Luke 1:39-80 Sermon Notes

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!

[This one was jam packed. Sorry for the information overload! I’ll work on taking smaller bites going forward.]

Sermon Outline for Jan. 18, 2015

1. Text: Luke 1:39-80

2. Context/Theology:
Where are we in redemptive history?
* Mary is staying with Elizabeth and Zechariah.
* John is about to be born, but before this happens Elizabeth, Mary and Zechariah all prophesy about God’s intent to honor His covenantal promises.
* Jesus, the Messiah, has just become incarnate.

What do we need to know to understand this passage?
* It was the case for John and Jesus that even before they were conceived they had a name and a destiny. Our destinies aren’t as “set in stone” as theirs, but I do believe that God has a unique purpose for our life.
* John, as a 6 month old fetus, had the spiritual capacity to recognize Jesus, the Messiah, who was little more than a zygote at the time.
* Biblically, a child is a person with physical, emotional and spiritual capacity, a name and destiny even from conception.

Issue of Abortion, Adoption and Foster Care
* If we take this text seriously, it means that every fetus, from the time of conception, is a baby with a destiny.
* We can only be anti-abortion to the extent we are pro-adoption and pro-compassionate care for moms.
* To tell a pregnant mom that it is immoral to have an abortion and then not help her is like James 2:14-17 – dead and worthless religion.
* If ever there is a time for the Church to be gracious, merciful and tender it is with moms who have unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
* God loves babies! And God loves mothers and fathers of babies!

Are there any words or phrases that carry special significance?
* Before Elizabeth and Zechariah prophesy, they are “filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.”
* All gifts are part of the “overflow” of God within us.
* Until we “overflow” with God, we can’t supernaturally benefit anyone.
* Havdalah cup – at the end of every Sabbath, the Jews perform the Havdalah ceremony where they pour wine into a cup until it overflows into the saucer beneath the cup. This indicates their intention to work to meet their own needs (the cup) and then continue working to meet the needs of others (the saucer).
– It is necessary but insufficient to focus on our needs first.
– This includes spiritual resources too. You can’t give what you don’t have.

3. Worship:
How does this text reveal God’s true character and destroy lies we’ve believed?
* God is a Master Craftsman. Even before you were born, God knew who and what you would become. He created you for a purpose. You carry a unique expression of His character. You have a destiny. God doesn’t make junk.
* God can’t help but show mercy. God never stays angry at His people, He always restores and redeems – and that is the Old way of relating to us. How much more can we count on His mercy and grace now that He promises to look upon us with the same love and affection He has for Jesus?
* God is faithful. He never forgets a promise and never fails to keep His word.
* He is the Abundantly Available God. There is always enough of Him to fill us full to overflowing. He isn’t stingy or fickle. God freely offers Himself to us.
– Sometimes we feel like bottomless pits of need. He is the only One with the capacity to fill us, let alone overflow us.
– He is ALWAYS abundantly available. We need to learn to position ourselves to receive Him.
– John Wimber’s Honeycomb Vision

How can we thank, praise and worship God from this text?
* God fulfilled His covenantal promises with Abraham and David though they were made a thousand to two thousand years before.
* He will fulfill His covenantal promises to us: He will return to establish His Kingdom in fullness on the earth, He will make us complete and perfect, we will live with Him forever.
* He is always with us and His mercy and grace is forever dripping from Heaven, offering peace, life and salvation to all who receive Him.

4. Praxis:
How does this revelation of God’s character call us to live differently?
* We have to take seriously the issue of advocating for the unborn. We must insist upon their personhood even as we show compassion, concern and care for their moms.
* We can rest in His promises. We don’t have to strive to “make things happen.” We do what we can to be faithful and obedient in the moment and trust that He will work things out. The Christian life shouldn’t be full of pressure and anxiety to “make” the Word of the Lord come to pass.
* When we see how merciful and gracious God was in the Old Covenant it is meant to spur us on in our faith. God is far more loving, kind, gracious and merciful than we can possibly imagine. He promises to treat us with tenderness and give us everything we need.
* God is more than able to meet our every need, but that requires us to know and articulate what we need. Taking time to slow down and do some deep processing will help tremendously in instances of recurring temptation or frustration. Start asking yourself and God, “What do I need? What is this temptation or frustration meant to show me about how You made me?”

How can I put this into practice tomorrow?
* Start praying about becoming a foster parent or someone who supports foster and adoptive families.
* Consider volunteering or supporting an organization like Alternatives.
* If you know any moms struggling with their pregnancy, bring them here. We want to love them well, support them and take away and fears they might have. We want to help them in any way we can.
* If feeling God’s Presence is difficult for you. Try stopping 5 times a day and asking yourself these questions:
– What am I thinking?
– What am I feeling emotionally? Physically?
– How have I seen God at work in my life so far today?

Like I wrote at the beginning, we covered a lot of ground this morning. Thanks for sticking with me! And thanks to those who served on our ministry team and to everyone who came to receive prayer. We love you guys!

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