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A Singing Mom

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2023 7:00 pm

A Singing Mom

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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May 14, 2023 7:00 pm

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I have your Bibles with you today. Turn with me, if you would, to Luke chapter 1, and we're starting at verse 46, going through verse 56. And His mercy is for those who fear Him.

In His offspring forever, Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we pray for our sick this morning. Thank you, Lord, that Jeremy Carriker is here with us today. We have missed him and praise you that he was able to come today and pray that that will continue. Pray for Jim Belkin, Nicole Lowes, and Sarah Alligood, who's struggling with macular degeneration. Pray for Gerard Michaud, who has got open heart surgery coming up in a couple of weeks.

She'd be with him in great power. Lord, I pray for Murray Rice, Renda Torrance. Pray for our unsaved loved ones also, Lord, and pray for recovery for Larry Vorce and Wendy Crestar. Heavenly Father, today is Mother's Day. We offer thanks to you for our moms. They birthed us, they fed us, they bathed us, they helped prepare us for life.

Today we're studying Mary's song to help moms be the moms that you've called them to be. Mary was a humble servant of God. She was going to be married to a carpenter. She had little material wealth.

She had no political aspirations. She was not a social butterfly. But you chose her to give birth to the Son of God. In this song of Mary that she sung several months before Jesus was born, she acknowledges his miraculous birth and his future glory. Help our moms today to use her example to spur them on to be godly moms. Mary was godly but not perfect. She was chosen but not perfect. She was used of God but not perfect. Help our moms today to be challenged by her example but not to be overwhelmed. Help our moms to be like Mary as Mary was like Jesus. For it is in the holy and precious name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. I want you to picture this scene in your mind. Mary has been given the announcement by the angel Gabriel that she has been chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God. That the Holy Spirit, the most high God, is going to overshadow her. And she, as a virgin, is going to give birth to the Son of God. And then the angel shared with her that her aunt, her elderly aunt, is going to have a miraculous baby son.

And so she travels all the way about 85 dangerous miles to the mountains of Judea to visit with Zechariah and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth sees her and they meet together, the baby in Elizabeth's womb, John the Baptist, leaps with joy and she begins to shout out, Blessed are you, Mary, among all women, and the baby in your womb is my Lord. Now, that's the background for the passage that we are looking at today. Some theologians call this Mary's song or the Magnificat.

Let me ask you something. Do you think Mary actually sang this song? I do think that. The Jews love to sing and they use singing to help them memorize scripture. And I believe that she did sing this song. Now, in studying this passage, I have discovered that there are many liberals who question the authenticity of Mary's song. And they say this is too rich theologically and it's too beautiful poetically for a 14 or 15-year-old girl to have actually sung it on her own.

That makes me hot. You know, that's totally overlooking the doctrine of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit of God is the one who inspired Mary to sing this beautiful song. And it's a song filled with the Spirit of God. It's a song filled with the Word of God. As we saw in our reading of scripture just a little bit ago, the song that Mary sings here sounds very similar to the song that Hannah sang as Hannah is praising God for the birth of her baby son, Samuel, who grew up to be a great, great prophet and the last judge of Israel. But, folks, this song that Mary sings is absolutely filled with scripture. Now, all they had at that time was the Old Testament, so it's Old Testament scripture. And we see here that she got this song from Genesis, from Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, from Job, and Psalms, and Ezekiel, Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. It's almost like she took the whole Old Testament and crammed it in to this glorious song. The liberals say that Luke, being an educated doctor and a learned theologian, put these words in Mary's mouth in order that we might understand her feelings.

People, God doesn't have to do that. When Balaam was living here on earth, he was a prophet. Balaam was getting out of God's will and he was being disobedient to God, and God spoke to Balaam, and how did he speak to Balaam? He opened a donkey's mouth, and the donkey spoke, and the donkey spoke to Balaam and spoke to his heart and broke him. Folks, if God can speak through a donkey's mouth, you can rest assured that God can speak through Mary, this woman that he has chosen to give birth to the Son of God.

