North Anderson Baptist Church
On the Way to Bethlehem - “The Joy of the Holy Spirit” - Mary and Elizabeth
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
I would like to comment on our Veterans for a moment and this day we set aside to celebrate them and remember the others who are not with us. We have had two veterans die recently and I think we need to acknowledge them. First, the last one to die from our church family was Bo Evans, who died just this week. And then, Larry Bowman who died not long ago. Since Mary Ruth has already gone home with her son we can’t recognize her and tell her how proud we were of Bo, who was one of the oldest veterans in our church family. But, Mrs. Linda is here today and she brought the flag that they gave her when we buried Larry at Dolly Cooper Cemetery. Thank you Linda for bring it and allow us to recognize you particularly as a representative of the spouses of veterans. May God bless you and all of our veterans and spouses. This is a day of reflection and of Joy to celebrate that our nation would not be free today without the sacrifices each veteran made, some who gave their all, to keep us safe and free. Thank you.

Now let’s reads our scripture for today.
This is the second message in the series for Christmas called “On the Way to Bethlehem.” Today we will look at the conversation that Mary and Elizabeth had when Mary went to see her sometime after Gabriel told her of the child she would have.
Evidently Mary was in a great hurry to see her relative Elizabeth because of what the angel said to her regarding Elizabeth being with child. Or, maybe it had a lot to do with what might be said there in Nazareth if Mary was to start showing in her pregnancy while being at home. Either way she packed up and went to a town in Judea to the house of Zechariah. What joy followed Mary as she went to Elizabeth’s. When Mary entered the home and greeted her, something great happened in Elizabeth that made her so excited. The baby whom Elizabeth was carrying heard the voice of Mary “leaped in her womb” the womb of Elizabeth! At that moment Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth knew already what had happened to Mary and how she was so blessed to be the mother of the Son of God. Elizabeth’s proclamation about Mary's faithfulness to the revelation from God about her life and what will happen, came because she was full of joy and wanted to give praise to the Lord and tell Mary how thankful she was for coming to see her.
Can you imagine the greeting that they had! (I know as a man it is hard to think like a woman, especially a pregnant one!) There must have been some jumping around and squealing and laughing, just having a great old time. You know girl stuff!
Now that I am seriously in trouble let’s go on. The next wonderful verses are called Mary’s song or the “Magnificat.” The scholars say it is called that because it is the first word in the Latin translation of this passage. But this whole passage is just full of joy from the heart of Mary. Let’s read it again.
Look first at what it says, Mary says that her “spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Deep inside Mary the joy was waiting to come out and here with Elizabeth it just comes. She declares that God was mindful of her to choose her to be the mother of the Son of God. How could that come to an humble servant girl? She sees the end results of this experience and declares that “all generations will call me blessed.”
Mary truly understands some things that are happening to her. She praises God for what He has done for her and declares that He is holy! But she also states that God’s mercy is given to those who fear God no matter when that might be.
Like many in the Bible she declares the greatness of His mighty deeds but on the other hand He scatters those who disobey because of their pride. She talks not only of His greatness but of the care He gives to those who need Him. She tells of His care for Israel and how God keeps the promises made to her forefathers including Abraham.
So what does all this all mean to you and me? We can learns some lessons from what Elizabeth and Mary stated to one another or just shared in praise to God.

For at least one thing we can take away is that there needs to be joy expressed when God’s children are obedient to Him and are blessed by getting a chance to serve the Lord whatever the challenge.
Another thought is to consider God’s faithfulness and rejoice in His care for us.
We see in Elizabeth that joy is expressed rather than jealousy toward Mary for what has happened to her. Mary had the “special blessing God had given to her” but Elizabeth realizing her son would not be as important as Mary’s child, showed no jealousy but love and support her.
Remember that God extends mercy to those who trust in Him and fear Him. If you want God’s mercy, live in awe of Him, in full respect for who He is and what He can do.
Mary’s example of standing and praising God for His blessing to her is not an act of pride but a recognition of receiving the gift from God and doing whatever it took to be faithful in return to Him. God has given many gifts to us, we must recognize them and be thankful He chose us and begin to serve Him as best we can.I like the recognition from Mary regarding remembering the promises to the Patriarchs of the past. For God told Abraham that through Him would come the blessing to all the people of the world. She must have put all that together, that her Child would be the fulfilment of that promise to Abraham. God keeps His promises. You see we are the ones who have received the fulfilment of that promise, we have Jesus who has taken away our sins and given to us eternal life through His death, burial and then His resurrection from the dead. Have you accepted that promise for you personally?
In those days of Mary and Elizabeth the roads were rough and hard to travel on and so Mary decided to stay for awhile and then travel back. Mary stayed and so when she did return to Nazareth 3 months pregnant, there would be fireworks.
Rejoice in your life with Christ! Being a Christian is being joyful and seeking to bring joy to others. So, for the saved today, smile there are good things happening and if things are a little tough, smile anyway because God will be blessed if you do and your face will change!
If you do not have Jesus as Savior and Lord, listen carefully. Bow before God Almighty and say to Him in prayer that you repent, that you will turn from your sin, then ask forgiveness of your sins and ask that Jesus who loves you would come into your life and heart and become your Master and Lord. Declare that you believe that Jesus died and then was buried and then rose again to live forever more. If you do that you will be saved. Now you can do that right there in your pew or you can come forward and we can do it together. Regardless, you need to finally declare it publicly that you have Jesus in your life.
I want to read this last scripture before we have the invitation.

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com