The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 1-7] (Luke 1:24-55) The Lord Who Came to Hearts Emptied of The Lusts of the Flesh

(Luke 1:24-55)
“Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’ Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her. Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.’ And Mary said:
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.’”
 
 
You Must Abandon the Lusts of the Flesh and Worship Jesus Christ as Your Savior
 
Brothers and sisters, it is only a week until Christmas. We have experienced quite a lot of things during this year. We have very grateful hearts for the fact that God has been with us this year, too, and that we can face Christmas with joyful hearts like this.
The Bible says, “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people’” (Luke 1:24-25). Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias, a priest of the division of Abijah, one of the grandsons of Aaron the High Priest. Elizabeth was an old woman. Until that time, she had no children. She had lived being disregarded quite a bit because she had not been able to have a child until then. In our country, too, women were kicked out of their homes a long time ago if they could not have children. The Israelites thought that a woman who could not bear children was really cursed. One of the seven valid causes for divorce in our country long ago was not being able to bear children, and this kind of woman was driven out of the home because she could not perform her proper duty.
But Elizabeth had no children until she was an old woman and then got a child by the will of God. So, she hid for five months because she was embarrassed about it. When Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, Joseph’s fiancée. He told her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you.” The Virgin Mary heard this, was troubled, and wondered what it meant. Luke 1:30-34 says, “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’”
The angel appeared to Mary and delivered God’s will. Mary was very surprised when he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33). She was really troubled, saying, “I haven’t even been married, so how could I have a child?” Then, the angel said she would be overshadowed by the power of God, and the Bible continues, “‘Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:36-38).
At first, Mary could not believe when the angel told her she would bring forth a Son. But when she heard the angel tell her of Elizabeth in order to help her understand more easily, she accepted the Word of God in her heart just as it was. The angel was saying, “Elizabeth was also a woman who could not conceive, but it’s already been six months since she conceived. There is nothing that is impossible in the Word of God. Do you believe in what I am delivering?” Then, Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” She then accepted the Word of the Lord that was spoken through that angel. Therefore, Mary came to conceive the baby Jesus.
If you look at what comes later, there is a part where Mary praises God; this Scripture passage is saying that you must abandon your own thoughts and preconceptions if you intend to accept Jesus Christ in your heart. It also says that you must abandon the desires of flesh in yourselves if you intend to believe in the Word of God. What would have happened if Mary had thought it was totally impossible to have a baby according to the fixed idea she had when she said, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Those are thoughts that are the fixed ideas of man. But the angel said, “Your relative, Elizabeth, is also a woman who cannot conceive. But the Word of God came to her, and she, too, conceived. There is nothing impossible for the Word of the Lord. God has also told you that the baby Jesus will be born through your body. Will you abandon the thoughts of man and your desires and accept this Word by faith? Or are you not going to believe because, in your thoughts, this is something that can never happen?” Put simply, the angel asked, “Are you going to believe and really accept this Word?”
Actually, the principle of Mary conceiving the baby Jesus and that of us receiving the remission of sins in our hearts by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the same. Accepting in our hearts the Word of the Lord that says that Jesus eliminated all our sins and Mary accepting the words of the angel are the same. Brothers and sisters, our own thoughts and desires become hindrances to us when we are willing to accept this Word of God. If one thinks of things according to his own thoughts of the flesh, it is an obvious fact that a woman who has not known a man cannot bear a child. Therefore, if Mary’s heart had been full of the thoughts and desires of man, she would have never been able to accept the Word of God, this blessed Word, that the angel was delivering. But Mary accepted the Word of the Lord, saying, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” She emptied her heart. When she emptied her heart, the works of God were revealed there and were accomplished.
Things are accomplished according to the will of God when we empty our lusts and when we abandon our desires and thoughts of the flesh and believe in God’s Word because it is the Word of God, even though we think something else. When we profess, “I believe that the Word of God will be accomplished as it says,” the power of the Word of God enters our hearts and does works there just like the baby Jesus was born in Mary’s womb. It is the same when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Looking at the Word of God from a human perspective, we can’t believe in it because it’s not something we’ve seen with our own eyes or heard personally. But looking at it by faith, all the sins of the Israelites transferred over when the High Priest laid his hands on the scapegoat in the Old Testament. It says that all sins were transferred over even though one didn’t personally lay his own hands on the head of the Lord and that the Lord could fulfill all the righteous work of God by being baptized by John the Baptist in the New Testament, which was the same to the laying on of hands. In other words, it is written that the Lord gave us God’s righteousness of the remission of sins. If one empties his heart, abandons his desires, abandons his thoughts of the flesh, and decides to believe and accepts it because it is the Word of God, his heart is saved from sin. If he has that kind of faith, his sins are blotted out of his heart and the Holy Spirit comes to it. Therefore, Jesus is conceived in his heart. He comes to receive the holy God in his heart.
 
