- Sermon Notes
Believe and Don’t Doubt
1.Milestones. In a child’s life there are special events called milestones.
ILLUS – Teaching Malina how to pray to our Father.
Matthew 6:10, Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
2.A great prayer and wonderful request! So, after we pray for God’s will to be done, why are there times when we struggle with trusting that He is carrying out His will?
3.Or from another angle, what’s our part or responsibility in following God and doing His will?
4.During our study, we’re going to look at an interesting passage from Luke’s Gospel and discover important principles about faith so that we may learn to believe and not doubt our good heavenly Father.
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.Israel was living in troubled times
a.Herod the Great was their king
Herod was a descendant of Esau, therefore not a Jew!
He was chosen by the Roman senate because of the recommendation of Mark Antony.
He was known for his great accomplishments and for being small in stature.
But Herod was a wicked, cunning tyrant who killed one of his wives and many of his sons to protect his crown.
b.Israel’s religious leaders were also corrupt with the high priesthood being controlled by a Sadducee named Annas.
3.Before Moses died, God promised to raise up 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.
4.Problem: There had not been a prophet in Israel since Malachi! God had been silent for 400 years!
a.Why? Israel wasn’t listening, so God was silent until they were ready to pay attention!
b.What were the last words Israel heard?
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
5.In the midst of this mess, God took note of a godly couple from the tribe of Levi:
a.Zacharias – “Yahweh remembers”
b.Elizabeth – “My God is an oath”
6.Like Noah in his day, Zacharias and Elizabeth stood out to the Lord as He surveyed the landscape of Israel. (6)
a.“Righteous in the sight of God”
b.“Walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord”
c.They were not sinless, but they were a couple that was devoted to the Lord and to keeping 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 or Elijah before the priests of Baal or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego at the fiery furnace
B.God knows the cry of our hearts (7)
1.Zacharias and Elizabeth were right in the middle of God’s perfect will.
2. Yet they were childless!
a.One was considered cursed by God if childless; a death sentence because a person “lived on” through their children.
b.It was also cause for public criticism and gossip! That’s why Elizabeth, after she realized she was pregnant, kept saying over and over again that the Lord had looked upon her with favor and had taken away her “disgrace among men”. (25)
APPL – It’s easy to wrongly interpret our circumstances.
We must not think that God has rejected us when our dreams are unfulfilled, or our prayers seem unanswered!
ILLUS – Godly people who have never been married or couples that never have children
Let faith in God define our stories not our circumstances!
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 Never Sleeps at the Wheel (8-17)
Have you ever been impatient with God? I am so blessed that He has been patient with me!
2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow about His promises, 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 had no son. We saw this when Israel was enslaved in Egypt for 430 years!
2.Notice God’s timing for the selection of Zacharias.
a.Of the 24 divisions, his was scheduled. A division only served two weeks each year.
b.Of the 750 priests in each division (18,000 total), Zacharias was chosen by lot to burn incense in the Temple.
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.
Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
B.God will reveal His will 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 and last time in his life, he walked into the dimly light Temple, alone… or so he thought!
c. As he approached the altar of incense, the angel Gabriel appeared, standing next to the altar, where Zacharias needed to minister at!
2.Listen to the angel’s proclamation. (13-17)
a.“Do not fear” – God’s first words after 400 years of silence!
b.God has heard your petition – which one?
- A son? A prayer from the past (18)
c.A special son with a special calling!
- A God-given name, John, which means “Yahweh is gracious”. (13)
- Private and public response of joy, gladness, and rejoicing. (14)
- Position and character (15)
- Great in God’s eyes
- No wine, but filled with the Spirit
- His 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 Gabriel’s marvelous revelation? Faith?
III.Trust in the Lord with All of Your Heart (18-25)
A.Don’t be a sign of unbelief (18-22)
1.Zacharias looked at himself and his wife and said to the angel Gabriel, “Prove it!”
2.So, Gabriel gave Zacharias a sign.
a.Zacharias was the sign! He made Zacharias mute because he did not believe Gabriel’s words with all of his heart.
b.It also appears that Gabriel made Zacharias deaf because according to Luke 1:62, the people had to make signs to communicate with him. So, Gabriel’s words were the last words Zacharias 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 when they encountered difficulties…
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 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 also had a message of God’s blessing; God’s grace; God’s peace but he had to wait 9 months to share it! Messiah was coming, and his son was going to go before Him!
APPL – Guard your heart and be a faithful witness!
Proverbs 4:23, Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
ILLUS – The African Impala
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Luke 1:5-25 NASB