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A Mother's High Calling – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
November 8, 2023 12:00 am

A Mother's High Calling – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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November 8, 2023 12:00 am

Rather than dismiss or discourage the importance of motherhood, the Bible considers it an honor. There’s no better role model than Mary, who experienced pain and conflict about her firstborn: Jesus, the Son of God. In this message, Pastor Lutzer encourages mothers to embrace their role. Imagine the rewards of nurturing children in the faith.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. 

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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. There's no better role model for motherhood than Mary, who struggled as a single mom with several children, including her firstborn, Jesus, the Son of God. Her calling as a mom shows us how crucial motherhood is. Today, more about that high calling. 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, there may be no more gripping image than Mary standing at the foot of the cross, watching her son being put to death. And you know, Dave, I'm very interested in the phrase that you used in the intro when you said a single mother. We don't know exactly when Joseph died, but most scholars believe that when Mary was standing at the foot of the cross, Joseph, of course, is nowhere to be seen.

As a matter of fact, he disappears from the pages of Scripture after Jesus is 12 years old, and we all know the story of how he was left back at Jerusalem. Be that as it may, Mary inspires us toward motherhood, toward a commitment to Jesus Christ. That's why I'm so excited about the book entitled The First Songs of Christmas, a 31-day Advent devotional, because it includes Mary's song, obviously, but also Elizabeth's song, Zechariah's song, the angel's song, and so forth. This is written by Nancy DeMoss Walgamuth. I want you to have a copy before December 1st so that you can do this 31-day devotional. Your heart will be warmed. You'll receive new insights regarding the songs that surrounded the birth of Jesus Christ. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

You go to rtwoffer.com, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. The first songs of Christmas, 31-day devotional, all about the songs that surrounded the birth of our Savior. 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.

Can you imagine what that was like? Who punched Simeon? James. I think it was Jesus that punched Simeon.

Are you sure? No, Mom, it wasn't Jesus. I mean, he never lied. He never punched anybody out. He told the truth.

He never stole anything. And he's this righteous older brother. And she's managing this household, and the Bible says that his brothers didn't believe on him even when his ministry begins. Now, that's one I'm not going to turn to, but you can write it down, the opening verses of the seventh chapter of John. They say to him rather sarcastically, well, why don't you go up to the feast and show the miracles you can do there because if you stay here, nobody's going to see these miracles. And John says, and this they said because even his brothers did not believe in him. And Mary has to manage this.

It gets worse. You'll notice in the third chapter of Mark, we have a remarkable, remarkable in Mark, I think. We have a remarkable story where evidently members of his family think that he is insane.

You'll notice in chapter 3, I'm in verse 20. Then he went home and the crowd gathered again so that they could not even eat. And when the family heard it, they were out to seize him. For they were saying, he's out of his mind. He's out of his mind. Here's our brother and look at what he's doing. He has all these large crowds. He is making all of these stupendous claims and we know we ate with him. We played with him in the playpen.

How can this be? And they want to rescue him from the crowd, which verses later says that he is beside himself because he has a demon. So let's pick up the story now a little later on. It says in verse 31 and his mother and his brothers came. They want to take him. I don't think that Mary ever doubted who her son was, but who knows the role that she was playing in this controversy. They were standing outside. They sent to him and called him and a crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you. Does he say, okay, mom, I'll come over and talk with you and I'll connect with my brothers now. He answered them, who are my mother and my brothers?

And looking around at those who were around him, he said, here are my mother and my brothers and whoever does the will of my father. He is my brother. He's my sister. My sisters too. And my mother.

Thank you very much. And Jesus kind of blows them off. They don't understand. And Mary is there trying to navigate all of this tension that develops because this child was not only precocious, he was a divine child and he refused to fit the mold and they didn't know what to do with him. Now, of course, the sword finally enters into her heart and hits the most sensitive place of who she was. When Jesus is being crucified, Mary shows up again. Joseph is not in the picture.

Virtually everybody, and I believe this to be true too, believes that early on Joseph died. He's simply not a part of the picture. She has this blended family. She has this remarkable firstborn.

She's got at least six other kids. And now Jesus is dying and she is there. She'd have gladly traded places with him, but she knew that that wouldn't have worked because he was the Redeemer and she wasn't. As a matter of fact, she also knew that she had to be redeemed by her son as the Magnificat indicates where it says so clearly.

It says, I rejoice in God my Savior. She also was a sinner who needed to be redeemed. And there she is. She could have gone to the authorities and says he's insane, take him down from the cross. But she doesn't interfere with the divine will because she knows enough that the divine will is being accomplished there. But she's there and she is not only watching him die, she is watching him die an excruciating death. And none of his brothers, so far as we know, are mentioned as being anywhere around and the mother bears the sorrow alone.

