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Silencing the Voice of Doubt

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2021 12:01 am

Silencing the Voice of Doubt

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 15, 2021 12:01 am

Because Zacharias expressed doubt in God's promise, he was rendered silent until the promise was fulfilled. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Luke to address the serious consequences of unbelief.

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Chapter 1 we read the account of an angel standing before Zacharias telling him that his wife Elizabeth was going to have a baby, but Zacharias didn't believe him and the angel was incredulous only say I stand in the presence of God and God told me to tell you that you can have this sermon but you have some contrary evidence, and I'm supposed to discount the truthfulness of the word of the one who sent me because of how old you are.

Are you serious are you out of your mind.

When God speaks, it's true, we are required to believe. Thanks for joining us for the sending of Renewing Your Mind. We will today return to Dr. RC Sproul sermon series from the Gospel of Luke, and to a passage that reveals the following disbelief. Don't be alarmed.

I'm not going to go back to the very beginning of this passage and start all over of what we've covered in two previous sessions, but I do want to look back at one thing early on in this passage in the first chapter beginning in verse six, where it describes Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth that they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

So up till this point in his ministry God had been pleased with the singular posture of obedience and righteousness that had been displayed by this man, Zacharias. In fact, Scripture describes him as having been blameless. That's a little bit of hyperbole. If we look at it very carefully under a microscope will certainly find something in this man that was blameworthy, but in general this character was one that was blameless, but that streak of blamelessness comes to an abrupt halt. Here in the holy place. One he is visited by the angel or the angel announces to him that he and his wife are going to have this child who will be the forerunner of the Messiah. Suddenly Zacharias struggles with his face and he says to the angel. I'm an old man there's irony in this. If you read it in the Greek because the literal translation of the words, there is what you're saying is I'm a Presbyterian five and older, and that so this is characteristic of most Presbyterians that they struggle with authentic faith. I guess although we also will know that the son that will be born will be known for all generations.

As John the Presbyterian, but he says the angel I'm an old man and my wife is beyond the years of childbearing and so his face is now disintegrating in the light of this astonishing announcement. That is been given to him by the angel, and as I mentioned last time the angel's response to Zacharias's table.

I'm an old man. The angel says yes and on. Gabriel. So what's your point, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and he goes on to say, and I have been sent here to proclaim the good tidings to you and again the language of the New Testament here is significant because the same language that is used in the New Testament to describe apostles if the language is used here by Gabriel. Gabriel is saying literally. I am an apostle, commissioned and sent by the authority of God himself so that the word that I'm proclaiming to you here. Zacharias is not my message. This is God's word and he goes on to tell him that that message that he is been sent to proclaim the Zacharias in the Greek is the same word for the proclamation of the gospel, God has sent me to proclaim the gospel to you Zacharias and you're a priest who tells me you're too old to believe it now be people there are in this world who to this day are saying there too old to believe the gospel that God declares they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

My life is been marked by unbelief since childhood, and I'm not going to be one of those who becomes a foxhole Christian or experience of deathbed conversion to old for that one. I want us to see this morning is the response of God's ambassador God's authorized messenger to Zacharias is down with look at the text again. I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God and was sent to speak to you and to bring you these glad tidings that there is this gospel, but behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place because you did not believe my words. There's consequences to unbelief because though you were known as being righteous and devout and blameless. Now I'm going to take away your ability to speak because of your unbelief and so Gabriel administers a judgment of God upon this supposedly righteous man for his on the leaf blower but I don't think we take seriously enough. The sinfulness of unbelief. We have a tendency in our culture, and even in the church to think that belief in Christ are unbelief in Christ believing and trusting in the things of God, or not trusting in the things of God are optional. They don't carry any dire consequences if we dismiss them, but I guess to understand this morning that unbelief in the word of God is sin and not only is it sin. It's an egregious sin. And not only is it an egregious sin. But in this essay on the bed has eternal consequences for another many dimensions of theology that are related to this problem that we face here with Zacharias.

