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December 19, 2020 1:00 pm
You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the is there something here for me. I mean it's just words printed on paper right it may look like just print on the page but it's more than a join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it on our own. As we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than Dorothy and that we are some of maybe the lesser known lesser parts of the Christmas story that you don't hear too much about, but we think, especially today, especially today are probably the most core. The core passages you really want to focus on Christmas is a big deal yeah because what's with John the Baptist. He knows a kid I always wondered what part did John the Baptist play in the story.
Why Luke devotes a huge amount of his text to John the better you cannot get a statue and all these Christian right show up in a Christmas Carol calling this bigger, but when Luke compiles a story about Jesus. He says hello everybody. In Luke one and then the first thing he talks about is the first area is tightly connected into the birth of Jesus, tightly connected and you get a viewpoint into the birth of Jesus, and we never would be forced to work.
I jump into this narrative about why John the Baptist figures in with the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist.
Parents set right in and Elizabeth and what that has to do with it. Last we saw how Elizabeth Nancy was kind of a confirmation for Mary Borg to work out. We go back to beginning of find out how that came to be and white figures in such a prominent way.
So when Luke starts off his story in Luke one he starts off with the holy though the whole quandary that that Zacharias and Elizabeth have which was they don't have any kids, and they've got old and Harold and publicly recognizing) and he's he's professional ease of he's a guy who goes into the temple and does priestly kinds of things so there's is actually a very special honor overthinking to going to the temple. It's only given to a couple people and he actually he draws a short straw held to him this time going to the C. Now I've got it now I've got a private audience with God. Maybe this would be a good time for me to come to God.
This is the best chance Oliver gets a guide. Can you help us out. We don't have any kids. That's not exactly in his task is to burn incense, which represents the prayers of the people. So he's offering prayer for himself and his wife at the same time that he is representing the prayers of the people. So let's pick up the story when you read the whole thing, but we need to read this very important part of Luke one and when to start reading in verse 12 verse 11. The angel of the Lord appeared to him standing to the right of the altar of the incense and Zacharias was troubled when he saw him in fear gripped him, but the angel said to him, do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son annual giving the name John and you have joy and many will rejoice at his birth for you to be great in the sight of the Lord and he will drink no wine, or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb, and he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and it is he who will go as a forerunner before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared the Lord so the angel is saying to him, he's placing this child squarely in the prophetic word of mouth Chi last word of the Old Testament was.
I'm going to send this 1 to 4). The spirit of Elijah before Messiah and he's can have a message of repentance that will turn the hearts of fathers to the children and children to the fathers.
That's a reference to the covenant being passed father to son Derek and all become aware of the need for repentance because of the message of this child. So he's really laying the groundwork for what Jesus is going to do is right and John the Baptist comes and gets people's hearing straightened out because the issue is not by his Mike conquering Rome.
The issue is dealing with your own sin and the factors redemption and forgiveness right away into the kingdom is through repentance and forgiveness is just up.
This is just a thought that this was not part of the Messiah thinking so that's with John the Baptist.
And so, here, here, Zacharias is in the temple and he's asking for a baby and the things that you will have a guess what surprised this baby is that forerunner who's going to go before the Messiah. He's not the Messiah is going before the Messiah to come and talk about them actually to the Paiva Highway in the words of the Old Testament to make his paths straight.
And even so that the Messiah can come in right direction for repentance. Yeah.
So that's his job. So Zacharias doesn't believe he doesn't because he asks the question, allowing aisle for certain that's really going to happen and the angel says well I'm Gabriel. I'm the one something in the presence of God and I am the one tasked with letting humankind know Messiah is on the way right. That's who's talking to you and that this is kind of a name dropping from the Old Testament. You know how my names of angels do know from the Old Testament. Many not very many, Gabriel. He's prominent in Daniel. When Daniel talking about the coming Messiah Messiah table, so he's really dropping a name that should make great quickness boots so you can read this text by yourself, but the response to Gabriel says you know because you didn't believe what I told you, you will be silent and unable to speak until the birth of this baby. Well, that implies not only was he not able to speak. He was also unable to hear he was in silence and we find that out later when they have to make signs to him to find out what the baby should be named rights for the whole gestation of this baby. He was violent right to be silent so that's that's kind of the what's going to happen because he didn't believe.
