“The Good News of God” The Christmas Story: Week 1 (Luke 1:26-56)
What we can see from these verses is that God is Good because He is God and therefore we should praise Him for who He is.
1. God is Good because He is Savior (v. 47)
2. God is Good because He Pays Attention (v.48)
3. God is Good because He is Holy and Mighty (v. 49)
4. God is Good because He Shows Mercy (v. 50)
5. God is Good because He is Mighty (v. 51)
6. God is Good because He is Just (v. 51, 52 and 53)
7. God is Good because He is Faithful
This is a new series that we’re jumping into this week called, The Christmas Story. And yes, you’re going to recognize the birth narrative, you’re going to recognize a lot of the things that we’re going to be talking about together. But I promise you if you will let it, these stories that you heard many times will still impact you. They can still be life changing as we walk through these dramas together and they build, they’re all ready so good. Praise God for that. And how that’s connecting to the text to help you see this has reality in your life.
The gospel hope that we have that we celebrated Advent is still helpful for you because the gospel is always on time. The hope of the gospel and the message of the story of Christ is always life changing. In this particular story we start at the beginning of it, the nine months before Jesus was birthed into this world through the womb of Mary. And I say we start in the story because if we’re talking about the gospel and Jesus coming, it’s in the middle of it right now, because if we started at the beginning we wouldn’t just go to Luke 1, where would we go? We’d go to Genesis 1. That’s where God first put the seed of the story into the text.
So we’re going to fast forward from the story of redemption to this place in redemption, when God sends the arch angel Gabriel to a teenage girl. And yes, the drama had it right. Probably somewhere between 12 and maybe at the latest 16 years old. Has an angel, this imposing character appear to her and say, “Hey I’ve got good news for you. You’re going to have a baby. Not by Joseph but by God.” Let that sink in for a second.
This is where we pick up the story in Luke 1. Now where I want to get is past Gabriel, I want to get to Mary’s expression of joy in verse 46 all the way through verse 55 and even 56. That’s where I want to get to today. But in order for us to get to that, we have to start with verse 26.
And starting in verse 26 we see the angel of the Lord acknowledging Mary’s faith. But quickly as he’s acknowledging her faith and faithfulness to God, and the fact that she’s a favored one, we see her be a little confused. So not only do we see Mary’s faith in the early part of the text, we see her confusion. And that confusion turns into fear and surprise. But quickly, rapidly even, unexplainably that fear, that anticipation, that confusion turns into complete surrender.
And then at about verse 39 all the way through 55, we see her teaching us how to magnify God, and how to express our gratitude to him for allowing us to participate with him in his global vision of the gospel. We’re jumping ahead.
Let’s start in verse 26. Notice in verse 26 here it says as the angel is acknowledging her faith, ‘That in the sixth month, God sent this arch angel to her.” Now when you read the sixth month here a lot of us think, “Okay that’s the sixth month of the year at this Hebrew calendar time, it was probably March. And nine months later that would have been for us December. And that’s why we celebrate Christmas this time of year. That’s not what the sixth month is talking about here.
In the context of Luke 1, the sixth month is talking about in the sixth of the pregnancy that Elizabeth had, her relative. Where John the Baptist was all ready growing in her womb. Six months after she conceived John the Baptist, God sends the arch angel Gabriel to visit this teenage girl to blow her mind.
Now there’s a couple of things right in the beginning of this text, like verse 26 through verse 29 that we need to stop and not just casually pass over. Number one, that she was a virgin. That could take the whole time today, but we’re going to stop and just talk about it for a second. And number two, that Jesus was coming from the line of or the house of David. These are two super important facts that you need to cling to at Christmas.
Number one, why is it important that Jesus came through the womb of a virgin? We always talk about the Immaculate Conception that Jesus was perfectly born, perfect. Well it’s important because Jesus when he was born into this world, was born without the stain of original sin, like you and me. When we’re born into this world, we’re all ready starting in the red if you will. We all ready have sin passed down to us through the bloodline of humanity, through Adam. So when we’re born we’re all ready sinful creatures. And yet at the same time at the first available opportunity, what do we do? We fall into sin as well. That’s not like Jesus.
