Summary: Advent sermon that talks about the need for humility and explores how to practise it. Contains a number of resources I got elsewhere on sermon central.
There's something about Mary.
No not the movie - Mary. Jesus Mum.
Mary – Mary has been treated strangely by history.
People pray to her – people make statues of her and pray to the statue – People get it wrong – Mary is a signpost who like the Prophets of old point to Jesus and then take their place worshiping at his footstool.
If we can get the idolised images of Mary out of our minds for a moment we might realise that there is something about Mary that we have to learn.
Mary was a woman who through incredible circumstances was chosen to bear God’s son, Jesus, and to give birth to him and to be his Mother. This morning I would like to suggest that there is something about Mary that we need to learn and that something is humility.
This morning we read Mary says “My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
What bought Mary to Christmas – Humility – What bought Christ to the cross – Humility – What bought the rich wise men to bow to the infant Jesus? Humility – What bought Shepherds to the infant Jesus – humility. What caused Joseph to take Mary to be his wife – Humility to God –
Jesus understood humility and he preached it to all. When he found the opposite – particularly among the religious leaders – Jesus rebuked their pride and arrogance.
Pride seeking to be something.
God resists the proud we read and gives grace to the humble.
It is these very words. That find expression in Mary’s song that we read this morning.
Don’t you think we need to be where Mary was?
What do you think Jesus meant when he called us to follow him?
I believe it was a call to humility. Yet this week I have found in my hearty pride and arrogance. You may protest Oh no – John you wouldn’t do that!!!Or the more astute among you will recognise it in e and sadly agree.
Dear friends Christ is yours – Christ as he comes by the Holy spirit is yours. Great power and love are yours – Great Holyness is yours but that must make us humble not proud.
Ruth Harms Calkin wrote a beautiful poem that concludes:
You know, Lord, How I serve You with great emotional fervor in the limelight.
You know how eagerly I speak for You at a Women’s Club.
You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study.
But how would I react, I wonder, if You pointed to a basin of water
and asked me to wash the callused feet of a bent and wrinkled old woman
day after day, month after month, in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew?
This morning I would like to challenge you to explore with me some things God wants us to know about humility and some things that he wants us to do.
You might think well why should I learn about humility – I will tell you it is one of the keys to revival and I have that key in my pocket.
Charles G. Finney defined Revival as:
“Nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God. Just as in the case of a converted sinner, the first step is a deep repentance, a breaking down of heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and a forsaking of sin.”
Evangelist Gypsy Smith was once asked how to start a revival.
He answered: “Go home, lock yourself in your room, kneel down in the middle of your floor. Draw a chalk mark all around yourself and ask God to start the revival inside that chalk mark. When He has answered your prayer, the revival will be on.”
R.A. Torrey gave a prescription for revival:
“I can give a prescription that will bring a revival to any church or community or any city on earth.
“First, let a few Christians (they need not be many) get thoroughly right with God themselves. This is the prime essential. If this is not done, the rest that I am to say will come to nothing.
“Second, let them bind themselves together in a prayer group to pray for a revival until God opens the heavens and comes down.
“Third, let them put themselves at the disposal of God for Him to use as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. That is all!
“This is sure to bring a revival to any church or community. I have given this prescription around the world. It has been taken by many churches and many communities, and in no instance has it ever failed; and it cannot fail!”