Today our Pastor David began a new series in the book of Luke entitled Life in 3 Dimensions. It is a continuation of the theme for the last 3 weeks and one he has taken us to several times over the years, the triangle image of our relationship with God, Others and Neighbours (Up, In and Out), or specifically our heart for God, others and our neighbours.
He began with a quick overview of the book of Luke and its author. He reminded us that Luke is the longest of the 4 gospels, that its author Dr Luke was not one of the 12 disciples and may not have witnessed many of the events in Jesus life but as he writes in the first 4 verses he was careful to fully investigate everything from the beginning and write an orderly account so that “you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught”. The Gospel has 6 themes which David listed. Love, salvation, women, the poor, singing and prayer. It is a Gospel for anyone loved by God.
Our study of Luke over the next few weeks will help us discover how various people in it lived the Up, In and Out dimensions of their lives. Today we will look at one woman’s heart for God and as we have been reminded frequently ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the Heart’.
Our verses today are all found in Luke Ch1. Mary’s engagement with the angel vv34 and 38 and her response (verses 39-55) in the form of worship through song. Mary worships in Spirit and Truth, her ‘Up’ dimension is obviously alive and well. Her heart is fully engaged and committed to God, overflowing with praise and worship.
David’s challenge, ‘Is that where I’m at? How is my heart today, is it truly engaged or is it dangerously disengaged?’ He quoted from J. B. Phillips classic ‘Your God is too Small’ in which he laments that so many Christians have a small view of God. Their hearts are no longer lost in Love and wonder and God has been boxed, tamed and de-mystified. As a result worship has become bland and predictable, the ‘Up’ dimension has become settled and lukewarm. So the question is ‘ Do you need a renewed and enlarged vision of God this morning, do you need a reboot of worship?
Mary’s love for God is wholehearted and her song is from the depth of her being. His message to her was extraordinary, but so is his message to us. David gave us two examples Rom. 8 v39, Nothing can separate us from the Love of God…, 1Pet 2v9, You are a chosen people…. These verses alone should stir our hearts into praise and worship, the ‘UP’ dimension just like Mary.
Back to Mary’s song, in v48 Mary recognises God’s acknowledgement of her humble state and it is crucial for us to recognise the importance of humility before God and how it affects our ‘UP’ relationship with God. Pride has the opposite affect and wrecks our relationship with others and especially with God, Ps138 v6. Am I humble, is humility a key characteristic of mine? Verse 51, He (God) has scattered those who are proud in the inmost thoughts. David asked “How’s your heart?”
Mary wasn’t perfect but she has rightly been called Blessed. Luke tells us that she was highly favoured by God, his Grace was on her and she recognised her need of a saviour. It was because of her recognition of God’s favour (grace) on her and her need of salvation that made her ‘UP’ dimension soar and the acknowledgement of these two factors in our life should cause our ‘UP’ dimension to soar too. Mary also shows a great knowledge of scripture, even though she is so young. Between verse 49 to 51 she references 10 scriptures in her song. She declares that God is the Mighty One, (v49), He is Holy (v49), Merciful, Fearsome (v50), Powerful (v51), Sovereign and in control (v52), Trustworthy (v55). Mary’s God is not too small, he is big and she knows that and sings about it. Mary’s understanding and knowledge of God’s word is obvious and for us too our understanding and knowledge of God’s word and how we make it part of our daily rhythms and routines will profoundly affect out ‘Up’ dimension.
In closing David reminded us again that this young girl, Mary, the first of a number of people who we will be looking at in Luke’s Gospel over the next few weeks, had a relationship with God which was distinctly real and dynamic. She had a heart which was fully engaged in worship and longing for a bigger view of God. She had humility, the heart of a servant and was fully aware of God’s Grace and her need of a Saviour. She is also acknowledged the character of God. His greatness and was in awe of Him, and finally, she has a heart that is tuned to scripture.
May our hearts find similar features as we pay attention to the ‘UP’ dimension of our lives.
David’s final suggestion is that we take one of these 6 characteristics of Mary’s heart each day for the next 6 days and spend 10 minutes per day engaging in thoughtful prayer and reflection on each one. So, Monday, engage in worship to our Awesome God. Tuesday spend 10 minutes praying for a bigger view of God, Wednesday, confessing any pride in our lives and seeking more humility. Thursday, 10 minutes thanking God for is Grace and Salvation, Friday, 10 minutes in silence before an Awesome God. And, on Saturday he suggested that we read Luke chapters 1&2.
May God’s wonderful Blessings be on us as it was upon Mary.