Jesus was born of a virgin, he had no original sin. So he was born perfect. That’s important because after he lived his perfect life, at about the age of 33, he could die the spotless, sinless, Lamb of God upon the cross so that we could be forgive of sin. The virginity of Mary has huge implications.
It is also a fulfillment of scripture. If we turn into the Old Testament to Isaiah 7:14, the bible tells us, God tells us through his prophet that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Yet at the same time, not only does it fulfill that passage of scripture, but we can look at 2 Samuel 7 and read that the Messiah would also not only be in the house or the bloodline of David, but he would rule on David’s throne for all of eternity. Both of those were fulfilled even before Jesus was born. And this is coming very early on in the story.
When the angel shows up in verse 28 we read, “Rejoice,’ he says to Mary, ‘favored one the Lord is with you.'” I don’t know how many times I’ve read this and I’m kind of like, “Yeah that’s what happened. Angel showed up. Told her she was gonna have a baby, let’s move on to the other part of the story.” Let’s stop there for a second. The reason this probably doesn’t impact us as much anymore is because we didn’t really let the context sink in. Have any of you had an angel visit you? And guys this is not time to be like, “Yeah that was an angel,” no. Don’t compliment your wife right now. I’m talking like a legit angel. You need to say that to your wife anyway, but a legit angel. In all the power, in all the majesty that comes with being a messenger of God shows up in your bedroom tonight. That’s gonna freak you out.
Now I’m pretty sure whatever he was wearing he wasn’t in this every day clothes like we have on now. And I don’t know if it was a glowing robe, and I don’t even know if his wings spanned the whole breadth of the room that he appeared to her in. But whatever the message was, that this angel in all the majesty of the throne of heaven came to visit her. It would have overwhelmed her.
And we know she freaked out a little bit because the text tells us, in verse 29, that what he said to her, “perplexed her.” Now, other passages of scripture say that it deeply troubled her, it confused her, it disturbed her. And I want to tell you if an angel comes to you tonight in your bedroom, wakes you up, says, “Hey I’ve got a message from God for you.” Words like confused, disturbed, perplexed, and probably other words that you don’t want to share with me right now, they would all be running through your mind.
And after it confuses her, the angel sees that it’s not exactly going the way that he thought it was going to go. So he says, “Wait a second Mary, don’t be afraid. I said you’re the favored one, which means you have found favor with God.” Mary was prepared for this moment. Her mom had taught her the scriptures, her family had immersed their lives in the scriptures. You’re going to see that pouring out from Mary almost in every single scripture filled line that she praises God with in verse 56, or verse 46 through verse 55.
But right now even though that she was ready and prepared, and had been faithful and was a favored one, she’s still confused. She’s still shocked and she’s still surprised. So the angel says, “Don’t be afraid.” So she’s thinking, “Okay, what message do you have for me from God.” And this is when it gets a little weird.
Look at verse 31. He says, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son and shall name him Jesus.” Now I don’t know what task that Mary thought that the angel had for her to do on behalf of God, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t in her mindset. But at this point it’s probably not completely freaking her out. After she gets past the fact that an angel is talking to her, she’s probably thinking, “Okay.” Before we get to verse 32, what do you think she’s thinking in verse 31? “Okay, yeah I’m gonna Mary Joseph, my betrothed. And we’re gonna have children. I guess you’re telling me that one of the children, the first child is going to be a boy. And God wants me to name him Jesus. No problem. God saves, I like that name. Let’s move on.”
But then quickly she realizes even in that moment of her mind processing that, that the child that she’s gonna have is not gonna be from Joseph. Listen to what he says next. “This child that you conceive in your womb that you’re going to call him Jesus, he shall be great and shall be called the Son of the most high.” You’re all ready starting to notice there’s some difference here between Jesus and an ordinary child. No child that’s ever been born could be called son of the most high.