 
The Baby Jesus Is Conceived Spiritually as Follows
 
If we intend to conceive the baby Jesus in our hearts, we must also abandon our thoughts of the flesh and our worldly desires. A person must abandon his fixed ideas and the standards of man to come before God. When he abandons his lusts of the flesh and confesses he will believe in the Truth because it is the Word of God, he can be saved from sin by believing as the Redeemer in Jesus who came through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!” Mary could say that because she had completely emptied her heart. When she emptied her heart, she could say, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” The works of the Word were fulfilled at that time. Brothers and sisters, we must empty our hearts. All we need to do is empty our hearts in order for the Word of God to work in us. We must know how to empty our hearts.
 
 
Elizabeth, the Wife of Zacharias, and the Virgin Mary Met Each Other
 
Since Elizabeth and Mary were both the descendants of Abraham, and since all the Israelites came from the same ancestor, they were all one family. Elizabeth was one of Mary’s relatives. So, Elizabeth recognized Mary when Mary went to her, and Elizabeth said, “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Brothers and sisters, Elizabeth recognized that Mary had conceived. John the Baptist who was in her womb also knew. He jumped about and greeted the Lord as if to say, “The Lord has come!” Elizabeth said, “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” The two of them commended and praised one another, and Mary praised God in the fullness of the Holy Spirit: “And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed’” (Luke 1:46-48).
Brothers and sisters, we also praise the Lord’s righteousness. The Lord came to this earth in order to save us from the sins of the world and was baptized, was nailed to and died on the Cross, and was resurrected on the third day after His death to save us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He now sits on the right hand of God the Father’s throne after having been resurrected. We praise that righteousness of the Lord. We praise the Lord who abandoned His throne of Heaven in order to save us who are lowly, came to this earth, and, through His life of 33 years, saved you and me from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our souls praise our Lord because He made us into the children of God, gave us the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, made us new creatures by making us be born again, and gave us limitless blessings. Your spirits and mine praise the Lord. If you and I abandon the desires in our hearts and abandon our thoughts, we truly cannot help but praise the Lord through faith before God.
Just as Mary professed her faith in God here and praised the Lord in spirit, saying, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant,” you and I, too, have emptied our hearts and accepted the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith. We rejoice in our salvation by believing in our hearts in the fact that Jesus took all our sins by being baptized by John, died instead of us on the Cross, was resurrected, eliminated all our sins, and saved us. With this kind of faith, one can, just like Mary, rejoice in and praise our Savior who closely regarded our lowliness.
 