What an encouragement this ought to be to all of us as parents. Mary's parents took the Word of God and implanted it into her heart, and wow, what fruit grew from the planting of the Word of God. Charles Spurgeon was discipled by a man who had died about 200 years before him. His name was John Bunyan.

He read a lot of John Bunyan's works, but his favorite was Pilgrim's Progress, read it over a hundred times. And Spurgeon said, if you were to take your knife and you were to cut John Bunyan's finger, he would bleed Bible. I think the same thing is true of Mary. Folks, this is Mary's song. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. It is filled with the Word of God. One theologian said that Mary's song is like an aria in an opera.

The action stops, and then the song begins, and the song begins to deeply help us to deeply savor what's going on. And folks, sometimes this is what God wants us to do, to quit running, to quit shopping, to quit going, to quit doing this and that. Just stop, and when you stop, take the time to celebrate on God's Word, to meditate on God's Word, and let it consume you. Today is Mother's Day, and my example for moms is Mary, the mother of the Son of God. My prayer is that God would develop hearts in you as a mama like Mary had.

I've got three points that I want to share with you. Number one is Mary's praise, and there are two parts to that. A, Mary's magnification.

Look at verse 46 through 48. And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed. Mary breaks out in song, and she says, My soul magnifies the Lord. My soul makes great the Lord. My soul enlarges the Lord.

My goodness, what is she saying? Is she saying that her praise can make God greater? No, no, no. Folks, nothing can make God greater. God is great to the hilt. He can't be greater. He can't be more glorious.

He can't be more wonderful than He is. What is being said here is that Mary, her capacity to understand God, to see who God really is, has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger as she praises the Lord. John Piper said, This is like the difference between seeing through a microscope and seeing through a telescope. You see through a microscope, and you take something very, very little, and it makes it appear much, much bigger.

And that's not what Mary's doing. Mary is seeing as through a telescope. When you look at something through a telescope, you look at something that is already very big, but it's a long, far way away. And you look at it to see how truly big it is. Have you ever looked at Jupiter at night? You look up at the planet Jupiter. It looks like just kind of a star up there. And then you look at it through a telescope, and you see that it is absolutely enormous. You can take 1,300 Earths and put them inside the planet of Jupiter. Folks, what we need to see is the telescope does not make Jupiter bigger.

It makes us understand how big Jupiter is. Listen, God desperately wants to enlarge our vision of God. That's why He points us to the heavens.

In Psalm 19.1, what does the Psalmist say? It says this, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above shows forth His handiwork. You ever seen pictures from the Hubble satellite?

Wow. The Hubble telescope brought pictures back to us here on Earth that just knocked my socks off. I mean, they're galaxies, they're exploding stars, they're gas formations, and they're colors, like I've never even imagined before. And that's been there for all of creation, but nobody has seen it. Adam and Eve hadn't seen it. Abraham hadn't seen it. David hadn't seen it. Peter hadn't seen it. Paul hadn't seen it. Augustine hadn't seen it. Luther hadn't seen it. Jonathan Edwards hadn't seen it.

James Boyce died 23 years ago, and he hasn't seen it. But we, in this year, 2023, with all of our technology that we have now, are able to see something about the heavens that no one has seen before and how glorious that is. The heavens declare God's glory. When I saw this picture, my soul was enlarged. My capacity to worship became even greater. Charles Spurgeon said the following, I like sometimes to leave off praying and singing and to sit still and just gaze upward till my inmost soul has seen my Lord. Then I say, He is inexpressibly lovely.

Yes, He's altogether lovely. This is what God desires in our corporate worship. Congregational worship can often magnify God in ways that we can't see as we're worshipping the Lord in our private situation. You know, sometimes when our choir is singing, I'm back there in my seat, and I'm listening to the choir, and as they are singing to God's glory, it feels like my heart's going to pop. The last Sunday morning, the last song that we sang before we left here was, And Can It Be, one of my very favorite songs. I've sung it a hundred times, but the congregation was singing that so powerfully, I felt like I was being raptured.

