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December 27, 2019 12:00 am
Prices unrecognized ultimately crucified my nation. I didn't realize we was and we would've done the same thing we've been there, we would've taken one look at his advanced man looked at this son of a carpenter and said were waiting for the Messiah, but you're not in your not in. We are not God looks like. When he comes, he certainly won't land in a stable and if he were God, he would not Landor" across the Bible calls Jesus the light of the world. But Jesus didn't light up the sky with fireworks and make an unforgettable appearance when he came in fact, his arrival was so common that it was almost unnoticeable. Why was that well. Luke gives us the answer. Stephen explores that today here on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Devi is concluding a series entitled Christmas cousins today. The lesson you're about to hear is entitled, let there be light, stay with us. Well, today we take our last look at the what we have focused on in these Christmas cousins. We been studying this December. Cousins Elizabeth and Mary and their miracle babies whose ministries will intertwine briefly yet very significantly, the ministry of their sons Jesus and and John are going to change the world forever. Both of their births are surrounded by music I love. I really do love the music of Christmas and appreciate all the work and labor that goes into this assembly by our leaders to make this such a rich experience for us, but both of these babies in their births had music involved. In fact, when Jesus Christ was born. As you know, the sky was lit up with angels who, saying that the Savior's just been born. It was the custom of Middle Eastern couples to hire musicians to comment play in and saying as they celebrated the birth of this whatever family was it hired them their firstborn and their wealth determine the size of the choir and in the number of musicians Joseph and Mary are a long way from home and are huddled in his hollowed out cavern where she's just delivered the delivering they don't know any musicians in town and if if they they they could hire them. If they did anyway that I'm any money, but that's okay, God the father has sent his own choir and he has deep pockets and that choir is a million strong, and that music is so rich and the lyrics were given they appear in the sky and they sing, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased since our focus has been on the birth of the savers forerunner the prophet John what I want to do here is shift our attention to the lyrics of another song. It was song six months earlier, only this time it was a solo it was song by that old priest of the father of John, who is no doubt overwhelmed with just as much joy as any angels, so let me have you turned back the page to Luke's gospel chapter 1.
Six months before the angels sing in the sky above Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus. Several miles away in the lives of this elderly couple who taken their boy to be circumcised on the eighth day music is about to begin. Elizabeth courses delivered.
This boy according to Gabriel's message from God.
The name of John. Even though be nicknamed later on John the baptizer or John the Baptist. John means, as we learn the grace of God is going to introduce Jesus who is the embodiment of grace. The instrument of grace.
The means of grace the bridge of grace whereby mankind can be reconciled to God. But now this old freeze holds up his miracle baby ever. 68, and he began to chant his own prophetic song. This is Apollo and more than likely an Old Testament fashionista chanting it that the chant begins in verse 68 a little run through verse 79 and we don't have time for all this is you can only imagine lab five divided Zacharias's Christmas hymn of the four stanzas the first stanza is about the salvation of Israel.
The second stanza is about the sovereignty of God. The third stanza is about the son of Zacharias in the fourth stanza is about the sunrise from heaven for the sake of time in follow Baptist tradition I have is look at all four stanzas really in a break with tradition arguments.
Skip the first two what I want to do is look at the third here and it focuses on the future ministry of John the baptizer lever 76.
He saying this picture him singing this. Looking at his son John and you child will be called the prophet of the most high, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare his ways. A powerful expression your dentist speak on behalf of the sovereign Lord prepare the way for the Messiah. That idea of preparing the way goes all the way back to ancient days where the learning paved roads. One Bible historian talked about the fact that most roads of course were simply tracks across open fields, but when you got near a town and entered the town. The ground could be nothing more. He writes in a muddy mess where the wheels of carts were often mired down and get stuck but if the king were to travel to visit that town in his empire or road leading into and through the town would be built out of stone or wood and smoothed out for the royal chariot or carriage so that the traveling would not be unduly rough in the wheels would not get swamped in the Meyer is the picture here.
John ghetto announced to the nation and to the world. The king is coming royalty is going to arrive make ready the road of repentance. Prepare a highway unobstructed, smooth and ready so that the king can ride on that highway directly into people's hearts. John the Baptist you see was all about construction.
He was all about building a highway for the King of heaven. Zacharias introduces us to the king with the wonderful expression.
It's a name for him. We don't spend much time looking at look at the last stanza in verse 78 where he says because of the tender mercy of our God with which note this sunrise from on high, will visit us to shine upon those who sit in darkness you.
It's one thing to be stuck in the mud. It's another thing to be stuck in the mud in the middle of the night. No light, no fire. Isaiah describes the nation Israel as a people walking in darkness, but all of that is going to change the sunrise is on His Way, Jesus Christ will be described as the light of the world John 812, the gospel will be described as a gospel of life.
