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December 22, 2021 9:00 am


Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 22, 2021 9:00 am

When the angel told Mary she would have a baby, she knew that meant a life of social isolation. And yet, she called herself blessed. Pastor J.D. is reframing our understanding of biblical blessings.

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Today on Summit life with Judy Greer many of you know because you think about whether or not you are blessed and highly favored bidders. Others of you. Do you think about that but you never really you might not have the right idea of what that means and I'm telling you, you would get this concept you have captured the heart of the gospel and you will capture the message and turn the world upside down everything there and theologian Jeannie Greer. I'm your host Molly benefits and works to be jumping back into God's word with you today. Imagine this with me as the first century A.D. you're a teenage girl and married, and suddenly you learn that baby on the way and that culture would be a huge scandal. Your reputation would be ruined, and you'd probably be a social outcast for the rest of your life. That was the situation that Mary faced when the angel told her that she would give birth to the Messiah. And yet, she called herself last after Jenny's explaining that biblical blessings don't always look like we think they should look like. Actually a good thing. Let's jump right into Luke chapter 1 in a message titled look at a concept that make God possible to simply would get it and that is when we have the assurance that we are walking in the blessing of the favor of God Melbourne blast is one of those words gets thrown around a lot in Christian circles. If you have any exposure to Christianity.

You've heard it, use it and I'm not convinced we really know. Think about what we mean by a lot of times the word just means rich writing. Some of those blasphemies also got a lot of money, sometimes it means that things are going really well for you.

You'd almost like there is a Christian version of the lucky you know it's a Christian version of maybe I'd ever be in your favor in the South. We got a whole all kinds of meetings for the term glass right mean you do not promise I'll probably pick us up.

The phrase, bless his heart, there is no blessing at all involved in that phrase, bless his heart, means he's an idiot right or is one of these phrases were you can say it in your excuse for whatever comes after a right to say whatever you want but I can assure you what, after that is not blessing anybody's heart is statements like no offense was mice is no offense to me. I know that what's about to come out of her mouth is very offensive, so that element. A blessing around here like to say when other people see which nobody really knows why we say that I think the most likely theory is that it goes back to the days of the black plague, and when somebody sees them. If they're getting sick. I got sick, they would likely get the black plague so your sale blessing over somebody really quickly, so they would get the black regardless of say it now. And just like all these other instances of same blessing and favor we use the word but many of us have absolutely no idea what it means somebody says to me you have a blessed day. I never do this sometimes one stops me what you mean by that.

If I were to make a list of the top five things that Christians are confused about this would definitely be on that list. The phrase blessed and highly favored comes from a statement that the angel Gabriel made to Mary when he told her that she be pregnant with Jesus, that statement is found in Luke chapter once.

If you have a Bible and invite you to take it out now open it to Luke chapter 1 and take you through song that Mary Roberson talks about being blessed. The angel said to her. In verse 28. If you want to skim as you're getting their bagel sister. You are blessed and highly favored Elizabeth, who is Mary's and I guess her cousins on my dad when she sees Mary, she uses the word blessed with her three times in two sentences, verse 42 she was with explain the loud cry. Blessed are you among women.

Blessed is the fruit of your womb. Verse 45.

Blessed is she who believed Mary then composes a song in which she called herself blast and says pretty boldly, I might add that from that generation forward. People would think of her as the picture of what it meant to be blessed. Luke 148 from now all generations for now on all generations will call me blessed. So what is the word mean you look in verse 46 you see a song very composed. This is incidentally the first Christmas Carol ever written. This song is about what it means to be blessed, and there are many of you that have no concert. You never even think about whether or not your blessed and highly favored bidders.

Others of you who do you think about that. I say how are you blessed and highly favored, but you never really you might not have the right idea of what that means and I'm telling you, if you would get this concept you have captured the heart of the gospel and you will capture the message it turned the world upside down everything it let me read the whole thing. Verse 46 and 55 will ask questions about it. Verse 46 and Mary saying Mrs. in poetry.

