Sermon Title:  A model heart

Summary:  God’s choice of Mary demonstrates that God has made the kingdom
accessible to anyone with the right heart regardless of social status.  Mary’s
heart is an example for us on how to receive the “birth of Christ” in our own lives. 
Like hers, our hearts should be contemplative, humble and submissive.

	Know:  We need to have a quiet, humble and submissive heart in order to
discern and accept God’s will in our life

	Feel:  The need to slow down and spend time in reflection and prayer.

	Do:  Spend time reading, reflecting, and responding to God.

Text:  Luke 1:26-38

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 119:11-15

I.  Girl lost at night in heavy snow, couldn’t see.
	A.  Father said to follow taillights in front of you
		1.  She saw some, and followed for a long time
	B.  They stopped, driver got out and came back to her
		1.  Asked her what she was doing
		2.  She told him that Father said to follow taillights when lost
	C.  Okay, well, I’m done with the Walmart parking lot, you can follow me 
	      over the KMart parking lot next
	D.  Ever felt lost?  Not know what to do?
		1.  What does it take to know you going the right way?
		2.  Will explore that question
II.  God made the kingdom accessible to everyone  (Luk 1:26-38)
	A.  Look at Jesus’ human roots
		1.  Galilee and Nazareth
			a.  Not a respectable area, overrun with gentiles
			b.  Nazareth almost never mentioned in writings or O.T.
			c.  It is like Toadsuck, or Alvord, or Williford
			d.  Gabriel doesn’t go to Judea, Jerusalem, or Temple
		2.  Came to Mary
			a.  12 - 14 years old and unmarried
			b.  Not from wealthy or elite
			c.  Maybe illiterate
		3.  Yet she is the “favored one” (v.28)
			a.  Just a humble teen girl
			b.  Jesus may have borne her facial features
			c.  Hair color, mannerisms, expressions, etc.
	B.  Tempted to emphasis the lowliness of Jesus here
		1.  But Gabriel mentions nothing of his lowliness
		2.  His name was to be Yeshua, a common Jewish name
			a.  Name takes significance in what he says next
			b.  He will be great
			c.  Will be called Ben-Elyon, & Ben-Elohim (divine)
			d.  Throne of David - Will be a king
				- Alludes to 2 Sam 7:12-13; Isa 9:7
		3.  Jesus is the greatest ever
	C.  ILL:  Song I heard on the Radio
		1.  Singer heard pretty music, went into the church
		2.  Asked to leave, he not right kind of person
		3.  That is what some of the Pharisees did 
		4.  But this “preview” of the kingdom gives a different picture
	D.  All the greatness of Heaven comes to the earth
		1.  Not to Jerusalem, temple, priestly family, aristocrat, etc.
		2.  To a despised place, in obscure village, to teen girl
		3.  Point?  God is accessible to anyone, TO YOU
III.  Why did God chose Mary out of all the other people?
	A.  Obviously, she was suitable
	B.  Not because of any “greatness” the way people think of greatness
	C.  Due to her heart
	D.  Luke presents her as a model heart
		- have to have the right heart for Jesus to be in us
IV.  What kind of heart should we have?

Sermon Points:

I.  We should have a contemplative heart
	A.  Mary was a girl of depth
		1.  (1:29) - She “pondered” these things
			a.  Not terrified as much as Zechariah
			b.  Able to listen, and ponder, not just doubt
			c.  Her question not doubt, like Zechariah, but inquisitive
		2.  (2:19) - Pondered them in her heart
		3.  Mary was young, but not shallow
			a.  She spent time in reflection
			b.  There is a calm, quiet, trusting beauty in her
		4.  This meditative aspect give Mary a strength of character
	B.  ILL:  Henry Ford hired an efficiency expert
		1.  All okay, except for man in office down the hall
			a.  Every time I walk by, just sits there with feet up on desk
			b.  He is wasting your money
		2.  Ford’s response
			a.  That man had an idea that saved us millions of dollars
			b.  At that time, his feet up on his desk like it is now
		3.  Flash of insight often comes through silence and reflection
	C.  May think this it is a waste of time
		1.  May acknowledge it in word, but maybe not in deed
			a.  We value movement, productivity, action, results
			b.  What do you have to show for meditation?
			c.  So we skip meditation
		2.  Scripture shows meditation in a positive light
			a.  Josh 1:8 - Meditate day and night on God’s word
			b.  Psalms:
				- 1:2 - Righteous meditate day & night on God’s word
				- 119L23-24 - Meditate when opposed
				- 119:97-99- Meditation all the day
				- 119:148- My eyes anticipate the night watches
			c.  Phil 4:8 - Dwell/meditate on these things
	D.  Need to take time for Biblical meditation
		1.  Not the far eastern, new age meditation
		2.  Spend time in reflection, contemplation, and prayer
		3.  Write down your reflections
		4.  Will help you sort out and be receptive to God’s will

