Sermon #8 Luke Sermons
Title: A VISIT IN THE HILLS
Subject: Mary Visits Elizabeth
Date: Sunday Evening - July 11, 1999
Tape # V-36a
Readings: Office: Gary Baker Auditorium: James Jordan
When I was a boy there was one delightful ray of sunshine in my dark life, one thing which was always sure to give me a season of pure pleasure and happiness. At least once a year I would get to go for a week or more to the mountains to visit my dad’s family. My grandmother, great aunt, and my aunts and uncles were always a pleasure to be around. I remember dreaming with delightful anticipation about going to the hills of Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The happiest days of my childhood were spent in the hills.
Tonight, I want us to go for a visit in the hills. We are going with Mary to the hill country of Judah to visit her aging cousin Elizabeth. Let’s read about this visit two godly women had together in Luke 1:39-45…
As we seek to worship our God and learn of him, let me direct your thoughts to three things which stand out in these verses.
I. A Beneficial COMMUNION
Here we see Mary and Elizabeth, a young virgin and an old mother in Israel, walking together in delightful, blessed fellowship and communion. They were cousins, but their fellowship was much, much more, and much, much sweeter and beneficial than the companionship of family. Their fellowship with one another was the fellowship of faith. Their communion was the communion of grace.
When I talk about fellowship and communion, I am talking about the fellowship of believers, the communion of grace in Christ. We who believe “have all things common.”
· A Common Salvation
· A Common Election
· A Common Atonement
· A Common Hope
· A Common Family
· A Common Warfare
· A Common Inheritance
Our text tells us that these dear saints, when they visited with one another were mutually benefited, spiritually benefited by each other.
· Their heats were cheered.
· Their minds were uplifted.
· Their souls were refreshed.
· Their spirits were edified.
As they visited and communed with one another, discussing the grace of God, the wonders of his providence, and the excellence of hi mercy, his covenant, his promises, and his faithfulness – Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. -- Mary was inspired to sing a new song of praise to the Lord.
A. We should always regard the fellowship of God’s saints as one of our greatest privileges in this world.
“There are many who fear the Lord and think upon his name, and yet forget to speak often one to another.” –J.C. Ryle
That ought not be the case. “As iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the countenance of a man his friend…As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man” (Pro. 27:17, 19).
What a refreshing break in our pilgrimage, what an oasis in this desert, what a resting place in this troubled world a season of fellowship with God’s saints is! Let us never take this privilege lightly.
Fellowship with God’s saints is as near as we come to heaven on earth.
· Private Company
· Public Worship
B. Let us each take care that our company is helpful, not harmful, edifying, not a hindrance to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
1. Speak to one another, as Mary and Elizabeth did, about the things of God.
2. In the house of God, when God’s messenger has delivered God’s message to your soul, speak to one another about the message.
C. Our chosen companions in this world ought always be companions in the grace of God.
I do not suggest for a moment that we live as hermits in this world, that we isolate ourselves from society. That would be irresponsible. I do not suggest that we treat other people contemptuously. That would be horribly wicked. But I am saying this – Believers ought never choose unbelievers for their companions in any sphere of life. I am always concerned when I see anyone who professes to be a child of God choosing to spend his or her leisure time with unbelievers. Such a choice is like choosing to take fire into your bosom. It is like inviting a traitor into your camp. It is bringing a thief into your home. No good can come from it.
II. A Believer’s Confession
Often, we think that God’s saints in days gone by were very much ignorant concerning the person and work of Christ. Like us, many of them were weak and ignorant of many things. They often expressed themselves poorly. They often behaved in a way that was contrary to the gospel and contrary to faith. They were, after all, men and women like us!
Yet, those men and women in days of old who knew God were also given the mind of Christ. Elizabeth’s language in verse forty-three, where she called Mary “the mother of my Lord,” is the language of remarkable faith. It is a confession of faith every bit as remarkable as that of Peter, who confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
We must not put words in her mouth, but when she made this confession concerning the baby in Mary’s womb, she acknowledged that the child conceived in Mary’s womb was…
· The Long Expected Messiah.
· The Son of David.
· The Son of God.
· The Savior of the World.
understood what Mary sang in verses 46-56.
A. Elizabeth’s confession was an acknowledgement of voluntary surrender to and faith in Christ as her Lord.
B. This dear old woman had learned and gladly acknowledged what all must soon acknowledge – JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
III. A Blessed Confidence
Here, we see an old, old woman, a woman who had learned the folly of both vanity and flattery, speaking in glowing terms about the blessedness of faith in Christ, the blessedness of believing God.
A. It is indeed a blessed thing to believe God.
Faith has always been a grace by which God’s saints in this world have obtained a good report.
The story of God’s saints is a story of faith, the narrative of chosen, redeemed sinners who, believing God, were blessed of God. By faith they…
· Embraced God’s promises.
· Walked with God.
· Endured hardships.
· Looked to Christ.
· Endured temptations.
· Triumphed over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
· Entered into glory!
There is a great, great volume of instruction contained in these words – “Blessed is she that believed.”
B. Faith is nothing less than confidence in God.
Look at Elizabeth’s words again. -- "And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." Faith is confident that God will accomplish all his Word, that he will perform all his promises, that he will fulfil his every decree.
C. This faith is the gift of God.
Blessed is that sinner to whom it is given in the behalf of Christ to believe on his name (Phil. 1:29).
D. Do we know anything about this precious gift of faith?
“Let us never rest till we know it by experience. Once knowing it, let us never cease to pray that our faith may grow exceedingly. Better a thousand times to be rich in faith than rich in gold. Gold will be worthless in the unseen world to which we are all travelling. Faith will be owned in that world before God the Father and the holy angels. When the great white throne is set, and the books are opened, when the dead are called from their graves, and receiving their final sentence, the value of faith will be fully known. Men will learn then, if they never learned before, how true are the words, ‘Blessed are they that believed.’”
Oh, gift of gifts! Oh, grace of faith!
My God, how can it be
That Thou, who hast discerning love,
Shouldst give that gift to me?
Ah, Grace! into unlikeliest hearts
It is Thy boast to come;
The glory of Thy light to find
In darkest spots a home.
Thy choice, (O God of goodness!) then
I lovingly adore;
Oh, give me grace to keep Thy grace,
And grace to long for more!