But the but the pregnancy is going to go on in this baby is going be born in the forerunner stomach about this is superduper important move on through this now as we skip forward in the text after the baby is born. Finally, born they asked him during this process the say so when you know a couple days after the birth have to go in and they have to name the child as well as circumcising but the naming is formal and since you know he can't he can't speak their figuring well you know what you do. The first first child, you're always enough to the den I got in Zechariah 5 so they make signs to them tablet so you can write on it and he instead he says nope. He writes of the devil. His name is John. John which blew everybody away, so read about that because that's in Luke one in the 60s versus which come right before his mouth is opened in praise and right. All he has to say is how great God is because of what he stands is a good point if if you were if you Zechariah me. What would you have said right after having your speech come back and after kind of showing verbally and in a way that you buy into the program.
Could you not name sacristy not naming him after yourself, believed and obeyed the child. John exactly so so so what's the next thing out of your mouth. And this is what we want to focus on because this is an extraordinary view into the big picture about the birth of Jesus, as well as John the Baptist, so that they we pick that up when you get around verse 67 and Zach and Zachary was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. So here again we have the Holy Spirit giving us something about internal view of what importance what's really going on here is the first things out of Zacharias's mouth and he says and 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David David's house.
Again, David's house, the house of God was going to build forms of before going be passed that it's notice the tense of the verb is all past tense past visit as God has showed up in Jesus is not so these are all these are all done deals from God's perspective.
For whites in the past and a notice to we talked about the name Immanuel, which means God with us. He's visited us.
That's it right there. He's been. He has visited us and he has redeemed his people redeemed always talks about buying some rice and this is like a done deal from this perspective as well.
And then in 69 he says he's raised up a horn of salvation, in this horn is not a car horn. This is like a horn in an animal so you see, really powerful box or something. It has always been goring horns that always is a picture of power and might, in ancient days so and it's dangerous one. So it's a nice picture of power and ability to bring salvation.
He's raised up a mighty horn of salvation for us not ineffectual but powerful.
Okay. But that same horn is also what they would blow the ram's horn shofar, which with its announcement gets your attention something is happening and so I really induced it doesn't. Both things God is calling attention and that's what John the Baptist was going to do know before Messiah and call attention and say there he is repent and get ready because the kingdom is here is here and that's what he was meant to be was to be accountable to kind of pronounce what's going on in the house of David serve as an internal throne of David. There it is, and so any and he goes on reminisces and 70 and as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets of old which we just did two weeks ago that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us okay is there for a second because we can interpret that as just as being saved in a military fashion from our human enemies, but from an eternal perspective we are saved from our old ancient enemy, death and sin are enslavement to sin. We are saved, brought out from the power of the enemy.
The real enemy. The real battle is not flesh and blood analysis. That's right is with angels and principalities, you know it's this bad guys who are out for your bad or not up for your good and so these invisible goring agent are going to be vanquished right here. He's the one who's going to save us from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. So what is that what what was the mercy promised to our fathers in the holy covenant. Well, what was the oath that he swore to Abraham, I'm to make people here can be the father of a huge number and numberless number of people and we know from the New Testament, Galatians has all who are of the teeth of Abraham are children of Abraham. So, no we saw with Mary last week that when Gabriel spoke to her.
She believed him write the problem with Zacharias was when Gabriel spoke to him.
He didn't believe in family like oh yeah.he doesn't says God has promised to our fathers, to remember his covenant. The oath that he swore to our fathers, to Abraham, to test that we delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness. All our days. How do we get holy. How do we get a righteous well the Scripture says back in Genesis 16 Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Paul and the writer of Hebrews pick set up a practice reminds me of an event it's going to happen much later in life. John the Baptist was out that the Jordan River and is baptizing people and the Pharisees come out to say you know what's going on out here because I'm a brood of vipers with fire and stuff. What he does he confront them with the fact that there thinking that since they think that they are right. Children of Abraham. They've got a freebie in writing because they genetically they have this Medicare ancient he he kinda takes him down on the spot because I'm not catching the fact that there's an issue about forgiveness and sin that seems to be dealt with and being just genetic sons of Abraham is not cutting it for you. So he actually says what you know if God needs children may bring you to make the seagoing rocks.