Let me just begin by saying why does God punish Zacharias for his struggle here when he didn't punish Abraham. For example in the Old Testament. He said Abraham I'm your great reward in your shielding Abrahamson reward what you give me 700 children. My error is my servant Eliezer of Damascus and God said no. A laser will not be your error but you're going to bring forth child and your wife is going to conceive and what happened. Genesis 15 we read and Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.

This was the first clear example of a man's being justified by faith alone.

The cardinal issue of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Paul labors the point that before Abraham offered up Isaac on the altar. In chapter 22 that already.

In chapter 15 he was counted righteous before God. As soon as faith was born in his soul.

The was justified it and have to face plus works in order to be justified by faith alone was all that was necessary for Abraham to have righteousness imputed to him and the only righteousness that could've been imputed to him was the righteousness of Christ who is not even yet born.

But even after this marvelous profession of faith by which Abraham is justified.

He staggered for a moment and said but how can I know for sure if even the saving faith that Abraham had had enough faith to have the righteousness of Christ imputed to him that was salvation guaranteed and yet there was still that element of doubt in his heart and God went to elaborate majors to convince Abraham that his word could be trusted and there wasn't the slightest hint of judgment given to Abraham for wanting to have the word of God confirmed as it was the case with Hezekiah as it was the case with Gideon and his fleece throughout Scripture we see people hearing the word of God and staggering and unbelief and God being patient with them for Barry tender and kind. Now all of a sudden here's this priest postman told something equally astonishing is what had been told Abraham he struggles with believing it instead of having a covenant ratified with him like God did for Abraham were fleece answered like he did for Gideon. He said you're not a bill to speak. Not one word until this prophecy is fulfilled because of your on belief than Sancerre the why would God punish Zacharias and not punish Abraham. Very simple. Abraham got mercy.

Zacharias got justice and once again we see that God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy and be gracious to whom he will be gracious because it gives grace to one and then again to another to another.

For the same thing does not mean that we can then assume that he will be ever so gracious to everyone else who commits the same sin no sometimes got to stop right here that's enough in the Bible there's two ways.

People die they are dying faith or they die and their sin. And if you die in your sin if you die and unbelief. After you die, it's too late in the judgment of God will be upon you, not simply for a few months as it was upon Zacharias but forever I one of the doctrines that we struggle with in the church, particularly in reformed theology and integral part of tulip, the famous acrostic to UL IP which stands for what, total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints, and so many of our evangelical brothers and sisters embrace the firm. The TV that you the I and the P but they knocked the L of tulip males standing for limited atonement. It's amazing to me how much controversy ensues.

Over that point of historic reformed theology.

People say how can you say that the atonement of Jesus Christ is limited. Does the Bible say that he dies for the whole world are you saying that Jesus atoning death is not sufficient to save everybody in the world and least same people who say that say that not everybody in the world is saved. Why is everybody in the world say because of necessary condition to be saved by the atoning death of Jesus Christ is to have faith in Jesus Christ. And if you have no faith in Jesus Christ. The atoning death of Christ only exacerbates your guilt before God and will do nothing to alleviate it. My unbelief is an accusation against God himself saying God I can't trust what you saying. That's why the issue of the source of this announcement is so central to this passage. I'm an old man, my wife's beyond the age of bearing children, Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and it was God who sent me to announce these things to you. I'm not speaking on my own authority. Zacharias I'm speaking the word of God and to not believe the word of God is to say, and so to belief in God is something and not just a believe in God but to believe God is at the very essence of what it means to be a Christian person back in the Old Testament the prophet Habakkuk made the comment that just shall live by faith. Or we could translate it.

The righteous shall live by trust.

It's not by accident that that statement by Habakkuk is repeated three times in the New Testament, not the least of which is in Paul's thematic statement of the doctrine of justification in the first chapter of Romans stop by accident that in the 16th century. Again, this was the core issue between Rome and Luther and the reformers to be just, is to live by faith to be righteous if the be righteous by faith for the reformers called faith. The sole instrument of our justification not faith. Plus something else by trusting the word of God, trusting in God alone for your salvation is the only way anybody can ever be saved and the converse is true that if the just live by faith, but of the unjust live by my unbelief.

