A Place Of Grace
2-23-2020
      • Mark 14NLT

  • Song Mission of the Church
  • Song Mission of the Church
  • Song Mission of the Church
  • Song Mission of the Church
  • As I was working on my message for this morning I was reminded in various ways of the invaluable lessons and path that God brought me through beginning in May of last year. He graciously walked with me and my family each step of the way teaching me a depth of grace, mercy, forgiveness, He showed me in ways I would have never wanted to know the ugliness and evil of SIN and the beauty and gracious gift of the cross Christ paid for that sin on with His own precious blood.
    In order for you to even get a glimpse of what He taught me and where my relationship with Him is at today I would need to go through the many events, valley’s victories, and battles fought in the soul… 2019 did not go as I had planned. HOWEVER, the fingerprints and footsteps of God’s leading can be clearly seen.
    Proverbs 16:9 states this point beautifully
    Proverbs 16:9 NASB95
    The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
    As we continue to look at this second missionary journey of Paul and Silas I am confident they had plans, ideas of how things would go, develop, and even left with aspirations that went unmet according to their plan. I also firmly believe there were things that they learned along with those they were disciplining that they never would have with their plans.
    I want us to take time this morning to look at some of these events, the details of some of the valleys and the victories, and even some of the battles of the soul… Then I want to close by reflecting on some things we can learn from this missionary journey… apply it to the journey that God may be taking you through.

    Beginning Plans

    Barnabas sets out with Mark to Cyprus
    Paul and Silas set out for the Galatian region
    This region has already recieved Paul’s letter and defense for salvation by faith and faith alone
    Now Paul comes with the letter from Jerusalem church leaders and Silas as one of the represenatives
    What an encouragement and bolstering this must have been for the clarity of the gospel of Jesus Christ
    Acts 16:1-3 Paul meets Timothy in Lystra and wants him to come along!
    They continue to the churches throughout Galatia delivering this news and encouragement
    Luke pauses in Acts 16:5 and gives another summary in his writing...
    Acts 16:5 NASB95
    So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
    There is nothing that compares when you see God working… it ignites the soul to want to see Him work all the more!
    Imagine this trio excited about what God is doing, sitting by the fire in the evening and coming up with a plan… A REALLY GOOD PLAN!
    Let’s take the gospel further!!!
    Asia
    Mysia
    Bithynia
    BUT GOD… directed them different follow along Acts 16:6-8
    Acts 16:6–8 NASB95
    They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

    God’s Directs to Troas

    WHY??? Isn't that always the question? We are not told why; we are not told how; BUT GOD directed.
    In Troas a couple things occur:
    Luke joins the team!
    God reveals His direction to Paul Acts 16:9-10
    Acts 16:9–10 NASB95
    A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

    The gospel is going to Europe!

    This is the birth of the church in Europe… God calls and they listen!
    WOW GOD… if you are closing the doors elsewhere and opening this door this is going to be great!

    First stop… Philipi

    This is a Roman Colony this was very precious to a city in these days… it meant special privileges and fewer taxes!
    Ministered here not in a synagogue but by a river… all women, needed at least 10 Jewish men to have a synagogue
    This is a very gentile city most likey
    Lydia is the first convert and her household (FROM THYATIRA!!!!) AKA Asia!
    A slave girl with an evil spirit of divination was following them in town declaring Acts 16:17-18
    Acts 16:17–18 NASB95
    Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
    This lands Paul and Silas in prison… oh by the way after they were beaten without trial.
    WAIT A MINUTE… didn't God open this door?
    They pray & sing praises to God!
    God frees them with an earthquake… Jailer is saved and his family… and the next day the leaders push them out of town! (Paul and Silas are Roman citizens)
    It appears Luke stays behind and the others leave to:

    Thessalonica

    Paul spend some time here preaching in the synagogue
    Over their time the Jews get upset because MANY Jews and Greeks follow Christ!
    Would it not be an amazing situation to upset the enemy because so many were turning to Christ!?
    However they move on due to this in order to not stir trouble there for the believers...

    Berea

    There they go to the synagogue as well
    Here there was an eagerness to learn! Acts 17:11-12
    Acts 17:11–12 NASB95
    Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
    You guessed it the Jews were not too happy run them out… BUT Silas & Timothy stay to minister further!
    They only want to run Paul off. But Paul ask them to join as soon as possible.

    Athens

    Paul is now alone, pushed away from anywhere the people actually start to believe about Christ
    Probably NOT how Paul had planned this trip
    Paul’s heart breaks for the people… VERY religious BUT very LOST!!!!
    After a compelling message of TRUTH… Paul moves on to Corinth

    Corinth

    Paul is still alone… yet God brings in this season two who would become very close to Paul (Aquila and his wife Priscilla)
    For a season Paul works with them as tentmakers then when Silas and Timothy join him he focuses on ministry full-time!
    Many believers were coming from the gentiles there along with some Jews
    This work involved people Titius Justus, Crispus, and many others
    God also brings a season of rest for Paul… Acts 18:9-10 Paul spends some time here possibly up to 18 months
    Acts 18:9–10 NASB95
    And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
    We believe it is while here that Paul after Timothy and Silas rejoin that Paul writes the Thessalonian church 1 & 2 Thessalonians
    This journey is summed up rather briefly in Acts 18:19-22
    Acts 18:19–22 NASB95
    They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.

