Summary: Exposition regarding worship in Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:46-56
Text: Luke 1:46-56, Title: Christmas Worship, Date/Place: NRBC, 12/20/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: There is a splendid moment in the movie Jurassic Park, when world-class paleontologist Allen Grant, who has devoted his life to the study of dinosaurs, suddenly comes face-to-face with real, live prehistoric creatures. He falls to the ground, dumbstruck. The reason is obvious. It is one thing to piece together an informed but nonetheless imperfect image of dinosaurs by picking through fossils and bones. But to encounter an actual dinosaur—well, there can be no comparison. For many people, spirituality amounts to picking through the artifacts of faith that survive from long ago and far away. In that bygone era, humans saw God, heard His voice, and experienced his awesome, at times terrible, power. But that was then. Today, those kinds of gripping encounters with God—with a God who wasn’t an illusion, but Someone who was real, Someone you could see, and touch, and feel—well, there could be no comparison.
B. Background to passage: This passage is known as the “Magnificat,” so named by the Roman Catholic Church because of the Latin translation of the word for “magnifies,” which in the Greek means to make much of or declare the greatness of a person or being. It is her song of worship and praise following her trip to meet with Elizabeth, following the angelic announcement of what would happen to Mary. Remember this trip was to confirm as the angel spoke, giving a sign of God’s involvement, and confirming Mary’s prophecy. It gives us a model, not only for worship at Christmas, but for worship everyday all year.
C. Main thought: we will see four truths about worshipping our Rock
A. Daily Interactive Pursuit (v. 46-47)
1. This worship was not that of an inexperienced worshipper. Nor was it the off the cuff ramblings of someone who was just really excited. Mary was a 14-year old girl who probably didn’t have access to a copy of the scriptures, nor could she even read. “A virtual collage of biblical texts.” But her spontaneous worship demonstrates a serious knowledge of and memorization of the scripture. It also reveals a rich theological knowledge of God’s dealings with Israel, and the covenants in place. This was someone who spent lots of time in the synagogue listening to the teachers teach. And this was also someone who spent lots of time in worship daily before God in personal worship. She did not go to the service, sleep through and endure another set of songs and a sermon. She sang and worshipped and passionately praised the Lord. And she did it regularly as the purposeful present tense verb implies. She said, “I continually celebrate the Lord.” The word for “rejoice” means to express extreme joy.
2. 1 Sam 1:11, 2:1-10, Ps 34:2-3, 35:9, 126:3, 99:3, Hab 3:18, Isa 29:13, 43:11, 45:21, Gen 30:13,
3. Illustration: “Without the heart, it is not worship; it is a stage play; an acting a part without being that person that is really acted by us: a hypocrite, in the notion of the word is a stage player…We may be truly said to worship God, though we lack perfection; but we cannot be said to worship him, if we lack sincerity.” -17th Cent Puritan Stephen Charnock, –Brother Lawrence in Practicing the Presence of God, 1641 see below, Arthur Pink wrote about how some people do not worship: They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their mouths but not in spirit and in truth. They are sticklers for early morning communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence. They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ, Les and I listening to the Fair Haven Primitive Baptist Church sing before they had their baptism,
4. Good “pray-ers” pray consistently and regularly, and good worshippers worship consistently and regularly. Worship is not a once a week thing. This event that we are in the midst of is the overflow of your constant daily interaction with and worship of God. It is a precious thing because, God is present in our midst in a special way. He is here, right now, hallelujah! This is not something to take lightly. And worship is not a passive thing, it is interactive. We were not designed to watch others worship, but to engage the God of Glory; to be ravished by His presence; and overflow with spontaneous praise. And we are not designed to have no feeling, nor to have no mental endeavor in worship, but to engage our hearts and minds upon His beauty and glory and value as the greatest and most satisfying treasure in the universe. And this doesn’t mean that we all have to jump up, shout, run around and praise, but it does mean that there should be some expression in our worship.