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A Mother's High Calling – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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November 7, 2023 12:00 am

A Mother's High Calling – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 7, 2023 12:00 am

Motherhood is not an easy task, but it is rewarding. Having children is a divine calling from God, and every child is valuable. In this message, Pastor Lutzer describes the mother’s potential to influence the future and impact the world. Will mothers persevere and raise their children to praise the Lord?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In today's culture, many women try to break the glass ceiling as they aspire to executive power and perks. But no position has more potential to influence the future than that of being a mother. Today, how crucial it is to fight for traditional motherhood.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, many women today are renouncing family for career and political position. If this continues, what's the prospect for society?

Well Dave, I think that we can predict the prospect for society, and that is children growing up with confusion, with an inversion of values, wondering who they are, wondering whether or not they are important, growing up without a sense of accountability to God and to their parents. I believe very deeply that motherhood lies at the heart of the family. Of course, fathers are important, and this series of messages will emphasize that. But you know, speaking about mothers, have you ever thought of Mary?

I'm sure that you have, especially as the Christmas season is approaching. We think of her motherhood. And what did she do when she discovered that she was with child? Well, she sang a very beautiful song.

We call it The Magnificat. I'm holding in my hands a book written by Nancy DeMoss Walgamuth entitled The First Songs of Christmas, a 31-day Advent devotional. We want you to have a copy, because as Christmas comes, we all take out time to think again of the beauty of the coming of Jesus Christ, the songs that accompanied his arrival. Here's what you can do for a gift of any amount. It can be yours.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You will be inspired by Mary, the mother of our Lord. This is the second in a series of messages called Fighting for Your Family. And we have to fight for our family.

It says in the book of Nehemiah chapter 4, fight for your brothers, your sisters, your wives. And today we have to fight like never before, not physically but spiritually for the family. I'm expecting miracles as a result of this series, not because of the messages as such, though I hope God uses them, but rather if we pray together as families and as we begin to call on God, God can do what we can't, what sermons can't do.

He can take the Word of God and apply it. Last time I gave you the challenge of looking for two miracles. First of all, the miracle within, whatever resentment, anger, brokenness there might be that God might bring about a kind of healing so that there can be reconciliation and hope and as a result of the past that there might even be a tremendous amount of blessing. But also pray for another miracle, pray for somebody else, maybe your spouse, maybe a wayward child, or maybe there are other people and you say, I'm going to call on God and things are going to be different because I've prayed. This morning I was so blessed here at the church, rather early on, a woman came to me and said, oh, thank you so much for the assignment that you gave us last week, reading 1 Corinthians 13 every day. She said it made a great change in her life and God is working in me, she said. I've blessed my soul. Every one of these messages is going to have an assignment.

Today's is going to be very clear, very simple in many respects that it will be given to you near the end of the message, but stay with us. Well, we emphasize, of course, motherhood and you know, I was reading this week, someone sent me questions and then they are answered by second graders. Nothing as sweet as children. Why did God make moms? Because she's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

And isn't that true? Mostly to clean the house. There you go. More thoughtfully to help us out when we were getting born.

Yeah. How did God make mothers? I like this one. He made my mom just like he made me, but he used bigger parts. Why did God give you the mother you have and not someone else's mom? Because we're related. Because he knows and I love this one because he knows she'd love me more than any other person's mom.

That's great. What did your mom know about your dad to marry him? His last name. And then finally, does he make at least $800 a year and did he say no to drugs and yes to chores? I think that is very important.

Hopefully it's even a little more than $800 a year, but at least the kid is on his way. Motherhood. Well, today we're going to look at the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and I can imagine immediately what you are thinking. You're thinking to yourself, already I struggle with being a mother and I feel so inadequate and I feel as if I'm failing. And now you're going to take this woman who went to heaven every evening supposedly and came back every morning and you're going to use her as an example just to load me with more guilt.

