Summary: Mary’s life reveals the extraordinary blessings and favor that God pours upon those who live a life of moral purity.
Mary: Living A Life Of Purity
Luke 1:26-35, 38
Introduction: The Consequences of Wrong Choices
Traci stood before the church, tears in her eyes, head bowed to the floor, her mother at her side. It must have been the most difficult situation she had ever been in in her short fifteen years. Yet it was necessary for her to take this important step in her spiritual maturity. Through tears and sobs she publicly asked the church to forgive her, acknowledging that what she had done was wrong.
With the love and compassion that only Christ could command, the church did forgive her, many openly weeping because of the courageous step that she had just taken. It would be a long road, and they knew she would need their prayers if she were to succeed in raising the child that she now carried. It’s not an easy task being a single mother in high school.
I. WE MUST BE A LIGHT THAT SHINES IN A DARKENED WORLD. Luke 1:26-27
A. Shining The Light Requires Us To Rise Above Our Surroundings And Become Partakers Of His Holiness. 2 Corinthians 7:1
Note: Nazareth was a city with a bad reputation. This has been attributed by some to be because of a lack of culture and rude dialect. But Nathanael asked “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It would seem that “good” must be taken in an ethical sense and that the people of Nazareth had a bad name among their neighbors for their lack of religion and careless morals.
1. In the midst of our sinful world, there are still those whom God will use to accomplish His purpose.
2. They are the ones who refuse to use their circumstances as an excuse for their failures.
3. They live a life of purity because they believe that there is no excuse for not living for God. Matthew 5:16
B. Shining The Light Requires Us To Rise Above Our Desires And Stay Unspotted From The World. James 1:27
The selection of the bride was followed by the betrothal, not to be entirely equated with the modern concept of engagement. A betrothal was undertaken by a friend or agent representing the bridegroom and by the parents representing the bride. It was confirmed by oaths and was accompanied with presents to the bride and often to the bride’s parents.
The betrothal was celebrated by a feast. In some instances, it was customary for the bridegroom to place a ring, a token of love and fidelity, on the bride’s finger. In Hebrew custom, betrothal was actually part of the marriage process. A change of intention by one of the partners after he or she was betrothed was a serious matter, subject in some instances to penalty by fine.
A Jewish betrothal could be dissolved only by the man’s giving the woman a certificate of divorce. A betrothal usually lasted for one year. During that year the couple were known as husband and wife, although they did not have the right to be united sexually.
Betrothal was much more closely linked with marriage than our modern engagement. But the actual marriage took place only when the bridegroom took the bride to his home and the marriage was consummated in the sexual union. (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
1. We can rise above the world if we have the love of God. 1 John 2:15-17
a. Worldliness is lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction).
b. Worldliness is lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life).
c. Worldliness is the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done).
Illustration: Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, “We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith. (Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 76.)
2. We can rise above the world if we forsake the things it offers. 1 Timothy 6:6-10
a. The pursuit of wealth and possessions cannot be the primary thing in life for the believer.
b. We are most happy when we are content with what God provides for us.
c. We are least happy when pride and selfishness drive us to pursue the things of the world.