I’m preaching through the Gospel of Luke this year. For anyone who wants to follow along with our study, I will be posting my sermon notes and the link to each message. Thanks for joining us in our study of Luke!
Sermon Outline for Jan. 11, 2015
1. Text: Luke 1:5-38
Where are we in redemptive history?
* Just coming out of the 400 years of silence.
* The last words of the Old Testament were, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse,” Mal. 4:5,6
* Now God is bringing that promise to fulfillment.
What do we need to know to understand this passage?
* This is Zechariah’s once in a lifetime chance to enter the Holy Place and offer incense – symbolizing the prayers of the people. Just behind the altar, on the other side of the curtain, is the Holy of Holies – God’s Throne.
* Then the angel Gabriel shows up. According to Church history, Gabriel is one of the three arch angels along with Michael and Lucifer. Gabriel has shown up one time before, when he gave revelation to Daniel about the end of the age.
* Gabriel tells Zechariah that he will have a son and is to name him John. John is to be a Nazarite (see Numbers 6) someone set apart for special service to God.
* Gabriel causes Zechariah to be mute because of his unbelief. Zechariah was a descendant of Abraham, a man remembered for his faith and belief that God could give him a son in his old age.
Are there any words or phrases that carry special significance?
* Gabriel says that John will “go before the Lord in the power and spirit of Elijah.”
* As far as we know, John performed no miracles. That fascinates me because he was supposed to operate in “the spirit and power of Elijah.” Elijah doesn’t get much air time in the Scriptures, just a few chapters really, but those few chapters are overflowing with the miraculous: withholding rain for three years, the flour and oil that never ran out, raising the widow’s son, the confrontation with the prophets of Baal, supernatural sustenance by the brook, encountering the manifest presence of God and so on. All of that points to the power of Elijah’s ministry, but one event points to his spirit – raising up a young man named Elisha to take his place and succeed him as prophet.
* The spirit of Elijah is the Fathering Spirit – the desire to see our sons and daughters surpass us. The spirit of Elijah is wanting our children to inherit a double portion, for our ceiling to become their floor. It is the desire to see our children equipped for every good work, spared from our mistakes and secure in their identities. Fascinating that just before God reveals Himself as Father to Israel, He raised up a messenger to go before Him to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the disobedient children to the wisdom of their righteous fathers.” First the physical restoration of fatherhood, then the spiritual revelation of God the Father.
How does this text reveal God’s true character and destroy lies we’ve believed?
* He is the God who hears and answers our prayer, even the ones we don’t pray any more. (Luke 1:13)
– Sometimes we think God doesn’t hear us, that is untrue. God always hears us with a sympathetic ear.
– God’s timing is often different than ours. Zechariah and Elizabeth both wanted to have kids – God wanted that too. They thought their dream had died with old age, but God was waiting to fulfill their desire at the perfect moment.
– Whenever you get a “no” from God it is because a better “YES!” is coming. Your prayers are “gaining interest” and your character is being strengthened to stand up under His blessing.
* He is the God who looks with kindness on His people and moves to take away their shame and disgrace. (Luke 1:25)
– In that day and age, for a woman not to have children was shameful. The thinking of the day was that there was something wrong with the woman – hidden sin, faulty character, or something like that. Elizabeth probably felt like a third-class citizen, since women were already looked down upon.
– God sees this and vindicates her, because that is the kind of God He is. Not only does she bear a son, it is a miracle birth – everyone who previously looked down on her now wonders, “If a miracle brought his birth, what will this child become?” (Luke 1:66)
– Staying faithful, tender hearted and not defending yourself in the face of accusation or disappointment is called “meekness” in the Bible. God loves to vindicate and elevate the meek in the presence of their accusers.
– God is not up in Heaven with a wooden spoon, ready to whack us when we do something wrong. God is with us, feeling our hurts and sharing our burdens. God is the One who has come to set us free, not put us into bondage through guilt and shame.
* God is a good Father.
– Jesus primarily revealed God as “Father,” a concept that is still hard to receive for those of us whose dads were harsh, distant or unloving.
– So, in order to give people the best possible chance to receive Jesus’s ministry, God set a super holy, super anointed prophet to restore tenderness and right relationship in families.
– Love and devotion between the generations was a necessary prerequisite for the Lord’s appearing.
– God doesn’t just want us to relate to Him spiritually, He wants to heal our home life too.
How can we thank, praise and worship God from this text?
* God is the God who always hears us.
* God is the God who answers.
* God is the God who bears our burdens.
* God is the God who sets us free and raises us up at just the right time.
* God is a Good Father. He loves us, He likes us, and He delights in us.
* God is in a good mood.
How does this revelation of God’s character call us to live differently?
* We keep praying, trusting that God hears us. We may not get the answer when we want it, but God will answer.
* If God doesn’t seem to be answering, it is because a better answer is coming. This may require us to change the way we think or reexamine what it is we think we need.
* How the generations relate to one another is super important – FAMILY IS REVIVAL.
Are there any resources to help?
* The best book I know of for relational skills and communication is “Keep Your Love On,” by Danny Silk.
* If your marriage is in a difficult place right now, in addition to KYLO, we have found “Love and Respect,” by Emerson Eggerichs to be helpful.
How can I put this into practice tomorrow?
* Take an index card, put the date on it and write out your heart’s desire. Put that card somewhere you will see it every day. Pray for it as often as you see it or think about it. Don’t let off of that one thing until you get an answer.
* Get and read (or reread) “Keep Your Love On.”
* Find a mentor and/or a mentee. We need both in our lives. Ask someone you like or respect to mentor you. Pray about who you could offer to mentor. If “mentoring” in problematic language for you, who can you “do life” with? These relationships are not one-way streets by any means.
* What prayers have you given up praying? God wants to resurrect hope in your heart for those things. God always hears us. Your better YES is coming.
* Many of us carry hurts from our dads that need to be addressed in order for us to relate to God as Father in a helpful way. This doesn’t mean your dad was wicked! In fact, hurts from nice dads are sometimes the hardest to work through — they were so great in so many ways and it STILL wasn’t enough. If you haven’t already, take some time to dialogue with Holy Spirit and see if there is any history preventing you from embracing God as the Father who loves you, likes you and delights in you.