that gift. Would you believe in it, and ask for it, as you were told, or would you walk off in pride thinking, “I am not going to humiliate myself by asking for a gift.” God offers each of us the greatest gift in all the world, but in order to receive it... we will have to believe in it and ask for it!

ILL. He was an impressive man in his 50's, vice-president of a multinational corporation. He had a great family, & was by all accounts a success in his career & in his life. He was raised in a small town in the Midwest, where he had been active in sports, a good student, & attended church services.
He went on to college where he had also been active in many clubs & programs. Then came his first big job, & marriage, a child, traveling abroad, promotions, a new home, another child, & finally promotion to his current position as vice-president of a large corporation.
But he had a problem. Listen to his own words:
"The problem is that my life is full of good things - a fine house, nice cars, a very good job, & a busy life, ...but as I began to think about what really matters most to me, I realized that over these past years, that feeling, that sense of purpose, has gotten lost.
"I've been lulled by a sense of security. My life really hasn't made much of a difference. I've just been watching life go by through the windows of my country club."
By popular standards he was a successful man, but when he looked at the bottom line of his own life, he concluded that he was not making any noticeable contribution to God, to others, or to the world. Something was missing in his life.

As the wise King Solomon looked back on his life he came to the following conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

A second person description... She was a young girl, living in an obscure village in a humble, farming area. And she was pregnant - a scandalous situation for a young, unmarried teenager.
Compared to the rich executive I just mentioned, she had no wealth or position, no obvious security, & the stigma of society's disapproval. Yet she had something far greater.

Listen to her words found in Luke 1:46-50: - "46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation."

Well, as you know, this young girl's name was Mary. And we're going to be looking at Luke 1:26-38 this morning to see what we can learn about her.

I like to learn from people. When I see someone admirable, I try to learn from their example. And when I see someone make mistakes, I like to learn how to avoid what went wrong. So let's look at Mary, the mother of Jesus.

PROP. I think Mary is well worth our study because, although the events that take place in her life are unique, her character & attitudes seen in this passage are worthy of praise. So let's try to learn from her.
The first lesson is that God can use us despite our lack of special abilities.

ILL. When I was a kid in school, we would go to the playground during recess & at lunch time. If we wanted to play a team sport, two captains would be picked. These captains would look over the rest of us, & then take turns picking their teams, based on strength, agility, & skill.
They picked the best players first, & those who were picked last were very aware of their place in the opinions of the captains.

But God is not like that. Some people think that God picks only the brightest & the best. But that’s not necessarily so. He sometimes picks those who would seem to have little to offer because that's the sort of people God often uses to accomplish His purpose.

The apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:26-29 - 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.
Listen to verse 28 again, “What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used...”

As we look at Mary, the Bible doesn’t mention that she has any special skills or abilities.
Luke 1:26-28 tells us, 26 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. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; [e]blessed are you among women!”

I want you to notice several things from this passage.
First of all, Galilee was not a particularly respected region of Israel, & the village of Nazareth itself had a very poor reputation.  In fact, years later, when Nathaniel, who later became one of the 12 apostles, first heard about Jesus, he asked, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

Nazareth would hardly seem to be a desirable location to find an earthly mother for God’s promised Messiah!
Secondly, Luke identifies her as being a virgin, engaged to Joseph. At that time, a Jewish engagement involved two steps: a formal betrothal, which included a contract & exchange of a bridal price, & then some time later, the actual wedding.

To break off a betrothal would actually be the same as going through a divorce.  But yet, while they were officially betrothed, or married, they would still be living apart & would remain so until the wedding ceremony took place, even though legally they were considered to be a husband & wife.

Thirdly, Mary's age is not given, but in that culture she would almost certainly have been a teenager. God is entrusting the King of Kings & Lord of Lords to a teenager in a despised village located in a remote area of a little nation that had been conquered & ruled by Rome.

And yet, the angel calls her "highly favored." You see, God often chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things so that everyone knows that it's not the person who's responsible, it's God.

