Summary: A study of the great faith of cousins Mary and Elizabeth.
Mothers of Great Faith
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The Bible tells us in Luke 8:31-32 how to be true disciples or students of Jesus Christ, by abiding (living, being at home) continually (day by day) in His word;
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
We’re told in 1 Cor. 2:16 that the Bible is the “mind of Christ”. If we really want to know Jesus, we need to walk in fellowship with Him (walk in the light, walk in the Spirit), as God tells us in 1 John 1:7:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. NIV
The way to know that we are in fellowship with Him, that we are walking in the Spirit, is to confess our known sins to God, as instructed in 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. NIV
So let’s take a moment to silently confess our known sins to God, so that as we study His word, it will renew our minds (Romans 12:2), and conform us to the image of God (Col. 3:10). Let’s pray.
Father, thank you for forgiving us our sins and restoring us to fellowship every time we confess them to you. Thank you for such endless grace, much more than we could ever earn or deserve. We ask that your Holy Spirit will make your Word clear to us and use it to transform us closer to the image of our Creator. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Since it’s Mother’s Day today, I want to look at two mothers in the Bible who walked with the Lord, who showed great faith in His word in situations that looked, not just overwhelming, but clearly impossible. Those two mothers are Mary the mother of Jesus (not the “mother of God” as some churches blasphemously teach), and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. As many of you here today are mothers yourselves, you’ll hopefully be able to imagine some of the difficulties that these two women faced, while remaining faithful to God and trusting Him.
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly.
7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
8 Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,
9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.
16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.
17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18 Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
19 The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.