Summary: The intent of my message is not to elevate the story of Mary to the point of glorifying her in any way. We try not to glorify people around here much. Mary was highly favored , not highly exalted. We are here to glorify Jesus.
MARY - WOMAN OF GRACE
We have begun our holiday season. Thanksgiving through Christmas is a time when we get with family and friends to celebrate the joy of the holidays. During this time we are more conscious of the more meaningful things in life. This is the time when we are more thankful of the blessings of God, and we want to bless the lives of the people we know and love.
Teaching and preaching and celebrating the real Christmas story is important to me every year.
As we begin go through this Christmas season, I want to bring a message relating to the true story of how the first Christmas took place.
We should ask ourselves, "What is the significance of Christmas to me?"
Many of you will be:
• Experiencing a more sincere commitment to the Lord
• Wanting to love, honor and serve God with a deeper meaning
But some of you may be like a lot of Christians. You may look around and find few of your family or friends who have made a commitment to the Lord.
Listen carefully. In our relationship with Christ, we must be willing to be faithful to the Lord and be willing to stand on our own.
You see, we have Jesus as our very closest friend and confidant.
But sometimes we might not see others sharing with us in our Christian convictions. We may find ourselves alone with our faith & love for Christ.
I am hoping that as we begin to look at the story of Christmas, each of us will be able to answer two simple questions:
1. Why do I sometimes feel like I am alone while serving God?
We see so many people going to the mall to shop for Christmas toys, or hurrying to the next Christmas party. I have to wonder, how many people have the real meaning of Christmas in their hearts?
Many people get excited about the holiday season with the exchanging of gifts, and yet will neglect the real reason for Christmas.
2. How can I want to do more for the Lord when many of my friends and family are not interested in having a relationship with Christ?
We are human, and at times we may wonder if it is worth it all.
We do what we feel is our part in serving the Lord, but it often seems we are alone in our efforts.
The odd part about Christianity (I have found) is that there will be many times when we will have to do things without the encouragement of others.
It is then we will have to decide (for ourselves) that our relationship with Christ is what is most important.
Last Sunday night we looked at what it meant for us to become the "Perfect Man/Woman". The good news today is that we will find that our relationship with Christ is actually more meaningful to us when we find ourselves having to stand alone for Christ.
Oftentimes, your faith will begin to supernaturally grow when there is no one else to turn to but Jesus Christ.
Allow me to explain with the story of Mary, the WOMAN OF GRACE.......
Text: Luke 1:26 thru 35
Let me set the record straight about Mary before I get started.
We are not a church that practices a religion of "Mother Mary".
There is only one we know and worship as our God and King.
That is Jesus Christ, the living Son of God and Son of Man.
The intent of my message is not to elevate the story of Mary to the point of glorifying her in any way. We try not to glorify people around here much.
Mary was highly favored , not highly exalted. We are here to glorify Jesus.
I know of many preachers who have purposely avoided the story of Mary so as not to risk any confusion with the way the Catholic faith has elevated her.
Mary was not another god/goddess to worship, to chant to, to see visions of, and she certainly is not someone we should be praying to.
Due to this controversy among Christians, the story of Mary is seldom taught. And yet there is much to learn from what happened in her life.
I would like to (respectfully) refer to her as a Woman of FAVOR/GRACE.
We need to see what the Bible has reported about her.
The Angel Gabriel referred to her as being a "Woman of Grace."
We should notice what verse 28 has to say about this simple young woman. It says that Mary was "highly favored", and verse 30 says she "found favor".
Listen carefully: Both phrases are from the Greek word "charis", meaning there was grace found in Mary that had a divine influence on her heart.