Summary: Series answering questions from the congregation

Sermon Series: “Questioning the Faith”

Sermon #7 “Question about the Virgin Mary”

Text: Luke 1:26-30

OPENING JOKE: “King James Virgin” A ten-year old, who was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible because of her grandmother’s teaching, asked her grandmother: "Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus? The Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin?"

REMINDER: Please remember that this series on questions will go on until I run out. As I looked this week I noticed that I am running short. If you have questions, please write them and place them under my door.

INTRODUCTION: Today we are going to talk about one of the most misunderstood characters of the NT; the Virgin Mary.

Question: “What did God find so special about Mary?

Before I answer the question, as I often do, I am going to shift into the mode of teacher and explain some of the false doctrines surrounding the person of Mary.

There is not another Biblical character that is surrounded by such a veneer of anti-Biblical doctrine than the Virgin Mary.

• She is called by some as the ‘Mother of God’, which in a way she is, because she gave birth to Christ, Who Himself is God – But this does not mean that she is eternally existent or that she predates God

• She is also called ‘Queen of Heaven’, to which there is no Biblical standing

• Some have gone as far as saying that God is not a ‘Trinity’ but a ‘Quadrate’ or ‘God in Four Persons’

• With Mary being the ‘fourth’ person of the Godhead

• This is referred to as Marianism (prescribing worship to Mary), and it is a doctrine that is encouraged in most of Catholicism

• This is very popular in the women’s rights movement because it strips God of His masculine pronouns and ‘He’ becomes a ‘She’ or even an ‘It’, depending on your desire

An important point:

- Mary is not divine according to the Scriptures

o She needed a Savior (Romans 3:23 says ‘All have sinned’)

o She was a follower of Christ’s ministry (Almost every scene where we see Christ among His people, we see His mother there)

o She needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit (She was among the 120 in the upper room at Pentecost – Acts 1:14)

- So the main point for us to notice is that whatever it was that made her special, it was not Divinity

o God the Father, Son and Spirit are Divine; But Mary was not

o That is not to say though, that she was not special

o So let’s see what the Scriptures tell about her…

I. She Found “Favor” With God

a. Now what does it mean to find ‘favor with God’?

i. The Word ‘favor’ comes from the Greek word ‘Charis’ and actually means ‘Grace’

ii. But a better understanding of this word ‘favor’ is found in the OT

b. READ: Genesis 4:4 “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:”

i. The word translated ‘respect’ is the Hebrew word ‘Sha`ah’ and it means “to gaze at, regard, or to behold”

ii. A different rendering may be ‘The Lord showed ‘regard’ for Abel

1. God didn’t just look upon Abel, but He gazed upon him with rapt attention

2. The favor of God is when He fixes His gaze upon your life, even the smallest details

c. Mary received this ‘favor’ from God

i. We don’t know exactly why, but by looking at others in Scripture whom God looked at in this way, we know it deals more in the area of faith than anything else

ii. For we know that above all faith is necessary to please God

iii. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

iv. We know that she trusted God’s Word from Gabriel, and that she followed Christ as one of His most diligent believers

v. These are all indicators of the type of faith she exuded

II. In a sense, all believers have found favor with God

a. Because the word favor actually means ‘grace’

i. And the word translated ‘grace’ is the same word used for saving grace in Ephesians 2:8

ii. When we come to God in faith we receive His grace, or His favor

iii. Without His grace, none of us would be saved

b. I believe there is never a time where God looks upon us with such attention as when we first come to Him in faith

i. Think about the presence of the Spirit in the indwelling

ii. God’s very presence filling our lives

iii. His favor coming in the form of His Spirit

c. Mary’s favor with God came from a heart that trusted Him, likewise when we trust God He shows His favor to us

III. Believers, though having received the grace of God at conversion, need still to continue to grow in it

a. II Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

b. This is really when ‘grace’ becomes ‘favor’

i. When we begin as Christians to live lives that cause God to gaze upon us

ii. God doesn’t look upon the hearts of those who diligently seek Him with casual glances

iii. He gazes at them, locked onto their life

c. We grow in grace by doing what God desires

i. Growing in grace does not come from an absence of sin, but an addition of goodness

ii. Just like I said last week, “God is more concerned about what we do, rather than what we don’t”

iii. This is another thing that we can be sure of concerning Mary – She not only received God’s grace, but she grew in it

d. Question: How can we grow in grace?

i. The answer is simple – stay connected to Him!

ii. Illustration: “Baby in womb” Think about how a baby inside of the womb is able to grow…it is because of the connection to the mother

iii. The baby does nothing but absorb the nourishment that the mother is giving it

1. This is a picture of how we are to grow in grace

2. We must keep a constant connection to God

3. In that He will nourish us and encourage us to grow

CONCLUSION: Mary’s trust in God caused Him to gaze upon her

And in His omniscience, He knew what kind of woman He was choosing

He chose a woman of faith, a woman of diligence, and a woman of character to be the mother of Jesus

To answer the question, “What was so special about Mary?”

• It wasn’t that she was divine

• It wasn’t that she was without sin

• It was that she was a women whose life of faith caused God to look down at her and fix His eyes in her direction

May it be that we all aspire to that kind of life…