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Frias looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name and his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts is brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate. He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever for questions I want to ask about this song number one would you have thought of Mary as blessed if you had just met her on the street had a conversation whether found out about her situation in life.

Would you look at her and said there is one, blessed and highly favored number two. What was the nature of her blessing. Number three. What was the basis of her blessing and then will consider are you living as one who is blessed and highly favored okay so question number one would you have thought of Mary as blessed again. If you just read ensure found out the situation in her life which you said there somebody blessed and highly favored will consider the fact that when Mary's when this statement was made you think about the situation that she is in her life, her reputation, listen to this had been irrevocably ruined, at least in her generation. It was a teenage girl pregnant out of wedlock in that culture was a serious scandal you add to that the fact that she was engaged to another guy and that guy lived a good ways away so everybody knew the baby could not be his. She was considered a loose girl and a girl who had cheated on a very good and a very gracious fiancé. By the way the angel did not even tell Joseph about this pregnancy until several months later, which means that Mary had to endure this almost all by herself in this state reputation by the way, it would stay with her for the rest of her life even after Jesus died. There were people that still said that she had gotten pregnant because she slept with a Roman soldier.

That theory was still around. We know the early church talk about it long after Jesus had died. She had a reputation I want you to think about this very soberly that was ruined by God. God did that to her right guy didn't have to do it that way. Diddy but God chose to do it that way and to ruin her reputation which you have told her and said there's a woman that is blessed and highly favored by God.

Plus, she was very very poor.

Indications are she was the poorest of the poor is how we know that the Jewish law said that when you had your firstborn son only her firstborn son yet offer llamas a Thanksgiving offering… Every Jewish family just about could be that the wall maybe one exception, and that was if you were so poor you cannot afford a lamb to give two turtledoves which was essentially pennies when Mary and Joseph offered a Thanksgiving offering for Jesus, they offered two turtledoves which means they were at the lowest possible economic status of anybody in their society clusters just the difficulty of having a kid. I have been with my wife and see her bear children four times it's difficult for a woman in a marriage and she's taking care of scholars say that at her oldest, Mary would've been 17 years old.

Be honest if you were looking to marry based on the externals which you have called her blessed. No she has not been given a close parking space at the mall of her life right. But in the core of her being she is carrying God and she is going to give birth to a Savior is going to reconcile the world to God. Her blessing consist of two things. And this is question number two. What was the nature of her blessing was the nature of her blessing are two things in this song when a highlight for you given that all be in a enemies you take notes a presence PRESENC. Notice how much he speaks about God in the first person verse 46 God is my Savior. Verse 48 he has looked on me. Verse 52 I was a lowly and you exalted me verse 53 I was hungry and you fed me yet.

Nothing even when she is making a statement. Nothing has changed in her circumstances as it she still poor reputation still ruined.

She still scandalized nothing.

This change in her circumstances. So when she makes the statement in the present tense listen. She is not rejoicing and what God has given to her tears rejoicing in what God has become to her in Christ at this point Christ in her is her only exultation Christ in her the baby in her womb is her only fullness Christ is her only sustenance. The presence of God in her only salvation to verse 48. What she said that they will call me blessed. Whether you call me blessed ever call me blessed for student work for verse 49 warnings about tell you I'm blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me what great things I got done for her not releasing the externals of her life. It seemed that way. Nothing in her circumstances, but God has taken up residence inside her and he is going to bear her sin he is going to suffer death for her and he's going to reconcile her to God forever. He who is mighty has done great things for me to see the gospel is the three attributes of God. You see in verse 49 and 50 wrapped together issuers as God is mighty look at the network and holy is his name holy people of misunderstandings of that were holy. Sometimes holiness means wholeness of limits is something as God created to be. God is perfect.

There is no defilement in him you and I get used to sin God never does. You and I watch movies what is live in a world where it's all around us. And so it is, learn to live with dishonesty and pride in and augment violence and immorality.

God never get used to it.