But he goes on. “And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” If she was a student of the scripture which it’s evident that she was, she automatically knew, “What a second. I’m about to give birth to God’s Son, God the Son, and he is the Messiah.” In verse 33 it gets even more impactful. “And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever.”
Who reigns over the house of Jacob, the 12 tribes of Israel? That’s the title that belongs to God alone. Not only is this child the Messiah but he’s the divine One of heaven. “And his kingdom will have no end.” This kind of language we hear only when God appeared to Abraham. And we see this interaction between Abraham and Melchizedek, which I tend to believe was a appearance of Jesus himself.
Mary’s thinking to herself at this point, I don’t know what. Probably something like, “Excuse me. What’s gonna happen?” I know Mary was probably young but if she was old enough to be betrothed, if she was old enough to be married, you know what she also old enough to have? That conversation with her mom on how babies come into the world, right? The birds and the bees. She knew what conceived means, and she asked the question that doesn’t make sense to me because I’m a virgin.
Have you ever thought of the physicality of the statement that the angel is making to Mary? Like we know how babies happen. I don’t have to explain it to you now, you can tell your children about it. But there’s some things that have to happen. And in her mind, for me to have a baby growing in my womb, and the only person that’s standing before her is this gigantic overpowering angel. She is not completely understanding.
So the angel comes to her, and she says how is this going to happen because I’m a virgin. She can’t process it. And basically tells her they’re just details. The Holy Spirit’s gonna visit you, and God himself is going to put his Son inside of you. And you’ll give birth to this God-man named Jesus.
Now church, be careful here. As I told myself this week. Don’t go farther than the text gives you liberty to go. Because heres what my crazy rational mind wants to say. I want to say, “How?” I mean I want to know how did the Immaculate Conception happen? How did God send Jesus in her womb? You know the answer? We don’t know. That’s why it’s called a miracle, church and the very definition of a miracle is that God is doing something that humanity cannot do. God is doing something that humanity, even in the greatest science minds that we have and our greatest logic laid out for us to see, we cannot understand, nor could we ever hope to explain.
And I want to tell you church, God is in the miracle business. The whole gospel’s a miracle. From the Immaculate Conception to being born of a virgin. Let that sit in your mind for a few minutes. To Jesus living a perfect life, something that no one’s ever done beside him. What about dying on the cross for atonement for your sin? What about the resurrection? You explain that to me scientifically. You can’t. And then the ascension, and the glorification, and where we will be worshiping him for all of eternity. Church the whole gospel’s a miracle.
We have to believe in a God of miracles. God can do great and might things for you. Why? Because he does great and mighty things. He is the miracle maker God. We can ask God for great things. Why? Because he can do great things that you and I cannot do.
Now as she’s processing this, verse 37 helps her and it will help you. Read it with me. “Nothing,” can you repeat this with me?
“Nothing is impossible with God.”
Would you look to your neighbor this morning and say nothing is impossible with God?
Nothing is impossible with God.
And I want you to believe it. Mary in this moment because of the faith that was established in her heard this from the angel, and I believe in the moment he said it, she had already believed it, but became a reality for her to live by.
Now here’s where some preachers stop. They come over here and they park the text, which is a dangerous thing to do. They leave their text to a wing man and they walk back over to the pulpit and they give you some silly sermon about how because nothing is impossible with God you can ask God for this, and you can ask God for that. Basically what they’ll do at this moment is make God your servant. Let me help you understand church, that’s not the point of the text.
Okay, any time you get to a passage of scripture and the preacher or whoever’s telling you makes God your servant, they are completely wrong. The reason this passage of scripture is in the bible is to show you, yes God can do anything, nothing is impossible with God. But not so that you make God your servant, so that you place yourself in servitude to him and have the same reaction and the same response that Mary does, overwhelmed by his greatness. That all you want to do is magnify his name and serve his will. That’s the response God gets from Mary and that’s the response we should emulate.
