The Encourager

The Encourager

Displaying 9 - 10 of 118

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 57 58 59


Why God Chose Mary

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Why God Chose Mary

by Jeff Curtis

 

In the passage on the “worthy woman,” it is noted, “her children rise up and bless her” (Proverbs 31:28). The KJV expresses the thought this way; “Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”

 

Mothers are special. In a Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown said, “Everyone needs someone to love them, trust them, care for them, support them, laugh and cry with them.” Lucy responded, “That’s a lot of people.” Then Snoopy added, “Or one wonderful mother.” Of all who have believed in me and supported me, at the top of the list are two mothers: my own and the mother of my three children. Most of us could rise up and call our mothers blessed.

 

In Luke 1 we are encouraged to call someone else’s mother blessed. In verse 42 Elizabeth said to a mother-to-be: “Blessed are you among women.” That was a Hebrew expression meaning, “You are the most blessed among women.” In verse 48 the woman addressed replied, “For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” Not only would her children call her blessed, but all people would acknowledge that she had been blessed of God. The passage speaks of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

 

All mothers are blessed, but Mary was especially blessed. Of all the Jewish women living at the time, God chose her to be the mother of His Son. As we consider this fact, we ask, “Why?”

 

God was not under compulsion to choose her. Nothing in the Word indicates that Mary was so good and perfect that was forced to choose her. Rather, we are told that God chose her as expression of His grace. He angel greeted Mary with the words “Greetings, favored one!” (Luke 1:28). “Favored” is translated from the charitoo, a form of charis, the Greek word for “grace” – and the word “grace” speaks of “unmerited favor.” Nevertheless, Mary must have had certain special qualities to be chosen by God. So, we ask again, “What were those qualities?” We can survey her life and discover “Why God Chose Mary.”

 

In Luke 1:27, we are told that the angel was sent “to a virgin engaged to man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David.” Joseph was a descendant of David the king, but the royal line had fallen on hard times. Joseph was a poor carpenter (Matt. 13:55) living in Nazareth (Luke 2:4). One way we know that Joseph and Mary were poor is that offered a sacrifice that the poor were allowed to make (Luke 2:24 & Lev. 12:6-8. J.W. McGarvey wrote, “Knowing the greatness of the child, Joseph and Mary would never have used the lesser sacrifice if they could have afforded the regular more costly one.”

 

Our text emphasizes that the Christ was a descendant of David (Luke 1:32,69). God told David that the Messiah would “come forth from” him (2Sam.7:12). Literally, God said that the Messiah would “proceed out of David’s bowels” (KJV). The NIV has “will come from your own body.” Since Jesus was not a fleshly descendant through Joseph, he had to be a fleshly descendant through Mary to fulfill this promise.

 

Mary was engaged – or betrothed – to Joseph (Matt. 1:18). In that day, most betrothals occurred very early in a young woman’s life, so Mary may have been a teenager when Gabriel appeared to her. On the other hand, Joseph may have been an older man. Joseph is never mentioned during the personal ministry of Jesus, suggesting the possibility that he died before Jesus was thirty.

 

When it comes to fulfilling God’s purposes, surroundings and circumstances are not that important. God can use anyone in any place. The passage also implies that one does not have to wait until he is old and wrinkled to be used by God. God’s angel came to a young girl, probably still in her teens, to enlist her help in fulfilling God’s divine plan.

The Awfulness of Sin

Sunday, June 07, 2020

The Awfulness of Sin

by Jeff Curtis

Was the world really deserving of destruction, or was God just temperamental when He decided one day to bury the world with a flood? God is described in many ways – even as “avenging and wrathful” (Nahum 1:2) – but He is not temperamental. He is never given to whims or moods. With Him “there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). Throughout the Bible, divine vengeance and wrath are always associated with iniquity, guilt, disobedience, and rebellion. God, in His perfect righteousness, can’t allow sin to go unpunished.

 

The World’s Wickedness:

1)The flood came upon the world where marriage was corrupted. God’s original plan for marriage was one man for one woman, who He united as husband and wife. They were to b counterparts, companions, and partners for life; and they were to provide a secure and loving home where their children could grow up honoring their parents and glorifying God (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-25).

2) The flood came upon a world where the children of polygamous marriages practiced violence and every form of wickedness. Growing up in an environment of extreme competition for beautiful wives, the offspring of such marriages probably used violence to get their way with women, as well as in other aspects of life. The degeneration was so complete that the record of (mankind) “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). It also says that “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11).

 

God’s Judgment and Grace:

1)The flood came upon a world that stood under the judgment of God. The wickedness that God witnessed everywhere caused tremendous grief in His heart, as it would in the heart of any loving parent who saw the destructive behavior in the lives of any of his children. Since God’s love for mankind is so much greater than a parent’s love for his children, how much greater is His hurt and grief over the wickedness of His people. As individuals contemplate evil thoughts and commit every vile crime that can be imagined, God’s righteous heart aches (Gen. 6:5-7). For this reason, the Lord pronounced judgment upon the earth in the days of Noah with a great flood of waters (Gen. 6:13, 17).

 

Our loving God made us, gives life to all, blesses us with every blessing (James 1:17), and desires to have a personal relationship with each person, even those who not aware of Him. To the pagan in Athens, Paul emphasized that the one true God is personal and “not far from each of us” (Acts 17:27), as opposed to the impersonal “unmoved mover” that Aristotle envisioned the Creator to be. Paul confirmed that “in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). Since we are creatures made by God, we are responsible to Him for the way we live our lives.

 

The flood came upon a world in which God’s grace and judgment were announced. The account in Genesis states that Noah, in the midst of a world of sin and degradation, was a “righteous” and “blameless” man, and he “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8-9). This kind of “favor” is unmerited; it is grace that can’t be earned or deserved. Seeing Noah among a degenerate world of sinners, God set His love upon him. He revealed to Noah that He would destroy the earth with a great flood, and He provided a plan for the exception of Noah, his family and the animals that he was to bring into the ark.

 

While the text doesn’t say anything about how the people responded to Noah’s preaching, we can surmise from the words of Jesus that it had no life-changing effect on them.

 

God has provided His Word and has sent preachers of the gospel message so that sinners might turn from theirs sins to righteousness – that is, repent (Acts 26:20; Romans 10:8-14). Those who confess faith in Christ as the Son of God can be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; 8:37-38). As the world had a new beginning after it was cleansed by the flood, so God offers all who turn to Him the opportunity to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Displaying 9 - 10 of 118

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 57 58 59