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The Lord has taken away my Reproach

Christmas, it really happened!  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Lord has taken away my Reproach

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Luke 1:25 NKJV
“Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

Scripture Reading () NKJV

Luke 1:5–10 NKJV
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

Ab-iah
Luke 1:11–17 NKJV
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘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.”
Luke 1:18–25 NKJV
And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Christmas, it really Happened!

(Slide-Off)
How was this week for you?
It is December!
And “it is beginning to look a-lot like Christmas”
I see our first Christmas decoration. Yeah.... Thank-you Margaret.
Welcome to the first part of our 4 part Christmas Series.

Christmas Series

(Slide)
Welcome to the first part of our 4 part Christmas Series.
Christmas, it really happened!
(Slide)
Today - Birth of John the Baptist Foretold ()
8th - Birth of Jesus Foretold (). Errol
15th - Birth of John the Baptist (). I will be back here.
22nd - Birth of Jesus (). Joint Service at GY
As I started to study for today it became clear we could have started this series some time ago.
There is just so much in each of these passages!

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

Today we will focus on the narrative in Luke foretelling the birth of John the Baptist.
(Slide-Off)
We read earlier the narrative in Luke foretelling the birth of John the Baptist.
The account in follows on from Luke’s Prologue, which we covered a couple of weeks ago.
Itfollows on from Luke’s Prologue, which we covered a couple of weeks ago.
, if you remember, is an “An Invitation to be Reassured” in our Faith.
To be Reassured today, yesterday and all our tomorrows!
Now Luke begins to tell us about those things in which we can have full assurance.
Hence why this series is called, “Christmas, it really happened”.
It is in Luke 1:5

Elizabeth’s Declaration of Faith

Luke’s account of the events foretelling the birth of John the Baptist end with Elizabeth declaration of Faith.
We can it in
It is a wonderful declaration of Faith. Of Reassurance.
Lets read that verse again,
The Lord dealt with me
The Lord looked on me
The Lord has taken away my Reproach
(Slide)
Luke 1:25 NKJV
“Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
We see in this verse three key declarations of Faith,
(Point at them)
The Lord dealt with me
The Lord looked on me
The Lord has taken away my Reproach
Lets us look at each one in more detail.

The Lord dealt with Me

(Slide)
(Tell as a story)
The Long Wait

The Right Family Line

Zacharias and Elizabeth had all the right credentials on paper.
They came from the right side of town as it were.
They had the right family line.
They traced their lineage directly back to Aaron, the very first high priest.
It was a coveted distinction in first century Israel.
It came with bragging rights.
They both had excellent Resumes or CVs.

The Righteous Couple

This couple were righteous before God
(Slide)
Luke 1:6 NKJV
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Zacharias and Elisabeth purposed to obey God.
Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
They were careful and diligent in their lives.
They sought salvation through the means provided, and as a result were accounted “righteous before God.”
Mrs White says of Zacharias that,
Desire of Ages Chapter 10—The Voice in the Wilderness

For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer

There is only one way to be righteous before God. That is through Faith in the Redeemer.
In their case the coming Redeemer.
Their lives testified to a genuine faith and hope.
Such is the believer’s privilege—a present salvation; such is the evidence that he or she is called to it—a holy life.

The Childless Couple

(Slide)
You would think they walked with their heads held high.
They should have been those people acknowledge on the street.
But it was not the case.
They were not looked upon in a favourable light by their peers.
A huge cloud hung over them both.
It went with them everywhere they went.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, the cloud just got bigger and bigger.
They were not seen by others as favoured by Lord.
“Look, it is that couple” was rather “Look, it is THAT couple”.
“Something had gone very wrong”.
Luke 1:7 NKJV
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
God disapproved of them.
Why?

The Shamed Couple

Are not children a sign of the blessing of the Lord?
But They were childless!
Are not children a sign of the blessing of the Lord?
They were both well advanced in years
God must disapprove of them? Right?
They must be being punished for something they did ?
Elizabeth called it her “Reproach among the People”. .
Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, they had to live with it.
No children, and no possible grandchildren.
It was their burden of Shame before others.
Surely they were not favoured by the Lord.
Yet in spite of all this they remained faithful to the Lord.
Their Reproach or Disgrace or Shame among the People.
Luke 1:25 NKJV
“Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
This is how the Lord dealt with them.
Their Reproach or Disgrace or Shame among the People.