Not at all. This message is going to be one that is laced with grace, but I need to tell you that the Mary I'm going to present to you today is not the somber faced woman that we see on icons and statues. This Mary was a tough woman who managed a blended family that obviously had a great deal of conflict.

And for the most part, she did it alone. This is not the Mary that we oftentimes visualize. In the next few moments, I hope to blow every stereotype as we look at the total teaching of the Bible. I need to warn you in advance that we might not be able to turn to all the passages I'd like to turn to.

So in some instances, I may simply give you the reference, have a pencil, jot it down and read it later because I want you to see that I'm not making this up. And when this is over, I hope that even those who aren't married will be able to understand that the principles of this godly woman help all of us in the family and highlight the importance of childhood and family reconciliation. First of all, we see, of course, the importance of realizing that children having a child is a divine calling from God, a divine calling from God. Do we even need to turn to the first chapter of Luke?

Because it's really the Christmas story. You know how an angel comes and says, you've received favor from God. You'll conceive in your womb and bear a son. This is verse 21. He shall be great. His name shall be Jesus.

He will save his people, et cetera. Mary asks, how can this be? Because I'm a virgin. And he says, the Holy Spirit will overshadow you and you will have within you, created within you, this child, this holy child will be created within you.

You will conceive, but do so miraculously. And Mary says, be it as you wish. Well, first of all, I want you to see that raising this child is a divine calling. Was it important for Mary to give great concern and attention to raising Jesus?

Of course. And you're saying to me today, but I have a four-year-old son and pastor, believe me, he's not Jesus. He's not Jesus. No, he's not, but he's also an eternal being, an eternal being. Now, Jesus was eternal in both ways. He was eternal in an eternity past because he's the one who existed as the son of God forever. He was actually the creator.

He created his own mother, actually, because he was God. But he is also going to exist as a man forever. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews, this man, because he has an unchangeable priesthood, endures forever. And the child that you are raising is also going to endure forever. He's a forever baby, existing forever, either in unimaginable bliss or unimaginable horror, one of two places. He is an eternal child. That child that you are raising is also a valuable child, great value. Because, you see, he's not simply a product of conception. The moment a woman conceives, she already knows, by the way, that she is a mother. God has implanted that in her heart.

But the moment that conception takes place, God begins to go to work and not only create the biology of the child, the physical characteristics, but he also implants within that child a soul and stamps on that soul the divine so that every single child is created in the image of God, no matter what the circumstances of the conception were. I love to tell the story of Los Angeles, California, where a young woman at the age of 14 was sexually assaulted. She gave birth to a little baby girl whom she called Ethel. When Ethel became an adult, she said she never as a child had a lap to sit on. She said every child should have a lap to sit on.

Absolutely every child should have a lap to sit on. But that child grew up and she became Ethel Waters. And you think of all those of us who live from another generation who remember night after night singing in the Billy Graham Crusades and her favorite song, his eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me. And I think she loved that song because she knew that when she was conceived, regardless of the circumstances, she was valuable to God and his eye was on that sparrow even before she was born. Every child valuable, every child created in the image of God. Could there be a higher calling?

Secondly, you have the dedication. The dedication, now this takes place here in the Scriptures in the book of Luke chapter 2, actually. And I wish we had time to read it all, but I'm in Luke chapter 2 and there in verse 22, it says that the time of purification came. Jesus was about eight days old. They brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. That's what happens here at the Moody Church when we have a child dedication.

We're presenting the child to the Lord. But in order for Mary to be the mother that she had to be, she had several issues that she needed to surrender on. First of all, she had to welcome motherhood.

Remember, she was not campaigning for this particular assignment. It was given to her by God. And it wasn't easy for her to say to people, oh, you know, I am not married, but I'm pregnant, and I had an angel come to me and tell me that this was to be divine.

And the neighbors would say, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. This was not easy. But she first of all gave herself to God. She embraced her responsibility as a mother.

And then she dedicated the little baby Jesus to God. Oh, my parent today. And by the way, the next message in the series is to dads.