The sword had come to her and what a sword it was. The joys of parenting, the challenges of parenting, the exhilaration and opportunity of parenting, but also the tremendous amount of sorrow that you sign up for oftentimes when you become a mother. Mothering is not easy.

It's not easy. What I'd like to do is to wrap all this up by helping us understand three life-changing lessons that will be an encouragement to mothers, but to all of us ultimately. And to help us to understand the divine calling that God puts upon a single life, a single baby. First of all, it's very clear that motherhood is the highest calling.

It is the highest calling. I'm sure that there's not a mother that is listening today that doesn't agree that parenting a child is important. Is it important? Oh yes, it is important. What they often don't see is that it is ultimately important, massively important.

Many don't get that. I realize of course that there are many, because of tragic circumstances, who have to work outside the home. Many mothers, sometimes single moms, sometimes because of other reasons. There are also those who thankfully can work, but they can work from within the home rather than outside the home. So it's not my intention to load people with guilt.

Every situation is different. What I'd like to be able to say is that those who are struggling, especially the single moms, may we as a church come together and stand with them and help them in the parenting process by the giving of ourselves, by representing family to them and being there for them. I can't think of any job that would be more lonely than to be an adult with children and you come home and there's nobody, no adult to talk to.

God bless you single moms. But nonetheless, I am going to read a passage from what a Selma Freyberg wrote. I worry about babies and small children who are delivered like packages to neighbors, to strangers, to storage homes. In the years when a baby and his parents make their first enduring human partnerships, when love, trust, joy, and self-evaluation emerge through the nurturing love of human parents, millions of small children in our land may be learning values for survival in our baby banks. They may learn the rude justice of the communal playpen. They may learn that the world outside the home is an indifferent world or even hostile. They may learn that adults are interchangeable, that love is capricious, human attachment is perilous, and that love should be hoarded for the self in the service of survival.

Again, I must say it and you can receive it and let me emphasize again that God's grace covers all kinds of mistakes, all kinds of them. But all the indications are the studies that that bonding of a baby and its mother, if that is not a close, loving, secure bonding, the child will feel the effects when they go into their marriage, their inability to be able to bond permanently, and on and on it goes. Mothering is not just important. It is supremely important. And you and your family have to figure out exactly what that means for you because it may look different in every home.

But remember, God says, this is my child, rear him or her for me. Nothing, nothing more important than that. Secondly, the rewards of motherhood. Oh, you've been waiting for that. You've been waiting patiently.

You're saying, where's the reward? The rewards of parenthood are often delayed, delayed. When Mary is there at the crucifixion of Jesus, that's the best Jesus can do to take care of his mom, but it must have warmed her heart. Woman, behold your son, points at John. John, that's your mother. And the Bible says from that moment, Mary went into John's home. John said, OK, I received a commission from Jesus to take care of you. And I'm sure that he took care of Mary for the rest of her life. So even there, there was a reward.

And maybe this is a good opportunity for me to give you an assignment. This week, affirm to your mother how much he means to you. Build, rebuild that relationship. I can't do that anymore. I used to always call my mother on Mother's Day and these days, heaven is not taking my calls.

So if your mother is still alive or finds some other mother that needs affirmation and honor her, there are rewards to motherhood. And then you know the story there of how Jesus Christ's brothers did not believe on him and they're saying, oh, you know, he's out of his mind. Let's go seize him. How did that all end? Oh, my friend, that ended beautifully. Acts chapter 1, we won't take time to read it, but it is there in the upper room where they're waiting for the Holy Spirit, the beginning of the church. The Bible says there was Mary and his brothers were there in the upper room. And you know, when it uses that phrase, it very frequently means sisters to brothers are used in a larger context. And I could show that to you from scripture. So in the end, his brothers believe.

And you know what? The oldest of their natural children happens to be James. And James begins to lead the church in Jerusalem. He writes a book in the New Testament by the name of James. And that's where the book of James came from, the half brother of Jesus.

Now, you know, I read this yesterday and smiled. If I had been writing that book, what would I have written? I'd have written James, a half brother of Jesus. And then I would have put in brackets, I actually shared a bunk with him when we were growing up. I mean, James was the oldest of their siblings, apart from Jesus, who of course was the oldest, but born of a different father. But no, he doesn't. He just says, James, a servant of God. Why?

Because the physical relationship was not the important thing. And you and I today, we can be called servants of God, we can be called daughters of God, and we can have an intimacy with Jesus, the same kind that James had, even though he was the half brother of Jesus. There's something interesting in the Bible.