So the issue is faith. Faith in God and God's solution to the problem of our site blood of Abraham just doesn't figure too much. That's what's kinda interesting here because also when God talk to Abraham. He says that not only will Israel be blessed but all on Jason and and the only qualification to participate in. That is the same faith that Abraham had and that's what makes you son of Abraham's faith in God's solution to the problem of our sin through Christ. So as he swore to our father Abraham to grant us. I love the picture to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies like you know they do not bother you anymore leave you free to do what you serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before motor so you mean what were basically saying is, God promised us that could be a nation that we would be unmolested in this place gonna take care of us and we just want to live here with God and guts is okay with us for live here with God that we might serve him without fear and holiness merchant before molar days. That's just the point.
So this is what this one who is coming this Jesus is going to accomplish on our behalf and in and according to hell Zacharias quotes this is due in the past tense is like it's a done radio. It's a done deal from beginning of the universe to done deal. What Christ is done on our behalf in order to fulfill his covenant promise not only to Israel but to those who are sons of Abraham through faith as well and they turns his attention to the baby yet. Haven't I felt on you all the people standing around him, or just gob smacked about the fundraiser not naming Zach really want to find out what's going on here and talk about John the Baptist. You are visiting this happen. So we take a slight detour in the life John the Baptist is not slight you child were 76 will be called the prophet of the time for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to get knowledge of salvation to his people and the forgiveness of theirs to prepare his purpose and knowledge of salvation that comes through the forgiveness of our sins, not through offering enough sacrifices, not through obedience to the law, not the parading of our righteous behavior by repentance from our sins right so again the issue is he needed to prepare the years of the audience that we hear Jesus eventually ended the way they need to be prepared us to understand that they are in need of salvation but not salvation from Rome and the people occupying them.
They are in need of salvation from their sins.
Forgiveness of your sins. And this is what the Messiah is coming to conquer is the consequences of our sins because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. He has pulled together prophecies for my Malachi from I guess his eyes. Mostly I said Malachi are in view there but that's just amazing is one of my favorite such a boatload of stuff go weathervane rancher because in this notice he talks about his son, John the Baptist, and 76 and 77, but then he says, because here you need that you need to give people getting prepped for this message. And here's the message here's a message there is salvation to the forgiveness of sins have problem sins. When you do you forgiveness is God's way of fixing the problem and why, because God is driven by his tender mercy for us. He sees her condition.
He understands affected arsons are killing us and by the way I tell people all the time. I'm not a big fan of sin or sinful behavior because of self-destructive sin is self-destructive and may promise a lot, but in the end it self-destructive and it also enslaves you.
So what he saying right here is because of God's tender mercy. He is taking the initiative to fix all the imprisonment we have to sin and affix the self-destruction is coming from sin and the path is forgiveness of sins.
God is taking the initiative to establish a new covenant, not like the one they broke in the wilderness, and they couldn't possibly keep. But a new covenant. As Jesus said in the blood of Jesus, which is all about the for deafness of sin, he should go to Jeremiah 31 3131 to 34 and read that account of what God says I'm establish a new covenant, and you will know me through the forgiveness of your sin and they'll all know me, and along going around telling me just in the least, you need to know God, because everyone will know from the greatest to least of the most humble like Mary so is forgiveness for sin is accessible to all.
You don't have to be in the entitlement camp.
You don't have to be a religious authority. You don't have to be a member of any nationality that says they will all know me give their sin, our sin is what separates us from God. Isaiah says.
And yet, yet the most resistant ears in Jesus time with the Pharisees because themselves rancher they thought they were righteous. They were informed about the law and dog on it. They were doing and tailoring titles to God's favor because Ray were did anything right. We were doing everything right. We understand God's commands right and no on top of that we have the blood of Abraham and advancement.
We are in.
And when Jesus called them why did set the right thing to clean up the outside, but the incisor filling inside so that no unclean thing or listen to this and that's why they didn't they didn't sink with John the Baptist was out there doing the same. He did not receive that message. They just didn't get it because I just stepped out that the issue is one of the heart right that's right thing with the new covenant got right in your heart. It's not to be imposed on you externally by a stone tablet anymore. It's going to be written on the living tablet of your heart, based on whether you are not internal instead of external and it's it's written in your hearts, motivations and desires and logs. I silently love what God loves an integral part of who you are than applied for me outside and I think God will do. God does this guy does this and he said any I love this language the sunrise show someone how you know it's a bit of something is coming from the outside is coming here coming down to hear Jesus is not from here and from there sunrise and I love the fact he doesn't see were getting visited from on high, were having a son now sunrise.
