Wednesday, March 4, 2015

God be Praised! (Luke 1.57-80)

Scripture: Luke 1.57-80
Translation: 57And the time for Elisabeth to give birth and she had a son. 58And the people who lived nearby and her relatives heard that the Lord had greatly exercised His mercy with her and they rejoiced with her. 59And it happened on the eighth day that they came to circumcise the child. And they were calling it by the name of his father, Zachariah. 60And responding his mother said, “No. Instead, he will be called “John.” 61And they told her that there was no one among her relatives, who was called by that name. 62And they were gesturing to his father what he might possibly want to call it. 63And asking for writing tablet he wrote: “His name is John.” And they were all amazed. 64And his mouth was opened immediately as well as his tongue. And he was speaking praising God. 65And fear came over all the people who were living close to them. And all these words were discussed in the whole mountainous region of Judea. 66And all those who heard took them to heart [lit. put in their heart] saying, “When then will this child be?” because the Hand of the Lord was also with him.
67And Zachariah, his father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and he prophesied saying, 68“May the Lord the God of Israel be praised, because He’s looked at His people and accomplished deliverance for them. 69And He raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of David, His servant, 70just as He spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets of old, 71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us, 72to have mercy on our forefathers and to remember His holy covenant, 73an oath, which He swore to Abraham our father, in order to give us 74those who would fearlessly save [us] from the hand of enemies, to serve Him 75in holiness and righteousness before Him for all our days. 76But moreover as for you, child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, because you will go ahead before the Lord to get His road ready, 77to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78because of the feelings of mercy of our God, because of which the dawn will look over us from heaven, 79to shine on those who sit in the darkness and shadow of death, to lead our feet to the road of peace.” 80The child grew up and was empowered by the Spirit. And he was in the deserted areas until the day of his commissioning to Israel.

1.      Structure
a.       John the Baptist is Born and Named (vv.57-66)
b.      Zachariah prophesies by the Holy Spirit (vv.67-79)
                                                              i.      Set up (v.67)
                                                            ii.      Praise to God because He is Worthy (vv.68-75)
                                                          iii.      Prophesy about John’s Role and Purpose (vv.76-79)
c.       Summary of John’s Youth (v.80)
2.      Themes
a.       Fulfillment of Prophesy/signs
b.      Inability to speak
c.       Naming
d.      Praising God
e.       God keeping His promises
f.       Prophesy
g.      The mercy of God
h.      Salvation
i.        Enemies
j.        Holy Spirit
3.      Doctrines
a.       The gift of prophesy occurs by the Holy Spirit, and appears to still be alive and well in the church today
b.      God is faithful and true; He cannot lie. He is immutable.
c.       Jesus is the Messiah that brings salvation
d.      John is the Messianic forerunner/preparer
e.       Jesus is God.
f.       God made a binding covenant with Abraham and David.
g.      God is worthy of praise.
h.      God is omnipotent and can do anything, including miracles.

