Pastor Edward Brouwer 12-3-2017 “Magnify the Lord” Luke 1:49-55

Advent Series 2017

Advent is a special time of year full of anticipation and expectation as we recall, remember and celebrate the coming of Christ the Messiah as God incarnate. During this season we will look each Sunday at 4 hymns sung in and around the coming of Jesus. Each of these songs are recorded in Luke. Mary responds to the announcement of Gabriel with the Magnificat. The song is so entitled because the first words of the Latin version are translated from my soul magnifies….and in it Mary praises God for saving His people through the coming of Jesus. The next song is that of Zechariah known as the Benedictus because the first word in Latin is blessed be the Lord God who has sent the Redeemer. The third song is that of the Angels above the fields of Bethlehem known as the Gloria in Excelsias translated from Latin as Glory to God in the Highest who has proclaimed peace through the coming of the Messiah. And the fourth song is Simeon’s psalm in the Temple at Jerusalem known as the Nunc dimittis since he says now let the Lord’s servant depart in peace, because in holding Jesus he prophesied that salvation had come both to Israel and indeed to all peoples. Each of these focus on praising God for WHO He is and for WHAT He has done in sending the Messiah. O Come Let Us Adore Him.

Read Luke 1:49-55

Mary’s Heart. The first thing we notice about Mary–even before she sings a psalm of praise to Israel’s God for sending a Redeemer–is her willingness to cooperate with God’s plans. She says to Gabriel “I am the Lord’s Servant, may everything happen to me just as you have said”. What a heart! Here is a small town girl from Nazareth with humble plans of being married and raising children with her husband the carpenter, and then an Angel appears and tells her something that is both frightening and exciting. Exciting because every Jewish girl knew of the promise of the coming Messiah and prayed that they might have the privilege of bearing the Messiah—the Deliverer of Israel. Frightening because as Mary asks ‘how can this be, for I am a virgin?” the implication of which immediately must follow “how do I tell Joseph this?” Will he believe me? What does this mean for me?” For according to Jewish Law Mary, when found to be pregnant, could be cast out of the town and stoned to death for fornication. Mary’s heart entrusts herself completely to God, her present and her future. Have you ever been confronted with a sense of the leading of the Holy Spirit and have been afraid as you considered the implications for your life? That people might misunderstand you? That you might face suffering or ridicule or physical and financial deprivation? I recall the dawning of the realization of going into mission work that it would put my life at risk, and then surrendering to the Lord as He showed me that the best and safest place for me to be was in the center of his will. Are you struggling with that question today? For our youth: What will I study and pursue? We live in a culture that venerates beauty, youth, wealth, fame and power—all of which will eventually fail. Will you drink at the well of our culture or will you refresh yourself by drinking from the well that Jesus offers that will never run dry? Or perhaps you are in a latter season of your life. How will I share my faith with my grown children or grandchildren? What is God calling me to in my retirement? What legacy will you build? Will you magnify God or yourself? Mary’s heart is full of joy and focus on God. Are you feeling down? Lift up your heart and look at our great God who is rich in mercy, faithful always, bestowing his love on you, fulfilling his promises to you by giving you good things. And the greatest thing He has given us is life in Christ.

Now Mary was chosen to be the one woman in history to give birth to the Savior. And we honor her for that. We look to her as an example of grace and humility and we are inspired. But the gospel message is not “BE LIKE MARY” no the gospel message is “Christ is born in my heart”. And may I live out of the truth and reality of my new birth in Jesus.

God’s Heart—what does Mary say about who God is? God is Savior—and now He is sending the Savior to be born of me. God is mindful of me—he knows my name and he has not forgotten me. Do you believe this? That God calls you by name. That he knows you—and better than you know yourself?

God is the Mighty ONE who has wrought salvation by coming to the world in the flesh, God incarnate and through this we have obtained mercy.

God is opposed to the proud and mighty, but gives grace to the humble. The world says get what you can! Caesar pronounces himself a living god. He expects worships from his subjects. God is opposed to idolatry. Do you want more of God’s grace? Then the gospel truth is: believe that Jesus has come to give you every grace and let go of your idols.

My Heart—if God’s heart is opposed to the proud and idolatrous, then we do not want to find ourselves in that place. How do I know when my heart is proud? When I think that everything I have is through my own efforts. In the new hit series “This is US” a young Kevin (with a disrespectful attitude) retorts to his dad’s admonition for a humble acknowledgement of the athletic gifts he has been given with “my hard work, my efforts!” “After many rebukes”, Proverbs 29:1 says “the proud will be laid low without remedy”. Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you. 1 Peter 5:6-7…casting all your care on him because HE cares for you. And how has he cared for you? He has sent himself. To live and die and offer himself. Jesus became humble, he set aside his princely throne, his riches and power. Why? For you and for me. While we were yet sinners Christ dies for us.

Titus 3:4-7…we were utterly lost in our own sin and shame. We were doing our own thing and didn’t want anything to do with God…

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

How are you magnifying the Lord in your life? Ask yourself every day in prayer looking through the lens of Jesus—am what I am saying, doing, watching, listening to—is this magnifying Jesus or me? Can you do this in yourself? No! Jesus invites you to remember what he did for you. Come to the table. He gave himself. Emptying himself. And he promises to FILL you with his love and Spirit so that magnifying HIM becomes the chief desire of our hearts. Come to the table and ask God for more of himself.