Why, because God is perfect God is so infinitely perfect and so infinitely holy that there is nothing of our imperfection that God would allow to come into heaven. But you know what we said we would turn heaven and hell would you would have that creation. What we've done with this creation and that is to introduce all this corruption into it presents a dilemma for us is not how can we, how can we ever be close to God.

How could God know us that we do that other characteristic merciful because God is merciful, he could look at us in the situation and just leave us to be.

Isaiah describes it, the mercy of God like like like a mother feels for a newborn child, which is one I just met. He's watching my wife watching Veronica with our kids in either something in me that dad has it to, but something about the way the mom relates to that child would have these arguments at 330 the morning to the babies officers crying about given sound to me like a dime or he or she is dines off like you just leave it alone, you know, and she pushed her heart is net to that child as a dad I watch my kids now. I feel a little bit of this when my kids are in pain.

If there was any possible way for me to take that pay for them. I would do that in a minute did that not even that gives you a glimpse of how God is Isaiah 49 says that's like what God feels but not even that doesn't justice Jesus in Luke chapter 10 said that our feelings for could for our children compared to how God feels for his children are evil, which is a weird statement to make because I don't ever feel evil when I'm loving my kids right all the time just coming off like a pretty good person you with you. I can be a selfish jerk with my kids that's on pretty gracious.

What would Jesus was saying is that your love for your kids at your best moment compared to the intensity of God's love for his kids.

If like it's evil God was merciful that was no possible way he could let his children suffer so when Jesus came, it was just to watch Jesus is is almost staggering to watch the mercy that he carried with him. It's almost like Jesus is not even the control of his mercy is a reflex story I told you where Jesus was walking from one place to heal somebody you know in this town over here.

I'm always walking some woman comes up and grabbed the hem of his garment. And Jesus turns around and says the strangest thing to supply touch me off of the power go out for me. What's weird about the head is the ease out you like is not in control of it is the omnipotent God knew that was until somebody that have the reason he says it that way is because he's trying to show you that there is so much mercy as part of function. Something like a reflex. He cannot be around somebody in need.

He cannot be around somebody was coming to him for mercy. Without it is flowing out almost uncontrollably from TV. He is holy which means he had to do something about our sin is merciful, which meant he wanted to do something about our sin is mighty which meant he was able to do something about our sin which you for the three characteristics together and what you come out with is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Because God was doing his mightiest work for us. Listen when he came in to Mary and he was born and he lived and he died to save me is the mercy of God that is the best expression of his power.

Did you know there is only one thing in all the Bible is called the power of God. Only one that is only one thing is other things are.

God uses his power to do, but only one thing is ever called itself the power of God and that is the gospel. The gospel is the power of God.

David thought of it this way. Psalm chapter 8 he says God I look at the heavens.

I look at the stars. I look at the creation and use the word as you create notice for your fingers if he would take her arm to stick your fingers.

You II really miss my kids the other morning and it says that if you could scale down the Milky Way the stage with America. The size of our solar system in the Milky Way would be us the size of a teacup sit in a kind of North America. The size of the earth will be like a almost imperceptible speck of dust inside the teacup and you and I would be us back on his back in that teacup God created all of that with his fingers that he would take us on yet when he did this that Mary is talking about. You notice she said by the strength of your arm.

Did you notice that the gospel is called itself the power of God reminds me of a song we sang when I was a kid.

It took a miracle. It took a miracle for him to put the stars in place. It took miracle for him to hang the world in place, but would he save my soul came and made me whole. It took a greater miracle of love and grace.

The gospel is the power of God because it is mercy in action is God's promise to you that he will take all the things in your life and use it for good is the promise that know you have forsaken him though you have walked away though you have defiled him.

He never stopped loving for you. He never gave up on you. He came after you took the rebel.

Not only did he make in his son and daughter, but he took the penalty of their sins and to his own body because he did not want to live without you.