The Serving Couple

Yet in spite of all this they remained faithful to the Lord.
Zacharias took his turn serving at the Temple in Jerusalem.
There were 24 teams of Priests. Each served for 1 week at the temple.
Zacharias was part of one of the Teams.
Each served for 1 week at the temple.
If you like the Deacons and Elders of the day.
Each served for 1 week at the temple. This is how things get done in the church and in the community. This is how God has ordained we mature, in our secular organisations and in the church. It is organised, there are rotations and everyone takes part.
BTW, This is how things get done in the church and in the community. This is how God has ordained we mature, in the church and in our every day professions.
This is how God has ordained we mature, in the church and in our every day professions.
It is organised, there are roles, there are rotations and everyone takes part.
It is organised, there are rotations and everyone takes part.
Desire of Ages Chapter 10—The Voice in the Wilderness

For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now heaven had sent its messenger to announce that these prayers were about to be answered; but the mercy of God seemed too great for him to credit. He was filled with fear and self-condemnation.

There is only one way to be righteous before God. That is through Faith. Their lives testified to a genuine faith.
Such is the believer’s privilege—a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it—a holy life.

The Lord Looked on Me

It was going to take a miracle to solve this.
(Slide)
(Pause… Read)
Luke 1:7 NKJV
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
It was going to take a miracle.
They had given up on that dream.
But Elizabeth, in her bareness, was in esteemed biblical company.
Have you given up on something?
Elizabeth in her bareness was in esteemed biblical company.

The Lord Looked on Me

(Slide)
In the fulness of time, The Lord looked on them!
Elizabeth, in her bareness, was in esteemed biblical company.

Remember Abraham and Sarah?

Genesis 18:11 NKJV
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.
But the Lord looked on them!
In His time!

Remember Isaac and Rebekah?

Genesis 25:21 NKJV
Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
The Lord looked on them.
In His time.

What about Rachel?

Genesis 30:22–24 NKJV
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” So she called his name Joseph, and said, “The Lord shall add to me another son.”
The Lord looked on her and took away her Reproach.
The same declaration of faith Elizabeth will make.

And What about Hannah?

1 Samuel 1:20 NKJV
So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
The Lord remembered Hannah’s prayer.
In His time, the Lord looked on her.

And now we come to Zacharias and Elizabeth

And we come to the God of the impossible.
Zacharias
(Slide)
We read,
Luke 1:8–9 NKJV
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
It is estimated there were about eighteen thousand Priests.
To be chosen to offer the incense usually occurred once in the lifetime of a priest.
And on this day the lot was cast and fell to Zacharias.
Because the Lord looked upon Zacharias.
God is still on His throne.
Zacharias would have chosen 1 or 2 other Priests to help him.
They would enter the Holy Place.
The Altar of Incense would have been right before the veil that hide the most Holy Place.
The Veil that at Jesus death would be ripped from top to bottom.
They would replace old coals with new coals, always making sure there was a continual burning of incense before the Lord.
For we are “to pray without ceasing”.
Zacharias would then be left alone to offer intercession for all Israel.
The cloud of Incense would fill the Holy Place and the most Holy Place.
The fragrance would fill the place.
Zacharias would have Pray for the forgiveness of sin
And Pray for the coming Messiah
Inside was Prayer
Outside, all were Praying, at this sacred hour was Prayer.
Luke 1:10 NKJV
And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
Then suddenly
Gabriel, who announced to Daniel some 500 years earlier about the coming of the Lord
Now was sent to announce to Zacharias the birth of the one who will prepare the way .
Prayer for the forgiveness of sin
Mrs White says about Zacharias,
Prayer for the coming Messiah
Desire of Ages Chapter 10—The Voice in the Wilderness

For many years he had prayed for the coming of the Redeemer; now heaven had sent its messenger to announce that these prayers were about to be answered; but the mercy of God seemed too great for him to credit. He was filled with fear and self-condemnation.

