Christmas a Story of Submission

Luke 1:26-38

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 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. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" 35 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. 36 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. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible." 38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. NKJV

The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."

The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a seaman third class Jones."

Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."

In the midst of our dark and foggy times, all sorts of voices are shouting orders into the night, telling us what to do, how to adjust our lives. Out of the darkness, one voice signals something quite opposite to the rest--something almost absurd. But the voice happens to be the Light of the World, and we ignore it at our peril. -- Paul Aiello, Jr., Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.

Sometimes submission is more than just a matter of who will win out but it could be a matter of who will survive. We have been talking about spiritual growth. We have spent several weeks showing the importance of the Word of God to our spiritual growth. But I am afraid of those who think that spiritual growth is equated with education as though simply knowing what God says makes us a spiritual giant.

Leonard Ravenhill put it this way, "Spiritual maturity comes not by erudition (education), but by compliance with the known will of God. -- Leonard Ravenhill, Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 1.

One of the best examples of submission to the will of God is that of Mary. There are many others, but this being Christmas time and all, we will look at her.

  1. What is the meaning of submission
    1. Defined
      1. to arrange under, to subordinate
      2. to subject, to put in subjection
      3. to subject oneself, to obey
      4. to submit to one's control
      5. to yield to one's admonition or advice
      6. to obey, to be subject
      7. A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a miliary fashion under the command of a leader."
    2. And Mary said, behold the handmaid of the Lord, &c.] In which words she expresses her obedience of faith; she owns herself to be the handmaid of the Lord, and desires to obey him, and be submissive to him as such; and tacitly acknowledges her meanness, and great unworthiness:
      1. But don't you suppose she already had her own plans.
      2. She must have already had a vision of what her life would be like.
      3. But her life was always subject to the Lord.
      4. Are you willing to say all my plans are subject to change at God's bidding.
  2. Submission is a means to spiritual growth.
    1. Mary was no doubt a very dedicated young lady.
    2. She had without doubt grown significantly in her relationship to her Lord.
    3. Regardless of how much she had grown, it was not subject to her continual submission.
    4. God leads us by the Holy Spirit
      1. But all that is dependent upon our following.
      2. It is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit
      3. It is possible to resist the Holy Spirit
      4. Paul's letters are filled with words to encourage saints to submit to the Lord's leading.
      5. Let us continue to see the case of Mary.
  3. Mary's submission
    1. It was complete
      1. She refers to herself as a slave
      2. The common word for a servant
      3. It is the same word used by Paul in describing his own status.
      4. Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Literally, "slave" or "bondservant." It is the feminine form (doule) of the Greek word doulos which Paul so often applies to himself (#Ro 1:1 Tit 1:1). Mary uses it to indicate her submissive and obedient spirit.
      5. There were no objections or conditions on her part.
    2. It was a willing submission.
      1. God was not forcing her.
      2. The angel had presented her with a statement not a command
      3. She willingly gave up her life as she knew it to obey this heavenly messenger.
      4. She surrendered reputation, pride, and even maybe Joseph to do the will of God.
    3. It was in faith.
      1. Mary knew of the coming Messiah.
      2. Mary also looked for a redeemer who would deliver her beloved nation.
      3. She had heard the prophecies of the Messiah.
      4. But now Gabriel stood before her to tell her that she would be the blessed mother.
      5. That she would be responsible for this Son of God to bear Him and to raise Him
      6. She believed the angel as to the method of conception.
      7. Unlike Zacharias who required a sign and did not believe.
      8. She had heard the word from the angel and believes it will come about as she was told.
  4. The blessings of submission.
    1. She was a partner in the great work of God.
    2. She enjoyed the presence of God in her life.
    3. She would always know she had done the right thing.
    4. Be it to me according to thy word. In great faith she not only believes the promise, but prays for its fulfillment. She bowed to the will of God, and became the mother of Him who prayed, "Not my will, but thine, be done" (#Lu 22:42).

CON: You & Me

How are we doing in our spiritual growth?

Are we telling God now when we should be saying, "Be it according to your Word"

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. . . . 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. NKJV

James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. . . . 10 When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. NLT

2 Chron 30:8 Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the LORD. Come to his Temple which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the LORD your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. NLT

Ps 32:9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. NKJV

Title: Explorers Bible Study: Luke and Acts Author: Constance, N.E.

"Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your
The submission of the Virgin Mary to the will of God is beautiful.
Considering God's choice of Mary to hold this high and unique honor of being
the mother of the Son of God, one wonders what qualities she possessed to make
her suitable. She is marked in Biblical history for her humility, which made her
great. She never thrust attention upon herself, or in any way tried to share in her
Son's glory. She was content, in obedience, to perform the part given her. She
seemed always more ready to be silent than to speak and accepted her position
without complaint. She remained meek and lowly to the very end. We see her
beautifully at the cross, silently allowing the sword to pierce her heart as a
mother--still treasuring, in her heart, the message of the angel. Blessed among
women and next to the blessed Child, the Virgin Mother is the central figure of
the nativity. She is one of the loveliest characters in the Bible. Here was one
woman whose consecration and faith rolled back the curse which the sin and
folly of another woman had brought upon the human race.


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at