 
We Were Also Lowly People
 
We were originally lowly people. God told us that we were people worse than the filth of the world. If we actually know ourselves, we cannot but admit that we are really that lowly. We humans are born on this earth, live for 70 or 80 years, and die of old age or sickness. We were lowly existences that hoped for eternal life but couldn’t attain it ourselves, hoped to not get sick but couldn’t help but get sick and die, hoped to not get old but couldn’t help but get old, and hoped to not die but couldn’t help but die.
We were lowly existences like that, but the Lord regarded us, the lowly. The Lord regarded us who are lowly and saved us. He became our Savior by saving us, gave us eternal life, the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, and the blessing of becoming the eternal children of God; He clothed you and me in Christ’s eternal love just as He clothed the lowly maidservant with His blessings. So, we praise Him. We have the desires of the world in our hearts at anytime. If we abandon them, look to the Lord, and stand before Him thus, we truly cannot help but praise the Lord by faith because the Lord has saved us who are lowly from all our sins through the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We come to truly praise the Lord’s righteousness. We are very lowly people; how can we not praise the Lord’s righteousness that made us high and noble? We are truly low people in the world, too. All the people of this world are now praising us, saying that we are the blessed, the people of Christ, and the people of God. You and I were lowly people like this, so we praise the Lord who regarded us and we give Him thanks. We give all glory before Him. Are you like that or not?
If we look at ourselves honestly, we are truly lowly people. Human beings are born as the incarnations of avarice and live radiating their desires until they vainly die. That is life. But the Lord saved these lowly people through the gospel of the water and the Spirit out of His amazing love. So, how can we not praise Him? Therefore, we must empty our hearts and praise God’s righteousness.
If our heads are full of thoughts and desires of man, we will not be able to give praise and will merely look at the music and try to sing by matching it. We shouldn’t do that. When you set aside your sectarian life and come to Church, you must lay down everything, empty your hearts, think of God’s righteousness, think of the Lord who saved us who are so lowly from sin, and praise His exaltation and magnificence. We must praise God by faith in His righteousness. God gave us every reason to give Him commendation, praise, and thanks. What lovable things do we have that the Lord should love us? I am disgusted even when I look at myself. I really don’t understand why God loves us who are so lowly. As the Bible says, “For God so loved the world,” perhaps He loves lowly people because they are lowly. We were originally very noble and high people in the likeness of God’s image. Perhaps He loved us because He wanted to give that high status back to us who had lost it. Therefore, we must praise the Lord who regarded our lowliness. We must praise Him with our hearts, our thoughts, our bodies, our faith, all our services, and our activities.
The confession of our faith is also the same as Mary’s. If you look at Luke 1:49-55, it says,
“For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
God the Father who is truly great and Jesus Christ have performed a great work for us. Just as the Lord performed a great work to Mary, He has performed a great work to you and me. We being saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the same as Mary conceiving the baby Jesus. We who have been saved, become God’s children, and become high and noble people by believing in Jesus Christ are all spiritually the same as Mary. All the brothers and sisters here are all spiritually like Mary.
After Jesus was resurrected and returned to Heaven, the Roman army entered and slaughtered the Israelites. If you take a close look at Israel’s history, the Israelites are a people with a wretched history. They lived scattered all over the world for almost 2,000 years, entered the gas chambers during World War II, and were not treated like human beings even though they are living. Even in the days of Mary, the Israelites were under the rule of the Roman Empire. But fortunately, Mary emptied her heart and accepted the Word of God that was delivered to her by the angel. She accepted the Word of the Lord just as you accepted the Word of the Lord’s servants who spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. She became a very blessed person because of that.
Mary said, “All generations will call me blessed,” is speaking of you and I who have been saved. Among the many people of the world, we are people who have put on this special grace. There are many people in this world now who have power and authority. There are also many people who have a lot of money. But to whom does God bestow the unconditional love of compassion? On whom does He show mercy? That love comes to people who highly regard and fear the Word of God. God says that it is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
But there are also quite a lot of people in this world who have power, have authority, are smart, and think they are great; those people do not fear the Word of God. They stand up straight before the Word of God, saying whatever they think is right. God does not forgive those kinds of people. He strikes them down.
Brothers and sisters, among all the people who are as many as the stars in the sky, we have become people who have put on God’s blessings and love just like Mary. God is a Person who sends the rich away empty. Even the richest man of the world cannot take even the smallest of his possessions with him when he dies. Even though money can be placed in his casket, he cannot take it with him. When a person dies, those remaining uselessly burn money or bury it with the person in order to help the dead get to the next life; all of these things are useless acts. All the things of this world are nothing at all before God. God sends away the rich empty-handed and scatters all those with power and all the proud. He sends them to hell. But He has filled people who are lowly and those who are starving with good things. He has helped those who are lowly. He helped Israel, regarded that people with compassion, and, just as He spoke to Abraham, our ancestor of faith, He gave eternal blessings to those descendants.
Who are the spiritual people of Israel? Those who are saved before God are the spiritual people of Israel and the Lord’s people. The people of God who have been saved from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are people like Jacob. Jacob was wicked and did not have a good disposition, but he accepted the Word of God in his heart even so. If you look at him from a human perspective, he was a person who really wasn’t much good. But in regards to the Word of God, he abandoned his own thoughts and accepted it. God’s compassion and love comes to those kinds of people eternally. Brothers and sisters, among all the many people in the world, we have become blessed ones.
Brothers and sisters, we have obtained God’s compassion and put on His love like Mary. You and I are people who have put on the love of God and people who have received magnificent blessings. We are people like Mary who have received the blessings of salvation and eternal life. We have received God’s blessings in body and spirit. Therefore, as we celebrate this Christmas, we have to thank the Lord who takes care of lowly people, and we must continue to praise God in our hearts and thoughts. Since we have received those kinds of blessings, we must give more praises to God this Christmas. I hope that you become people who know how to give thanks to God. The Lord truly is a Person who deserves our thanks. Therefore, we must know how to give thanks with our hearts. We have put on God’s love and salvation regardless of how wretched we are. We have truly received magnificent blessings.
So, we have become people who, like Mary, give praise like this:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation” (Luke 1:46-50).
We accept the Word of God in our hearts and we fear God. All people who have been saved before God know how to fear Him. They are people who know how to obey the Word of God. Those kinds of people are saved. Have you been saved?
Brothers and sisters, do you think the remission of our sins is something that was done as easily as a piece of cake? The remission of our sins is God’s grace that came down from Heaven. It came down from God. We have received salvation that is extremely precious. Therefore, you must know how to be thankful for the salvation that you have received, and you must know how to praise God with your hearts. You must be able to praise God who has saved you.
Brothers and sisters, our salvation is not some cheap salvation that came to us for no particular reason. It isn’t like going to the market and luckily coming across a name-brand product at a dirt-cheap price. Our salvation is extremely precious. Do you believe this fact?
I could never trade this grace of salvation with which the Lord saved me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even if someone offered to give me billions of dollars. I mean that I will never trade this amazing salvation that saved us from the sins of the world through the gospel of the water and the Spirit with anything in the world. I would not trade this salvation given through the gospel of the water and the Spirit even if someone offered to make me president of our country or to make me the Secretary-General of the UN. This salvation we have received is very precious. How could we trade it even if someone offered to give us the entire universe? We cannot trade it. You too, must know the fact that you have received such a precious blessing like this.
Brothers and sisters, you must empty your hearts and minds before God, praise the Word of God more and more, be thankful, and serve the Lord more. By living with more faith, you must be thankful for the Lord’s righteousness that has enabled you to return more glory to God.