Second, tribunes for six those who believe the gospel will be called the children of light. Ephesians 58 the believer will be commanded to cast off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light. Romans 13 verse 12. Those who trust in Jesus Christ will been rescued from the darkness and brought into a marvelous light. First Peter 22 Jesus Christ said in John eight I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life that's finally just beginning were not only children of light walking in the path of light belonging to the kingdom of light. But when they were going to personally shine with the lights of the noonday sun in the kingdom of our father. Matthew 1343.
Everything about the believer is no longer darkness, but the light John the Baptist is actually announcing what Malachi had prophesied 400 years earlier. Before the darkness of judgment in the silence of God's word and wrapped itself around planet Earth for 400 years. No word, no angel, no message. Darkness.
But there's a day coming. John, the prophet will break the silence, he will announce the sun is about to rise.
Get your hearts paved and ready get ready for the Lord of light.
Get ready for the sunrise to ride like a chariots into your heart and life.
Lever 79 is going to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, those that are so fearful were not ready to die. What will happen to us when we do all luck for 79 he will guide our feet into the way of peace easy to shine a light beyond this life to the next. Get ready. The sunrise is on his way is what John will say see here with his prophetic song from Zacharias to think again about the fact that nothing more will really be heard for about 30 years until John appears preaching in the wilderness he got to go out there to hear him. He's not invited in the synagogues and the temple he got a go outdoors.
Dear this wild man wearing camel hair closing eating wild honey locust living a life of solitude. Suddenly he shows up and begins to preach.
I want to show you what he preached turn over to John's Gospel chapter 1 John chapter 1 by the laser turning let me mention the John the gospel writer here is a different person than John the Baptist. John the baptizer. John the baptizer is going to die very young and not long after the beginning of his ministry will be put into prison by Herod and then beheaded at the request of Herod's wife. She was infuriated with this profit from the wilderness dare to refer to her marriage to Teixeira read as adulterating which it was. So the first chance she got. She asked for his head.
She wanted to get rid of them and he died soon after his ministry began the religious leaders.
By the way, were all the happier to see him go because he had also confronted their cities, suggesting they need to follow the sign of repentance and for this profit. It was immersion in water, just like Gentile dogs in muddy water. They did like this man. They wanted to be left alone with their religious rituals and their religious systems and the religious ceremonies. They were comfortable with the darkness leave us alone in the dark find it interesting that history repeats itself, more than 500 years ago in the small village of Ferrara, Italy little boy grew up to bravely confront his religious world. He would later be called the forerunner of the Reformation. Many don't know of them in his classic work, the history of the Christian church. Philip Shaw wrote about this young priest by the name of savanna Rollo. He lived in the darkest of times when the church was characterized by corruption and wickedness among the religious leaders the papacy the priesthood. He said he wrote the entire clergy the offices of Bishop and Cardinal were sold to the wealthiest bidder. I like the governor of Illinois memory try to sell his the vacated Senate CDs now in prison church was filled, Shaw fraught with immorality of all kinds prevalent in monasteries and condoms openly displayed in local congregations without discipline or shame the church he wrote had become a den of vice and iniquity. The so burden savanna Rollo that he spoke with fiery eloquence against these practices and for eight years he preached in Florence, Italy, pleading for spiritual Reformation. He refused to mix and mingle with officials and with the solitary life he was resented by all of the leaders, the clergy one morning interrupting is the motion Shaw throat church leaders broke into his monastery Dragon through the streets lock them in a dungeon where he was tortured before being asked. That was at the end of his testimony. She was the forerunner of the coming Reformation. When enough people would rise up in protest against the corruption of the church and eventually splinter off into a dozen fragments of light. These protesters have now for the last 500 years of church history, followed the early conviction of the Reformation and at the center of those convictions is the conviction that reads in Latin Sola script Torah ever seen that before, which means the church will now follow the authority of the Scriptures alone is the word of God alone in that is our purity and our protection. Amen. It is the word of God found it interesting and ironic that when the day of savanna Rollo's trial arrived church to become so determined to silence him that one of the popes own commissioners wrote on the post by half and I quote put savanna Rola to death, even if he is another John the Baptist hang them set on fire. His remains and through his ashes in the river put to death, the forerunner of the Reformation, just as 1500 years earlier. The religious leaders put to death the forerunner of the Redeemer.
For the most part the brief ministry message of John the baptizer will be ignored. Religious leaders will responded to the light of John's preaching by taping up the windows pulling the blinds and closing the curtain's leave us down in the darkness were simply told in verse six of John chapter 1 there came a man sent from God whose name was John there really wasn't any more than I can say about them because that was pretty much it. He was a man sent from God whose name was John the notice he came as a witness to testify about the light so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light there was the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world that is speaking of Christ. Now the light in the world was made through him, and the world did not know him. There are three reactions, only to be very quickly to John's preaching.
