Sermon for Jericho Road Church on December 17th, 2017. Notes below:
Note: This message was a part of a topical sermon series heavily influenced by a book by Richard Foster titled “Celebration of Discipline” on the topic of spiritual formation. My strong preference would be to preach expository messages straight through books of the Bible. In addition, I would not recommend either Richard Foster or the book “Celebration of Discipline” and the teaching within it. This was an attempt to create a faithful message out of a poor preaching direction and schedule.
Luke chapter 1, verses 46-55:
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;
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;
he has 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.” (46-55)
Personal and prophetic: magnify the Lord
Mary had personal and prophetic reasons to celebrate God’s mighty acts and magnify him. The Lord had met her in her helplessness and weakness. Future generations would call her blessed. She experienced his perfections-his power, holiness, and mercy. Mary also saw Christ’s future work. Morally, he scatters the proud. Socially, he lifts the humble. And spiritually, he fills the hungry with good things.
Magnifying God in everyday life: a personal story
Mary’s reason for magnifying the Lord are just as much true for us as well. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!” (Revelation 20:6).
What would it look like for you to write your own Magnificat? What would you choose to write down? What would you remember as you think back on the ways God has displayed his mighty acts to you? What would you celebrate as you think on God’s future glory?
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
He has drawn close to me in the midst of life’s storms,
when I felt helpless in work, in ministry, and in relationships.
He has heard and answered countless prayers;
he has cared for me and my team at Crossway;
he has grown and stretched me through my local church
and given me lasting and meaningful friendships;
he has used Godly men to speak into my marriage,
and helped me to love and cherish my wife.
He has shown me boundless undeserved mercy,
and I know his goodness will never leave me.”
Our hope in Jesus
The same Jesus that was growing inside Mary that caused her to magnify the Lord is the same Jesus that dwells inside us by his Holy Spirit. God is seeking hearts like Mary’s, children who magnify him, who enlarge him in their souls and on their lips, with the passion of their entire beings.