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October 24, 2021 12:01 am
The Old Testament prophets wrote of a messenger who would prepare God's people for the arrival of the long-promised Messiah. Today, R.C. Sproul looks again at the song of the Benedictus in the gospel of Luke to see this prophecy's fulfillment in John the Baptist.
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Today on the Lord's day addition of Renewing Your Mind. When God forgave me of my sins, the mercy that he poured out of my soul that night was sweet and gentle and tender. That's how the mercy of God functions nursing school sharing the impact of God's mercy on his life, we will hear a bit more about that as he preaches the sermon from the Gospel of Luke chapter 1 will also see how God's tender mercy gives us the desire to cry out to him.
In gratitude is Zechariah did just before his son, John the Baptist was born. He sang a song that recounted God's faithfulness. Dr. scroll, we might say that this final section of the Benedictine use games to watch the gospel in a nutshell as John's father now prophesied about his son and about his son's ministry, for the son of God. Let's look at it in verse 76 and you child will be called the prophet of the highest for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways we remember from other occasions. In looking at the ministry of John the Baptist that the work of prophecy had ceased after the work of Malachi. The last of the minor prophets of the Old Testament and the voice of prophecy was silent in Israel for 400 years we have this tendency when we look at ancient history in general into the history of Scripture. In particular, to telescope together various portions and sections of time, we think, for example, that in the Old Testament. Miracles happened on every page and prophets could be found appearing from behind every bush but a more careful study of that shows that there were concentrated periods of time in Old Testament history when there was a out break of miracles.
After years and years of prophetic voices being given to the people of Israel were the word of God was announced by Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and all the rest, but a word from God for hundred years.
So many people believed that the voice of prophecy had been silenced forever. If those who were students of the prophecy of the Old Testament knew that some of the future. Prophecy then was that there would come a time in the future war one would rise up like Moses, for example, and again in the last prophecy of the last prophet in the Old Testament. From the book of Malachi we read these words. Remember the law of Moses my servant which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel with the statutes and the judgments behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children in the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with the curse. Beloved, that was the last prophecy of the Old Testament were Malachi said the day of the Lord is coming before, I will send my prophet Elijah and was we will see later on in the unfolding of the New Testament record from the teaching of our Lord himself that he said of John the Baptist. This is Elijah who was to come. This is the one who comes in the spirit and the power of Elijah and in this prophetic hymn of Zacharias. He says you child you will be called the prophet of the highest. The prophets of the supreme God and your task will be to go before the face of the Lord to prepare his way. This is also part of the prophecy of Isaiah that in the future before the Messiah would come. This forerunner anointed by God to restore the voice of prophecy would appear and cry to the people there the path of the Lord make straight his road be ready when he comes and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Zacharias now is prophesying that his son will fulfill that Old Testament prophecy that John will be the forerunner of the Messiah, and together with the Messiah, he will be given the task to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of sins, and through the tender mercy of our God. So what's the mission is to inform people.
It's to give them knowledge. We sometimes think that the purpose of Jesus coming was to do miracles and he certainly did that to heal the sick, and so on order this purpose. The come was to buy our salvation through his atonement, and that's certainly true, but his earthly ministry. Just as John's began with preaching with proclamation with the announcement of the gospel early on it wasn't called the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was called the gospel of the kingdom of God and he called his hearers to learn to gain knowledge, but he didn't set up a university and give courses in systematic theology.
It was a particular kind of knowledge that our Lord and his predecessor were commissioned to give. It was the knowledge of salvation. This knowledge of salvation is the knowledge that is being announced of reconciliation between God and mankind. And what is the absolute necessary condition for reconciliation. What is the thing that has to be before any reconciliation can ever take place before reconciliation. They place their first has to be estrangement people who aren't estranged don't ever need to be reconciled. But where do using Zion with calluses on our souls and we think were not estranged from God, I don't have anything against him. Why do I need to be reconciled.
I'll tell you why, because in your natural state declared war on him. Your natural human proclivity. The natural tendency of your soul is and mentee against God you consider him your personal enemy, but whenever we declaw God and described him as a higher being or some cosmic force. There's nothing to fear but when we talk about the God of the Bible whose personal and who holds every one of us accountable for our lives who tells us that we will experience everlasting damnation if we never repent and come to Christ and even our culture today. It's okay as long as we remain vague to speak about God in general, but let a football player announced to the public that he's a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Watch the hostility explode and talk about God. But when you get down to Jesus, you're down to the ultimate issue. If you are not in Christ. You're not reconciled. You're still at war if you don't believe that war is real. Read the newspaper every day you don't have to read any further than the sports page. Only God can enable Tim Tebo to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers just what's so funny, but the song goes on to give us more of the content of the salvation, the knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins for cancer patients is usually no better news. When the doctor tells them your disease is in remission.
Mrs. Conway doesn't always stay away. We know the crushing disappointment of those who experience when it comes back, but with a remission of sin. 11 never comes back when God forgives a sinner, he forgives him forever and you know theology when the night. I became a Christian told that story many times I listen to a friend talk to me about Jesus as if he were real as if my friend had a personal relationship with. I never heard anything like that in my life, but Isaiah listen.
I knew I got my first knowledge salvation and I went to my college dormitory room walked in the room turned out the light and got on my knees before the bed. Only thing I could say was God forgive me of my sin.
