Maybe we can learn whether or not we are truly Christians.
If someone is confident they are a Christian, but they are not truly a Christian, it might be really good to know.
On the other hand, if someone lacks assurance of their salvation, but they truly are saved, living with greater confidence not only brings peace of mind, it also brings greater effectiveness in their God-given mission and purpose.
Who’s the devout 15-year-old girl who can teach us?
Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Pastor and author Tim Keller offers a provocative perspective on Mary, “Mary is the first person...who gets the message that this great salvation is coming into the world through a baby who was going to be born in Bethlehem named Jesus. …She is the first person who actually hears the gospel in the form we have it today. Therefore, I like to think of her (and I think it’s perfectly warranted) as the first Christian.”
Keller continues, “I think it’s cool actually that our paradigm, the very first Christian, the first person who heard the gospel message in the form we have it now and the first person who received it in faith was a 15-year-old girl. Here we have our paradigm. A 15-year-old girl, an unwed teenage mother. She hears the message, and she receives it properly. If we look at the message she got and look at the response she made to it, we have some idea about whether we’re Christians or not.”
Christmas arrives in April this weekend at Five Oaks.
Break out the Christmas decorations? I don’t think so.
But we are looking at the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, his gospel message, and Mary’s response.
Mary responds in faith and is a model of obedience to God. But if you think she’s without her doubts or that she doesn’t proceed with caution, you might be surprised.
I tend to think that faith without doubts is dead. Mary’s faith is very much alive.
If you or a friend needs a message of the gospel and an assurance that brings peace and confidence, even a dose of doubt, you won’t want to miss this. You won’t want your friend to miss it either.