All right we have to move on. Nothing is impossible with God. So we need to ask God for great things because he can do anything yet never be disappointed in his answer. Why? Because he is God and he can do anything, but we must finish that statement. That he chooses to do. And he chooses to use Mary to bring our savior, his Son into this world.
Mary here in verse 38 transitions from having her faith acknowledge by God, that’s pretty humbling. To being confused, afraid, and surprised by God. To here in verse 38, to being in complete surrender to God. And this is the place that I want you to be. When Mary says this, “May it be done according to what you have said.” She’s basically saying, “Let it be done according to you will.” And church, this is the place that you have got to get to. This is the place that you need to be in your life today.
Can I tell you that what God wants for you is so much better and greater than what you probably want for yourself? And if you’d get to the place when you realize that he is God and nothing is impossible for him, and whatever he asks you to do, as crazy as it sounds, you say, “Yes sir, I’ll do it.” That that’s the place that you want to be. She went from shock and awe to complete surrender in just a matter of moments.
There’s probably gonna be a time in your life when this needs to happen to you. There’s been a time in my life where this happened to me. In fact, it’s happened several times. There needs to be a time in your life where God says, “Hey, you, Todd, whoever you are here today. I want you to do this for me,” as you’re in his scriptures like Mary was. As you reflect on his glory through prayer like Mary did. And once he revisits you don’t be surprised if it’s such a great task you think to yourself, “Wait a second, that’s impossible.” Don’t be surprised if you’re confused and perplexed, and you think, “I dint think that can happen.” In that moment realize that it’s God that’s asking you to do it, number one.
Number two, nothing is impossible with God, and the only rational response if God tells you to do something is to respond like Mary did. Whatever your will is I want to do. She calls herself here a bond slave, which means whatever the master says, the servant does. Maybe it’s God asking you to sacrifice some of your time in service to him. I don’t know, it could be crazy. Money’s so precious today it may be God asking you to give some of your, well let’s call it his money, back to him in support of a project, or an activity, or a missions endeavor, or whatever that he wants to … Look at it like this. He wants to allow you to participate in.
Sometimes in the spirit of giving we’re like, “I’m so good, I’m so great. Oh let me give you something of mine.” Then we want to take the credit for it. No. Heres how it works. God allows you to participate in giving his money that he loaned to you, back to him for his glory. But it still blows my mind when I see it happen. I know we live in a very self focused society. Because I’m very self focused. I know that we have more money than we’ve every had and I know that there is pretty nice things that you can buy for yourself, for your family at Christmas, and any other time of the year. And therefore when I see somebody push aside the world and sacrifice their time when it could be going doing something else, when they sacrifice their hard earned money that God gave them to earn, and they put it toward something that God is doing, I sit back and say, “That’s awesome.” Because only God in a society like ours, could tell somebody like you to do or to give something like that.
I see it and it always impresses me, and praise God we’ve seen it here recently in all types of ways at Tabernacle. I’ve seen God in our church move in a couple that had degrees that were wonderful, they had jobs that many of us would envy to have. And yet when God said, “I want you to leave that job, I want you to leave that career, that awesome future that you have, and I want you to take the gospel to a nation that doesn’t want to hear it. And when you share it with them, they’re probably gonna want to kill you …”
We get to this point where this couple says yes, and they go to this nation in the 10:40 window, that very dangerous place. They go and they serve. Now, they’re back in America again, and it blows my mind when I see faithfulness like that. When someone, when they first heard it were confused and distraught and distressed and fearful, then they realized God’s asking us to do it. Again, same process like Mary goes through here. With God nothings impossible, and I’m good in His hands, so God whatever your will is I want to do it. I remember being there, when I was an ROTC in college and Tammy and I, because it’s a team thing, were called into the ministry. I made up all kinds of excuses in the beginning. After I said, “Excuse me? You want me to do what? That’s impossible, I have a military commitment.”
