You say you want to be a Christian? Do you know the personal sacrifice asked of you? Maybe becoming a Christian is more than you can really handle!
Jesus’ mother had something to say about the matter. Even while Jesus is growing in Mary’s womb, Mary’s concern is not gathering little boy clothes, a nice crib…Mary turns to the future and sings a revolutionary Holy Spirit inspired song of why Jesus was sent to earth. While most parents dream of rocking the cradle, Mary sees her son rocking the world!
Your inner transformation. Some of Mary’s words could be seen as arrogant: READ Luke 1:48b-49. Wow! However, as you read the whole, there is no arrogance ~ interwoven in Mary’s words is a realistic view: READ 1:48. “Humble” refers to her age, background, economic situation, lack of social standing. Far from being proud, Mary is astounded God chose her to bear the Messiah. “Why me, Lord? You could have had any of the rich girls from Jerusalem?” Mary is a poor Jewish girl. Mary’s amazement is born out of the sense of being a common person that deserves nothing ~ yet she is chosen.
Don’t become a Christian unless you are ready to be accepted ~ it is easier to be a back seat driver. To be a Christian means you let God take you forward! No more excuses for failure. It’s easier to not be a leader and complain about how you would do it. I love the little story about the woman who went to the evangelist Dwight Moody after an evangelistic crusade to tell him how he was presenting the gospel all wrong ~ the poor presentation. Moody asked her to tell him how she presented the gospel. “We’ll,” she stammered, “I don’t.” Moody said to the woman, I think I like my way of presenting the gospel better than your way of not doing it.”
I have made a commitment to Christ. There are probably better acting Christians than me. I am a pastor of a church doing my best… I have learned to make no apologies for how we as a church practice our faith. E.g. our music (“you need more hymns/you need more choruses”), I am so grateful for this stained glass window…. Just this week one person in a written note wanted to get me to ask myself if anybody in this church was truly seeking the Lord, because as an outsider he is not seeing fervency, spiritual aggressiveness…. And I thought, “how dare you!” I am honored to serve alongside so many of the finest Christian people I know, you take a backseat to nobody…”
When you give your life to Christ he takes you with all your warts and wrinkles. In humility, recognition of your true self, dedicate your life to Christ.
God chooses Mary and Mary is amazed. Mary is honored above all others: “From now on all generations will call me blessed.” In one sense, that statement is unique to Mary. Mary alone is the mother of Jesus. Yet, in spirit, Mary speaks for all who embrace God’s sovereignty. Like a good parent who loves each of the children as special and amazing in and of themselves. In my heart, I know I am my mother’s favorite child ~ don’t tell that to Jim, Rita or Barb, though. For all I know Jim is delusional and thinks the same about himself. With God, I truly feel nobody is more blessed than me…. I am not saying I deserve it, but I am realistic knowing who I am ~ it seems impossible God would choose to use me.
If you are not ready to get in the game, don’t become a Christian. Mary, in as much amazement for who she is as the fact that God has chosen her, is a changed person: READ Luke 1:49. Until you are ready for God to ROCK your world, you are not ready to become a Christian. Jesus will change you!
Jesus also came to change the world. The world is turned upside down! When you finally decide to fully give your life to Christ the invitation is to join the revolution. You may not be ready! Mary implicitly knew Jesus came to change the world ~ the revolution is still going on. In Luke 1:51-55, Mary projects so far into the future she speaks of Jesus as if the transformation is complete: "He has performed, He has scattered, He has brought down.”
We don’t normally think of Mary as a prophet, but she is a prophet when she speaks these words. We are still waiting for the fulfillment of the transformation of the world to be complete, but to believe the words of Mary is to believe the triumph of Christ is certain! Consider what Christ is doing right now: do you want to join the revolution? If you think being a Christian is only about changing your world and your inner self, think again, yes, Jesus wants your heart, but he also is destined to be the King of Kings of the world! Being a Christian means to join the cause of Christ to change the world.
In verses 51-53, Mary describes three revolutionary changes that are happening on earth because of Jesus Christ ~ the world is being changed and the day is coming soon when the change will be complete:
1. Jesus is bringing a Moral Revolution. The wrongs of this world are set right! READ Luke 1:51. The coming of Christ means the end of all human boasting. It’s the end of vanity and outrageous ambition. His coming means an end to insatiable greed and uncontrolled lust for power. The mighty are brought down by the strong arm of the Lord. We see this over and over and over and over… Where are the bloody dictators of the 20th Century ~ I found a list of the top ten: I don’t know how to pronounce all these names ~ each of the dictators sought power and lost: Stalin, Zedong, Hitler, Pol Pot, Tojo, Kim Il-Sung, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Milosevic, Franco. Each of these men truly believed they were ushering in a new world order.