I'll just throw in as a parenthesis. In 1 Corinthians 15, that great chapter on the resurrection of Jesus and how he manifested himself, it says, he appeared to Peter, and he appeared, also later on it says, to James. We're not told which James that is.

It could be the James of the disciple, Peter, James, and John, but I tend to think that that might be his own brother, and his own brother saying, wow, to think I grew up with him, and he was the Messiah, he was the Son of God, I believe on him, I'm now a leader within the church, and I even get to write a book that's going to become a part of the New Testament. It ended well. Friends, oh, my heart goes out to you. I see the struggles even of our own children as they rear our grandchildren. The hassles, the things go wrong, and you don't know whether to discipline or whether or not to discipline. You do your best, but sometimes your best seems to be so woefully inadequate.

You're tired, you're weary, and you know that tomorrow is going to be a day just like this one. It's very tough, but you look at it long-term, and you say, wow, God used me? Imperfection? You know, secret, God uses only imperfect parents, and the reason he does is that's all he's got. That's all he's got. That's all he's working with, and there have been those who haven't been properly parented, and they turn out to be servants of God and daughters of God.

And remember what I told you in the last message. Wherever you see sin, you also see grace. You also see the redemptive aspect of God. We get our priorities right and our hearts right, and we do our best in God's good power as we yield to him. We might be surprised someday that the rewards of parenthood, those rewards, exist in the future, even when you can't see them now.

And what's the bottom, bottom line? Mary raised a Savior. We get the opportunity of raising children who love that Savior, who serve that Savior, whose hearts have been given to that Savior, and will spend eternity worshiping and praising God along with us, praising that Savior forever. And that's who it is that God gives you to parent, a child that lives forever, giving praise and honor to God.

That's our calling. What a privilege. What a privilege to raise a child for Jesus. There is a story about a woman who is walking along, and because I wasn't able to verify the story, I won't give you the name that I was given, but I verify this part of it, that she was in a blizzard and she had a baby.

The blizzard came, and when she was discovered, she was dead because she had taken off all of her outer clothing and had wrapped her baby in that clothing, and the baby lived. You know, that's a picture of motherhood, but it's also a picture of what Jesus did for us. He came and he saw us abandoned. He came and saw us in our need. He saw us under judgment, and he came and he wrapped his love and his righteousness around us and saved us. And then he was raised from the dead, and he went to heaven, and he's going to return for us because he is a very wonderful Savior who saves us from our sins. Mary raised him, but we get the privilege of raising those who will also worship and love him.

Have you believed on that Savior, by the way? You can have the assurance that you belong to God forever. That assurance can be yours if you respond to what Jesus did on the cross and if you give your life to him.

I mentioned earlier that I was giving you an assignment. Part of it is to say thank you to some mom and encourage that mom, but there's something else. I want you this week to lay hold of Isaiah 64, verse 4. It's only a snatch of verse that you can hold onto. It says this, God acts on behalf of all those who wait for him. If we pray earnestly and we wait on God, God acts on our behalf. He can change our family. He can change our hearts.

He can transform us because God acts. That's why prayer is so important on behalf of those who wait for him, and we can raise that child for the glory and the honor of God. Let's pray. Father, despite the imperfection of our parents, the inconsistent discipline, the struggles, sometimes the rejection, we thank you today that we are here today to testify to your goodness in, through, and in spite of human failure.

Thank you that you use imperfect people. Encourage each we pray, and for those who have never received Christ as Savior, we pray that you might enable them to do that. And may we look into the eyes of a child and say, we're rearing that child created in your image for your glory. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Very interestingly, yesterday in my devotions, I read the words of Jesus where he said, men, and of course he would include women, ought always to pray and not to lose heart.

Parents, keep praying, don't lose heart. I'm holding in my hands a book entitled The First Songs of Christmas, written by Nancy DeMoss Walgamoth. It's a 31-day Advent devotional. I want you to have a copy before December 1st. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Now, it discusses the songs that surround the Christmas story, and of course it sheds new light on these songs that we have possibly read before, but it's also a reminder of the uniqueness and the beauty and the fulfillment of prophecy.

God, after all, did prophesy the coming of Jesus, and when you read Mary's song, you're surprised at the number of references to the Old Testament. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to RTWOffer.com. That's RTWOffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I want to emphasize once again, because I want you to have this book before December 1st, I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. Go to RTWOffer.com.

Of course, RTW offers all one word or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 2004. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Society confuses the natural roles of men and women. Feminists want men to feel that it's wrong to be masculine. The result, families with either weak husbands or no husbands at all. Next time, we focus on God's view of the role of a dad. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-08 06:00:37 / 2023-11-08 06:09:39 / 9

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