Not near the context that was Mary was in, but I had my excuses as well and I started feeding them to God. Words like confused for me, and words like distressed for Tammy. I mean, they were descriptive of our life at that point. But then, we realized that God is God and we are not. All things are possible with God, and so eventually we did surrender to that call to the ministry. We in fact served in the military beforehand, that was a part of the plan, and now we’re here today. I don’t know what it is for you. I don’t have to, but you’ve just got to respond the same way that Mary did. Seeing God for who He is. Believe in Him for what He says He’s going to do, and don’t pander to the world. Don’t make excuses for yourself. When you hear from Him and you know it’s from Him, simply follow Him and do it.
This is the situation we see Mary in as she continues to blow my mind every single time that I read it. Now, this is what Mary gave to God is her surrender. What I want to talk about for the rest of our time together, what did God give Mary in return? This is where it gets good.
You know what He gave her in return? Overwhelming joy that she couldn’t contain, that the world had no capacity to offer her. From this moment of surrender, Mary basically burst out into joy. She first runs to Elizabeth, her relative, and wants to share the news with her. Elizabeth already had a visitor come visit her, God’s messenger. She is already six months pregnant with John the Baptist, and as soon as Mary shows up you remember what John the Baptist did? He leapt in her womb, and they shared stories together of God’s messenger visiting both of them, and how their children were going to participate in God’s glorious plan.
For John the Baptist is was to prepare the way for Jesus, and for Mary it was to birth God the son into this world, and at some point, when she’s expressing her joy to Mary. I mean, her joy to Elizabeth, Mary stops, and in verse 46 all the way through verse 55 we get to see some of the most praise filled elated passages in all of scripture. I want to read it together.
Look at verse 46. “And Mary said, overwhelmed with joy, ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior.'” Look at verse 48. “And he has regard for the humble state.” Second time she calls herself this, “Of his bond slave, for behold from this time on all generations will count me blessed, for the mighty one has done great things for me and holy is his name, and his mercies upon generation after generation towards those who fear him. He had done might deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent away the rich empty handed. He has given help to Israel His servants in remembrance of His mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants, forever.”
Mary, verse 56, stayed with her, meaning Elizabeth, about three months and the return home. Church, what we can see from these verses is that God is good because He is God, and therefore like Mary I want to encourage you today to praise Him for who He is. Sometimes there’s room in the scripture to just praise God, and through your life of reading the scripture to just praise God for who He is. Even before you praise Him for the pinnacle of His goodness in sending his son.
Do you realize that the gospel is good, because God is good. Sometimes we look at the gospel like God’s plan wasn’t so good and it didn’t work, but don’t worry Jesus came to make it better. That’s not the gospel at all. The gospel is good because God is good. Yes, the pinnacle of his goodness is seen in Christ, but the gospel is not just in Jesus, it’s God’s plan that He had from the beginning of creation. Before Jesus ever comes to be, and to share the good news of salvation, she praises God for being the good news for her. I love how Mary here, like a good musical, just kind of bursts into song.
Anybody ever watch The Sound of Music, or any musical? I’ve got to be honest with you, it frustrates me, right. They take a very good movie that I’m enjoying, and all the sudden for no reason this girl, this guy, they burst into song. I’m like, “That’s stupid. I was watching a movie.” But, it’s not stupid here is my point, right. She has righteous reason to just stop and literally, it may be through singing, it may have been through tears of elated praise, whatever it is. She stops and says, “I can’t contain it any longer.” The first thing she says is, “I exalt the Lord my God.”
Another translation here is magnify. What a great thing for us to do as we are in the advent season. I’m not saying you’ve got to break out into a musical song, but to just exalt the name of the Lord. To magnify his name, so that other people can see his name magnified through you. This is only going to happen if it starts in your heart, otherwise it’s going to come off cheesy like a cheesy musical. I’m serious, but if you believe it in your heart, and there’s an eruption of joy that you share that you just can’t contain, people are going to recognize the difference. They’re going to see it in you, and they’re going to be attracted to it in you, and that’s going to be a door for you to share the gospel with them. With them.
