MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB

Sermon delivered May 11, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church, McDonald, TN.

At a university 600 students were asked to write on a piece of paper the most beautiful word in the English language. 422 wrote the word MOTHER. 112 wrote the word HOME. (Roy Angell)

Tomorrow is the day to honor all mothers. However for some this can be a hard time. Unmarried women, divorced women, might not complain outloud but in the quiet canyons of their heart is a hurting pain.

Take Susan; she is unmarried. and is now 38 and hears the steadily increasing volume of the biological time clock. Time is running out for her to be a mother.

Or Betty: Divorced. This will be the first year she has no corsage. Her children are too young to do it and it is no fun to buy one for yourself.

Some have lost a mother or are about to lose her. Some have a difficult time at mothers day. But each of us has been influenced by a mother. Let's think about one of the finest mothers in the entire Bible.

LUKE 1:26-28----- Mary visited by Gabriel.

Have any of you ever been visited by an angel? I am sure you have, many times unknown. The angel said: The Lord is with you! God was pledging Himself to guide this mother. God does that for every Christian mother. The Lord was with Mary. Mothers you will never be a success unless God is with you. Success comes from above.

There was a mother named Monica. When her son became a teenager it was like living with a total stranger. Then Her son broke her heart by leaving the church. After much conflict he finally ran away and took up with some local scum of the earth. Monica continued to pray. She found out that her son planned to sail to Italy in a great ship and live with some buddies in a life of sin. She pleaded for him not to go. He went anyway. Once in Italy he met AMBROSE and he led him to Christ. Monica's son was the great Christian AUGUSTINE.

Mothers, pray for your children. Even when it seems that your prayers are not being answered, don't give up praying for your son or your daughter. Never give up. Remain on your knees. You may be the only person praying for your child. Mary was a mother of prayer. Notice.....

LUKE1:46-55 records one of the beautiful prayers of Mary which she sang as a song to God. Here are the actual words written by Jesus own mother. This is a spectacular prayer. Obviously Mary knew God in the depths of her heart. If you are to be a success as a mother you must be a Mother of prayer. No wonder Jesus did so well. She was a woman of prayer before she had Jesus. Mothers, you owe it to your children and yourself to find salvation in Jesus before you find yourself pregnant. That is the proper order. Of course God can still work for you if the order is reversed, but how wonderful a treasure, for a baby to have a Christian mother.

MARY WAS PREGNANT.

Were Mary and Joseph married yet? She is called his wife! In America we date, we get engaged and then we marry. But A Jewish marriage had four stages.
  1. Friendship approved by the family.
  2. Engagement. This was a contract arranged by the family.
  3. BETROTHAL. This was public ratification of the engagement. It lasted one year. They officially belonged to each other but did not have the rights of actually living together. They were called husband and wife. The only way betrothal could be terminated was through Divorce. If the husband to be happened to die before the wedding the girl was called a "Virgin who is a Widow".
  4. Marriage, taking place after the year long betrothal.

Joseph and Mary were in stage 3. Betrothed to each other. Some time during that betrothal Mary said: I am Pregnant. This was devastating news. Joseph's first thought was to Divorce her privately.

Notice something of admiration here about Mary. The Bible says that they had not come together yet. She had high standards. She dated Joseph because she knew she could trust him. They were a Godly couple. Never date someone that you can't trust.

Young single women, Let me speak frankly to you today. Let me suggest a gift you can give to your new husband on your wedding day. Give yourself to your new husband as a fresh unopened package on the day of your marriage. All the other packages on that day will be wrapped up....unopened. You plan to be the prettiest gift of all! Unopened! Reserved for your special husband.

All too often today, the girl is already with child before the marriage. This was true of Mary. But which girl today can say the Holy Spirit did it? Mary is an example for all young people today. Don't do it before marriage. Reserve yourself for that special person in your life. Mary was a pregnant virgin. She submitted to Gods special will for her life. Joseph found out about it. Here they were Betrothed and he does not know what to do. She said: This is of the Lord. Now I want to give Joseph credit here. He believed Mary.

MARY'S HONESTY

The mother of Jesus was a person of sterling integrity. She was an HONEST person. He could stake his life on her word. Children today deserve honest mothers. Honest true parents. You have to have honesty in your relationship. If your marriage is going to last you must be able to trust each other completely. Can your spouse safely trust what you say? All the time? If you don't have that kind of trust you do not have the basis for a sound lasting relationship.

Children today need mothers who are honest. Mothers of character. Mothers of love. Mothers who know Jesus.

MARY CHOSE A RIGHTEOUS MAN

As you select that special person to be your life partner, look for Character. Look for Christ Likeness. A person who does not put Jesus first probably will not put you first above all other women. Matthew 1:19-- The Bible says that Joseph was a Just man. Joseph could have physically grabbed Mary and taken her down to the Pharisees and there she could have been stoned to death for her obvious sin. Mary was not STONED! Young people today should not be stoned! - (Yes that has a double meaning).

