“THE JOURNEY OF FAITH” Luke 1:39-45
INTRO – “Mary Did You Know?” video
In some ways, Mary has been ignored in the Protestant Church. Many people have seen the Catholic Church elevate her & overemphasize her importance, giving her a place of prominence that is not biblical. The Bible never says that Mary was anything more than an ordinary human being whom God chose to use in an extraordinary way. She was a sinner who needed the very Savior that she gave birth to. Mary did not ascend to heaven & was not given any kind of exalted role in heaven. We are not to pray to her or worship her in any way. It’s idolatry to worship Mary in any way.
But we can certainly learn from her just like any other Bible character. When you study your Bible, I’ve often encouraged you to use the S.P.A.C.E. Principle. Even have it on our church website with the Read-Pray-Obey passages each month. Here’s what the S.P.A.C.E. Principle is: When you read a Scripture passage, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a Sin for me to confess?
- …Promise for me to claim?
- …Attitude for me to change?
- …Command for me to obey?
- …Example for me to follow?
When we read about the experiences of Mary here in the first few chapters of the Gospel of Luke, we can definitely see an example for us to follow from her life. She sets a wonderful example of a life of faith for us to see & follow. One pastor said this about Mary:
“Protestants have overreacted to Catholics placing too high an emphasis on Mary & so have missed what an incredible example of faith she portrayed. She was a person who yielded to the Lord. Mary exhibited a person who walks by faith. She lived out what God can do w/ a person who is willing to obey the Lord.” (Glenn Meredith)
Which brings us to our next stop on “The Journey to Christmas.” Today, we are on “The Journey of Faith.” These verses are known as the Visitation, when Mary visited w/ Elizabeth to share each other’s joy. As we look at these verses, we find 4 components of the journey of faith for every Christ-follower.
Look at v. 45 in the CSB: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what He has spoken to her!”
Let’s walk backwards in this verse as we look at these 4 components:
THE PROMISE COMPONENT – “…the Lord would fulfill what He has spoken to her!”
God is going to keep His promises! And what had He promised to Mary? Look back at v. 30-33. There’s no way that God wasn’t going to keep this promise to her AND to US! Matthew Henry called this the “inviolable certainty of the promise” – in other words, this promise was secure from destruction. Nothing would get in the way of this promise being fulfilled. Isaiah had prophesied this event 700 years prior to this moment in Isa. 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [which means, ‘God with us.’]”
Think of all the promises God has made to you & to me. A couple of months ago, began starting each day’s quiet time by finding a promise from the Lord in the Bible that I would write down in my journal & meditate on it. Listen to some of them (journal). He will never fail to come through on any of His promises! He is a promise-making, promise-keeping God!
THE BELIEF COMPONENT – “…she who has believed…”
When God makes a promise, we need to believe the promise. And that’s what Mary did. She believed God’s promise, AND she acted on it. Look at how she replied to the promise of God given to her by Gabriel.
This is what true faith is all about. It’s belief that leads to action. It’s the knowledge that leads to movement. It’s knowing God’s promises, believing God’s promises, appropriating God’s promises, & stepping out in God’s promises.
- It’s Peter stepping out of the boat.
- It’s David going out against Goliath.
- It’s Elijah facing the prophets of Baal.
- It’s the sick woman reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe.
- It’s Moses standing on the edge of the Red Sea.
- It’s Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain.
- It’s you telling someone about Jesus…going on your first mission trip…starting a new Life Group in your home…starting a new mission in an apt. complex…realizing that God is calling you into the ministry…tithing 10% of your income…giving more than 10 % of your your income…not giving up on your marriage…not giving up on your wayward child…continuing to pray for your unsaved friend or family member…
- It’s Country Woods building a building for Mission Byram…starting a new mission or Lunch 4 Christ in another apartment complex or mobile home park…hiring additional staff members or bringing staff members on fulltime…increasing our giving to missions…
THE RESULT COMPONENT – “Blessed is she…”
God gave His promise to Mary. She believed it & took action on it. And the result of that was the blessing of God being poured out into her life. TLB: “You believed that God would do what He said; that is why He has given you this wonderful blessing.”
So often, we pray that God would bless us in our lives, or bless our kids, or bless our church, or bless our business. And yet, at the same time, we aren’t truly walking in faith & believing His promises. In fact, sometimes we turn away from His promises & live in disobedience & sin, & STILL expect Him to bless our lives. That ain’t going to happen! God is under no obligation whatsoever to bless your life if you aren’t living for Him & walking w/ Him.
But the awesome news is that when God blesses your life, He blesses others through you! Think about the blessing that came through Mary’s life – the GREATEST blessing EVER came through her!
THE RESPONSE COMPONENT – (v. 46ff)
Luke 1:46 – “And Mary said, ‘My soul praises the greatness of the Lord…’”
Listen to Luke 1:46-55 from the New Living Translation:
46 Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Our response to the blessings that come through promises of God is to praise Him, to worship Him, & to obey Him. Mary’s hymn of praise here in v. 46-55, known as the Magnificat, is a wonderful model for us to follow in responding to the blessings of God.
Listen friends, it doesn’t matter how good things are going in our lives, or how bad things are going in our lives, there is always a reason to worship the Lord.
CONCLUSION: There’s an incredible moment in v. 41 when the soon-to-be-born infant John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb in response to being in the presence of the soon-to-be-born Messiah. Back to the S.P.A.C.E. Principle. Even John the Baptist set an example for us to follow! Just being in the presence of Jesus moved him. What about us today? Will WE be moved by Jesus today? Will we “leap” when we come into His presence today?