Here He Comes – Rejoice

Here He Comes – Rejoice

Here He Comes… Rejoice

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CHAPTER 8

SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – 'REJOICE'!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:39-55

TEXT: "And Mary said, my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." (Luke 1:46-47)

INTRODUCTION: To attempt to be really happy at Christmas time without personal knowledge of the Christ of Christmas is about like a hungry man attempting to be satisfied by looking at the menu in a fine restaurant without partaking of the food which the restaurant's menu describes.

PROPOSITION: The Christ who came in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Luke 1:54-55), is the Christ who is the source of all rejoicing. Christ brings unspeakable joy, for He is the agent of personal transformation and of societal transformation. There can be no rejoicing without personal knowledge of the Christ of Christmas. We are not only to personally enjoy the Christ of Christmas ourselves, but we are to be the bearers of joy to others because of the Christ who indwells our lives.

I. Source Of Rejoicing – The Indwelling Christ (Luke 1:39-45)

II. Substance Of Rejoicing – Revolutionary Power Of Christ (Luke 1:46-55)

A. Inward Revolution (vss. 46-55) – Based On God's Mercy

B. Outward Revolution (vss. 51-53) – Based on God's Justice

1. Moral Revolution (v. 51)

2. Social Revolution (v. 52)

3. Economic Revolution (v. 53)

C. Historical Confirmation (vss. 54-55) – Based On God's Integrity

CONCLUSION: During the Christmas season, do you have a basis for rejoicing? Yes! For Christ has come to the earth. He dwelt in our midst for some 33 years, living a sacrificial life, dying a substitutionary death, and rising victoriously from the grave! He is still in the world, in the power of His Holy Spirit! He seeks to indwell every human being. He is coming to you today! Make room for Him! Gladly invite Him in! Let Him transform your life personally.

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Then, knowing Him personally, rejoice in your soul and leap for joy, for the Christ who has come to change you personally is in the process of transforming society as a whole! He has come to change it morally – He scatters those who are proud in their hearts (v. 51). He has come to change it socially – He casts down the mighty and exalts the humble (v. 52). He has come to change it economically – He fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty (v. 53).

Rejoice, for God has kept His promise to Abraham (vss. 54-55). The transforming Christ has come – so welcome Him and let Him CHANGE your life during this advent season!

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CHAPTER 8

SUBJECT: "Here He Comes" – 'Rejoice'!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:39-55

TEXT: "And Mary said, my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." (Luke 1:46-47)

INTRODUCTION: To attempt to be really happy at Christmas time without personal knowledge of the Christ of Christmas is about like a hungry man attempting to be satisfied by looking at the menu in a fine restaurant without partaking of the food which the restaurant's menu describes.

PROPOSITION: The Christ who came in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Luke 1:54-55), is the Christ who is the source of all rejoicing. Christ brings unspeakable joy, for He is the agent of personal transformation and of societal transformation. There can be no rejoicing without personal knowledge of the Christ of Christmas. We are not only to personally enjoy the Christ of Christmas ourselves, but we are to be the bearers of joy to others because of the Christ who indwells our lives.

I. Source Of Rejoicing – The Indwelling Christ (Luke 1:39-45)

The presence of Mary (who was pregnant with the Christ child) was the source of Elizabeth's rejoicing. The presence of Christ in our lives will be an unspeakably great blessing to those lives that surround us. Christ spiritually in us is the source of blessing to others, just as Christ physically in Mary was the source of blessing to Elizabeth. Mary was the bearer of the Christ; we as believers are the bearers of the Christ, for Christ lives in us. One of the great evidences of Christ's presence within us is the manifest joy which we bring to others who feel Christ's wonderful presence when they are in our presence.

Christians, by their very presence, should bring peace where there is discord, joy where there is sorrow, calm where there is crisis, hope where there is despair. Do other Christians, like Elizabeth, leap with inner joy when they are in your presence? Do you bring sunshine where there is darkness? Do others seek out your presence? Are you a healing salve to others when they are with you? Do others, when they are in your presence, sense in you the spirit of Christ, the spirit of joy, the spirit of positive faith? Do others feel good about themselves when they are in your presence? Do you bring out the best in others when they are with you? Is there in others, like as in the case of Elizabeth, a spontaneous and joyous response of gratitude, when they are in your presence? Do others feel favored to be in your company? When others are with you, do they feel like exclaiming in a loud voice, "Blessed are you

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among mankind, and blessed is the joy and peace and hope and love which you bear in your soul and which you share from your heart!"

