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The Blessings of Obedience Luke 1;57-80 121706

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The Blessings of Obedience (Luke 1:57-80)

Intro: Talk about our calling to ABC as a step of faith and obedience that led to many blessings.

    Give background. Read Luke 1:57-80

   

1.       Obedience is the measure of our faith (vv. 57-63)

“The Bible is a record of [the] radical obedience of people who listened and responded to the direction of God for their lives.” Reggie McNeal in The Present Future

a.        Obedience is joining God in what He is already doing and doing what He says to do.

b.       Rights Surrendered (vv. 60-63) This has to do with Self. (App: Tithing)

c.        Crowd Offended (vv. 61-62) This has to do with Others. We should be focused on others; it’s called missions. (App: Missions)

d.       Tradition Upended (vv. 61-62) This has to do with Customs/ Social acceptance. (App: Growth and Change)

We often cannot see what God is doing because we are too busy focusing on what we are doing or have done in the past. God is bigger than us. His vision is bigger. His plan is bigger. What He is doing is bigger than us. We gotta stop looking at things all wrong. We will never be truly obedient as long as we are not interested in what God’s desire is for us.

Ill: In Dr. Suess's classic tale, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", the malevolent main character discovers that Christmas cannot be stolen, stifled, or subdued.  No, even the Who's who inhabit Whoville understood that the reason for the Christmas season is not bound up in gifts, feasts, or decorations.

While the good doctor's holiday story is not inherently Christian, it does illustrate profoundly that Christmas is a matter of the soul.  For those familiar with the story know the reason the Grinch did not understand the Who's zeal for Christmas was that his heart was "two sizes too small".

App: The reality of Christmas does not exist in external symbols (trees, presents, Santa Clause, etc.). Christmas is a matter of the heart. Obedience is a matter of the heart. IF obedience is the measure of our faith, then how does your faith measure up? IF obedience is the measure of our faith, then what does our disobedience say about us. Surrender your rights. Don’t follow the pressure of the crowd. Don’t follow tradition for the sake of tradition.

2.       Blessings are the fruit of Our obedience (vv. 64-80)

a.        Promise Fulfilled (v. 64a)

              i.      There are many promises in scripture.

             ii.      The focus here is on the fact that obedience unleashes the blessings of God to counteract the effects of sin. Zacharias’ speech restored.

           iii.      Restoration of what was lost. – Not exact replacement, but greater blessing. (Joel 2:25-32).

b.       Praise Proclaimed (v. 64b)

              i.      Praise is a blessing because it is ignited by the activity of God in our lives.

             ii.      Praise begins with the heart and attitude, but praise is primarily and outward/ physical action. (words, song, posture, movements)

c.        Power Displayed (vv. 65-79)

              i.      Why does God display His power? For the benefit of others.

             ii.      Zacharias’ Prophetic Hymn/ Psalm

1.        Z’s prophetic word is not for God, but for the hearers.

2.        (vv. 67-75) God’s Plan is what is being displayed here.  The Goal of His plan is to have people who will serve (latreuo) God with all of their life and being. Lives devoted and OBEDIENT to God. Holy Service to God. How will God achieve this goal. Through His visitation in Christ and by redemption through Christ.

3.        (vv. 76-77) Enter John. He is to prepare the way for people to be redeemed by God. How will God do this? John’s ministry connects salvation with forgiveness of sins that is achieved by repentance.

4.        (vv. 78-79) Enter Jesus/ Messiah. Christ is the dawn of salvation for those in darkness. Light represents that which can guide us on the way to forgiveness of sins and peace with God. Darkness represents the effects of sin which leaves all persons spiritually dead and utterly depraved. It is the tender mercy of God that reaches down and brings life to the dead.

5.        We recognize now from the witness of the NT that we can have peace with God by having our sins forgiven by God. It takes repentance and faith for us to be saved. We must admit our own sinfulness. And believe that God’s plan in Jesus Christ was to rescue us from darkness and death through the cross. Jesus life, death, and resurrection are the only foundation for salvation. You must believe that these are enough. The cross is where God’s wrath against sin was leveled against His own sin in order that we would not have to face the wrath of God in Hell.

           iii.      Reaction of the People – They recognized the power of God.

 

Ill: CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE UNEXPECTED.  I read about a children's pageant recently.  The innkeeper was played by a boy named Ralph who had very much wanted to play the role of Joseph.  He didn't get the part, and had refused to be part of the program -- but his mother and his director insisted that Ralph do his duty and be part of the pageant.  So he was the innkeeper.

But Ralph decided on revenge.  When that part of the pageant occurred in which Joseph inquired about a room, Ralph grinned and announced, "Come on in. We've got plenty of room!"  The audience, especially Ralph's mother and the director, gasped.  Joseph and Mary were stunned.  They expected to be turned away.  Obediently, they walked into the inn.  But the young man playing Joseph was equal to the occasion.  He looked around, turned to the audience, and said, "Hey, this place is a dump.  We'd rather stay in a stable!"

App: If we want to experience the blessing of God, we have got to be obedient to Him. If we want to reach people and really make a difference, we have got to be obedient. The gospel itself is a call to obedience. Not that we do things to be saved, but when the call of God comes to us, we must obey it.  When He says, believe and receive, we must repent and believe on Him.

                Conclusion: For us to experience the blessings of obedience, we must be obedient to God. For, Obedience is the measure of our faith. And blessings are the fruit of our obedience.

Invitation: Are you being obedient to God with your entire life? For some, this means coming to Christ, really coming to Him, by faith for the first time.  For others, it may be a commitment to Christ in church membership. Perhaps you need to renew your commitment to tithing, witnessing, or serving – Maybe you have not been committed to God as you should.

 

 

 

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