Text: Luke 1:5-25, Rom 12:1-2
Even though it had been a long time since God had sent prophets to Israel, and since hope of the blessing of children passed for Zechariah and Elizabeth, God had not forgotten. Neither has he forgotten us. He is coming, therefore we need to be patient and prepared at all times for his coming through transformational ministry which begins with self and reaches out to others.
God never forgets us even when it seems he is not active. He has a plan that is includes each of us individually and is still in motion. Part of his plan is that we prepare the way for people to come to Jesus as savior and Lord.
Reflect on the Christian transformation in your life and identify areas of strength and weakness and how they impact your witness. Identify people whom you want to bring to God and reflect on how best to do that.
Courage and desire to prepare the way for the Lord in your circle of influence because God has not placed responsibility for results in your hand, only the responsibility to be obedient.
1. Boy got report card with bad grades
a. Told father - you should be proud - YOu know I aint been cheating
b. Kept positive attitude
c. Sometimes hard to do - but here is a couple who did...
2. Text: Childless couple and lost hopes
a. Priestly couple with no child
- No child was seen as divine disgrace
- All respectable Jews had families
- No child could be grounds for divorce
- Rabbinic tradition 7 people excommunicated from God
- Ist 2 items - Man with no wife, Married man with no child
b. Imagine what this meant for them socially
- Not just awkwardness of other people their age with families
- They not ideal picture of a 'godly' family
- Insinuation over their head of sin
c. They advanced in years
- All hope is gone for children
- Why they being punished? Where was God?
3. Can you relate? Why is life so rough? I did something wrong? Where is God?
4. Text will tell us what to do when face unfulfilled hopes (Lk 1:5-13)
I. Be Patient
A. Their very names reveal God's character
1. Zechariah (whyrkz) - Yahweh remembers
2. Elizabeth ([bvyla) - Oath of God (Recalls Gen. 22:16)
3. Their names attest to God's faithfulness
B. Result - They patiently served God (v.6)
1. Probably had stopped praying for a child at this point
a. v.18 - Zechariah thought they were too old
b. It had been years..... and... nothing
2. It had been years and nothing for the nation as well
a. Hundreds of years since the last prophet
b. With exception of Hasmonean period, Israel subject to foreign pagan powers
c. Where was God?
3. Amazing thing about Israel
a. Maintained belief in Yahweh
b. Other nations worshipped God of nation who conquered them because that God proved superior in power
c. But Israel stayed with God, never totally gave up
d. God didn't give up on them
C. God's perspective is so different than ours
1. We see the big picture
a. Drive by the race track on race day, what see? Crowd.
b. When get hair cut, what see on floor? Hair
2. What does God see?
a. (Lk 12:6-7) - Hairs of your head are numbered
b. Sparrows, smallest of birds, God notices each
c. God sees the small picture too!
3. (Psalm 8:1-4) - What is man (singular) that you remember him?
4. Answer to Zechariah's prayer a double blessing
a. It was for the nation
b. But also for Zechariah and Elizabeth!
c. God is concerned about YOU, not just a crowd of people
D. We don't know minute details of God's plan
1. But we do know this
a. God remembers you
b. God has not forgotten you
2. Be patient and faithful like Zechariah
3. Even when 'smaller' hopes go unfulfilled
a. Can't get into college of your choice,
b. Can't find husband, wife, or lose spouse
c. Not get job you want, no children, etc.
4. Don't forget that the Lord is coming
a. He has not forgotten, be patient.
b. What does it mean to be patient? It means...
II. Be prepared (1:13-17)
A. John's function - prepare the people for the Lord's coming
1. God rarely just 'shows up'
2. Often sends someone to prepare the way
3. Being prepared entails work
4. Patience is not about waiting around doing nothing
B. Zechariah's reaction demonstrates the need for preparation (v.18-25)
1. He didn't believe, his heart wasn't quite ready yet
2. God didn't allow him to argue or interject
a. God closed his mouth
b. No choice but to be quiet & listen & watch God work
3. Sometimes that is what we need to do
a. Sometimes we are great at seeing obstacles
b. Can come up with million reasons why it can't be done
c. Pessimism shows we not looking at God, but the problem
4. Gabriel announces he is coming, be still and watch
C. What do you do when someone is coming over?
1. Straighten up the house
- Vacuum, straighten pictures, furniture, hide clutter
2. Straighten yourself - put on a certain outfit
3. May make some coffee, etc.
4. You 'get ready' - John was charged with getting people ready
D. Here we are 2000 years later, Jesus came and went
1. Do we still need to be ready?
- Yes, be patient, he is coming
2. He is coming back. Could be at any moment
3. That means keeping everything in your house/life in place
4. Always be prepared
III. How are we to be prepared? (v.17)
A. Transform your home - 'Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children'
1. #1 priority is your family
a. They don't need more things - they need YOU
b. Things will not help them face life, but YOU can
c. If you don't, someone else will
-Take time to nurture kids in the Lord
- Be physically and emotionally available
d. If married, honor your spouse
2. KIDS - honor your parents
a. Mal 4:6 - Turn the hearts of the children to the fathers
b. Book of proverbs - wisdom in honoring your parents
- Will grow in wisdom
- Will be successful in life
c. Fools don't honor parents and pay for it later
- Dishonor begets dishonor
- Dishonor show up in job, marriage, friendships...
B. Transformational ministry - 'disobedient to the attitude/wisdom of the righteous'
1. This is talking about bringing an inner transformation to others
a. We refer to it as 'conversion'
b. Paul speaks of it as old man dying, new man rising
C. How do we effect this transformation in others?
1. (v.15) Be transformed ourselves
a. John was under a vow, was especially devoted
b. Could see the transformation in his life
c. He needed to be transformed to bring transformation
d. Not about gimmicks, methods, etc.
- About authenticity
- About intentionality - not happen by accident
- People need to see transformation in us
- Speech, dress, use of time
- Entertainment choices, music
- Friendship choices
2. Share the transformation with others
a. Jesus is coming back
b. Not sending John the Baptist
c. He is sending YOU
- Wants you to prepare the way for the Lord
- Wants you to help people to get ready
D. May not see results right away, or at all
1. Be patient, and keep on being faithful
- You WILL be rewarded, maybe now, definitely later
2. Zechariah and Elizabeth saw no results after years and years
3. ILL: Harold - Only one in family not a Christian
a. Taught, and prayed - One day, decided to be baptized
b. Died less than a year later
c. Funeral was a peaceful one
1. Keep perspective in all your disappointments
a. Whether not getting into college, failed marriage, no child, no job
b. Don't give up on God
2. Be patient by being prepared
a. That means transformation in your life
b. That means transformation in your home
c. That means sharing the transformation with others
3. Are you patiently prepared?
a. Do you need to be transformed? (invitation)
b. Do you need to bring that transformation to others?
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the Annunciation to Zachariah Sunday
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