Mary was literally and physically pregnant with the Son of God. The Son of God who was being formed in Mary's womb was the source of exultant praise and overflowing joy in Elizabeth. When the Son of God – Jesus – is being formed in our lives as believers, we too, like Mary, will bring joy and gladness to the many 'Elizabeth's in our lives – fellow believers who sense that Jesus is the source of our joy which we desire to share. Something will leap inside the bosoms of others when they come into our presence.

Even non-believers will take note that we are different when they meet us. My brother-in-law (a public school teacher) was greeted by a fellow teacher – a non-believer – one morning at his school. The non-believer asked my brother-in-law "What is the good word this morning?" Quickly my brother-in-law responded, "Jesus!" I cannot say that that non-believing teacher leaped with joy at that response, but he 'sat up' and took notice that my Christian brother-in-law was different!

I have known many mature believers in whose presence I have felt an overflowing joy and gladness and appreciation. I felt something leaping inside me when I came into their presence-they signaled peace, joy, hope when I was in their company.

Let me share only one among many such persons who elicited such a response of joy within me. His name is C. B. Archer. It was several years ago now that he came to Fort Collins to hold a Prayer Conference in our Church. For years, C. B. Archer has been one of God's mighty prayer warriors, encouraging thousands to fast and to pray, writing and distributing prayer tracts, speaking to hundreds on the subject of prayer, and most of all practicing prayer in his own life. He was in our home and Church for only a couple of days, but I shall never forget the impact his life had on mine. He was a humble, gentle, soft-spoken man, but a man mighty in prayer and awesome in presence. I felt that I was in the very presence of one of God's greatest warriors. He talked to me about the power of prayer, encouraged me to experiment with fasting and prayer gave me many fine pamphlets on prayer which he had himself written. Kneeling beside him at our Church altar during those hours caused something inside me to leap with praise, admiration, joy, and hope! I felt secure in God's love when I was in his presence. His countenance betrayed the fact that he had often been in the presence of the Holy One that he had often touched and tapped heaven's powerful resources. For years, C. B. Archer maintained correspondence with hundreds of people through his Prayer Bulletins and tracts. C. B. Archer was so possessed with Jesus that, in his presence, something leaped within me with joy – an experience perhaps akin to that of Elizabeth.

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Someone defined a saint as a person in whose presence you find it easy to believe in God! In Mary's presence, Elizabeth found it easy to praise God!

Jesus is the source of all rejoicing!

II. Substance Of Rejoicing – Revolutionary Power Of Christ (Luke 1:46-55)

A. Inward Revolution (vss. 46-55) – Based On God's Mercy

What was the basis for Mary's exultant joy and uninhibited praise? God's mercy which extended to her – is the same mercy that is extended to all those who fear Him (v. 50) in every generation. How did God manifest His mercy to Mary? By Him being mindful of her humble state. "For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed." (Luke 1:48) To be mindful of someone is to take notice of that person and to do something for him. God looked upon Mary's state of humiliation and obscurity and did something about her state. God's pitiful feelings of mercy issued forth in powerful actions. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name." (Luke 1:49)

God's mercy is not deserved or earned but given as a free gift to undeserving sinners. Mary was favored by God, not because of her unusual spirituality, although I believe Mary was in a spiritually sensitive and humbly receptive condition – a condition conducive for the Spirit's special work in her life.

It is true that there are human conditions which must be met if divine mercy can be received. "His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation." (Luke 1:50)

God's mercy is offered to all, deserved by none, and received only by those who fear him (v. 50). To experience God's mercy is to know God's transforming power. The Mighty One will do great things for him! (v. 49) God's mercy cannot be experienced by those who have no reverential respect for the living God.

Mary's basis for rejoicing was her personal, spiritual transformation – wrought by the power of God!

When you humble yourself before God and allow God to express his mercy toward you, you will see the Mighty One doing great things for you (v. 49).

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B. Outward Revolution (vss. 51-53) – Based on God's Justice.

The substance of rejoicing is based on the knowledge of God's personal transforming power. The substance of rejoicing is also based on the knowledge of God's corporate transforming power in society.

"The God whose MERCY is demonstrated in personal transformation ("the Mighty One has done great things for me" – v. 49), is also the God whose JUSTICE is demonstrated in societal transformation. He is the God who does great things in individual lives (v. 49). He is the God who also does great things in the corporate world of society (vss. 51-53).