It was glorious. Martin Luther spoke of this when he said, At home in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church, when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart, and it breaks its way through. Boy, isn't that true. God desires that you learn of Him through the intellect, that if all you have is an understanding of God in your intellect, then you're never going to be a joyful and enthralled Christian. Folks, we need to have our soul enlarged so that you are magnifying God, and when you do, you're worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

Loving God, enjoying God, seeking God, delighting in God, all of your affection so focused upon Him that your worship is just as unhindered as possible. Notice what Mary did to be able to magnify God. The Scripture says that she humbled herself.

Verse 48 says, For he has looked on the humble estate of his servants. A couple of years ago, our choir sang one of my favorite hymns, one of my favorite Christmas songs, Mary, did you know? And my favorite line in that song is this, Mary, did you know that the baby you delivered will one day deliver you?

Man, you talk about humility. Mary's there. She looks down in the manger at the baby that she has just birthed, and she has to be thinking to herself, and I don't think she understood it completely, but she's thinking to herself, I would never be able to go to heaven if it were not for this little baby who is the Savior. Listen to these words from Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

And in Psalm chapter 34 verse 18, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Saint Augustine said it well. He said, for those who want to learn God's ways, the first thing is humility. The second thing is humility. And the third thing is humility. Man, we see humility all over the nativity.

We just see it all over it. There's Mary, and she is a poor, unsophisticated, uneducated virgin. There's the stepfather Joseph, he's a poor carpenter. And there's the place of birth, a manger. Is that negative teaching?

No, it is extremely positive. For it tells us that God's grace is not held back for the rich or the intellectual or the popular or the beautiful. The key is humility, brokenheartedness, and crushed in spirit. God resists the proud that gives grace to the humble.

God said to this one, I will look to those who are brokenhearted, who are contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. What is pride? Pride is spiritual blindness. Pride is thinking so highly of yourself that even God looks small. I know people who know Scripture inside and out, and who can answer all your theological questions, giving you chapter and verse, but you get around them, and you don't even want to be around them for very long, for they're so full of themselves.

They're like the Pharisees who know the letter of the law, but don't know the spirit of the law. God came to Mary. She was humble. She was filled with humility.

She was empty of self-deception. Verse 48 again, Mary said, for he has looked at the humble estate of his servant, and behold, now all generations will call me blessed. That's not bragging, folks. That's astonishment. What Mary was saying was, me? Me?

You got to be kidding. Not me. I don't deserve this. Why would God do this?

Why me? I remember 30 years ago in this church, I was personally discipling a young man. I was taking him through a six-month study on the doctrines of grace. We looked at predestination. We looked at election. We looked at sovereignty. We looked at human responsibility.

We looked at all that. Finally, after six months, we were coming to an end, and I remember him being very shaken, and he looked up at me, and he said, Doug, he said, I am convinced that Scripture teaches that my salvation is of God. He said, I am very convinced that I was dead in my trespasses and sins before I came to know the Lord, and God regenerated my spirit and gave me the ability to repent and believe. He said, I am convinced that I can take no credit for my salvation, and then he said, but I got a question, and his eyes welled up with tears, and he said, Doug, if that's true, then why me?

Why would God choose somebody like me? He said, I'm so undeserving, and I can remember just looking at him and said, Tommy, that's the response that the Holy Spirit of God wanted you to have. You understand exactly what John Newton was doing when he wrote the great hymn, Amazing Grace.

I said, this is what makes ministry so exciting. If you understand the Reformed faith, then you ought to be the most broken, the most contrite, the most humble Christian on the face of this earth, and just like Tommy said, just like Mary said, and just like we ought to say, Lord, why me? All right, point B is Mary's praise moves from magnification to celebration. Verse 49 through 50. 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. God desires us to be humble because the more we get self out of the way, the more we can know and understand who God really is.

The more humble we become, the better we can worship God. Mary's praise flows out of a heart that is filled with deep appreciation. She says, Lord, look at all that you have done for me.

But it doesn't stop there. For Mary moves on to quit talking about herself and she moves on to those in future generations. She moves on to us who are children of God. And look what it says in verse 50. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation, those who fear God will be blessed from generation to generation. To fear God implies loving God with reverential awe.