Never date a person that you could not marry. If you want to raise your future children as Christians, then marry a Christian who will go to church with you. Look for an un-selfish Christian gentleman who loves Jesus and loves you.

Joseph and Mary were married when she was 15. The tradition in Palestine called for a girl to be married at age 14. Most couples were engaged at 13 and married at 14. But here was Mary still unmarried at her great age of 15. Usually when you waited that long you might get stuck with a shepherd or a poor man. But Mary got a Carpenter. A private business man. MARY WAITED. And God blessed her for that. You don't have to rush into marriage.

When Joseph took Mary as his wife it was a remarriage. He was older. His kids were normal and Her son was "Perfect". Can you imagine the possible arguments? Somewhere along the way Jesus had to bury his step father. They had a rough time. No different than many homes today.

PRACTICAL MARY----

Luke 2:---- Mary and Joseph were poor but they were happy. Her son was not born in a hospital. Not even in a motel or anything nice. The Inn had no vacancy. They had very little money, possible just enough cash to pay the taxes.

2:7-- She brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in RAGS. That is the meaning here. Wrapped up in strips of cloths which she had. Possibly she tore one of her meager dresses into strips. She had very little, but she did not quit. Mothers are like that. They improvise. A good mother makes the best of the circumstances of life. She gives her all for her children.

I read a poem that reminds me of my own mother:

     You are the treasure I cannot buy.
     You are my piece of foreign sky.
     You are my blue Italian lake.
     You are the trip I did not take.

     You are my Honolulu moon.
     You are my heart's unuttered tune,
     You are the bulb I did not light.
     You are a candle in my night.
          You are my child.

LUKE 2: MARY ATTENDED CHURCH

Blessed are the children whose mothers go to church. 2:27 pictures Jesus parents going into the temple as the custom was. Mary was a church going mother. She and her husband spent the full number of days at the Passover. It looks like they did not skip out on some of it. They went to campmeeting and attended as many as possible. They went in for all they could get out of the worship experience.

THE VISIT OF THE WISE MEN

Matthew 2: This takes place later when they were living in a house. Wise men came to see Jesus. All truly wise people still seek Jesus. When they saw Jesus they worshipped Him. Now notice verse 11:

"And when they were come into the house they saw the young child with his babysitter"

NO! They saw Jesus with his mother. Mary was not a mother by absence. Now I am not condemning people if circumstances dictate some child care. But let's strive to maximize our parenthood. I know we can vote by proxy but how much better to raise our children by actual presence.

And there are some few mothers who are AWOL while they are at home. The mother trying to digest soap operas while her children are doing who knows what? Or she lives on the phone while her children peruse HBO or MTV or who knows? Mothers, spend quality time with your children. Let's do as Mary did.

MARY READ THE BIBLE.

Jesus grew in Wisdom and Stature. HOW? His mother was His teacher. He sat on her knee learning to read from the scrolls of the Old Testament. Jesus Mother's old Bible was true. Jesus feasted on its words.

MARY LOST JESUS TWICE!

Two times. And both times she lost Him for 3 days! Recall the two times? Once at the temple when they thought he was with relatives. This shows that Jesus had relatives who also went to church. Godly aunts, uncles, grandmothers!

The second time she lost Jesus was when He was on the cross. Gone from her Three days. It is hard to lose your son when you are already a widow. Joseph either died or was killed. Possibly the other brothers were also dead. Jesus had to place His dear Mother into the care of one of His disciples. Mary risked her life to be with her Son there by the cross. This shows MARY WAS A LOVING MOTHER.

Mothers; love your children. Your children need your love.

Barbara Barton was a loving mother. She lived in Oregon and delivered TWINS in 1994. She refused treatment for leukemia during her pregnancy because that could have harmed her babies. She died Jan. 22, 1995 leaving behing her husband and twins and a 4-year old daughter. She, like all true mothers, placed her children above her own life.

Mothers are special. Their love is priceless. Back in the old days the UPS delivery drivers had to get your signature before they could drop off a package. Now they just leave it there and the dogs shred it and eat it up. One day the driver knocked on the door and a little boy answered. HI, Little fellow. Are you all alone? Yes, Mom is in the hospital and me and my brother and my 2 little sisters and my daddy, we are here all alone!

When the mother is gone, you are all alone! The mother makes the house into a home. And Jesus makes the lady into a great mother. Invite Jesus into your heart. Jesus will make you into a woman of integrity. Your children deserve the best. With Jesus in the Mothers heart--happy happy home. "Her children arise up and call her BLESSED" Proverbs 31:28.

Happy Mothers day!



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