That is the power of God, my friend, would you really still consider the question of whether or not you're too guilty for God to save it was you really entertain the thought that your life is to messed up. The addictions are too strong. The relationship for two broken, you realize that the creation all the world that we see this entire universe God to be would take his arm to fingers. It's not called the power of God. There was more power that went into your salvation then went into the creation of the universe and when you get that if you ever get that you say what David said and you say what Mary said which is, essentially, this note that God be filled with this God. That's a blessing. That's the treasure, the greatest blessing the blessing that makes all other blessings appear insignificant in comparison. God is ours to see a problem I have with the prosperity gospel is that it prioritizes earthly blessings that God can provide over God himself.

God become something like a piñata in faith is the walking stick, and if you want God just right with the walking stick of faith and out of him comes the candy that you need, which is prosperity and power and privilege what Mary is trying to say is God is his own candy and the greatest thing that God could ever give you is not necessarily to fix your reputation to get you the job to elevate you to a position of power that God might do those things you might have purposes in doing those things for you. The greatest blessing God whatever gift he was God himself, and you should not turn God into account that get you into some other kind of blessing because God himself created you to that he would know you and love you and the greatest gift you can ever get to you is his presence letter be promise promise for city, for he has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, just like you spoke to our fathers Abraham and to his offspring forever. Christ was the fulfillment of the promise that God gave Abraham to bless him and to make him a blessing. Did you know it'd been 2000 years since God made a promise and I'm sure there were many people who thought that by this point God had forgot about it because things were not going well for Israel. I'm sure there were some who said God has forgotten about us if he even exists at all. As you noted in 400 years since God had spoken Israel what Mary says is all know God had not forgotten in all things he was working just like you promised to bring forth Jesus, which was a greater blessing than any other street you see in the same way. He's working in and through you, sometimes invisibly, sometimes silently, sometimes in your 400 years of darkness, to bring forth Jesus from you and sometimes it might feel like he is forgotten. Some of you thought that this weekend just like you have 400 years of silence, don't you say God I think you forgot me if you even exist at all, but what Mary is trying to say you is do not believe for a second that he has forgotten you, as he remembers his mercy, and it might be a long time since a promise has been made. But God has a long memory and God never forget God sent Jesus cannot prove to you that what he started.

He will finish there's a book I read my kids are rarer in the morning. Some sometimes what I can get them at the table they're paying attention, describes a book by Sally Lloyd Jones called thoughts to make your heart sing. It's a kids whatever the statement of any of the David Lloyd Jones wrote pretty sure whenever their head because they're not always doubted and put your Cheerios on their face and see you can you know and I'm like having this deep spiritual moment. God, I needed to show somebody would pay attention and that's going to be.

It wasn't when God promises to bless you. He is saying. I'm going to make you and everything I've ever met for you to be anything God is taking every day and every single thing that happens in it good and bad to make you stronger demand. Whatever is broken inside the change you into the person you were always meant to be. God takes everything that's the promise good and bad is not turn all the bad into good right now is that he is taking all the bad and good to make you into what he wants you to be which is somebody in the form of Jesus Christ to make you like Jesus to make you love and know God the way that Jesus does and then to make you a vehicle of his blessing to others because that is the greatest blessing. Just think about that question I pose at the beginning with why did God do it this way.

Why did God choose to ruin Mary's reputation when he didn't have to. What it usually report for a time when he didn't have to lie. Here's what listen to very important because he was allowing Mary to taste of the cross because crossing how he was to bring salvation to the world God saved the world. Listen not to Jesus's exultation, God save the world to Jesus's humiliation and crucifixion in the same way, God extends salvation to the world. Listen, not to the church is prosperity primarily, but to the churches death. God uses both. I realize that and there are times that God promised to review and he does that for reasons so that you can spread what he's giving but I also want you to understand that God allows people to share in the cross because it is in the cross that God does his best. Don't be surprised. Don't think you're not blessed. You are blessed and highly favored, not because all the circumstances in your life is good because of the presence promise and presence of God. You're listening to some it might.

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