All right, the first thing that Mary does here in verse 37, and she’s going to do seven things of praising God who He is. She knows us that God is good, now don’t miss this, because He is savior. That’s what she says in verse 47. She knew that no matter how bad her situation was, which was pretty bad, right. How do you go home and explain to your husband that you’re going to be with child and he’s not the daddy? Well, he is the daddy but kind of, right. I mean, what does he even look like?
You think people talk in Innis? Imagine what they were saying in Nazareth. “Oh, yeah, yeah, you’re carrying the son of God.” Many people didn’t even buy it, and she’s just a teenage girl. She knew that no matter how bad the situation was and how bad it got that God was her savior, and he was going to rescue her. But, I want you to notice what the rescue mission looked like. Sometimes when we say God is my savior, he is going to rescue me, we have this idea that he’s going to stop the situation that we’re in. That may be. That’s now he was savior to Mary. She still got pregnant and still had some explaining to do. Don’t think for a second that her situation didn’t get worse. But she knew this, the God that brought her to it, I say this all the time and I love it, it helps me. You can have it. The God that brought her to it was going to be the savior that brought her through it.
You need to hear that today. I don’t know what situation you’re in, or how bad it seems, or I don’t even know bad it’s going to get, but God is good because He is your savior and He will bring you through it. Not only did God show her that as a teenage girl, when He was going to give her God the son in her womb. 33 years later, when she was looking at the lifeless body of this child that she bore into the world, that she nursed, that she cared for, and that she fed. As he was lifeless on the cross, the baby that came from her savior became her savior as she looked at him.
I don’t know how God needs to be your savior today, but if you need to be saved of your sin, you need to look to Him and the sacrifice that He paid on your behalf on the cross. Through the power of the resurrection He can save you from this, but it’s not just in salvation. That’s good, but it continues to be good throughout your life. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. God is good because He is your savior. Trust Him to bring you through it. That’s just the first one, it gets better.
Look at verse 48, “God is good because he pays attention.” You know that God pays attention to you? You may look at this story and be like, “Why would the God of the universe take time to come visit what seems like an insignificant teenage girl living in Nazareth.” Therefore, what you may also say in the depressing part of your life, you say, “Why would the God of the universe in His might, in His majesty, why would he pay attention to me?” Well, that’s exactly who God is. Not only does He know you, but He sees you where you’re at right now and He is woefully engaged in your life. What I’m telling you church, He’s locked in right now. That’s the first message that Mary received from the angel. “God sees you favored one, He’s been watching you.”
You need to know that this time of the year, when it looks like everybody’s erupting in red and green joy. It’s also the time of year where some of you are in the darkest hours of your life because you’re in pain, and you can’t tell everybody because they all look happy. You’ve lost something. You’ve lost a family member, maybe you lost your whole family, and you are out right depressed. I want you to know that God did not turn His blind eye to your pain, and He has not turned a deaf ear to your cry. He knows you, He sees you, and He has and will continue to pay attention to you. That means you can turn to Him, because He’s not ignorant of what you’re going through, and you can trust Him because he’s going to bring you through. God is good, because He pays attention to you.
Number three, look at verse 49. This is one that we don’t talk about enough although we repeat it all the time. “God is good because he is holy.” Notice that Mary acknowledges the holiness of God. Now, holy, when we say it, we say things like this means that God is separate from us, and that is true. Sometimes when we say God is holy we mean that God is morally perfect. That also is true. But, if you study holiness throughout the scriptures, it goes a lot deeper than that. We could have a whole series of messages that would last the whole year long about God’s holiness. God’s holiness means that when you acknowledge that God is holy, you’re acknowledging Him as the unique supreme creator of the universe. Everything that has been, that you don’t even know about, and everything that ever will be that you may never know about, all of that God created. Which makes Him unique.
None of you can claim to be the holy and perfect creator of the universe. That also makes Him good. It makes Him attractive, it makes Him powerful. You know what it also makes God? Dangerous.