There is a great basis for rejoicing when one observes the mighty acts of God, both as God shows mercy to individuals and as God executes justice in corporate society.

If there is a God-wrought, personal transformation in which one can rejoice, there is also a moral, social, and economic revolution in society's corporate life in which one can also rejoice.

1. Moral Revolution (v. 51)

"He has performed mighty deeds with his arms; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts." (Luke 1:51)

What is one cause of dismay and discouragement in the lives of believers? When wrong seems to go unpunished and right seems to go unrewarded.

God is the great leaver! The proud shall be brought low and the humble ones shall be exalted. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18) "Fret not yourself because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb." (Psalms 37:1,2, NASB) "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)

When proud man prospers and the humble man suffers adversity, justice seems to have been destroyed. When inequities abound and evil prevails, the godly can take heart, for the mightiest acts of the proud and violent will seem as naught when the Lord has "scattered those who are proud in their innermost thoughts."

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We live in a moral universe, and therefore immorality cannot prevail. Wrong will be punished and right will be rewarded. The Bible says, "Be sure your sins will find you out!" The Great White Throne Judgment in the hereafter will be the final place of reckoning, but because we live in a moral universe, this present life is the place of moral reckoning as well. "Blessed are the meek (the humble) for they shall inherit the earth." The earth belongs to the morally right! Those who live for God have a good life both here and hereafter. Those who live proud lives of disobedience and sin have a miserable life both here and hereafter. So the godly person is a winner, both in time and in eternity. The evil person is a loser, both in time and in eternity. Life renders its own verdict, either for good or for bad, depending upon one's response to the living God!

God sets Himself against the proud but He exalts the humble. God has the final word in the moral realms of corporate life.

2. Social Revolution (v. 52)

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble." (v. 52)

Not only does Jesus right the wrongs within the moral arenas of life, but Jesus also levels all social and class distinctions. The obscure are elevated to importance and the powerful are reduced to humility. The wealthy and poor are treated with equal justice. Labels of distinction are removed and badges of honor are disregarded. This is not to say that leadership is dismissed as unimportant. Nor is it to say that the reality of racial and class differences is ignored. But it is to say that, because Christ died for all, all persons (regardless of race or class or age or status) are equally important to God. While there will be wide differences in intellectual, social, and economic achievements, there is no caste system in God's kingdom! "In this new life one's nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant: such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all." (Colossians 3:11, Living Bible)

Christians have a basis for rejoicing because Christ loves and accepts all persons, regardless of social status.

3. Economic Revolution (v. 53)

"He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." (v. 63)

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The revolutionary Christ has a lot to say about economics! "A non-Christian society is an acquisitive society where each man is out to amass as much as he can get. A Christian society is a society where no man has to have too much while others have too little, where every man must get only to give away." (Barclay's Luke; page 16)

To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability – this is the Christian's economic ethic.

All are to work if they are able to work, in order to provide, not only for their own needs, but also for the needs of others. "If anyone is stealing he must stop it and begin using those hands of his for honest work so he can give to others in need." (Ephesians 4:28, Living Bible)

Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, concerning their call to aid the financially-depressed believers in the Jerusalem Church, "Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: 'He that gathered much did not have too much and he that gathered little did not have too little.'" (2 Corinthians 8:13-15, NIV)

Wesley summarized the economic viewpoint of Christianity when he laid down a simple formula for financial stewardship: "Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can."

"He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:53) The greedy will be emptied; the giving will be filled! This is the law of economics in the Kingdom of God. He who tries to save his wealth will lose his wealth; he who gives will receive. "If you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give – large or small – will be used to measure what is given back to you. (Luke 6:38, Living Bible) "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11: 24-25)

Both the financially rich Christian and the financially poor Christian have a basis for rejoicing, because of the revolutionary principles of Christianity regarding economics. "A Christian who doesn't amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord's sight.

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But a rich man should be glad that his riches mean nothing to the Lord, for he will soon be gone, like a flower that has lost its beauty and Jades away, withered – killed by the scorching summer sun. So it is with rich men." (James 1:9-11, Living Bible)

C. Historical Confirmation (vss. 54-55) – Based On God's Integrity

Thus far we have noted that the source of all rejoicing is Christ, and that the substance of all rejoicing is understood in terms of the revolutionary nature of Christianity. There is the inward revolution of Christianity in terms of personal transformation, based on God's mercy, and there is also the outward revolution of Christianity in terms of societal transformation, based on God's justice. God changes society – morally (v. 51), socially (v. 52) and economically (v. 53).