II.  Need to have a humble heart
	A.  Mary is an example of humility
		1.  Her name, “Miriam” in Hebrew, means “exalted”
			a.  Fits, she is “blessed among women” - v.42
			b.  She is “favored one” -v.28
		2.  v.38 - Her response to Gabriel
			a.  Calls herself doulh - “slave” not “servant”
			b.  Doesn’t say, “I am Mary, exalted one”
			c.  Even though she is favored & blessed, she is humble
		3.  In turn, she will raise a humble child - Jesus
	B.  What does it take to be humble?
		1.  (Col 2:18-19) - Hold fast to Christ
			a.  These had false humility from not holding to Christ
			b.  Source of forgiveness is through works
				- Whose works?  Not yours, but Christ at the cross
				- You didn’t earn it
		2.  (Phil 2:3-7) - Follow Christ’s example
			a.  Regarded others as more important than himself
			b.  Did not grasp at greatness, but humbleness
		3.  (Lk 18:9-14) - Recognize your own unworthiness
			a.  God does not justify the proud, but the humble
			b.  Nothing in ourselves to be proud of
		4.  (Psalm 8:1-4) - Spend time in reflection
	C.  ILL:  Phillip Brooks said :  The way to be humble is not to stoop until 
	       you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your full stature against 
	       a higher nature that will show the smallness of your greatness
	D.  God will work through you wonderfully in you have humble heart
		1.  Can’t truly obey the Gospel without it
		2.  Can’t be God’s slave without it
		3.  Can’t serve without it

III.  Need to have a submissive heart
	A.  Mary was totally yielding to God (v.38)
		1.  Do you realize the difficulty she might have to face?
			a.  Difficulty with parents, family, community?
			b.  Joseph was ready to divorce her
			c.  Law stipulates death penalty for unchastity to one 
			     betrothed - though wasn’t practiced due to Roman rule
			d.  Later generations accused Jesus of being illegitimate
		2.  But Mary accepted God’s will obediently
		3.  God intervened to keep Joseph from divorcing her
		4.  Mary remained obedient
	B.  ILL:  Arabian horses rigorous training for obedience in Middle East
		1.  Trainers require absolute obedience
		2.  Final test - horses go days without water, turn them loose
			a.  The run toward the water, trainer blows whistle
			b.  Trained horse will stop, come back to trainer
			c.  They stand there, trembling, wanting water
			d.  Trainer lets them go get a drink
		3.  Sounds harsh, but when life entrusted to horse in desert
		      better have a trained horse
	C.  We need to accept God’s training and obey him
		1.  (Dt 30:19-20) - Obeying his commands is life
		2.  (Jn 10:7-10) - Must follow Jesus the shepherd for our life
		3.  (Jn 12:50) - His commandment is eternal life
	D.  Whatever you discover God calls you to do, be submissive
		1.  With obedient submission comes life
		2.  Now and after you die

1.  It all starts with a contemplative heart
	allows you to be humble
		allows you to be submissive to his will
2.  What is God calling you to do today?
	a.  Like Mary, may cause some difficulty
	b.  Maybe it is becoming a Christian (invitation)
3.  Maybe it is something else
	a.  Should you be following those tail lights in front of you in the storm?
	b.  Spend some time in reflection - What does God want you to do?
	c.  Is there a problem, challenge, opportunity in your life?
	d.  Reflect on God’s word, and what he wants you to do.

Questions for Small Group Discussion