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Prayer and Faith

Luke 1:5-25, Andrew Love, December 16, 2018

Sermon Notes:


  • Starting a new series in Luke
  • The angel spoke to Zacharias
  • The appearance of Angels in the bible is a rare event
    • No angel sent for 500 years
    • The last time was to Daniel
    • The angel gave Daniel some strange numbers - these numbers are coming true
    • The angel speaks to Zacharias
  • Christmas is a wonderful time
    • The birth narrative fills us with joy
    • Heaven is invading earth
    • The Angel Gabriel comes to Zacharias, then Mary; God speaks to Joseph in a dream, Angels speak to the shepherds and sing 'Glory to God'
    • Some many angels because the greatest news is about to come true

The Background

  • The first appearance of an angel after 500 years of silence
  • Setting the scene - v5-7
    • Zacharias is one of 18'000 priests and there were 24 divisions
    • Each division ministered in the temple for 2 weeks
    • One priest had a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the Holy place and offer incense
  • Zacharias and Elizabeth worshiped and were privileged to serve God
    • With privilege comes responsibility
    • Their standing with God was based not on their privileges but whether they knew God
    • We are privileged to attend church - do we know God?
  • Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous and blameless before God - v6
    • Not just outwardly - their sins had been forgiven
      • This was a rare thing in these times
    • An imputed and an imparted righteousness
      • 1 John 3:7
    • They would have stood out in their community
      • Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you walking with God?
  • Their godliness did not mean that all was smooth for them and they did not have any trials
    • This is a false teaching
    • They had a thorn in their flesh - Elizabeth was barren
    • In Jewish times it was a reproach to be barren (v25) as it was though you were cursed by God
    • Their situation was a blessing in disguise - it made them trust in God all the more
      • God had heard their prayer - v13
      • Situations can make room for God's glory to be revealed

The Answered Prayer

  • Had Zacharias stopped praying?
    • Zacharias did not believe the angel
      • However, God had heard his prayer and answered
    • Have you given up hope?
      • Do you feel your prayers are not answered?
      • God is hearing but some of our prayers are yet to be answered
  • The answer
    • Came when Zacharias was doing his duty
    • Is this not true - do blessings not come in the path of duty?
      • Example of Gideon, Moses
      • We do not expect angels to appear to us

The Announcement

  • Zacharias was very scared when an angel appeared
    • People are always fearful when angels appear
      • Examples
    • It is an awesome, awe inspiring thing - as they come from the presence of God
      • "Do not be afraid"
      • It is a message not of judgment but blessing
  • Zacharias is told his son would be called John
    • Not the name of his father or a relative
    • John means "God is gracious"
  • John would be great in the eyes of the Lord
    • Not great in the eyes of his parents or the world
    • Not popularity but humility and service
  • John was to come in great power
    • He was turn the hears of the fathers to the children - v17
      • There would be a healing by working in the hearts of fathers and children
      • He would preach in the power of the Holy Spirit
    • He would prepare a people for the Lord
      • He was a channel, a forerunner
      • He would point to Jesus

Closing Remarks & Challenge

About Andrew Love: Pastor at Tabor Church

Sermon Passage:

Luke 1:5-25

5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 9According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. (KJV)

Other sermons:
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« The exaltation of Christ The Cost of Christmas Zechariah's Unbelief »

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