Summary: Third in a series based on the Magnificat of Mary
The Downfall of the Mighty
INTRODUCTION: Be truthful - you sometimes root for the underdog, don’t you? Whether it’s football, baseball, or basketball; whether it’s college ball or professional players, you root for the underdog, don’t you?
I do too. Except maybe if it’s the home team. These days it seems like if we’re rooting for the underdog we’re rooting for either the Chargers or the Padres. I know that’s the way last season’s Padres were - underdogs. And this season’s Chargers are also the underdogs, even when they’re favored.
I don’t know why you root for an underdog, but I know why I do - I can identify with the underdog. Aren’t there times in your life when you feel like the champion teenage underdog, David, going against the champion ‘most-favored-to win’ giant, Goliath of Gath?
There are times when I root for the underdog because I want to see a giant toppled; when the New England Patriot’s were having such a good season in 2006, winning every game and leading the race for the Super Bowl, didn’t you want to see the Chargers be the ones to knock them off? They didn’t that year, but they have the last two years.
Whenever I watched the Padres last season, I wanted them to win in the worst way so they wouldn’t be last in the division or even last in all of major league baseball. Well, they weren’t last - only third from the bottom.
Mary continues her praise song to God in our verses today. In these verses she describes how God has the upper hand, how in His mightiness he brings down those leaders over nations and exalts the humble, the underdog. Let’s root along with her for the underdog.
I. THE FEAR OF THE LORD
“He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear Him.” (Luke 1:50)
This sentence, restated another way says: “Those who fear the Lord receive His mercy.” The opposite would also be true in that those who do not fear the Lord cannot receive His mercy. A necessary quality in the life of a servant is to fear the Lord. This is true of the earthly master who has servants in his employ as well as the heavenly Master who has you and me as His servants.
David said in Psalm 111:10 - “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” We can be peppered with sayings and scriptures pointing us to the necessity of fearing the Lord, but it won’t happen in our lives unless we first change a few behaviors in our lives.
How do we gain great joy in the Lord? Jesus tells us in John 15:9-17. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” We have joy in the Lord when we remain in Jesus’ love. Only believers can do this.
“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” (15:10) Remaining in Jesus’ love means being obedient to God. How do you know if you’re being obedient to God? Read His word, the Bible, and see if you’re being obedient or not.
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.” (15:11) It’s not a secret - everybody knows what it takes to be filled with the joy of Jesus.
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (15:12) This maybe the point we start having trouble being obedient to God. Jesus tells us in the next verse what it means to love others as he loves us.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (15:13) You have to be willing to lay down your life so that someone else can live. This is the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate example of selflessness. It’s like signing up to be a Secret Service agent and being assigned the Presidential detail. Everyone Secret Ser-vice agent on that detail is willing to “take a bullet for the President of the United States.” If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be there.
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” (15:14-15) Here is where our position changes - where we go from being servants to being joint heirs of the kingdom with Christ. He’s confiding in us, telling us the secrets, the things of the kingdom that we need to know to please God. And it all begins with obedience.