Summary: Examining the qualifications of one who God can use - study of Mary.

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Luke 1:26 - 38 – Who God can Use

When Milan Cathedral was finished, in the vast throngs of people assembled to witness the dedication was a little girl who was heard to cry out in childish glee, as she pointed to the great building, "I helped to build that!"

"What!" exclaimed one of the guards who was standing in brilliant uniform. "Show me what you did."

"I carried the dinner pail for my father while he worked up yonder," she replied. Her part, though seemingly insignificant, helped to complete the great cathedral. Because she was available, she was used by God to achieve something great.

Many of us don’t have very much self esteem when it comes to thinking about what God can do in and through us. We are limited by our poor self image. You’ve probably heard many of these excuses before ….

• I can’t become a Christian, because I have been too bad and God would never want me.

• I don’t have any talents that God can use – not in this church anyway.

• I could never do that – I’d be too nervous to stand up the front in front of people.

• It’s just not my thing - really.

• I don’t really have time – why don’t you ask Fred over there.

• My job and family take so much time, I don’t think I could handle anything else.

• I’m away every second week – I just couldn’t commit to anything long term.

• I don’t know whether I like the way they hold their heads during prayer – I’m not sure that I want to be part of this church anyway.

We come up with plenty of excuses why God can’t possibly use us don’t we – but when we use these excuses, we are not kidding anyone, least of all God.

This evening I want to continue working our way through Luke’s gospel – we are going to be in Luke 1:26. Tonight we come across the perfect model of someone who God can use. She was uneducated, unskilled, poor, a teenager, a nobody in the world’s eyes but God chose her for a most incredible act of service – that of carrying his son, Jesus Christ. Tonight, I want to ask the question – What Made Mary the mother of Jesus such a good choice for such an important Job? What were her credentials? What did God see in her? Because in answering these question, we’ll answer the question that is so pertinent to us as a church, that is - Who can God use - now - today in 2003?

Let’s pause and pray for some wisdom and honesty as we look into this passage.

Pray Lord as look into your Word this evening, we ask that you would help us to correctly interpret it’s relevance for us. We ask that we would see clearly in it our reflection and see where we don’t measure up to your will for our lives. Help us we pray to apply it to our lives – not forgetting it as soon as we walk out this door, but we pray, that the lessons learnt here tonight would be etched into our minds so that we can become more like you. We pray this in Jesus Name … Amen

Well last week we spoke about John the Baptist and some of his characteristics. This story tonight is set while Elizabeth was pregnant with John. Luke starts by setting the scene …

Luke 1:26In the sixth month - 6th month of what. This follows on from vs 24 and the 5 months of solitude for Elizabeth. These events take place in the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and involve a young girl – Mary – who was called to serve God in a wonderful Way. Let’s look at some of her qualifications that made her so suitable for this service. Let’s continue reading in vs 26…

Mary’s Qualifications

a)Mary was a Nobody

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin - Nazareth was a smallish town – it was just off the major trade routes and so while it had influence from passing traders, it was a bit of a backwater. Galilee, the surrounding district while a part of Israel, was on its frontier. It was a region which had a lot of influence from nations around about it and this meant that the people of Galilee had a bit of a reputation of being wild and woolly. They certainly didn’t uphold all the laws of good Jews – either moral laws of ceremonial laws and their crude dialect led many to look down on them. One of the early disciples Nathaniel - commented – “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). …. So what were Mary’s qualifications to serve God … Well. Mary was a nobody. Of no reputation, a bit of a country hick, not even from the deeply religious bible belt of Israel – Interesting isn’t it - Yet God used her. Why?

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