Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
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SONG OF PRAISE
December 8, 2013
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:46-56
KEY VERSES: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1:47)
Ø Zacharias Served (Luke 1:1–25).
Zacharias’s disappointment at not having a son did not keep him from serving the Lord. Be faithful; you never know when the Lord’s angel may arrive. He had the faith to keep on praying; but when the answer came, Zacharias did not have the faith to accept it. He looked at his limitations rather than the Lord’s great power. Unbelief creates silence (Psalm 116:10; 2 Corinthians 4:13); faith opens our mouth in praise to the Lord.
Ø Mary Submitted (Luke 1:26–38).
What an honor for Mary to be chosen to be the mother of the Messiah! She humbly submitted to the Lord because Mary had faith that the Lord would keep His promises. Mary’s decision would bring her suffering and sorrow, but she willingly yielded to it. Mary was “blessed among women” because of the grace of God given to her (Luke 1:28, 30). All who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior are highly graced by the Lord (Ephesians 1:6).
Ø Mary Sang (Luke 1:39–80).
A pregnant Hebrew girl from Nazareth, engaged to marry a very poor carpenter, what did she have to sing about? Mary sang about the Lord God, what He did for her (Luke 1: 46–49), for all who fear Him (Luke 1: 50–53), and for His people Israel (Luke 1: 54–55). The Lord gives power to the weak, thrones to the lowly, and food to the hungry; but the rich, the strong, and the mighty go away empty.
Ø Zacharias Saluted (Luke 1:78–79).
He praised the Lord for what God would do for Israel, God’s chosen people. It was the dawning of a new era (Luke 1:78–79) because Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was about to be born. The Lord is faithful to His Covenants and keeps His promises!
INTRODUCTION: A pregnant teenage Hebrew girl from Nazareth, engaged to marry a poor carpenter, what did Mary have to sing about? She sang about the Lord, what He did for her (Luke 1:46-49), for all who fear Him (Luke 1: 50-53), and for His people Israel (Luke 1:54-55). God gives power to the weak, thrones to the lowly, and food to the hungry; but the strong, the rich, and the mighty go away empty.
In Luke 1:78-79 Zacharias praised God for what He would do for His people, Israel. It was the dawning of a new day because the Messiah was about to be born. God keeps His promises and is faithful to His covenants.
A Politically Correct 2013 Christmas
To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son's school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non memorable songs such as "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman" and -- this is a real song -- "Suzy Snowflake," all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology. – Adapted from Dave Barry in his "Notes on Western. Civilization" -- (Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 28, 1991)
I. MARY’S SONG. (Luke 1:46-49)
need someone to worship,
We need a song to sing;
Let’s keep our Christ in Christmas
And honor Him as King. — Jarvis
A. Mary Rejoiced. (Luke 1:46)
(Luke 1:46) And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord.
Not only did Mary accept God’s will for her life -- she rejoiced in it. Her song in these verses is reminiscent of the song of Hannah, mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10). Yet Mary’s situation was much different. While Hannah sang for joy after her stigma of barrenness was gone, Mary sang for joy in the face of possible (though undeserved) alienation and shame.
B. Mary Worshipped. (Luke 1:47)
(Luke 1:47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Mary’s song reveals a heart and
mind immersed in Scripture. “My soul glorifies the Lord” (Luke 1: 46) seems
influenced by Psalm 34:3. “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47)
matches the sentiment in
C. Mary Considered. (Luke 1:48-49)
(Luke 1:48-49) For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
Mary chose not to focus on what others might think of her, but on what God thought of her and what she knew of Him.
NOTE: In her song, what does Mary say about God and about herself? (1) She said God was her “Saviour” (Luke 1: 47) and (2) that God was “mindful” of her humble state (Luke 1:48). (3) Mary called God the “Mighty One” who did great things for her (Luke 1:49) and said (4) His name was “holy” (Luke 1:49).
In calling God her “Saviour,” she declared her need for God’s saving grace. Mary considered her status to be “humble” (Luke 1:48), and she acknowledged that God did “great things” for her (Luke 1:49). Mary’s song also indicates that she was very familiar with the Old Testament.