To fear God means surrender and it means obedience and it means trust. So what will be the result of that? The result is this. The day will come where Jesus will say to you, Well done my good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of the Lord. Revelation 20 verse 6 says, Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Let me ask you something, what's the first resurrection? The first resurrection is regeneration. It is your new birth. It is God resurrecting your dead spirit so that you will repent and believe. Those who were born twice will die once. Those who were born once will die twice.

And the second death is eternal hell. Mary praises God for three things here. First of all, she praises God for his power, then his mercy and then his holiness.

First his power. Mary experienced God's power at conception. The most holy God overshadowed her when she conceived to have this baby Jesus.

She called God the Mighty One, a Dinatas, which we get our English word dynamite from. God does the impossible. He makes barren wounds conceive. He replaces hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. He raises the dead. Mary praises God for his power. Secondly, she praises God for his mercy.

His mercy extends to those who fear him. She said the Lord is sending his son down to this earth. He is sending his son in order that he might do something for us. And what is he going to do when he comes? He's going to take our sin and give us his righteousness. He's going to take our misery and give us his joy.

He's going to take our hell and give us his heaven. Thirdly, she praises God for his holiness. Mary says holy is his name. Gabriel calls Jesus the Holy One and lets her know that her baby would be that Holy One, that not one sinful word would ever come from Jesus' mouth. Not one sinful thought would he ever have. Not one sinful action would he ever do. His character, his nature, and his heart are filled with holiness.

That's amazing. We can't understand that, can we? Let me tell you why we don't understand it because everything we do is tainted with sin.

Everything. And sometimes we confess our sins. Here corporately we do. And we say we're going to repent. And then we have to repent of our repentance because we can't even get that right. Folks, that's why we needed Jesus. So that's Mary's praise. Alright, that takes us to point two, Mary's prophecy. We see it sung in three parts and these are reversals, things that the Lord turns around. A, there's a pride reversal. Look at verse 51.

He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. Historically, who are the proud that God has scattered?

Let me just name a few. There's a Pharaoh of Egypt who puffed his chest out, poked his nose up in the air, mocked God, mocked God's people, and God sent ten plagues on Egypt. The last plague that was the Egyptians' firstborn all died. Then God opened up the Red Sea.

The children of Israel went through on dry land. And then when they got on the other side, the Egyptian army tried to come through and God let loose his power. The waters came crushing down, destroying. The entire Egyptian army completely wiped it out and Pharaoh was in that group.

He died. Goliath stood on the side of the valley across from David. He cursed David. He cursed David's people. He cursed David's God. David picked up a rock, put it in his slingshot, slung it up over his head. That rock flew through the air, guided by the hand of God, hit Goliath right between the eyes, killed him graveyard dead right there on the spot.

I think of Haman. He came up with a demonically orchestrated plan to destroy the Jewish race. And then God turned the tables on him and he was hanged to death on the same galas that he had made for Mordecai the Jew.

I think of Absalom, David's son, who rebelled against David, who tried to turn the hearts of the people of Israel from David to him. And then when they went to battle against David's army, Absalom's riding a mule and his hair is just choking in the wind. And as he's riding that mule, he goes under a tree. His hair gets caught in that tree and pulls him right off the mule. He's hanging there.

He can't do a thing. And the Israelites come and they put him to death. I think of Nebuchadnezzar, who stands before the beautiful hanging gardens of Babylon. And he looks out over the city and his chest just puffs up with pride and he says, look what I have done. And then God took away his sanity and puts him out in the field where he's living like an animal eating the grass off the field. He does that for seven years.

Seven years. Then God finally gives him his sanity back. And when God gives him sanity back, let me tell you, he is a humbled man. This is what he says in Daniel chapter 4, verse 34 through 37. At the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven and my reason returned to me and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored him who lives forever. For his dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say to him, what have you done? Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven for all his works are right, his ways are just and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. I'd say he learned his lesson. This is the first thing that Mary prophesies and she appeals to history and it's a pride reversal.