Which are you just or unjust your unbelief their friend cannot be justified. It is an unjust slander against the one who is the fountain of all truth and one of the things it distresses me greatly in our culture and the media, television, newspaper novels will hear statements like this, while the scientist gave his reason and the minister gave his face that he heard that kind of disjunction again and again and again because the idea here is that faith is confused with credulity, credulity is an on reasoned faith credulity is an ear rational faith.

I hear Christians say what you have to do is take a leap of faith, a leap of faith. We made a leap of faith well it's not reasonable to believe in the claims of Jesus Christ is not reasonable to believe in the word of God. Those things are irrational if you're going to be a rational person of any scientific person and still be a Christian you take a leap of faith, you close your eyes. You hold your breath. You hold your nose and you jump in the darkness, and hope Jesus will catch you. That's an insult to the spirit of God, the Bible never tells you to jump in the darkness.

It tells you every day. The jump out of the darkness and in to the light. Augustine labored the difference between faith and credulity. Credulity is the person who does believe anything anybody tells him for no reason at all, but faith fennec faith biblical faith is grounded in the trustworthiness of God himself. Nothing could be more unreasonable.

Nothing could be more irrational than to doubt a word that comes from God.

You've heard me say it 100 times. Maybe not hundred, maybe only 98 that I see these bumper stickers. God said it, I believe it, that settles it, and it makes me cringe. I want to go in with an eraser or a marking tenant cross out the middle premise. If God said it that settled God does not need your agreement for his word to be true.

I can disbelieve everything God is ever said and all that does is make me a fool and a center that cannot contradict the trustworthiness of God himself, and said you see what this angel is saying this across your story Zacharias you're too old and why civil only say I stand in the presence of God and God told me to tell you that you can have the sermon I heard God say that he told me to tell you but you have some contrary evidence to give me your age and your wife say and I'm supposed to discount the truthfulness of the word of the one who sent me because of how old you are.

Are you serious are you out of your mind. That was an intellectual problem was a moral problem. The reason for Zacharias doubt was Zacharias abiding sin, the reason why we doubt the word of God is not because his word is unbelievable or incredible, but because we project upon God. The untrustworthiness that describes our own condition that every man be a liar but God's word is true and when God speaks if you don't want to believe it. Zacharias than find your knocking to speak. And while your silence. While your mutes while you keep your mouth shut. You have some time to think and that silence about what you have just said about the word of God. The just shall live by faith.

Jesus said by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the father. There is no justification for denying the word of God. None. Your rage but your culture mentor profession. Nothing. If God says it is settled in that instant, secularized, his lips were clubs he staggers out into the outer court and the people have been waiting from the pier and they couldn't believe what was taking so long because characteristically the praise from going there near the altar of incense and leave us fats is a good lusty profane that holy space he's been in there way too long they want to be dying.

He comes out of Macy. I want an explanation. Try to tell them but nothing came out of his mouth. This is the first recorded activity of a mime in the New Testament, satirized his gesturing, trying to communicate what he saw and the people figured he'd seen a vision so he went home story goes, Elizabeth became pregnant and when this pollution until her days would be fulfilled.

How you respond to the word of God. Just or unjust pension to God is truth. He cannot fly.

And it's foolish not to believe what a profound and important message from Dr. RC Sproul you're listening to the Lord's.

The addition of Renewing Your Mind and were grateful that you joined us today sermon we just heard is part of Dr. Sproles expository series from Luke one of more than 100 sermons from this gospel. All that research and study was used to create a commentary on Luke's gospel and we like to provide that to you as a digital download is a great study companion is we continue our verse by verse study in the coming weeks to contact us today with a donation of any amount to leader ministries and we will send it your way, you can make your request online and Renewing Your is a reminder. You can also hear Dr. Sproles teaching on roughneck are 24 hour Internet radio station when you go to ref net.FM you'll hear faithful teaching and preaching from many trusted pastors and theologians.

You can also download the free ref net app. Just look for it in your favorite Store.

We hope you'll join us again next week continues his look at chapter 1 Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of leader ministries

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