What happens when the sun comes up as a whole new day exactly and hope I mean everything. The sunrise I get back to Malachi. The last few verses of Malachi say and he'll rise like this this son of righteousness with healing in his healing in his wings.
So sunrise will visit us from on high.
The other thing I like about to about the whole idea of like we talked about this in John was the fact that light gives you an understanding of the way things truly are and before there's light you just guessing at the way for me to start this is a dark and we have all this artificial what would you seldom think about that light reveals things, but in this particular case is not just the blinding hot light of the hot sun. It's a sunrise. It's a new day is the beginning of a new day that God has planned and Jesus himself is this a visit from on high. This sunrise from God on new day in understanding God's provision for our sin through Christ.
Actually, Peter picks up that full symbolism. Let's see if I can find yeah that's right when he says that I will shoot Peter second Peter 119 plaintiff says. And so we have the prophetic word made more sure he's talking about having been on the mountain with Jesus at the transfiguration, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning Star the Sun morning star rises in your hearts you do well, until the day dawns for you right and at the end of Revelation 2216 Jesus says I am the offspring of David, I am the bright and morning star beginning of God's new day in the light that is viewing what Zacharias is saying back here together with the natural beauty of the sunrise.
The natural hope rise. All that is wrapped. That's where this language is so great.
This is a sunrise that's from on high. Any day that will never end right and he says he is at the center is a new 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, and feet in the way of peace is an awesome feet into the way of peace. Peace. Well peace with one another by peace with God is with patients. Ephesians 2 says he is our peace, and we talk about peace in the New Testament we always think about reconciled relationships is what this piece is about is not just the cessation of war knows abilities is about whatever separated you from someone else. Peace brings you back together again.
So this is peace with God. This is peace with God and why do we were not at peace with God because I says it's not that the armhole are so short that he cannot save its awesome syndicate walked away. But God now is taking the initiative. Zacharias is taking the initiative with the sunrise and is going to bring light to this miserable people who sit in darkness and the shadow Isaiah and God is the one who's fixing is gonna bring light to those who sit in darkness and chatted and now he's going to guide our feet.
Without light we go over going nowhere to go in order to pursue peace with God to guide our feet way of peace had always wanted coming back to the erotic black blessing and I want to do.
Probably whole conversation about that in the new year because that that the Lord bless you and keep you Lord make his face shine upon you, God's intention from the very beginning was that his his high priest would speak over the people I have my face toward you and I'm going to establish you in peace.
Well, Romans 51 says being justified by faith, we have peace with God through this faith in which we would be grace in which we stand by, so when we believe God is the means by which we can be established step settled, founded in the spirit leaving what he has said to us about our Savior and son.
We participate in in his plan.
He's execute on our behalf just have to say okay like I like Mary did so well okay I'm in Zachariah have all that in view when he's just overflowing in this praise will perhaps not in the moment to moment, but he sees the whole picture sees the whole picture. So as we got around this off of someone ask you what Christmas is all about, and this is why go to every single time what is good what is really what's the big picture what Christmas is all about. I mean like and I'll tell them Jesus the birth of Jesus is a sunrise that is visit us from on high, who's who's given light for us who just sit in darkness and shadow of death, that he is now guiding our feet into way peace. That's what Christmas is all about.
He is the sunrise from on high to beginning of a whole new day hold today.
The day before that it was darkness and shadow of death, and now there's light and he is that what you see is the lights and that's why think this is what Christmas is. This is what Christmas is that point in the timeline of all mankind's history well and we've been reading through the Gospel of John, and I just would remind you that John 114 and that word became flesh and dwelt and we beheld his glory right when you see a son, it's glorious. His glory is the only begotten from the father full of grace and truth. So it comes back to do. We believe that God spoke himself into our existence in this human baby who was born who was the word become flesh that to show us the glory of God.
The manual got out of SS God with us he visited us. He's in our midst and accomplished our redemption established S&P's. This is the God who initiated this rescue mission through Jesus for our benefit and I got ready for Christmas and that's why we love Christmas for glad you been with us today. I hope it changes your viewpoint on gift just tremendous just tremendous, and next time were actually diamond can be hopeful looking year as many of us don't think we have so this is Jim this is. See you next Mary Christmas