This is the first when the light was not recognized this as the world did not know him literally, the world did not recognize the nations been waiting for over 400 years for the Messiah. But when he comes in is introduced, it cannot be the son of a carpenter, it cannot be this man introduced to us by his cousin, me, what is this a little family scheme to get some notoriety. Did you hear cousin work this out beforehand how you introduce man will be the guy to flip on the nation is waiting for the anointed one and are pretty confident that when he comes using a wood like Jesus and he certainly is and can be represented and introduced by a man who looked like John the baptizer's wild man from the wilderness solitary life comes thundering on the scene. Are you kidding that's not the Messiah were waiting for an if this is his advance man. We can only wonder Jesus Christ is unrecognized ultimately crucified by nation. I didn't realize we was and we would've done the same thing. Had we been there, we would've taken one look at his advance man watched him for a few minutes and looked at this son of a carpenter and said we we were waiting for the Messiah, but you're not in your not it. We don't know what God looks like. But when he comes, he certainly won't land in a stable and if he were God, he would not land or end up autocross and it had to why Isaiah would prophesy centuries earlier. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
You see, from that point of this mankind is still rejecting what about you is your heart been paved with repentance. Have you received that chariot of light, the Royal one, and your online and recognize the light.
The second response follows the first they didn't receive the likely verse 11. The apostle John writes, he came to his own literally came to his own domain. This is his own creation, and those who were his own and his own creation. Certainly reference with donation did not receive them. The testimony of Zacharias to the priests that he'd seen an angel in in the holy place that was written off as delusional as you know the surprise pregnancy of his 80-year-old wife was written off as well and that something from the Angels to the shepherds to the virgin to the Magi and on and on and on. The evidences of the grace of God which point said to the true Messiah was overwhelming, overwhelming, that's what we today we go will be on the record. We have the record. How does our world miss. Can you imagine an entire nation rejecting the message of the gospel.
After having so many evidences of the grace of God is look around.
This is the most obvious season to answer the question. Look up the word Christmas in the dictionary if it hasn't been rewritten by the reconstructionists it will say Christmas: celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ and in our nation we mirrored Israel in many ways our nation once the lights of Christmas. It just doesn't want you to mention the light of Christ. We want to celebrate the season.
We just don't want to mention the Savior.
Ladies and gentlemen this weekend the world will miss the meaning of Christmas and it will miss the meaning of Christmas on purpose as 1/3 reaction to the sunrise. There are those who will respond to the likely verse 12 this is a wonderful verse hinged by that little word but all I'm telling all this stuff. It's bad but but as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name wasn't made to believe in his name in the ancient world and name was more than just something that you know when well with your last name or was a family tradition.
Name was a reflection of the person bearing in fact many times Old Testament and New Testament saints would be re-named Jesus did that with his own disciple Peter. He wanted to reflect who they are or who they will become.
Gabriel told Joseph and Mary didn't name their newborn son Jesus. Why, because it meant exactly what he would become means Redeemer deliver such a believe in the name of Jesus means that you believe in all that his name represents.
It made you believe in his character. This person is attributes his mission, his atonement, his sacrifice is redemption. His deity believe in the why. Many thought was nothing more than a diluted carpenter, a misguided teacher. You believe in the one whose name says what he is and you become a child of God. Wonder, though, that he would be missed and is coming one poet with the incarnation in these words no pump, no pageantry, no flash, no fanfare. Apart from that require splitting the skies for a moment and then disappearing out of sight God slipped on pretentiously into the lake of humanity with barely a ripple of notice, but in his wake.
Quiet greatness moved in concentric circles touching everyone he met a fisherman weathered and worn. A woman Samaritan and shameful man 38 years lame, but then look a rolled up pallet and empty water pot nets hung out to dry forever left behind for him. It was full of grace and truth. For him, whose brimming glory spilled into their empty lives where there was a meaningless laborer. He gave mission where there was hurt. He gave healing where there was thirst for forgiveness. He gave living water. Deity was never so winsome as when the light of the world touched these dimly burning wick's and gave them a reason to shine as the sunlight at the breaking of the dual let there be light did not cease to sound from the mouth of our creator at the first creation continued on until John said the lightest time God has spoken. The word is the why. Let there be a lie. By the way it continues to this day is the glorious light of the gospel shines upon those who sit in darkness. Those who stumble in in the night for those who believe there is a new creation, and in them is given the lights of the world. Let there be light is your testimony in mind is the gospel of light. We believe it is the Savior of light.
We follow is the armor of light. We where is the color of the closing. Were you aware in that final creation where we will shine as the sun kingdom of our father and why, because this is son of God, came where we are, so that we might go where it belongs.
In this heavenly King of everlasting never in light I hope that you and your loved ones have been able to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this season.
Jesus came with the purpose to bring light to the darkness and offer us light and life.
Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the heart. With today's lesson. Stephen Devi concludes his series entitled Christmas cousin.
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