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Let there be Praise Luke 1;39-56 121006

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Let there be Praise! (Luke 1:39-56)

Intro: Jim Smith went to church on Sunday morning. He heard the organist miss a note during the prelude, and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to bow in prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him boil.

He caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue five times in the sermon by actual count. As he slipped out through the side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, "What a bunch of clods and hypocrites!"

Ron Jones went to church on Sunday morning. He heard the organist play an arrangement of "A Mighty Fortress" and he was thrilled to the majesty of it. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to speak her simple moving message of the difference her faith makes in her life. He was glad to see that his church was sharing in a special offering for the hungry children in Nigeria. He especially appreciated the sermon that Sunday---it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. He thought as he walked out the doors of the church, "How can a man come here and not feel the presence of God?" Both men went to the same church on the same Sunday morning.

"Praise is the honey of life which a devout heart extracts from every bloom of providence and grace." -- Charles H. Spurgeon

    Give background. Read Luke 1:39-56

   

1.       Let there be praise for God’s Work in your life! (vv. 46-49)

a.        Mary Magnified the right person!

App: What we magnify says a lot about who we are & says a lot about who’s we are.

b.       Mary knew she was privileged to play a part of God’s Plan!

c.        Think of what could have kept Mary from Praising God

                  i.    Pride

                ii.    Problems

               iii.    People

Ill: The excitement of being pregnant. It is praiseworthy news.

App: What is God doing in your life? Why are you here today? I hope you can praise God today. He wants you to worship Him and praise Him and know Him. Are you praising Him today? Why or why not?

Don’t be afraid of Praise: Ill #2: It kind of reminds me of the story of the woman who was visiting the church one Sunday.  Not being a regular attendee of the church, when the pastor made a good point in the sermon, she said, “AMEN!” 

Heads turned to see who was making that racket.  Then when the preacher made a really good point, she said, “THANK YOU JESUS!” 

Folks were getting uncomfortable by then.  Finally the preacher made an exceptionally good point and the woman stood up, waved her hands in the air and shouted “HALLELUJAH!” 

At that point the head usher came up beside her and said, “Madam, what do you think you’re doing?!”  “I'm praising the Lord,” she said.  To which he responded, “Well, church is no place for that sort of thing.”    

2.       Let there be praise for God’s Work in the lives of others (vv. 50-53)

a.        God’s Work Here refers to God’s Work in the past, present, and especially the future in vv. 51-53.

b.       There is no room for jealousy in the Christian life. Every believer is in need of Grace and is nothing but by God’s Grace.

Ill: Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be the last tree on the lot on Christmas Eve? People have passed you by because you were the wrong size or had gnarled branches or a poor shape or your needles were falling.

Perhaps you feel like a rejected Christmas tree. You don't quite measure up to people's expectations. You think nobody wants you.

App: Christmas can be a difficult time for so may people and for so many different reasons. Be a part of God’s work in the lives of others this Christmas and throughout the year.

3.       Let there be praise for God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promises! (vv. 54-55)

a.        His Promises – Christ Focus – The Greater Child

b.       Jesus is God’s mediator regarding Salvation and Judgment.

Ill: In 1971, John McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.  On Christmas Eve, the POWs held a worship service.  They began with the Lord's Prayer and then sang Christmas carols.  McCain read a portion of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke between each hymn.

The men were nervous at first.  A year earlier the guards had burst in on their secret worship service.  They had dragged the three men who were leading it to solitary confinement and entombed the rest of them in 3- by 5- foot cells for 11 months.

Still, the prisoners wanted to sing this night, and so they began: “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. . .”  They sang barely above a whisper, their eyes glancing anxiously at the barred windows.

Huddled below a naked light bulb, they appeared to be a rather sorry congregation.  Several shook from fevers.  Some were permanently stooped as a result of torture.  Others leaned on makeshift crutches.  But they kept singing.  “O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!  Come and behold Him, born the King of angels. . .”

The prisoners grew bolder.  Their voices lifted a little higher until they filled the cell with “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”  When they started “Silent Night,” tears rolled down their unshaven faces.  As they sang with feeling the final refrain, “Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace,” they realized that a transformation had taken place.  McCain said, “We had forgotten our wounds, our hunger, our pain.  We raised prayers of praise and thanks for the Christ Child, for our families and homes....  There was an absolutely exquisite feeling that our burdens had been lifted.”

App: Praise Him for the promises He gives and fulfills. Receive His promise.

Conclusion: Joyce Hall became the founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc.  He is best known for the Hallmark slogan, “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best.”

Quality was his trademark.  Not a single Hallmark greeting card reached the marketplace without his “O.K. — J.C.” signoff.  He was committed to giving the very best to his customers so they could give the very best to their loved ones.

God gave His very best.  (John 3:16).  The gift of Jesus Christ to the world represents the high price God paid to give us His gift.

God Himself is the best. God gave for the best reason.

God gave the best gift.  God gave for the best purpose. 

Joyce Hall set a high standard for excellence.  But the perfect example of “caring enough to send the very best” is God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God loved enough to send the very best to those who could only be saved by a perfect Savior.

Invitation:

For the Believer: What does your response to God’s work in your life look like?  

Luke 1:39-56 (NKJV) 39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 "But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 "For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 "Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." 46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever." 56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

In 1971, John McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.  On Christmas Eve, the POWs held a worship service.  They began with the Lord's Prayer and then sang Christmas carols.  McCain read a portion of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke between each hymn.

The men were nervous at first.  A year earlier the guards had burst in on their secret worship service.  They had dragged the three men who were leading it to solitary confinement and entombed the rest of them in 3- by 5- foot cells for 11 months.

Still, the prisoners wanted to sing this night, and so they began: “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. . .”  They sang barely above a whisper, their eyes glancing anxiously at the barred windows.

Huddled below a naked light bulb, they appeared to be a rather sorry congregation.  Several shook from fevers.  Some were permanently stooped as a result of torture.  Others leaned on makeshift crutches.  But they kept singing.  “O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!  Come and behold Him, born the King of angels. . .”

The prisoners grew bolder.  Their voices lifted a little higher until they filled the cell with “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”  When they started “Silent Night,” tears rolled down their unshaven faces.  As they sang with feeling the final refrain, “Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace,” they realized that a transformation had taken place.  McCain said, “We had forgotten our wounds, our hunger, our pain.  We raised prayers of praise and thanks for the Christ Child, for our families and homes....  There was an absolutely exquisite feeling that our burdens had been lifted.”

Source: Signs of the Times, Copyright (c) May 2003, Pacific Press, http://www.signstimes.com

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