The revolutionary nature of Christianity is seen not only in the demonstration of God's mercy personally (v. 46-50), and in the demonstration of God's justice corporately (v. 51-53), but it is seen also in the demonstration of God's integrity historically. "He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." (Luke 1:54-55)

Christ is the personal transformer of individual lives. He is also the agent of revolutionary changes in society – morally, socially, and economically. But the question may arise: "Why has God chosen to be both merciful and just in His transactions with mankind?" It is because God is a God of integrity. He always keeps His word! What He says He will do. He always does! God promised to Abraham that Abraham would be given a son who would be the means of blessing the entire world – a son who would bless the descendants of Abraham. That promise was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ!

Thus, the appearing of Christ (with all of His benefits to mankind both personally and socially), is the result of the redemptive purposes of God which are fulfilled because God is a God of integrity! If there were no historical fulfillments of God's promises, based on God's integrity, there would be no personal and societal transformations, based on God's mercy and God's justice. Because Christ came in the fullness of time in fulfillment of promises made to Abraham and to others, (v. 54-55), we can today enjoy the blessings of personal transformation and societal reclamation – morally, socially, and economically!

CONCLUSION: During the Christmas season, do you have a basis for rejoicing? Yes! For Christ has come to the earth. He dwelt in our midst for some 33 years, living a sacrificial

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life, dying a substitutionary death, and rising victoriously from the grave! He is still in the world, in the power of His Holy Spirit! He seeks to indwell every human being. He is coming to you today! Make room for Him! Gladly invite Him in! Let Him transform your life personally.

Then, knowing Him personally, rejoice in your soul and leap for joy, for the Christ who has come to change you personally is in the process of transforming society as a whole! He has come to change it morally – He scatters those who are proud in their hearts (v. 51). He has come to change it socially – He casts down the mighty and exalts the humble (v. 52). He has come to change it economically – He fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty (v. 53). Rejoice, for God has kept His promise to Abraham (vss. 54-55). The transforming Christ has come – so welcome Him and let Him CHANGE your life during this advent season!

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Chapter 8

Questions

  1. Why is it that, for many people the Christmas season is not a happy time but instead a time of great sadness?

  2. Tell with what degree of conviction you believe the following statements reflect reality in the lives of believers within the 'community of faith'.

    "The Son of God who was being formed in Mary's womb was the source of exultant praise and overflowing joy in Elizabeth. When the Son of God – Jesus – is being formed in our lives as believers, we too, like Mary, will bring joy and gladness to the many 'Elizabeth's' in our lives – fellow believers who sense that Jesus is the source of our joy which we desire to share. Something will leap inside the bosoms of others when they come into our presence."

  3. Here is a definition for a 'saint' – "A saint is a person in whose presence you find it easy to believe in God?" What is your definition of a 'saint'?

  4. Why do you believe Mary was 'favored' by God and selected to become the mother of Jesus? (Note Luke 1:46-49) According to Luke 1:50, what condition must a person meet if he intends to receive mercy from God?

  5. When the proud man prospers and the humble man suffers adversity, i.e., when inequities abound and evil prevails, how should the godly man respond? (Note Luke 1:51; Proverbs 16:18; Psalms 37:1-2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)

  6. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statements: "The Great White Throne Judgment in the hereafter will be the final place of reckoning, but because we live in a moral universe, this present life is a place of moral reckoning as well. So the godly person is a winner, both in time and in eternity. The evil person is a loser, both in time and in eternity."

  7. According to Luke 1:52, what affect does Christ have in the social life of our world (in terms of races and classes)?

  8. Tell why you agree or disagree that the following statements accurately interpret Luke 1:53 – "A Christian society is a society where no man dares to have too much while others have too little, where every man must get only to give away. To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability – this is the Christian's economic ethic." (Ephesians 4:28, 2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

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  9. Amplify and explain the significance of the following statement by John Wesley (which he gave as a brief summary of Biblical financial stewardship): "Make all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can."

  10. Cite Scriptural proof to document the truth of the following statement: "The greedy will be emptied; the giving will be filled." (Note Luke 6:38 and Proverbs 11:24-25)

  11. On what basis can both the financially rich and the financially poor believer equally rejoice? (Note James 1:9-11)

  12. According to Luke 1:54-55, what action on the part of God made it possible for God to be merciful in His personal transformation of individuals and just in His reclamation of society – morally, socially, and economically?

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