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Luke 1:5-25

Believe and Not Doubt

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • October 3, 2015

Why do we sometimes struggle with knowing God’s will and trusting that He is carrying out His will? Coupled with this is another important question, what’s our part in following God and doing His will? During our time together, we’re going to look at an interesting passage in Luke and discover some important principles about faith so that we may learn to Believe and not Doubt.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Believe and Not Doubt

Luke 1:5-25
 
Introduction

ILLUS – Teaching Malina how to pray

Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
 
1. Great prayer… wonderful request! So why do we sometimes struggle with knowing God’s will and trusting that He is carrying out His will?
2. Coupled with this is another important question, what’s our part in following God and doing His will?
3. During our time together, we’re going to look at an interesting passage in Luke and discover some important principles about faith so that we may learn to Believe and not Doubt.
 
Read Luke 1:5-25
 
I. God Knows Our Story (5-7)
 
A. God knows what’s written on every page (5-6)
 
1. Even when it appears that God is not there; He is watching; mindful of our ways.
2. The nation of Israel was living in troubled times
a. Herod the Great was their king
• Descendant of Esau. Chosen by the Roman senate by the counsel of Mark Antony
• Great in accomplishments (buildings and battle) but small in stature
• He was a wicked, cunning tyrant who killed one of his wives and many of his sons to protect his crown.
Common saying, “It was safer being a pig than Herod’s son.”
b. Their religious leaders were corrupt with the high priesthood being led by a Sadducee name Annas.
c. Before Moses died, God promised to raise prophets to lead Israel in God’s ways.
 
Deuteronomy 18:15, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”
 
d. Problem: No prophet in Israel since Malachi! God had been silent for 400 years! Here is Malachi’s last prophecy to Israel…
 
Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers,”
 
3. In this context, God took note of His two servants from the tribe of Levi; Zacharias (“Yahweh remembers”) and Elizabeth (“My God is an oath”)

4. Like Noah in his day, Zacharias and Elizabeth stood out to the Lord as He surveyed the landscape of Israel

a. “Righteous in the sight of God”
b. “Walking blamelessly in all the commandments…”
c. They were not sinless, but they were a couple devoted to the Lord and His ways
 
APPL – It takes faith to live a godly life in a godless world! It takes a deep conviction to stand against the tide of this fallen world and for the things of God! 
 
ILLUS – David before Goliath, Daniel after the King’s edict, those martyred by Isis or at Umpqua Community College without denying their faith in Jesus
 
B. God knows the cry of our hearts (7)
 
1. Zacharias and Elizabeth were right in the middle of God’s best and perfect will.
2. Yet they had no child!
a. Considered cursed by God; a death sentence.
b. A cause for public criticism and gossip!
 
ILLUS – Godly people who never get married or couples that can’t have children 
• We must not conclude God is condoning our sinful rebellion when things go well!
 
ILLUS – A person telling me that “God approves” of her living with her boyfriend because they were so financially blessed!
 
2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
 
II. God is not Asleep at the Wheel (8-17)
 
APPL – Why do we become impatient with God? The Lord has been very patient with us!
 
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
 
A. God has set a time for everything (8-9)
 
1. We saw this when Abraham waited 25 years for a son or when Israel was enslaved 430 years in Egypt!
2. Notice the hand of God in the selection of Zacharias
a. Of the 24 divisions, Zacharias’s division was scheduled. A division served 2 weeks each year.
b. Of the 750 priest in each division (18,000 total), Zacharias was chosen by lot to burn incense in the Temple (once in a lifetime honor)
 
APPL – God knows how to keep time! I don’t believe in coincidences! God is on the throne and is bringing all things together to reveal His magnificent wisdom, character, and will!
 
ILLUS – Walking down memory lane with my parents in California?
Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

 

B. God will reveal His plan at the right time (10-17) 

1. It was 3 pm and all eyes were on Zacharias
a. He had memorized his duties.
b. For the first time in his life, he walked into the dimly lit Temple, alone! Or so he thought!
c. As he approached the altar of incense, an angel appeared next to the place he had to minister at!
2. Look at the proclamation of the angel (13-17)
a. “Do not fear” – God’s first words after 400 years of silence!
b. God has heard your petition – which one?
1. A son? A prayer from the past (v. 18)
2. The coming of Messiah! (Both answered!)
c. The child’s description
1. God given name (13) John - “Yahweh is gracious” (Time of favor)
2. Private and public response (14) - joy, gladness, rejoicing
3. Position and character (15)
• Great in God’s eyes
• No wine, but filled with the Spirit (devotion and urgency)
4. Mission – a prophet (16-17)
• Turn back many to Lord
• In the spirit of Elijah as recorded in Malachi 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord!

 

John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Transition – What was Zacharias’s response to this marvelous word? See verse 18…
 
III. God is Worthy of Our Trust
 
A. Don’t be a sign of unbelief
 
1. Zacharias looked at himself and his wife and said to the angel Gabriel, “Prove it”!
2. So Gabriel gave Zacharias a sign
a. Dumb – from his heart Zacharias did not believe
 
Matthew 12:43, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
 
b. Deaf (1:62 – “they made signs”) – Gabriel’s words were the last he heard for over nine months!
 
APPL – Could it be that unbelief has made us silent, deaf, and blind? Look at the witness of the early disciples…
 
Acts 4:19-20, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.’”
 
APPL – Unbelief, sin, the worries of this world can silence us. They can blind us. They can deafen us!
 
ILLUS – Heidi losing her cell phone at Husky Stadium
 
B. Be a faithful witness
 
1. Zacharias was supposed to pronounce the blessing of Numbers 6 when he departed but was unable to do so
 
Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.”
 
2. He had a message of God’s blessing; God’s grace; God’s peace but he had to wait 9 months to share it!
 
ILLUS - The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet.
 
God is worthy of our trust… He wants to strengthen our faith…

Luke 1:5-25    NASB

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 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, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will 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. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 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 for the Lord."
 
18 Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." 19 The angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."
 
21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. 24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 "This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men."
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