Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 7
Thesis: Focusing upon the Lord and exulting in His "assignment" are absolutely fundamental to our spiritual health and that of those around us who have to deal with the way we act.
Introduction: In our last couple of studies we considered two things. First, we considered how God's dealings with Mary had caused her to take on a more consistent focus upon the Lord as the Sovereign of her life-circumstances. In effect, her soul had taken up a magnifying glass and put it upon the Lord so that her vision centered on Him as the events of her life flowed past her eyes. We connected what happened to her to Psalm 16:8 where the psalmist says that the stability that exists in his life comes from "setting the Lord always before him". Then, we considered how Mary's "spirit" experienced a spike of high joy when she realized that God was going to make her the woman through whom He was going to fulfill all of His promises. There is something about the spirit of man that God created that is focused upon the twin issues of "being" important and "doing" something important. This morning we want to pick up at this point in the text and consider what Luke would have his readers to understand from his record of Mary's spiritual progress and high joy.
May 9, 2004
- I. The Reality of the Use of the "A"typical in the Bible.
- A. If the Bible is anything, it is a record that includes providing a major emphasis upon people whom God used as movers and shakers [Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Daniel, Peter, Paul, etc.].
- B. If the biblical record has any truth in it at all, one thing stands out as true beyond debate: men gravitate toward the records of the movers and shakers like flies to honey.
- C. And, if there is one truth in the Bible that stands out as crucial for man above most of the other truths, it is this: that man's penchant for wanting to be a mover and shaker is a most grievous flaw that, over the centuries, has spawned more depraved wickedness than any other single cause.
- 1. The biblical message is that the essence of evil is the flat refusal to be satisfied with God and His will.
- 2. The biblical message is that the fundamental change of mind that must occur in man for him to be reconciled to God must be in the matter of the connection between his significance and his works.
- a. All of the doctrines that put man's "salvation" on the footing of his "works" spring from the determined resistance of man to being reduced to a creature/servant of God.
- b. Only when man is willing to humble himself before God as His creation can he come to the understanding of his true worth to God and its roots.
- D. Thus, we are faced with something of an anomaly: the very Book that focuses upon movers and shakers tells us that the essence of sin is to want to be a mover and shaker.
- II. The Truth About Mary and Her Place in God's Plan.
- A. According to her own words, becoming aware of her place in God's plan made her adjust her soul so that it became focused upon the Lord as the Sovereign of her life experience.
- B. According to her own words, discovering that God's plan for her included becoming the mother of the Messiah created in her spirit a rather intense "spike" of exultant joy.
- C. According to her own words, she was to be "a"typical...she was to be unique in all generations for her task was a one person, one time, job that just happened to be one of the most critical tasks ever assigned to a human being...all generations would recognize this.
- III. Luke's Point in His Record of Mary's Thankful Outburst.
- A. First, his record explains what should be "typical".
- 1. God's dealings with us ought to make our souls take up a magnifying glass and put it on the Lord.
- 2. God's dealings with us ought to generate an occasional response in us of extraordinary joy on those occasions when we realize by what He has done how great is His love for us.
- B. Second, his record, if it says anything at all, is that God naturally gravitates toward those who have no particular need to be a mover and shaker.
- 1. When we look at Mary's explanation of God's dealings, one thing stands out: God typically directs the power of His mercy toward those who do not, are not, and have not...
- a. Those to whom God responds do not exalt themselves.
- b. Those to whom God responds are not movers and shakers.
- c. Those to whom God responds have not the resources to chase their own pleasures.
- 2. Alternatively, God typically actively defeats those who set themselves against Him.
- C. Third, his record is a record of God's "typical" actions.
- 1. God actively provides for those who have actively rejected ambition (in the sense of longing to be the center of the universe).
- a. There is no indication in the text anywhere that Mary was frustrated with being a "nobody" from "nowhere".
- b. Mary, as a bondservant of the Lord, had already learned where her life came from and of what it consisted.
- 2. God actively opposes those who resist humility.
- a. God is not put off by the insolent and arrogant...He reaches out to them.
- b. God is put off by those whose commitment to life as a mover and shaker overrides the impact of truth when confrontation inevitably occurs.
- D. Fourth, his record is designed to force our attention onto the "holiness" of God.
- 1. This appears to be an oddity in Mary's outburst of joyful speech.
- 2. What has "holiness" to do with His actions toward Mary?
- a. Behind all of His plans is the intention to return His creation to holiness.
- b. Behind all of His sovereign oversight in the lives of individuals and His special displays of the reality of His love [soul and spirit] is the intention to return each of us to His holiness.