The second reversal is a political reversal. Verse 52, he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate. He's done this in the past and Jesus will do it again all the way through history. In the past Assyria led by King Sennacher came and surrounded the city of Jerusalem, looked like certain death for Jerusalem and then that night God sent an angel, one angel killed 180,000 Assyrians and just wiped them out and the victory belonged to Judah. King Belshazzar of Babylon mocked God, mocked God's people. He was having a big party that night and all of a sudden a hand peered out of nowhere, wrote a message up on the wall, Minnie, Minnie, tackle you, Farson, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting and he says, Belshazzar, tonight you will die and the Persians will defeat the Babylonians, happened exactly as God said. Then Mary moved from the past to the future.

Mary didn't know exactly what would happen or how God would deal with prideful people in the future but she knew that Jesus would break pride and would raise up the humble. Proud Napoleon had his Waterloo. I think of Adolf Hitler who mocked God, started a world war, killed six million Jews only to end up committing suicide.

I think of the sculptured heads of Stalin and Lenin and Saddam Hussein that line junkyards today. The Messiah, the Lord Jesus will one day come again and folks, even proud Satan is going to have to stand before Jesus and he's going to have to give an account and the scripture says that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, including Satan, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Martin Luther, I mean Martin Lloyd-Jones, excuse me, said the following, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords came into this world.

He came into a stable. If you do not feel a sense of holy laughter within you, I do not see that you have a right to think that you're a Christian. Thank God this is gospel, this is salvation. God turning upside down, reversing everything we ever thought, everything we've taken pride in. The mighty, why he will pull them down from their seats.

He has been doing so, he is still doing so. Let any man arise and say he's going to govern to be the God of the whole world. You need not be afraid, he will be put down.

Every dictator has gone down, they all do. Finally, the devil and all that belong to him will go down to the lake of fire and will be destroyed forever. The Son of God has come into the world to do just that.

All right, C is a material spiritual reversal. Look at verse 53. He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away. From the day that Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, mankind has had a problem and that is that their heart has a hole in it. And what do people try to do with that hole? They try to stuff stuff down into that hole to make themselves happy. What kind of stuff would you want to stuff down into that hole? What do we try to do to feel satisfied?

We stuff materialism into that hole and illicit sex, alcohol, pornography, drugs, political power, popularity. But no matter how much of that stuff we try to put down inside of us, guess what? It never satisfies. Only God can satisfy.

The vacuum that we have down on the inside is a God-shaped vacuum. So in the Old Testament, we have admonitions that we are to hunger after the spiritual and not after the material. In Psalm 42 verse 1, David said this. He said, As a deer pants by the water brook, so pants my soul after thee, O God. In the Old Testament, there was hunger for God.

That's good. But in the New Testament, we see more explicitly how God satisfies that hunger and he does it through Jesus. But you should read the Gospel of John sometime and you'll be amazed to see all the I AM verses.

Jesus is telling us how he will bring us satisfaction. I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the living water. I am the good shepherd. I am the door of the sheep. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth, and the life.

In other words, I am everything that you will ever need. And Jesus was saying, I am the one who can fill the God-shaped vacuum in your heart. Point 3, Mary's promise, verse 54 through 55. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his offspring forever. What is the promise that Mary speaks of here?

The promise is that the Abrahamic covenant is going to be fulfilled. Two thousand years before Jesus was born, God entered into a covenant with Abraham and he told him that his seed, singular, is going to bless this entire world. His seed, singular, is none other than Jesus Christ. And what did Jesus Christ do to bless the world? Jesus Christ came. He died on a cross in order that he might pay our sin debt.

He rose from the dead to break the power of death over us. The promise that we have here is this. God, God, God says, I will be your God and you will be my people.

Let me ask you something. How many we have here right now that are happy about that? Amen. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, help our moms here at Grace to follow Mary's example. Help them to be humble servants who make Jesus their everything. Help them to realize that perfection is not possible.

Help them through struggles, mistakes, and failures. Lord, I pray that you will help our children and grandchildren to see the difference in moms and grandmoms who are sold out to Jesus. The message in Mary's song should be the message of every mama. It's all about Jesus. Help our moms to live it. For it's in Jesus' holy and precious name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 12:12:58 / 2023-05-14 12:25:37 / 13

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