Sunday School Material 12-8-13: Mary Sings Her Praise

(Luke 1:46-56; 12/8/13)

Introduction::A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Mary praises God for the great things He is doing in and through her life. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to praise God for the great things that He is doing in, through and around us.

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Body:

Read Luke 1:46-50

I. God’s Great Deed. In our Sunday School material Mary sings praises to God. She rejoices about how God has shown favor on her. All future generations will call her blessed. God extends mercy to those who fear Him.

Applications -

- Rejoicing in the Lord. Notice in vss. 46-47 of the Sunday School material that Mary decides to glorify and rejoice in God. Worship and praise are acts of the will that start with a decision.

Let’s decide to rejoice in the Lord. God has been so good. He calls for us to worship Him. And we will feel better as and after we worship Him.

- God’s mercy. Notice in vs. 48 that Mary talks about God being merciful. As we look at things being as well as they are in our lives, we should remember that we have what we have and are who we are because of God’s grace and mercy.

We are not here simply because of our goodness or hard work. The mind to work hard and the ability to work hard are gifts from God. Let’s be conscious of God’s mercy in our lives.

- Appreciating God’s blessing of others. Notice in vss. 48-49 of our Sunday School material that the blessings received by Mary would be recognized by others for generations to come.

First, don’t let envy stop you from recognizing and thanking God for the blessings He has showered into the lives others.What God has done for others, He can do the same or something better for you.

Second, we should remember that it is God who does great things, not simply the person. God plus anyone equals great things. The best person minus God equals nothing.

Therefore, we should avoid being so intimidated or impressed with the individual and spend more time focused on the mighty works of God. Let’s work on appreciating what God has done and can do through people.

- Fearing God. Notice in vs. 50 of the Sunday School material that there is mercy available for those who fear the Lord. This is the case for generations to come. To “fear the Lord” is to have so much respect and reverence for Him that we at least strive to obey Him.

If our fear or being terrified of God doesn’t produce obedience, our fear is inadequate. If we fear Him enough to obey, God has mercy for us. Furthermore, God’s mercy extends to our children and children’s children.

So even when we are dead and gone, the mercy of God is available for those who are yet on this journey. Let’s work on fearing God enough to obey Him and teach our young people to do the same.

Read Luke 1:51-55

II. God’s Great Plan. God has performed mighty deeds. God has scattered the proud and brought down unrighteous leaders. God has also lifted up the humble and filled the hungry with good things. God has kept His promise to Abraham and his ancestors.

Applications -

- God’s ability to change things. Notice in vss. 51-53 of our Sunday School material that God is able and has a track record of bringing down the strong and lifting up the humble. First, no matter how strong a person appears, God is stronger.

If “strong people” are causing trouble for God’s people, God is able and willing to deal with them according to His will. Second, no matter how humble and weak a person may appear, God is able to pick them up.

If you see yourself as weak and helpless but striving to live for the Lord, the good news is that God is still able to turn things around. Let’s live as if God has the final word, not our current strength or lack thereof.

Such living should be known for obeying God’s commands to love Him with all that we have and to love others, as we love our selves. Of course, we have to make sure we are saved by faith in Christ.

- Trusting God’s promises. Notice in vss. 54-55 of the Sunday School material that God is a promise keeper. God had promised to take care of Abraham and his ancestors, and God is faithful in doing so. Let’s live like we trust God to keep His promises.

God promises to bless obedience and punish disobedience. Living as if we trust God to keep His promises mean that we should strive to obey (e.g., tithes, witness, enthusiastic worship, living by godly relational principles, etc.) with the expectation of being blessed by God.

We should avoid being disobedient because we fear God’s promised punishment. To say that God is a promise keeper and then ignore His promises is inconsistent.

Read Luke 1:56

III. Epilogue. Mary stayed with her relative, Elizabeth. The stay was for about three months. And then Mary went back to her own home.

Applications -

- Retreats and prayer partners. Notice in vs. 56 that is it is good to have somewhere to go to catch up with what God is doing in your life. It is really good to have someone to talk to about what God is doing in your life.

First, we should strive to make quiet places to be still and process what God is doing in our lives. It may be a space in your home, a walk in the park or by the water, or even a night in a hotel room.

Second, we should strive to develop relationships that help us process and obey God’s will for our lives. A key part to having such friendships is to be such a friend.

Third, we should remember that at some point, we have to go back to the real world. We cannot stay on retreat and in conversation all of our lives.

Let’s work on discerning and obeying God’s will, which may call for some retreats and prayer partners.

Conclusion: Let’s work on praising God for the great things that He is doing in, through and around us. God has much for those who obey His will.

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