Even the “Fear Not” from Gabriel did not ease the doubts in Zacharias mind.
Zacharias would not speak again till the birth of John.
But
But, But, the Lord, in His perfect time, had looked upon Zacharias!
Elizabeth
Zacharias must have hurried home after his week of service at the temple was over.
One can only imagine the reaction of Elizabeth as she greeted her husband and began to understand what had happened and what was going to happen.
I am sure Zacharias found some way to tell her.
I can just imagine her saying, you old fool,
And then we read,
(Slide)
(Slide)
Luke 1:24–25 NKJV
Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
The Lord looked upon her Elizabeth.
In His perfect timing and His perfect way.
That inner joy and smile was on Elizabeth face that only an expecting Mother can have.
The Lord took away her Shame.
She was finally carrying a life and her life had been changed.
Why did she hid herself for five months?
I would have been tempted to rub it in people’s face.
But she hide away, but not shame this time.
Rather it was joyful embarrassment .
That the Lord has looked at her after all these years. At her age.
At my age...
(Slide-Off)
(Pause)

What about Us?

Are there some place in our life where there is Bareness?
Where we been pleading day after day, month after month, even year after year.
Maybe something we cannot tell anyone else.
Without evidence of any answer.
Is the Lord deaf to my prayers?
Delayed answers can have a sobering affect on us
And tend us towards much spiritual inflection.
Do not doubt, the Lord hears our prayers.
If He tarries, there are good reasons.
Plead the precious blood and it shall be with you according to your desire.
Daily Help November 27

Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation?

Reader, do not fall into the sin of unbelief, but continue in prayer and watching. Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

NOV

In the Lord’s time and in the Lord’s way.

The Lord has taken away my Reproach

Finally, “The Lord has taken away my Reproach”
(Slide)
Luke 1:25 NKJV
“Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Dealt, Looked, Took
Firstly, The Lord has dealt with me.
Secondly, The Lord has looked on me.
Now finally, the Lord has taken away my Reproach.
Their Reproach or Disgrace or Shame among the People.
John the Baptist heralded the soon coming of the Messianic age.
Both then and it is all recorded for our sakes.
They were to have a son.
They were to call his name John.
And what a son.
A very special son.
For our Reassurance of Faith.
Who from birth will have the Holy Spirit.
There will be only one greater than John
The one to whom John’s ministry will herald.
The Lord’s soon coming to Israel and to this world.
That we can be sure of these things written.
That is next week where we will look at the foretelling of Jesus birth.
To usher in the taking away of the ultimate reproach or separation from God for all who believe.

But we cannot end here

We must try and see our earthly trials in the light of the gospel and in the light of eternity.
Look at how the Lord took away the reproach of Elizabeth and Zacharias.
You see as much as Zacharias and Elizabeth needed their earthly shame and reproach of being childless taken away by the Lord, even more so they needed their shame of sin and reproach before the Lord taken away!
Jesus took the Reproach from
There is much to take away.
And that is exactly what there Son was appointed to announce.
To herald the coming Messiah.
The taking away of our ultimate Reproach
We must try and see our trials in the light of the gospel and in the of eternit.
And so it is with us.

Jesus took our Reproach

And so it is with Us

As it was for Elizabeth and Zacharias, so it is with us.
We all need the Shame and Reproach of sin taken away.
That is our biggest need.
In reality everything else pales into insignificance compared to it.
Because is for eternity.
We cannot understand Christmas without looking at Calvary.

Jesus took our Reproach

Our Reproach is taken away because Jesus took our Reproach
He took on our Reproach as a baby. Born in obscurity and poverty.
He took on our Reproach during his Ministry. Mostly misunderstood and rejected.
And ultimately He took on our Reproach at Calvary, on the cross.
Quote from
That which is free to us cost God himself more than we can ever comprehend.
That which allows us to proclaim “The Lord looked on me, to take away my reproach among the people”.
Isaiah 53:3–5 NKJV
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
It is JESUS that really allows Elizabeth and Zacharias to proclaim “The Lord dealt with me, and looked on ME, to take away MY reproach among the people”.
It is JESUS that allows Us to proclaim “The Lord dealt with me, and looked on ME, to take away MY reproach among the people”.
It is JESUS that allows each one of us to proclaim “The Lord dealt with me, and looked on ME, to take away MY reproach among the people”.
We can all say that today!
We can all have that assurance of that, today!
It is what Christmas is all about.
It is why Christmas really happened! And it is why Calvary really happened.
Why not say that?
So let us all say it together. Read the Slide.
Where are you today? Dealt, Looked

Benediction

1 Timothy 6:13–16 NKJV
I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
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