Sunday December 9, 2018
all of its beauty
for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life our message this morning is God's Gift of Love. That we're going to be using three text to look at that this morning. So if you have your Bibles and you would like to turn with me to Luke and chapter 1 verses 5 through 25
if you've looked at your own life and those around you. And looked for love.
Love is all around you. Love is in your family. Love is with your friends. And in the greater wider sense, if we were to push the walls out love is to love our neighbors as ourselves. push it even further out those walls that surround us are our love includes those that Are afar off those that we don't even know the stranger?
Have you not shown me? Love? Jesus said when you have given a cup of water to a stranger you've shown love. How do we show love? How do we see love how has love shown itself to us? Well in the Christmas story, there are two particular narratives that run together that speak of God's wonderful love. And let's begin with Luke and chapter 1 starting with verse 5.
Speaking of the birth of John the Baptist in the days of Herod King of Judea. There was a priest named Zakaria and he was of the division of abijah and he had a wife. From the daughters of Erin so you can see that both he and his wife Elizabeth wear of the Priestly line. They were God's chosen to lead the people in worship.
Of the daughters of Erin and her name was Elizabeth.
And they were both righteous before God you need to see that they were both righteous followers of God. They loved God, they loved God with all their hearts. They walked blamelessly in all the Commandments and the statutes of the Lord. They did all that was required of them and Beyond. but they had no child. They were childless. And more than anything in the world Elizabeth wanted to have a child her husband Zachariah wanted a child and wanted for his wife to experience the joy of giving birth to a child and raising a child for them both. But it says that Elizabeth at this point was considered Barren in the advanced years that they both were both were advanced in years and no child.
And now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on Judy, it was called upon his division.
Of his tribe. the Levites just serve before God and according to the custom of the priesthood. He was chosen by lot to enter into the Temple of the Lord and to burn incense. This was a rare privilege. But it was at high risk Because unless you were clean in your spirit and in your walk before the Lord if you walked into the holy of holies be on the temple veil if you went into the presence of God, and you had sin in your life you'd be struck dead.
And in fact, they have a card that they would tie around the priest on his leg with a bell on it so that when he went into the holy of holies if he stopped moving and they didn't hear the bell and they didn't see any movement. They would pull on the rope and if he pulled back they know he was still alive if he didn't well then they could drag him out because none of them were worthy to go into the holy of holies. It's so it was by lot that he was chosen to enter into the holy of holies to burn incense before the Lord and so is the people gathered for prayer he would burn a special incense that was sweet into the nostrils of God and it was believed that the prayers of the people would gather with the incense and rise and they could see it from the temple to smoke going up. And their prayers would go up with the smoke. At the whole multitude of the people were praying outside. At the hour of incense and there appeared to him Zacharia and Angel of the Lord standing at the right side of the altar of incense and Zachariah was troubled when he saw him. And fear fell upon him. I just want you to know I have never seen an angel that I am aware of. But if I did it would probably trouble be a little and I would probably be thinking as Zachariah did. Are you here for me?
It's my firm belief that none of us ever dies alone that when we die to the Lord. His angels come and bear us up in their arms into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. And when he saw that angel, I'm thinking that he was thinking. Elizabeth it's my time.
He was troubled and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him what comforting words read it with me do not be afraid. I love those comforting words do not be afraid Zechariah for your prayer has been heard. This is an Hour of Prayer. People are praying Zachariah by himself has a need he's praying for his wife Elizabeth. Would you bless her Lord?
I know it's incredible to even imagine but what you give her a child floor.
Did you know sometimes that when you come into this world?
You may be praying. For request that you may not see answered and tell you're about to leave this world. God doesn't always answer your prayers in the kind of time that you expect him to answer your prayers, but God hears your prayers. Amen, and he answers your prayers.
When you send the letter as I have off to Japan, it goes into my mailbox at maybe two Contra Burlington or wherever I drop that may I drop that mail off and then it has to go by mail carrier across the country to a centralized location where it is going to go by air across over to Japan and all along the way there are people that handle that piece of mail. And it's on its way. When I deliver it when I put it in the mailbox, but it's not completely delivered until it gets to Andrews hands in Japan. Dale and I are about to send him off a Christmas package. And I don't know that he'll get it by Christmas. But it's the thought that counts. but all along the way there are going to be people handling this package going to Japan to Andrew.
But eventually it will get to his hands and eventually we'll get a phone call or text to say I got the package. Thank you. I really appreciated the goodies.