But I am speaking to moms. Will you remember that when you have that child, I want you to visualize God in heaven saying to you, this is my child. Raise him. Raise her for me.

Because you're going to have accountability. And parents, please, and I speak especially, I suppose, to mothers, if you have a great deal of hurt, if you are angry at the child's father because he has walked away and now you're a single mom and there's 100 different scenarios we could tell you, please don't transfer that particular feeling that you have towards the child's father to the child and be an angry mom. Embrace that responsibility gladly, regardless of your past and say, oh, this child has come from you to me and you're telling me raise it for your glory. Listen, Mary didn't know what she was getting into. That's why we're going to be very surprised at the kinds of hassles that she had within her own family. And, you know, Simeon here in this experience says to her, and I realize this, but yesterday afternoon as I read this, it hit me with such clarity. When Simeon says later on there in the temple, he's speaking to Mary.

He does not speak to Joseph. Later on, it'll become clear why, but it says here to Mary, his mother, he said, behold, this child is appointed for the fall and the rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed and a sword will pierce through your own soul also so that the thoughts of many people might be revealed. Motherhood comes with its joys, but oftentimes part of the assignment or sorrows. Mary is going to have to endure that sword, as we'll explain in just a moment, and she's going to have to endure it alone evidently without her husband. What a challenge she's going to have. But she didn't know who she was raising. I mean, she knew that he was the divine child, but she had no idea what this meant.

And you don't know who you are raising either, my dear friend. This past week, as I was reading a book written by Charles Swindoll, my claim to fame is that he and I are friends, though we're distant friends. He's a great preacher. You've probably heard him on the radio.

He's on about a thousand stations. He says in his book that his parents really didn't want him, that they always favored the older brother. Why can't you be like the older brother?

Yada, yada, yada. And you know, why did we have you? And I'm thinking to myself, you were raising Charles Swindoll, for heaven's sake.

And you had that kind of an attitude toward him. And you have no idea, no idea who you are raising. Raise him, raise her for Jesus.

And you might too live someday to be very pleasantly surprised. The dedication. Next, we have the nurturing responsibility. And this fell on Mary's shoulders, as we shall see also. Now, this is in Luke also, chapter 2. And I wish we could read the story, but we can't.

I assume that you know it. His parents are at the Passover in Jerusalem, and he's 12 years old. And they are now going back. And they go an entire day's journey without realizing that Jesus isn't in the company. Now, Jesus had his friends. He had his relatives.

By now, probably he had his half-brothers, some of them certainly, because in total there were four brothers and at least two sisters. And so they think to themselves, well, Jesus is there. And they are with the younger children, of course, who were born later. But they go an entire day's journey, and Jesus isn't there. And then they go back to Jerusalem.

And I'm just reading the text. It took them three days to find him. They're probably thinking, oh, he's playing with the other kids in this suburb or this area of Jerusalem. He's not there. He's not there.

What in the world is a 12-year-old kid doing in the temple? So they find him three days later. If you ever lost a child, you know, I remember at the condo, and it's a small condo, but one of our grandchildren pushed the button, hopped in the elevator, didn't realize that he was in the elevator alone, got off on some floor. And he thought that it was the right floor because every floor looks like the other one. And, you know, we're thinking, where is he? Where is he? You run up on that floor, and I'll go get this floor. We need to find this kid. How would you like to lose a 12-year-old at a Cubs game?

That would bring some white hair to you rather quickly. So his mother now speaks. She takes the lead here. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.

I would think so. And he answers and says, why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my father's house? Jesus isn't an easy child to parent.

He breaks the mold. What do you mean your father's house? Your father's house is there in Nazareth in the carpenter shop, and that's where you should be. And Jesus said, no, no, no. This is my father's house.

Not easy to raise. He was always punting the ball to his divine origin and not his human origin. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus ever call Mary his mother. They're at the feast there, and they need wine.