Let me give you an illustration by way of the sun that I heard this week. You know the sun, in a much smaller way, could be referred to as holy. It’s separate from us, it’s unique in our solar system. As the light of the sun shines on our planet it brings what? It brings life. That’s how God planned it, and it sustains life. It is beautiful. But, if you stair at the sun too long what’s going to happen to your eyes? They’re going to get burned. At the same time that it’s beautiful and powerful and life giving, it can be dangerous to you. If, yes, you could get in an aircraft without the proper protection, and I don’t even know if we have the right kind of protection, I’m sure we never will. If you get too close to the sun what will happen to you? It will consume you.
God in a much grander scale is holy. He brings life. He sustains life. He is beautiful. He is good. But, if you’re trying to walk through life and into eternity with your sin, because He is holy, let me help you understand, He is dangerous for you. Because an unholy, unrighteous person, will be consumed in an instant by the holiness of the God of the universe. We get tastes of this throughout the scripture.
Do you remember Moses interacting with God and his story? Even at the burning bush, that was just a burning bush of God’s presence. Moses couldn’t even look directly at it. Had to get on his knees and take off his sandals and bow down to this burning bush. Do you remember when Moses asked God, “I want to see your glory.” God says, “You can’t handle that. It would kill you.” So, Moses got to catch a passing glimpse of God. Just enough so it wouldn’t kill him.
Do you remember Isaiah in Isaiah chapter six, when he kind of surrendered to his own call to ministry. The manifest presence of the holy God of the universe. He could see the hem of his robe. Suddenly, when God gave him just a taste of his holiness, do you remember what Isaiah said? “I’m done. I am toast. I am a man who is unclean with unclean lips, and from a nation of unclean people.” In other words, he thought he was going to die in that moment, and it wasn’t until God took [inaudible 00:14:54], which can point in a way to Jesus, and He forgave him of his sin that Isaiah could even stand to be in the presence of God.
If you’re here today and you’re not a believer, God’s holiness is dangerous for you. You cannot enter His presence without being holy, and you can’t become holy on your own. This is nothing, you can’t bid on it on Ebay, you can’t go to Walmart and buy it. You can’t give it as a Christmas present. God’s holiness is unattainable by you, and if you don’t have His holiness, His holiness will consume you. That’s where Christ comes in.
Christ through the cross and his atonement on your behalf, and through the resurrection gives you access to the power on the cross. He, and don’t forget this word, he imputes to you righteousness and holiness. Then, all the sudden you can see God is good because He is holy and you will be with Him in his holiness for all of eternity. But, if you don’t know Him, it’s terrible for you. Let’s move on.
Verse 50, “God is good not only because He is holy, but in His holiness God is good because He shows mercy.” You realize that Mary is overwhelmed that God is giving her that what she doesn’t deserve, and in fact He’s not giving her what she does deserve. That’s what mercy means. To avoid what you deserve. What do we deserve? God’s wraith, because of His holiness to be consumed by His presence, but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that’s mercy shown to you. We can be in His presence and we can worship Him forever. God is good church, because He shows us mercy.
That’s why she quotes Psalm 103 verse 17 here, which by the way, let’s stop here and say for a second that I was interacting with some people this week and I was doing some study. You can relate every verse from verse 46 through verse 55 as Mary is exalting the Lord. You can relate what she says to an Old Testament passage of scripture. Yes, I know that it’s inspired and God planned it that way, but don’t think for a second it’s not because Mary was preparing for this moment through Bible reading, through prayer, and through faithfulness her whole life long. That’s why she was able to transition from confusion to complete surrender so quick, and if you want to be ready like Mary was ready, you need to be in the scriptures. You need to have it hidden in your heart. There’s no better way to praise God than to give Him the praises that he’s revealed to you in scripture back to him. That’s what she’s doing.
Psalm 103 she quotes here that God is good because He shows mercy, verse 51, there’s only a few more, that God is good. She says here, several times, “Because He is might. That He did might things for me and He does might things in the world.” To think all the ways that God shows Himself is might would create a list far too long to be shared with you today, but let’s give it a shot with a couple.