God hears your prayers. What do you pray them?
And it may not be in your timing but in his timing that he answers. and hear the angel of the Lord is saying
Do not be afraid for your prayer has been heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son.
NBA Angel to see if it's specific about what that child's name should be, isn't he?
It's going to be a sun. And you will call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness and many Will Rejoice at his birth.
That here's the strange thing is we continue to read.
none of his family members were named John that was kind of a unique name and and I'm sure he was wondering why John?
But the angel says for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit not with spirits. but the Holy Spirit and even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit and many of the children of Israel.
Will be turned to the Lord because of your son John.
What a prophecy. You catch you. Imagine what he's feeling at this moment.
And he will go before him. speaking of Jesus in the spirit and in the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children.
And the disobedient to find wisdom.
The wisdom of the chest and to make ready for the Lord a people who are prepared. He's going to pave the way he's going to go before the Lord.
in the old days When the King was coming or a person of importance in the land, they would send Messengers or Harold's out before the king. And he would say behold prepare the roads make them flats and take out the potholes and make sure that everything is prepared because the Lord is coming and that was his job to go before the Lord to say prepare the way. For the Lord himself is coming.
And Zacharias said to the angel. This is wonderful. Good news. Thank you that my prayers have been answered. Is that what he said?
You'd like it to be but he said how shall I know this? For? I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.
And you can almost hear a elafter in his voice that this is impossible.
It's unimaginable. How can this be?
And the angel answered him. I am Gabriel.
I stand in the presence of God.
And I was sent to speak to you and to bring you what? good news and behold you will be silenced having to take your voice away because you disbelieved. Behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place until John is born. You're not going to be able to say a single word.
Because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their time and the people were all waiting outside for Zachariah and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. Wondering if something might have happened. to the high priest
it 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. But he remained mute. And what his time of service was ended he went to his home.
and after these days his wife Elizabeth conceived a mansion that
And for five months, she kept herself hidden seined. Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when I when he looked upon me to take away my reproach among. the people so she hid herself for 5 months. In amazement could not believe that God had a deed heard her prayer and blaster.
So I put up with this little slide that says. god-centered angel Whenever it's important, I mean really important news. got sense an angel an angel is a messenger from God and God sent a messenger to John to tell him good news. Your wife Elizabeth is going to be with child a boy. You going to name him John? That's good news. You prayed for it.
unexpected When You're Expecting The Unexpected
Or when it's unexpected and then all of a sudden you experienced it.
God shows up when you least expect it. I used to tell my kids when you least expect it expect it.
When you least expect it expect it. And then they knew that I was going to surprise them and I was going to either bring out the Tickle Monster. Or I was going to do something super silly with them when they least expect it. But sometimes we are not expecting God to show up. Are we? And that he shows up and surprises this.
But there's another story that I need to tell you about before we go home today.
And that is the birth of Jesus foretold. And it says in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the city of Galilee named Nazareth and you're asking yourself is a six-month. Whats 6 month? Is that just a calendar date? It says that Elizabeth hit herself away and secret for how long
5 months of her pregnancy and in the 6-month, I'm believing that it was the six months of Elizabeth's pregnancy. God has blessed her. I didn't the 6-month of Gabriel the same Gabriel this messenger of God. The angel was sent from God to the city of Galilee. named after if
to a virgin Beast Rose to a man whose name was Joseph.
of the House of David And the Virgin the second time he's calling her a virgin. Her name was Mary Mary and Joseph and he came to her and said to Mary greetings. O favored one. The Lord is with you. What a wonderful greeting. That is right. Remember what the Lord say angel came to speak to Gideon and he said oh highly favored one. Oh mighty man of God. And Gideon said what kind of greeting is this? I'm the least of my clan and my clan. I'm the least in my family. But this greeting was given to Mary and she was greatly troubled. Not only because she saw an angel but because of the greeting that he gave her.
At the same she was troubled at the sane and she tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be at. The angel said to her do not be afraid. Those are great words to hear when you're confronted with an angel that right. Do not be afraid very for you or found favor with God.
I behold you will conceive in your womb and you will bear a son and you should call his name Jesus. That he will be great among the people that he will be called the son of the most high God. And the Lord God will give to him the Throne of his father David down both marry.
And her espoused husband her.
Beyonce if you will Joseph we're both Of the linkage of David of the House of David of royalty. You wouldn't see it by looking at them just a young teenage girl and and this band who was a carpenter. You wouldn't see royalty written all over them, but they were of the House of David and here in this greeting the angel saying he is going to be your Offspring your son is going to be given the Throne of King David.