And in that moment I experience the on speakable joy. Having my soul flooded with the absolute assurance that every sin I had ever committed and ever would commit was forgiven. In that moment and that moment I experienced salvation, which was the most decisive moment and defining moment of my entire life.
Nobody can have their sins remitted and remain the same. That's why when we come here we come are not just a worship that we cover to praise God in the thank God for what he's done for us and I just hope that every person sitting in this room has known the joy of their salvation has no that their sins have been fully and finally forgiven, but my guess would be that that is nowhere near the truth, there must be many of you in the pews this morning who have no knowledge of salvation who've never known that your sins have been forgiven.
This is the doctrine of justification by faith that we talk about all the time theologically, but in the heart and soul of our justification. Justification includes is very core, the remission of our sin. But how is it listen to what the song serves through that is the means by means of the how of forgiveness of sins through the tender mercy of our God. Theologically we talk about being justified by faith through grace because of Christ. That's true here in the song, the remission of sins is through the mercy of God, the forgiveness of sins is not something that you merit. It's not something that you strive to achieve. It's not that you can make up for your sins by works of righteousness that is the worst myth ever perpetrated in the church if you want to go on a fool's errand.
Chase the hope of redeeming yourself by your own achievements, if any activity was doomed to failure. It would be that the only way you can know salvation.
The only way you can have the remission of sin is through the mercy of God.
But it's not through the justice of God is through the mercy of God. But notice here under the influence of the Holy Spirit how the mercy of God is described I can't just pass over this through the tender mercy of God, you can get stopped by a policeman on the highway and have that policeman just give you a warning and instead of giving you justice and the ticket you deserve. He says I'll let you go. This time, but he may do it with a scholarly may deal with a frown. You receive mercy, but I wasn't very tender. Years ago I did a seminar on marriage for women and in this seminar on anomaly women 50 or hundred, whatever were their I went through this exercise with them. I said if you had the opportunity to have a mail order husband just like you order a car specially with all the exact accessories that you want from your cardio. Now you get the order, the husband of your dreams right down the most important characteristics and attributes that this man would have. And so we had all these ladies give all of their special characteristics that they wanted from a husband and we tallied them all up and there were two things that stood out the two things that they wanted more than anything else and the man wasn't what they were.
They wanted a man who was strong and they wanted a man who was tender didn't want a strong man who was harsh. They didn't want to strong man. He was a bully and want to marry a mouse. They want to marry a man, but they wanted in that strength and that manhood to find tenderness every woman's dream and the husband of the church is the strong and mighty Jesus whose mercy is tender when God forgave me of my sins, the mercy that he poured out on my soul that night was sweet and gentle and tender.
That's how the mercy of God functions of the few lines that are left.
We could let go till next week, but I won't do that through the tender mercy of our God, with which with which the dayspring from on high has visited us. I told you before, how many multitudes of titles there are in the Scriptures for Jesus.
Last week we looked at the title. The horn of salvation in the house of David here in the same song is another title for Jesus. The dayspring from on high. In the Greek is the Anatoly that means the breaking of the Dawn when the sun rises. That's the dayspring that moment where the night retreats and the shadows fall away and the lights come on in the morning Dawn that is so, is described here as a title for Jesus going back again to Malachi where he said when that day of the Lord comes when Elijah will return. They said the son not SON but asked UN, the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his way. That's the dayspring from on high. The rising Sun visits us for Sunday we look at this.
We spent the whole sermon on the concept of visitation of God and here it comes again at the end of the song we revisited, by the sum of righteousness. When that sunrise from the dayspring appears what happens. He gives light to those who sit in darkness. He gives light to those who are in the shadow of death light that makes it possible for us to see where our feet are going into the way of peace, remission of sins.
The knowledge of salvation the tender mercy of God, the son of righteousness coming in the mist of darkness and of the shadow of death. In the song in with this equipment. So the child grew John the Baptist and became strong in spirit, and was in the desert till the day of his epiphany till the day of his manifestation to Israel. The desert, the traditional meeting place between man and God the desert were Elijah fled for refuge fed by the ravens living RK now living on wild locusts and honey. This child grows stronger and stronger and stronger until the summons comes to him say now prepare the way of some so much the justice we just scratched the surface. Read it again for your souls.
You can hear Dr. RC Sproul's love for Scripture, there is that we wrap up this section of Luke chapter 1 here on Renewing Your Mind is his RC always reminded us sound theology leads to doxology. Glad you could be with us today for our Sunday edition of the program each week were making our way through this gospel account of Jesus life and ministry. And if you return each Sunday. You'll hear the entire book, explained Dr. scroll was able to mine the depths of Scripture in the sermon series and you can further your own study when you request a resource offer today.
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It's almost 600 pages and you can requested today with your donation of any amount to look at your ministries or offices are closed today on the Sabbath, but that you can give your gift to make a request online at Renewing Your Mind.work. You can also hear Dr. Sproles teaching on ref net that's our 24 hour Internet radio station, you can tune in for free at any time and you will be encouraged by the teaching of Dr. scroll along with a ligand or teaching fellows and other trusted pastors including Alastair Begg and John MacArthur plus you'll hear audiobooks Bible reading and music. You can listen right now when you go to ref net.FM you can download the free ref net app for your Apple or android device Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of winter ministries. Glad you joined us today on behalf of all of my colleagues here and we can hear. We hope you find rest and comfort God's truth. The Lord's day