Faithlife Sermons

Preparing for the Miraculous

Notes
Transcript
Handout
Luke 1:5–25 NKJV
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. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 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. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 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. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 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.” 18 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.” 19 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. 20 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.” 21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22 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. 23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Introduction
It's a mama singing songs about the Lord It's a daddy spending family time That the world said he cannot afford These simple moments change the world It's a pastor at a tiny little Church Forty years of loving on the broken and the hurt These simple moments change the world
Dream small Don't buy the lie, you've got to do it all Just let Jesus use you where you are One day at a timeHow do we prepare for the miraculous?
How do we prepare for the miraculous?

1. Always be ready. (vs 6)

Let’s set the stage.
Zacharias didn’t do everything right but he and Elizabeth got some things right!
We are reading this at the end of 400 years of silence from God.
Malachi ends with a promise.
As the New Testament starts there are several instances where God breaks His silence and communicates with people.
We are going to look at 4 of those.
Malachi 4:2 NKJV
2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
From Malachi to Matthew - NOTHING.
No communication from God.
No real hope of the coming Messiah.
No prophecy.
Nothing miraculous happening.
Prayers were prayed and it seemed as through God wasn’t listening.
From Elizabeth and Zacharias’ view they didn’t have any idea it was almost over.
On top of that… the nation of Israel sank deeper and deeper into sin.
YET...
Luke 1:5–6 NKJV
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.
John McArthur points out Luke’s wording.
He does not say: “Once upon a time.”
This is not a fairy tail written, but an accurate historical account.
In the days of Herod, the Kind of Judea.
Not only that, but a clear and specific time in history.
God may have been silent but He was still working.
The 400 years of silence were not wasted years.
Galatians 4:3–4 NKJV
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
LEST WE GET DISTRACTED...
Lesson
We go from Herod to “a certain priest named Zacharias”
Zacharias was one of many.
Just a common man - a nobody.
1 of about 18,000 priests.
God loves to use nobodies for miraculous things!
With nobody watching.
With not look to tomorrow.
With nothing miraculous happening.
Be faithful.
We want to see the miraculous.
We want to be able to see God do the unexplainable.
We want to be part of something special.
But we forget to be faithful everyday.
We might call it going through the grind.
Bill Jenkin reminding me that only the most exciting days were mentioned for most people.
We need to be ready at any moment for God to use us as a vessel for the miraculous!

2. Don’t miss the moment. (vs 8-9)

CONTEXT: Every male child who descended from Aaron was considered part of the priesthood.
It was an honor to be a priest but it wasn’t uncommon.
There were about 18,000 priests at the time.
Long before David divided them into 24 groups or orders.
1 Chronicles 24:4–5 NKJV
4 There were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar were sixteen heads of their fathers’ houses, and eight heads of their fathers’ houses among the sons of Ithamar. 5 Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar.
Each order served two weeks a year those weeks were not back to back. They were as each group rotated through.
1 Chronicles 24:10 NKJV
10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
This was a limited time to serve in your capacity.
The majority of their duties were slaughtering animals.
But if your lot fell just right you and two others would be the ones to clean the ashes and burn the incense.
This was such an honor that IF you were chosen to do this once you couldn’t do it again.
ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY.
So here is Zacharias living a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Focused on his priestly ministry.
And this is when God decides to do the miraculous.
God has something way bigger than lighting incense for him!
The angel of the Lord appears and Zacharias misses it.
He doesn’t believe the angel.
Focused on what is in front of him
And God didn’t do the miraculous when and how HE expected it.
Luke 1:20 NKJV
20 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.”
Don’t be afraid.
Expect God to answer and embrace the moment no matter how scared you are.
No matter how crazy it may seem.
God fulfills his plans in his own time.

3. Pray persistently. (vs 13)

Luke 1:13 NKJV
13 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.
Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying for years.
By this time he was an old man and his prayer was yet to be answered.
Luke 11:5–10 NKJV
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Before the persistence we see a shamelessness.
A friend in need who is not afraid to ask for help.
The is driven by an urgency.
He needs bread and it is not ok that the neighbor is not responding.
Thus the urgency of the need brings persistence in the knocking.
We need to recognize that God can do miraculous things through us but we urgently need His power to do it.
The tense of ask, seek, knock is continuous.
Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking
“Prayers of faith are filed in heaven and not forgotten.” - Matthew Henry
Great Grandpa Hugh prayed for God to raise up a pastor from his family.

4. Believe God’s Word is enough. (vs 18-20)

Luke 1:18–20 NKJV
18 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.” 19 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. 20 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.”
Zachariah wanted more evidence.
WARNING: Before you think this would never be you.
Zachariah was a righteous man.
He had been faithful through the most difficult times.
Yet when God steps in to do the miraculous his faith disappears.
The angel tells him that all the evidence he needs is God’s Word.
God’s Word is enough.
2 Peter 1:2–4 NKJV
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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