Summary: This sermon looks at Mary and the faith she displayed and garners lessons about faith. It ends with a call to faith in action.
The Faith ?Of Mary
Dr. Tim Smith?
Video: Why Is It Me. Why is it me God has asked? It must have been a question with which Mary wrestled. Mary has captured the attention and affection of generations of believers, but more importantly, she caught the attention of God! For she was chosen to become the mother of God’s only son.?
When she was chosen, Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph.?? Mary was perhaps 13 or 14. ?This must have been a wonderful time in life for Mary was making preparations for her wedding day. But the angel’s announcement threw her wedding plans into chaos.?? Suddenly, all those around her, including her own family began to doubt Mary and her faithfulness to Joseph. Where once she was looking forward to marriage, now she is faced with an impending divorce and public disgrace. And according to Old Testament Law the penalty for adultery was death by stoning! However, because Israel was under Roman domination, the Jews did not have the authority to carry out capital punishment. So women were humiliated in public to become an object of shame and scorn. If ever there was a time for faith, this was it.
The one thing which stands out in Mary above all others was her faith. But her faith didn’t start when the angel visited her or when she was confronted by her family and Joseph. It is Mary’s faith to which we look today, so that we might consider our own faith.
First, faith is not age-dependent. Age and maturity have nothing to do with the depth of faith you have. Mary was a barely a teenager when she believed the angel and agreed to carry the child. Many of the heroes of the faith in the Bible had a strong faith in God at an early age. Think of Samuel. God called him when he was but a young boy and he responded with childlike faith. Then there was David who as a teenager defeated Goliath because rather than fixing his eyes on the superior warrior, he saw the presence of the Lord with him. Then there was Daniel who was perhaps only 16 when he and his companions were taken into captivity. Yet, despite their youth, they had such a deep faith in the Lord they were willing to face death rather than worship false gods. ?Faith is not age-dependent! You don’t have to wait until you are old to become a hero of the faith. In fact, age will not guarantee anything at all. Many young people are more mature spiritually and more trusting of God than people decades older than them.
Second, faith leads to God’s presence in your life. The angel said to Mary, “The Lord is with you.” A personal relationship with God is what sets Biblical faith apart from the religions of the world. The writer of Hebrews, in describing faith said:? “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Heb 11:6 That reward is not money or possessions or an easier life but rather the presence of God in your life and the unmitigated joy of being used by God. ??
God never calls us and leaves us alone. The angel wanted Mary to know that she would not be alone as she undertook the task ahead. God always makes his presence known when He calls someone to serve him and they respond by taking a step of faith and doing what was asked, no matter how farfetched, how dangerous or how difficult. We see this throughout the Scriptures. The angel of the Lord told Gideon that the Lord would be with him when he was sent out to save Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:12). The same thing had been said about David when God’s Spirit fell upon him and empowered him to lead Israel. ??As an unwed mother, Mary faced the possibility of rejection by Joseph, her own family and the community. But she would never be alone, for the Lord would be with her.?? In a similar way, those who follow Jesus are never alone. When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of the nations, He reassured us that He would be with us to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:16-20). God will never call you to do something without providing the resources and support you need, including his presence.
Third, faith is a repeated choice. When the angel appeared to Mary and made her pronouncement, Mary had a choice to make. God didn’t draft Mary into her service but rather invited her to become a part of His plan of salvation for the world. Mary had a decision to make: she could either carry this child or she could choose to say no. That’s the way God is. He doesn’t force us to follow him and he doesn’t force us to serve Him. Rather, he has chosen to give us the free choice to believe in Him or not, to follow Him or not and to serve Him or not. Mary chose to respond to God’s love and believe in Him which then led her to choose to serve Him by carrying this child, even amidst very difficult curcumstances. We are reminded that faith is not a one time decision but rather is built decision by decision each day. Faith is about deciding how you’re going to respond to the boss who just blew up at you using language which would make a sailor blush. Faith is about how you respond when a friend who is disconnected from God is going through a rough time and is seeking spiritually. Faith is how you respond your world is falling apart. Faith is about what you do when you’re driving down the road and you see someone with a broken down car. Faith is about the attitude you bring and the response you make to the homeless person you pass by who is hungry for their next meal. Faith isn’t just about what or in whom you believe but how you live your life exercising that faith.