1.      Outline
a.       May God be Praised: The Spirit is creative, omniscient, and powerful; Let’s listen and respond to Him in faith!
                                                              i.      The Spirit is Creative
1.      He comes at the right moment
2.      He inspires beautiful poetry
                                                            ii.      The Spirit is Omniscient
1.      The Spirit knew the right time to come
2.      He knows the right words to say
3.      He knows the past, present, and future
4.      He knows the mind of God
5.      He knows the purpose of John
6.      He knows the identity of the Savior Messiah
                                                          iii.      The Spirit is Powerful
1.      He takes control of Zachariah’s mouth and tongue
2.      He makes John powerful
                                                          iv.      The only natural response is to praise God the Holy Spirit and live out that emotional and intellectual response in our lives by listening and responding to Him when He speaks
1.      Whether that is speaking through the Word
2.      Through prophets in the church
3.      Or during times of prayer/directly to you
b.      May God be Praised: Jesus is the Promised Messianic Savior; Let’s  trust and prioritize in faith
                                                              i.      Jesus is the Promised One
1.      Although John is the one talked about in this passage, he we must remember, is only being discussed to highlight how awesome and important and glorious and awaited Jesus is. Jesus was promised and the fulfillment of the promise of John is of lasting importance because of the promise of Jesus. Jesus is the one we are waiting for
2.      The promise to David and Abraham and to all of God’s people was for a Messiah
                                                            ii.      Jesus is the Messiah
1.      Jesus is in David’s lineage
2.      Jesus is the righteous rule coming to save
                                                          iii.      Jesus is the Savior
1.      Jesus will save His people as promised as the Messiah
a.       From enemies
b.      From sin
c.       From darkness/despair
                                                          iv.      The response that Luke wants us to have is to trust in Christ as our Messiah and Savior and prioritize Him
1.      Trust Him for eternal life and spiritual vitality
2.      Prioritize Him
a.       At home
b.      At school
c.       In your relationships
d.      In your goals
e.       In your struggles
f.       with your time
g.      with your whole heart
c.       May God be Praised: God faithful, merciful, and Sovereign; Let’s worship and serve Him in faith
                                                              i.      God is Faithful
1.      He kept His promise to Zachariah by giving John
2.      He kept His promise to David by sending Jesus the Messiah
3.      He kept His oath to Abraham by sending Jesus to save
4.      He kept His covenant to His people by sending the Promised Messianic Savior and John to prepare His people for Jesus’ arrival—the Lord promised to come and He did in the person of Christ.
                                                            ii.      God is Merciful
1.      He had mercy on the patriarchs by not destroying the Jewish people
2.      He felt mercy for His people, so He sent Jesus to save them from their blindness, depression, and sin
3.      He had mercy on Zachariah and Elisabeth who had wanted a child for a long time.
                                                          iii.      God is Sovereign/Powerful
1.      God keeps His promises and knows the future, but one of the reasons this is true is because He controls the past, present, and future.
2.      God controlled whether Elizabeth would get pregnant with John when she had sex with Zachariah
3.      God controlled whether Zachariah could speak
4.      God controlled what name was given to the child
5.      God controlled what words were spoken in prophesy
a.       Past prophesies and promises
b.      Zachariah’s prophesy
6.      God controlled the destiny of John and his ministry
7.      God controlled all of history
8.      God is always in control, and He has to be for Him to be able to be faithful and merciful
                                                          iv.      The only natural response to truly seeing our God for Who He is is praising Him and worshipping Him and serving Him in faith
1.      Praising Him everywhere all the time
2.      Worshipping Him through speech, song, art, action
3.      Serving Him at school, at home, in public, in private, on the streets, in the U.S. and in the other countries of the world
a.       By using your Spirit-given gifts
b.      By sharing the Gospel
c.       By doing all things for His glory
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit speaking to you? If so, when and what did He say? If not, do you think there is a reason you haven’t?
b.      Have you ever put your faith in Jesus be you Savior? When? Do you still trust Him to save you?
c.       Have you ever been so overwhelmed with emotion that you had to praise God? If so, when and why and how?
d.      How often do you praise God? Are you content with how often you praise God? Do you think God is content?
e.       How often do you share how awesome God is with others (including Christians and non-Christians)?
f.       How faithful has God been to you? also name some times His faithfulness has been clearly shown to you.

1.      Who’s ever had a crush? Ok, most of us if not all of us have had a crush at some point in time. what happens when we have a crush? We feel all happy and enamored with the other person, we start recognizing all the good qualities of that person and we start telling other people about how amazing this person is. we have all those butterflies when we talk to them. And if by some chance we start hanging out with them or even dating them, we’ll start telling them what we love about them. We’ll praise their hair or eyes or compassion or strength or intelligence. Why do we do all that? Because we see something, we see who they are and we can’t help but praise them. Praise is the natural response to admirable qualities. It is no different with God. When we see Him for Who He is, we just have to praise Him. He’s so awesome we just have to do it! The only difference between God and our crush is that after six months we will only see more and more of how awesome God is, but a lot of times after six months our crush doesn’t seem so great, because now we are more able to see that person for who they really are. They are disappointing. but God, man, God isn’t ever like that. Yeah, sometimes we don’t understand what He is doing, and sometimes He brings us pain, but at some point we see how GOOD He is was for doing what He did.

2.      Do you know how to find a good plumber or employee? You find someone with a good reputation. Well how does someone get a good reputation, they have to be so faithful to their commitments and so good at what they do that people praise them for it, and they praise them enough so that that praise gets around. Eventually all that praise builds up and people recognize that the person has good character and is worthy of being trusted and praised. If we look in this passage we see the same thing applies to God. There are numerous people just in this passage who have gotten a glimpse of Who God is by how He has interacted with them and acted towards them. Zachariah breaks out in praise because He sees the character of God, that He is a faithful, holy, sovereign, trustworthy God. God was faithful to Abraham, David, the forefathers, His people in general, to Zachariah, Elisabeth, and John. So we should likewise share in Zachariah’s praise, because of the kind of God we have!

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