You know, they have no wine. He's saying, now, Mom, he doesn't call her that. He calls her woman. Woman, what have I to do with thee?

Don't invade my space. That's what he's saying. He's on the cross, and he's dying. And you can read it there in John 19. And he says, woman, behold thy son. And he's looking at John. John, behold thy mother. But he doesn't call her mother.

Why? She was the physical aspect of his being. But he knew he had a divine origin.

He knew that he was responsible to his father in heaven. And so he wanted to, right from the beginning, sever that bond, that physical bond, so that she would realize that he had a spiritual bond, because this was no ordinary child, no ordinary child at all. And you know, they had to treat Jesus differently than they did the other children. And you have to treat each child differently, because each child has its own bent, its own DNA.

And it's not one size fits all. You have some children who are incredibly sensitive. You look at them, and they dissolve into tears. You have other children. They need a lot more than that to dissolve them into tears.

I happen to be related to someone, and I'll be as vague as possible, who when he was getting a spanking for eating chocolates, reached over and took another one during the spanking. Well, he also wasn't Jesus, may I say. But Mary has to negotiate that. Now, the Bible does say that he went to Nazareth and was submissive to them, and his mother treasured all these things in her heart. She's trying to figure out all this business of parenting.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. He had an ordinary upbringing, but also very, very unique. Don't treat each child the same way. Study the child.

Pray for wisdom to understand your child and deal with that child, nurturing them according to God's will. Well, now we get to the real difficult part that Mary had. After this incident in the temple, we never hear from Joseph again.

Now, Joseph must have been around because they did have lots of other children, as we shall see in a moment, but we never hear from Joseph. Everything now falls into the lap of Mary. She has to take charge. There's no doubt in my mind she was one tough woman. Simeon had predicted that a sword was going to pierce her heart, and that sword began very early on when Herod killed all of the male boys in the environs of Bethlehem from two years of age and under, the boys, and he did this because he was trying to kill Jesus. So Mary knows immediately, this is because of my son that this is happening. And then she lives through all of those controversies that we read about in the Bible regarding Jesus when the Pharisees throw it in his face and say, we weren't born of fornication, implying you were. We know your mother.

She wasn't married when she had you. Mary had to listen to all that. She had to endure it. And then the fact is that there was controversy in the family. Now, in order for you to understand how many children they had, I'm reading this directly out of the Bible. This is in the sixth chapter of the book of Mark.

It says, where did this man get these things? We're in about verses two or three. What is the wisdom given to him? How can such mighty works be done by his hands?

And now notice it carefully. Is not this the carpenter's son of Mary and his brother James, Joses, Judas, and Simeon? And are not his sisters here with us?

These are all four half-brothers for sure, at least two sisters because it's mentioned plural. She was managing a household with Jesus as the oldest and six other children. You imagine what that was like? And not only imagine what that was like, but think about the fact that Jesus Christ was totally sinless.

What must that have been like in that home? We honor Mary and, of course, as the Christmas season approaches, we're reminded of the joy that came to her heart when she discovered that God had chosen her to bear the Messiah. I'm holding in my hands a book by Nancy DeMoss Walgamuth entitled The First Songs of Christmas, a 31-Day Advent Devotional.

Well, of course, it includes the song of Mary, the Magnificat, but also the song of Elizabeth, Zachariah, the angel's song. What a great opportunity it is for us to have our hearts warmed even as we enter into the Christmas season. I want you to have a copy of this book before December 1st. It is a 31-day devotional. Here's what you can do. Go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember, as you connect with us, we are dependent upon your gifts, your generosity, and your prayers.

The name of the book, The First Songs of Christmas, a 31-day Advent devotional. Connect with us right now. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. There's no better role model for motherhood than Mary, who struggled as a single mom with several children. Her calling as a mom shows us how crucial motherhood is. Next time, more about that high calling. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-07 03:44:20 / 2023-11-07 03:53:28 / 9

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