People Who Were There
Message #2 in a series on New Testament Personalities

Mary

Read: Luke 1:26-42

Text: Luke 1:28 (KJV) And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Theme: Mary's purity, faith, and submission to God were character traits that made her special.


Introduction:

Let's begin our class this morning by discussing the following 2 questions:

QUESTION - What was so special about Mary? (i.e. What made her unique?)

QUESTION - There were many women in Israel when God sought a mother for the Messiah. Why did He choose Mary over all the other women of her day?

QUESTION - The Catholic church teaches that Mary should be worshipped and prayed to. Is this correct, according to scripture? (ANSWER - No, according to Acts 1:14, she was a part of the church, just like you and I. According to Luke 1:47, she knew she needed a savior, just like you and I.)

Mary was indeed special, but she was still a sinner saved by grace like the rest of us. What was it about her, then, that caused God to choose her as the mother of our Lord?

Let's notice three characteristics that are described in our scripture, which shed light on this question. As we study them, we will also learn that they are characteristics we can all exhibit as believers. Indeed, we should strive to do so.


I. Her Purity (vss. 27, 34)

QUESTION - What fundamental doctrine of the faith is described in vss. 27, 34? (ANSWER - Virgin birth)

QUESTION - What is so important about Mary's virginity?

A. It is important because of what it means about Jesus Christ.
1. Fulfillment of prophecy (Isa 7:14 (KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

2. Makes Jesus the son of God. (vs. 35)

3. Makes Jesus the son of man. (vs. 35)

QUESTION - Why is it so important that Jesus is both the son of God and the son of man?

John 1:14 (KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Gal 4:4 (KJV) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Col 2:9 (KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

B. It is important because it speaks to us of purity.
QUESTION - We say that Mary was pure. What is purity? (ANSWER - clean, unshared, dedicated)

QUESTION - Is such purity a matter of the flesh only? (ANSWER - primarily of the heart)

1. God desires our purity.

Psa 24:3-4 (KJV) Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Mat 5:8 (KJV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

1 Tim 1:5 (KJV) Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1 Tim 5:22 (KJV) Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

QUESTION - Why?

QUESTION - Can we successfully serve God without striving for purity in our hearts and lives?

ANSWER - Psa 66:18 (KJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

QUESTION - How do we maintain pure hearts and lives?

ANSWER - Psa 119:9 (KJV) BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

II. Her Faith (vss. 34, 45)

QUESTION - What is the difference between the question asked in verse 18 and the question asked in verse 34? (ANSWER - compare verse 20 with verse 45)

A. Mary had amazing faith.
1. She believed the promises about the coming Messiah.

2. She did not flinch at the announcement that she was the chosen mother.

ILLUS. Compare with Moses (argued with God, didn't want to go), Saul (hid himself among the stuff), John Mark (turned back from serving God)

3. Believed in spite of fact that God's chosen method was not what she would have expected. (God's ways are often unfathomable to us.)

QUESTION - What could Mary expect as a result of her pregnancy? from Joseph? from others?

QUESTION - Would it be a natural state of mind for her to decide that this couldn't possibly be God's way since it was going to lead her into such hardship and trouble?

QUESTION - What do we learn from this?

B. Faith achieves great things.
1. Saves us. (Gal 3:6 (KJV) Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

2. Gets answers to prayer.

Mat 21:22 (KJV) And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

James 1:6 (KJV) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

3. Overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4 (KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

4. Moves mountains (Mat 17:20 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

QUESTION - Is it possible to live a life pleasing to God without faith? (ANSWER - Heb 11:6 (KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

QUESTION - How do we get faith?

ANSWER - (Prayer) Luke 17:5 (KJV) And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

ANSWER - (Word) Rom 10:17 (KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

III. Her Submission (vs. 38)

QUESTION - What great characteristic do we see in verse 38?

QUESTION - What does the word "handmaid" mean? (from Gr. doulos - bondslave, servant)

A. Submission is demanded by God.
Rom 6:13 (KJV) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

James 4:7 (KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God.

B. Submission is never easy.
QUESTION - When do we display submission - when it is easy to obey, or when it is difficult? (when it helps us to obey or when it hurts us?)

ILLUS. Joseph believed he would be a leader. God had showed him this in dreams. Did he give up on God when he was cast into prison? QUESTION - When did Joseph display submission - when he was cast into prison and continued to trust God, or when he was exalted into leadership?

1. Submission is obeying God when we don't understand Him.

2. Submission is obeying God when it seems to hurt to do so.

ILLUS. Noah - built ark and faced ridicule for 100 years. (Certainly didn't understand - they had never even seen rain!)

QUESTION - How do we achieve submission?


Conclusion:

Mary was special, but the traits that made her special are available to all of us.

All of us can lead pure lives.

All of us can have great faith.

All of us can choose to submit to God's will.

And when we do, we, like Mary, will find God's hand upon us, and God's blessing on our lives.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.