He will be great called the son of the most high and the Lord. God will give him the Throne of his father David.
And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom. There will be what no end and Mary said to the angel like The cousins right? How how will this be since I am made what virgin virgin not being with a man? Being pure and chaste.
an amazing thing keeping herself pure. and holy waiting for the right time that she was going to be with her husband.
How can this be at the angel answered her the holy spirit will come upon you the holy spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high God will overshadow you there for the child who is going to be born to you will be called. Holy at the son of God.
And behold your relative Elizabeth. She was well aware that. Elizabeth was Barren and advanced did years and see here's the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus your relative Elizabeth.
Who was of old age has also conceived a son? And this is the 6-month. Okay, that confirms it right. This is her sixth month of her pregnancy who was called Barren and let's all in this together 37 for nothing will be impossible with God.
Can I get an amen?
Nothing is impossible with God nothing.
And Mary said behold, I am the servant of the Lord let it be done to me according to your word and the angel departed from her. She didn't fight it. She didn't resist it. She didn't try to wrestle with this as you know, this can't be happening to me. She said let it be done to me according to your word. And the angel Departed?
God sent that angel he sent a messenger. And it was good to use. Maybe not for Mary he initially but it was good views. The Savior was coming and she was going to be privileged to Bear the son of God. And bring the Son of God into the world.
The next week you're going to hear one of our ladies Sing Mary Did You Know? Mary did you know what was going to happen?
someone once said Mary
Was the first person to carry the good news?
she carried the good news. Within her she gave birth to the good news.
And I just like us to look at this final verse. And by the way, it was an angel who came as a messenger to shepherds in the fields to tell them about the arrival. Of the savior of mankind to Shepherds out in the field and angel came to bring good news.
And the good news is for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish should not die but have eternal life. The gift of love is the gift of eternal life. The gift of love is the gift of Jesus Christ and I need for us to understand three things.
That this good news that was shared with Elizabeth had shared with Mary and shared with the Shepherds out in the fields was unexpected news. Sometimes we get unexpected news. We didn't plan on it. It's unexpected.
Secondly the news that they both received was untimely. It seemed out of time out of what we would have planned.
I'm sure Elizabeth had expected to have a baby much earlier and at this point didn't expect to have a child at all. It was out of time. It was untimely. An untimely message for Mary. What's the good news? Of the birth of the Savior was going to be delivered through her untimely.
Ellen every way that you could imagine
it was unimaginable news. You couldn't imagine it you couldn't have planned it. It was unimaginable.
Villa advanced woman of many years who was considered barren Would give birth to a child who would be the Forerunner the one who would go ahead of Jesus and in fact baptized Jesus in the Jordan River South. I cousin John the Baptist.
Little virgin and it said it three times. She was a virgin. But bare a child. the holy Child unimaginable And could you imagine ever that the best news would be given to Shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock By Night Shepherds. considered the lowest rung on the cultural
cultural persuasion that mean they were the outcast Shepherds But Jesus was coming to the world. And the News was given to Shepherds out in the field because the Shepherd of the sheep was coming.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving into his courts with praise come before him with singing know that he is God. And we are his people the Sheep of his pasture that he is the great Shepherd who's come. That we might have eternal life and that he would take us home one day to be with him. This is all good news unexpected news time latest.
and certainly news that
was beyond belief unbelievable news
And now you know the good news.
And soon you will know. Is Paul Harvey said the rest of the story? Would you bow your heads in your hearts with me?
Are gracious and loving Heavenly Father?
We thank you for the unexpected. We thank you for the untimely. And the unbelievable good news that you brought. To Elizabeth to marry and to Shepherd's of old and now you bring it to us. The Behold a savior is to be born and it is for all people for all time.
father we do pray
but maybe you would come this Christmas and rap is all up and take us home to be with you this Christmas.
But until you do take us home. May you find Us Faithful? to Faithfully serve you
you have a plan for our lives. We are to Bear the good news to others just as the shepherd's took the good news that they received and went and shared it with all you a shared good news of Deliverance with us than we are to be the messengers to Bear the good news to a hurting world. I lost world. The Jesus loves us with an everlasting love you always has and he always will. And it's good news that we can spend eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. If we would just accept him as our personal Lord and savior. May we be your messengers of good news. Your angels going forth into a dark world with the message of light and hope in Jesus name and everyone said amen. Would you stand with me?