The Candy Cane
A Candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane.
He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus.
Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the "Good Shepherd".
The candy maker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life.
The candy became known as a Candy Cane -- a decoration seen at Christmas time. The meaning has faded, but still gives joy to children young and old, whom Jesus loves and treasures. – From a Rob Ross illustration, SermonCentral.com
II. FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. (Luke 1:50-53)
A. The Strength Of God. (Luke 1:50-51)
(Luke 1:50-51) And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
“He hath shewed strength with his arm” (Luke 1:51). In Isaiah 53:1 the prophet Isaiah said, “… to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Then Isaiah begins immediately to reveal the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. God has shown the strength of His arm and revealed His power and love in the salvation He has given to mankind.
B. The Mercy Of God. (Luke 1:52-53)
(Luke 1:52-53) He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
Mary noted that the Lord dispersed those who were “proud in their inmost thoughts” (Luke1:51). In contrast, He was merciful to those who feared Him (Luke 1:50). God lifted up the weak and brought down the strong (Luke 1:52). And while God sent the rich away empty, He filled the hungry with good things (Luke 1:53).
In the Christmas narratives, there are several "fear not's."
1. The "fear not" of salvation:
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings...which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10, 11).
2. The "fear not" of the humanly impossible:
"Fear not, Mary:... the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:...For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:30, 35, and 37).
3. The "fear not" of unanswered prayer:
"Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (Luke 1:13).
4. The "fear not" of immediate obedience:
"Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:.. Then Joseph ... did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him" (Matthew 1:20,24). – Author Unknown
III. REMEMBERING THE COVENANT. (Luke 1:54-55)
A. Mary Declared. (Luke 1:54)
(Luke 1:54) He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy.
Mary declared that God had remembered to be merciful to Israel. This meant that He would grace His people with His help in their time of need and fulfill all His promises to them (namely, the promises He originally made to their ancestor Abraham). Though at times life may have seemed bleak, the covenant community could take comfort in knowing that a bright future awaited them in God’s kingdom.
B. Mary Demonstrated. (Luke 1:55)
(Luke 1:55) As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Mary demonstrated by using Abraham as an illustration of faith in God. There is more reference to Abraham than to any other person in the Old Testament. In fact, there is more about Abraham on the human plane than about anyone else in the Bible.
C. Mary Departed. (Luke 1:56)
(Luke 1:56) And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Mary visited with Elisabeth for about three months. According to some Bible teachers, the departure of Mary from Hebron must have been but a few days before the birth of John because nine months had now elapsed since Elisabeth's conception (see Luke 1:36).
A Lesson of Love At Christmas
There is a seldom noticed yet preciously tender lesson to be found in Mary's actions immediately following the angel's visit announcing her role as bearer of the Christ Child. She had been told that her cousin Elizabeth was also experiencing an unusual, though different, visitation of God's grace: that now late in life, she was in the sixth month of pregnancy with her first child (Luke 1:36).
Now, almost immediately after she has discovered that she, Mary of Nazareth, is about to become the most unique woman in history, notice how beautifully her attention turns from herself to a need where she can serve.
She travels to help Elizabeth, and verse 56 says that Mary stayed with her aged relative and served her until Elizabeth's baby was delivered.
This could well become our most important Christmas lesson for this year. Mary demonstrates a principle of God's love in action: "May I be more concerned to assist the fulfillment of what the Lord is doing in another person than I am with what He is doing in me."
– Jack W. Hayford, Celebrate! Daily Devotions for the Spirit-filled Life, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1992, page: December 9; contributed by A. Todd Coget
CONCLUSION: What was Mary’s response to the Lord’s selecting her for a responsibility full of unbelievable challenges? Mary rejoiced! She did not sulk and wonder why the Lord could not have disturbed someone else’s marriage plans. Mary did not bite on her fingernails and ask the Lord how she could explain all this to her family. She did not even ask if she could have a few days to think it over.
We, too, can choose to respond as Mary did to the challenge of serving the Lord in the ways He calls us to serve. Like Mary, let’s be faithful.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God made His home with us that we might make our home with God.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, selected illustrations, and other references.
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E-mail: Ronald Purkey