Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Magnificat Christmas Sermon

Luke 1:46-55
Magnify the Lord
Sermon Notes
December 25, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The glory of Christmas is the work of God. It is most certainly joy to the world. The message of Christmas is that man could not save himself and so God sent His Son to save mankind, to save the world, to save your family, to save you.
         This means mounds of blessings to the Earth, to His saints forever. This means that you have the relief of suffering and sorrow over sin. There is joy on the other side of the cross.
         But from beginning to end the glory in the highest goes to God. There is no room for boasting, unless we boast in the Lord. For who could have thought up the incarnation? Or, who could have performed the work in the virgin? Or, who could despoil the enemies of God by the means of a cross? Or, could have raised from the dead? Or, who could rise in the clouds and sit down next to the eternal heavenly Father? Or, could spread His Spirit from the River to the Sea until all His enemies lie prostrate before Him?
         We know the answer to all these questions. It is God our Father through Jesus Christ. Christmas is more than a baby in a manger. It is God coming to save the world as only He can. By His grace He includes us in this salvation. And we only look on in wonder and our souls and spirits sore to give Him praise.


Luke 1:46-55 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,  47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 
Mary speaks of her soul and her spirit. The Greek words are psuche for soul and pneuma for Spirit. She is saying that her whole life, soul and spirit rejoices in the Lord. Her mind and emotions are exulting in the Lord God.
She rejoices in Spirit that God is her Savior. We would be wise to emulate her in this. Do we have the sense of the need of the Savior? Are we sinners of low estate, like Mary, who need saving? If so and we are indeed saved by God, through Jesus Christ, is this the occasion for rejoicing? And even more particularly, do we rejoice in God our Savior?

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 
We tend to think of Mary in high terms. She is the one chosen of God and greatly blessed. But we must remember that it was not because she was so great that she was chosen but rather, because God is so great.
The Scriptures tell us that Joseph was a just man. It also tells us that Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous. We should not gather from these statements that these people were personally worthy of the Lord’s favor. They were sinners all.
Among them is Mary, one, whom, no doubt, is also righteous as considered to the intentions of her heart. She sought God’s means of forgiveness and godly living. But, she, too, was a sinner. She was one of low estate, low degree. She was not looked on as a highly favored individual and one likely to receive the blessing of God. In order to understand what God is doing in Christ, we must understand that Mary was exalted by God exactly because she was lowly. This is God’s way.
Do you feel as if you do not deserve God’s favor? Do you feel distant from Him because He is high and holy and you are low and sinful? Then you qualify for a savior. God picks exactly this sort of person to set His favor upon.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 
Mary does not fail to exalt God. Our subsequent generations have called her blessed, even exalted her beyond measure. She knew it would be so. But Mary would have none of it. She granted God all the credit. He who is mighty is the one who has done great things.
He is the holy one. Mary is not the holy one. But God chose her for a great and mighty work, to bear His only begotten Son.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 
God’s covenant is an everlasting Covenant. God’s promises extend from generation to generation. Mary is realizing the promises of God from old times. They extend as far back as Genesis, the promise to Eve that one day the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Mary knows that it is only God’s mercy that has kept these promises alive for 4000 years.

The promise to Eve Gen. 3:15,

The promise to Abraham.
“I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant,” (Genesis 17:7)
 “who keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,” (Deuteronomy 7:9.)

John Calvin points out that God’s covenant is not on those who are descended from the seed of Abraham, but rather, as David says in the 103rd Psalm, on those who fear Him.
“The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them,” (Psalm 103:17,18.)

51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 
The Lord has shown strength by watching over history in such a way that His story produced Jesus at the right place and right time to conquer the world. Caesar had imagined himself the ruler of the world but scattered this vain imagination in a baby king.
The arm of God, particularly, his right arm, is the place of power. Jesus has sat down at the right hand of God. God shows His mighty power, the strength of His arm, in Jesus.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 
Herod was another local ruler who was put from his seat. The Davidic line had fallen low, even as a poor man named Joseph and a poor woman named Mary. But the Herods had usurped the ruling seats in Israel. Herod knew the prophecies. He had a presage of the danger of baby Jesus. He was even willing to murder all the babies in the city to keep himself exalted. But it was not enough. The Lord brought him low and exalted lowly Mary’s Son to the highest exalted throne.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 
What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? It will profit him nothing. Those rich in the world’s good and poor of soul will be sent away empty in the end.
But those who are needy at the most basic level. Those whose very food and drink is the Lord Jesus, Himself, will be filled with good things. To such as these, their profit is the whole world, indeed.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled. The Lord is our righteousness.

         1 Samuel 2:1-10   
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.  2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.  3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.  4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.  5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.  6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.  7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.  8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.  9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.  10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;  55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
God spoke to Abraham a couple thousand years before He spoke to Mary. He spoke to Moses a 1500 years before He spoke to Mary. He spoke to David about 1000 years before He spoke to Mary. He spoke to the exilic prophets about 500 years before He spoke to Mary.
Israel had waited for God to act since the days of Abraham. The faithful believed that He would do so, as He spoke to Abraham and to his seed, forever.
Who are his seed, forever? Of course, the Bible answers that question for us. The long expected seed is Jesus. But then Jesus bears seed, children of the Kingdom, innumerable.
And these are not people in a grand wide photo. Well, they are that. I heard the number of them and looked but lo, it was too high to count. There is an innumerable host of Jesus’s children. But we can zoom that picture in. There are countries who worship in Jesus’s name. And states and cities, and churches and families and individuals. We can zoom that picture in all the way to you.
And when we do this, what does your heart do? Uh, oh, God is looking at me? I am undone? Or, like Mary, do you exalt His great name. Does your soul and spirit sore and magnify the Lord? For He has done great things for you and Holy is His name.
Holy is His name. Holy is His name. What do we mean by this? We mean that He is the sinless one. He is the one who has everything to hold against us and we have nothing to offer for our broken and sinful selves.
Holy, holy, holy, thrice holy.
Yes, when God’s camera is zoomed in on you, it is an undoing. Unless you behold the Savior come. Unless, like Mary, you rejoice in God, your Savior. Our God is a judge but for His saints, He judges righteously on their behalf. He can do this because He sent His Son to Earth for us.
We fully embrace our holy God and the holy child Jesus for in Him we are saved from our sins. This was the long awaited consolation to Israel, to the New Israel, the saints who are in Christ Jesus, now and ever more. How can we fail to magnify the Lord? We will exult in God our Savior. Amen.

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