Archive for the ‘Mary’ Tag

Our Father’s Gift of Jesus’ Life and Death!

gods gift

Audio – Part A: 21min


Audio – Part B: 22min


Full Message:


Bible Verses:  Luke 1  Hebrews 2  Luke 2: 1-20

Theological Theme:

The primary Gift given to humanity is the most Personal Gift you could ever get. It is nothing less than the Gift of God Himself [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] to us. That is all God really has to give us —the Gift of Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Christ Connection:

The Father’s Gift of Jesus’ Life and Death is God’s greatest gift to us. He lived the life we didn’t live so that we could truly live. Jesus died the death that all of us die so that our death would truly die and remain dead.

We are to understand the gospel as Jesus being given to us by the Father so that we would have His life, the way He lived, the way He thought and acted, the way he talked and related with His Father and other people. And Jesus lived this way by the Holy Spirit, and we live a true human life by the Holy Spirit!

Missional Application:

The word of Christ that believers share with others is this — Don’t underestimate the kind of life that is available to you right now in Christ. Jesus has come now so that we can, somehow, right now, begin to receive this transformed life. We don’t have to wait! Right now we can be full of The Holy Spirit, full of the smiles and hugs of The Father even as we still die and approach our death. We still do sin, but we no longer have to be sin centered and sin focused. We repent and believe the good news and encourage everyone else to do so! May we all receive Jesus now and say as Mary said: “I am The Lord’s servant –Son or daughter– may it be done to me according to your word.”

….those who trust in Christ share in his life, death, resurrection and ascension…just as we are dead already in Jesus’ substitutionary death, we have also already been “made alive together with him” and we are “raised up together with him” and “seated together with him in the heavenly realms.” All this comes from God’s grace and is experienced through faith—the faith of Jesus that he shares with us by the Spirit….

The benefit of what Jesus did so long ago extends to the past, to the present and into the future. Paul says, “how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”  This shows that salvation is not a one-time event, but an enduring relationship that God has with all humanity—a relationship formed within the person of Jesus Christ, who has brought God and humanity together in peace.

Jesus has not simply done something for us, he has done something with us by including us in his life, death, resurrection and ascension. —GOD: THE GOD REVEALED IN JESUS CHRIST – A BOOKLET (GCI)

Mary and Eve

While doing research for my upcoming sermon on Mary I came across an interesting passage from the writing of St. Irenaeus.

In this section he draws a parallel between Mary and Eve. In part he says:

. . . Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise “they were both naked, and were not ashamed,” inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. . . . And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith. ~ Against Heresies, 3.22.4 (Emphasis Mine)

One of the basic tenents of Protestantism is to “demote” the Blessed Virgin (Luke quotes her as saying that all generations would her “blessed” and so they have – Luke 1:48.) In reaction to what we perceive as the over-exaltation of Mary by our Roman Catholic brethren we Protestants have a long history of ignoring Mary.

Here’s what I’ve been wondering about as I put this sermon together:

If Mariology hadn’t become such an issue in Christianity in the last 500 years wouldn’t we all be encouraging our kids to look up to Mary as a hero of the faith? We Protestants love to talk about Ruth, Esther, and the Proverbs 31 woman but when it comes to the “Second Eve” who was the one through whom the salvation of humanity entered humanity we fall strangely silent.

I think it should be obvious that I don’t advocate bizarre titles like “Co-Redepmtrix” for Mary but I do think it’s high time we Protestants gave the girl her props. The faith that the Holy Spirit gave her to trust the Father and receive the Son (as no one ever had or ever will again receive him) is a faith worth celebrating this Advent Season.

~ Jonathan Stepp

P.S. If you want to hear more about Mary check out the sermon I’ll be preaching this Sunday. I’ll have the audio of it posted at The Adopted Life on Monday.

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