We can easily get discouraged about today’s world ~ yet, when I look at the breadth of history and the fact that there are still countries with freedom, when I look at what has NOT taken place, I am encouraged. Jesus Christ is in control, Jesus is setting the wrongs of this earth right. World history is the story of one tower of Babel after another rising high only to topple. It happens on the world stage, the national stage, the local stage. No person/government stays in power forever. To join the revolution of Christ is to put your faith in the certain truth that Jesus Christ is King and he will stand victorious in the end. The revolution was announced by Mary and continues today! Jesus Christ will continue to topple proud and daring men.
I love the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The arm of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” If you cannot see that Jesus Christ is winning, then that would make it difficult to be a Christian. Proud men, no matter how discouraging it looks, will tumble.
2. Jesus is bringing a Social Revolution. READ Luke 1:52. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” I am not interested in debating the politics of it, but you know who has given me more hope than anybody else this past year in the world of politics? Eric Snowden. The whistleblower. A nobody that has shaken up the political world….The Kings and rulers of the world become greedy. It happens on every level, even pastors that grow too accustomed to success. God is setting about to shake things up, he uses the nobodies, the humble. Society is re-morphed.
God is constantly stirring from the bottom. He does not allow sediment to build up. Even in this church, I look at some of the past greats. Arvilla Allingham, Rod Steele, in recent years Jim VanDiest, Herschell Wiley, Frieda Odegaard, Ross Massey, Billie VanDiest ~ nobody lives forever. God is constantly stirring to use unlikely people…. As I held my father’s hand as he was within minutes of death, the only words I could think of to say were, “Your ministry on earth is done.” I didn’t want the words to be true because I thought if God were smart he’d let my father continue to be the pastor of hundreds in this community, but God continues to stir and use more people.
I used to wonder how at the end of so many of the great kings of Israel unflattering stories were told of them… ~ Mary understood: “he has brought down rulers from their thrones.” The pot is constantly being stirred in the Jesus revolution. He will use whoever he sees fit for whatever he wants. If you give your life to Christ, you need to understand you must be ready to serve him whenever he stirs the pot ~ God may choose to put me in a position that is less visible tomorrow, and I must accept that. He may choose to use you in a way you never even considered.
3. Jesus is bringing an Economic Revolution. READ Luke 1:53. This is the most revolutionary part of Mary’s song. Not only does the coming of Christ upset the proud, not only does it lift up the humble, but the hungry are fed and the rich go away empty.
I’ve noticed the poor are usually the first to believe. If missionaries take the gospel into a new mission field, it’s a rare thing for the rich to be the first to embrace the gospel. Poor people usually make up the first church in any culture. Why? Because the poor have nothing in which to trust, so when they hear the gospel they embrace it as truly good news. But the rich don’t see their need of Christ, so they ignore the gospel.
It’s not usually the rich, the well off, who listen. It’s usually the poor, the lowly, and the forgotten that are first willing to listen to the gospel. Phil Dufrene and Port of Hope… The genius of the Christian faith: it goes first to the poor. First to the hungry, first to the hurting, first to the needy, first to the homeless, first to the forgotten.
If you want to be a Christian that means you must learn to love the unlovable, hang out with those who are searching, sit beside the rejected. The method of the Jesus Revolution is to embrace those who have nothing to offer. I really enjoy the quote I saw on Facebook: “You have never really lived till you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” Bind the wounds, heal the sick, give away whatever power the Lord has given to you to those who have less than you. To be a Christian is to enter a world that goes against our nature of seeking power, hobnobbing with the rich.
Are you ready to be a Christian? Jesus came to Rock your world, to change you. Unless you are ready to get out of the stands and play on the field, you don’t want to be a Christian. Jesus came to Rock the whole world, he is fighting a moral revolution in which the proud are brought low, a social revolution in which the humble are lifted up, an economic revolution in which the poor find satisfaction.
This is the final message of the first 100 years of the Sumas Advent Christian Church loving the community of Sumas, Washington. Our purpose of continuing on is because Jesus Christ is still in the business of changing hearts, changing lives, changing communities and changing the world. The words of Mary are still coming true: “he has performed mighty deeds…he has scattered the proud… he has brought down rulers… he has lifted up the humble… he has satisfied the hungry… he has sent the rich away empty…” Let us go forward into the next century as people rocked by Christ, and joining the Jesus Revolution which is rocking the world. Amen.