A 2nd thing we learn from Mary is that The only thing we can really offer is our willingness to do His will. Luke 1:38 tells us 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

God's servants have the right attitude to accomplish great things for God when they say to Him, "I'm available. Use me as you will"

ILL. Imagine yourself being responsible to hire someone for an important task. You receive resumes & arrange for interviews. You notice that the resumes list the education, experience, & qualifications of every candidate - except for one.   In this one resume, you notice that under "Education" it says: "None." Under "Experience" it says: "None." But the resume does say: "I'm willing & available." You & I probably wouldn't hire such a person, but God often does.

What Mary was agreeing to was no simple matter. She was being asked to bear a child without being married.

In her obedience to God, she probably was the object of much doubt & ridicule. Who could possibly believe her story about the angel & the virgin birth?

But Mary knows she is God's servant. So she lets God work through her as He willed. God could place her in whatever difficult circumstance He desired, for she knew that God was with her.
You see, serving God can be costly. I don't know what it may cost you. It might be your income or security. It cost Mary her reputation. But she was willing to pay the price. Are you?

One final lesson: Mary trusted God in spite of her limitations.
Mary's response is one of trust. She “rejoices in God my Savior for He . . . the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.”
With God's grace upon her, Mary didn't exhibit an inferiority complex, nor did she argue with God as Moses did, telling him that she was underqualified. What she did was realize that God would help her overcome whatever her limitations might be.
Mary is a portrait of going wherever God leads, knowing that He will supply whatever is lacking. She had an attitude that trusted God’s direction.

Think again of that executive I mentioned at the beginning. He had wealth, prestige, & influence; he had everything a person might ask for that the world has to offer. He was a picture of success as the world defines it. And yet, he felt a terrible emptiness inside his soul.
Now think of Mary - a pregnant, unmarried teenager. She had nothing. But God used her to present the greatest gift that man has ever received.
Are you willing this morning to put your total trust in God?

ILL. There’s an old story about a man who was lost & wandering in the desert, dying of thirst. As he stumbled along in the terrible heat, he came upon an old shack.
There wasn’t much left of it, but it might provide a little protection from the burning sun. Coming very close to collapsing he made his way through the doorway & then fell upon the dirt floor.
Lying there, & looking around, he saw an old water pump. He crawled over to it & grabbed hold of its handle. Almost frantically he began pumping up & down – squeak, squeak, squeak, but nothing came out.
He fell back to the ground, & as he did, his hand landed on something. It was a large glass jug half buried in the dirt. He dug it out & to his amazement saw that it was full of water. And there was a note attached to it.
Wiping the dirt off the note, he was able to make out what it said. The note read: "Pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it. If you do this you will get all the water you need. P.S. Be sure to fill the jug again before you leave."

Wow! Here’s a jug filled with water. If he just drank that water, he could at least prolong his life a while longer. After all, could he really trust a note that was no telling how old?
But if he poured all the water in to prime the pump, & it didn’t work, he would soon die. However if it worked, he would have access to fresh water - as much as he needed. So he decided. He popped the cork & poured all the water into the pump.
Grabbing the handle he began pumping - squeak, squeak, squeak. But nothing came out. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Then a trickle of water appeared.   Squeak, squeak, squeak. Suddenly, water was gushing out - cool, flowing, wonderful water – all that he could possibly want.  He filled his canteen & drank it. He filled it & drank from it again. He was marvelously refreshed. Then he remembered the note.

After filling his canteen once again, he filled the jug, put the cork back in place, & added his own words to the note: "Believe me, it really works. But you have to give it all away to get it back."

CONCL. God isn't going to come to any of us with the same job that He gave Mary. But God is calling us to His service. Ephesians 4:7-16 teaches that God has called all believers to minister within the body of Christ – the Church.

‘I am the Lord's servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ (Luke 1:38)
Now what is your response? Are you available for God to use you? Or do you have excuses? Are you willing to let God lead you? If so, will you come forward as we stand & as we sing?
INVITATION

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