He calls Mary to bear His son, our savior, into the world. That only word that can describe that is mighty. He created the universe, and everything in it in six days. How would you describe that? Might is the word, church. He set the plan of redemption into play before Adam and Eve ever stepped foot or were created and born into this Earth. Mighty describes His name. He defeated Satan, He defeated sin, and He defeated death on the cross. How would you describe that? You know it now, don’t you, mighty is His name. He hears the cries, and the joys, of all His people saved and unsaved throughout the 7 billion people on this planet at the same time. He gives you just the amount of time that you need with Him. That blows my mind. Mighty is the word that would describe Him.
Church, do you realize that He is outside of time? Mighty. He is all knowing and everywhere. Mighty. Despite being God the Father and God the son, God the spirit also lives inside of you as the believer. Church, if God is anything He is mighty, and I pray that you would see Him that way, to be praised in that way for you.
Number six, we see it in verse 51, 52, and 53 of Mary’s Psalm, that God is good because He is just. Think about all the ridicule that she would experience. Think about all the pain as we fast forward through her life, of her son being rejected, knowing that he was God in the flesh. Think about the heart wrenching brokenness that she felt, of the evil that was acted upon her son, though he didn’t deserve one of those strikes. One of those nails. Not one of those thorns to be pierced into his head. How could she make it through situations like that as a teenage girl? Through situations like that as a mother? I’ll tell you why, because she knew that though the world was not just. As I look around and I see our courts, we try to do a good job. I see interactions among people, even believers. I sit back and I go, “You know what, this world is not just.”
Take heart that yes, I get it, this world’s not just, but you know who is? God. He is just. He will vindicate, and one day everyone who has ignored His justice and His chosen selfishness and pain and all of the evil they participated in, they will be accountable to Him. You will be free of His wraith and justice poured out on you, because Jesus has already paid the price. The only reason, or one of the only reasons that God is good, is because He is just. He is fair every time.
We’ve got to get to the final one. Here, finally Mary extols or praises God for He is good, why? Because He is faithful. He is faithful. He came to her and made a promise that you’re going to have a son, and I know you’re a virgin and you’re going to name him Jesus. Was that son born? Yes. Was his name Jesus? Yes. Did he save the world as his name said? Yes. Did he atone for our sin? Yes. Everything that He promised Mary, He followed through with, because God is faithful. She even expresses the promises that God made in history past through Israel and through Abraham, that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars and guess what today, 2000 years later, billions of believers later, we are. Church, God is faith. That’s means you can believe what He tells you. That means you can cling to His promises.
If you have this overwhelming feeling right now like I do, that you just want to spend some time saying, “God, I praise you for these seven things and maybe a thousand more.” Then, I’ve done what God asked me to do. Because, God wants you to be where Mary was in complete surrender. He wants you to be in this crazy world that we live in, through complete surrender he wants you to be having the kind of joy that you can’t contain, and that’s exactly what you need to have as advent season is upon us.
I want to do something a little different. I’ve done it a couple times now, so if we continue to do it I guess it won’t be different, but we’re going to continue to do it as God tells me. Just bow your head, and I want you to reflect on what God has given us through His word for a few minutes this morning. This is not for your neighbor. It is for your neighbor, but it’s not for your neighbor concerning you. This is for you. Don’t look around. You don’t have to say anything to anybody else, everybody just bow their heads and close your eyes. I want you to spend a few minutes praising God for these attributes and these things that we’ve seen through the Psalm of Mary. If you want to take a second, you can look up for just a second, you want to write these down.
It’s in your bulletin that God is good because He is savior. God is good because He pays attention. God is good because He is holy. God is good because He shows mercy. God is good because He is mighty. God is good because He is justice, and God is good because He is faithful.
All right, now bow your head and close your eyes again. I want you to spend a few minutes reflecting upon this majestic word, and let’s pray to him together. After, do a few minutes on your own. I will close us in prayer.
May 12, 2019
April 19, 2019
April 14, 2019