    Ephesus

    Paul for whatever reason does not spend a great deal of time in Ephesus
    Possibly desired to observe the Passover
    But then he goes DOWN to Antioch
    Report God’s direction, leading, working, and HIS plan

    APPLICATION

    God may say no to us (His leading)
    God’s yes’s may not always be the easiest
    God may call us to wait on Him, wait on others (God moments)
    God’s use of others (God’s Family) we are not meant to do this alone
    God is working (have eyes to see and get involved where God is working)
    I wonder as Paul came to Jerusalem and no doubt shared with the church there all God had done, if James heard him share and remembered as he wrote James 4:13-15
    James 4:13–15 NASB95
    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
    Plan to serve the Lord people… yet hold those plans loose enough for Him to direct!
      • Proverbs 16:9NLT

      • Acts 16:5NLT

      • Acts 16:6–8NLT

      • Acts 16:9–10NLT

      • Acts 16:17–18NLT

      • Acts 17:11–12NLT

      • Acts 18:9–10NLT

      • Acts 18:19–22NLT

      • James 4:13–15NLT

  • In a Year Operation Mobilization stats…

    (from October 31, 2017 to November 1, 2018) In the top 50 World Watch List countries alone...
    245 Million: Christians in the world experience high levels of persecution for their choice to follow Christ.
    1 in 9: Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution
    14%: The rise in the number of Christians who experience high levels of persecution. (from the 2018 reporting period to 2019’s)
    4,136: Christians killed for faith-related reasons
    2,625: Christians detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned
    11: countries scoring in the “extreme” level for their persecution of Christians. Five years ago, North Korea was the only one.
    105: churches attacked, burned or vandalized each month
    11: Christians killed every day for their faith
    Switch to Wurmbrand Slide
    Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was an evangelical minister who endured 14 years of Communist imprisonment and torture in his homeland of Romania. He is widely recognized there as one of the country’s greatest Christian leaders, authors and educators.
    In 1945, when the Communists seized Romania and attempted to take control of the churches, Pastor Wurmbrand began an effective, vigorous “underground” ministry to oppressed believers as well as to the Russian soldiers occupying his country. He was arrested in 1948, along with his wife, Sabina, who was imprisoned as a slave-laborer for three years. Pastor Wurmbrand spent three years in solitary confinement, seeing no one but his Communist torturers. He was then transferred to a group cell, where the torture continued for five more years.
    After more than eight years in prison, Richard Wurmbrand was released, immediately resuming his work with the underground church. A couple of years later, in 1959, he was re-arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Pastor Wurmbrand was released through a general amnesty in 1964, again resuming his underground ministry.
    A group of Christians in Norway, realizing the probability and danger of a third imprisonment, negotiated his family’s emigration from Romania with the Communist authorities… Voice Of the Martyrs was later founded in 1967 by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.
    What causes a man to have that kind of boldness and passion for the gospel of Christ??? I believe our scriptures today give us a clear answer...

    Growing Opposition

    The sermon we are looking at today takes place almost 2 years after the beginning of the church...
    Last week we began to see the persecution that was beginning to take place towards the followers of “the way” or Jesus Christ
    Interestingly the persecution was increasing… so the church had a prayer meeting!
    We would pray that the persecution would stop BUT...
    Acts 4:29 shares with us thier prayer...
    Acts 4:29 NASB95
    “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,
    WOW! What an amazing passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ
    Through this persecution the church continues to GROW!
    The apostles set in place deacons to minister to the peoples needs while they focus on teaching and prayer!
    One of these men is named Stephen
    A man full of Faith and the Holy Spirit, full of grace and power...
    Boldly and confidently declaring the message of Christ
    Opposition was growing, consequences were severe for the church yet we see God answering the prayer of His church...
    False Accusations...
    Blasphemy against God and Moses (law)
    Speaking against the Temple and Law
    Jesus will destroy this temple
    Alter customs handed down by Moses
    When we speak truth the world attacks with lies, twisting the truth ton their gain...
    All those on the council gazed at him, and it says his face was like an angel… An Angel: like one who stands in the presence of God!
    When we stand before God justified by Christ, we have no need to fear any man we may be called to stand before” ~Jed Johnston
    Stephen gives his speech boldly and confidently before his accusers and delivers a beautiful panorama of the Jewish history… the one who stands accused is NOT on the defense here rather he takes up the offense as he preaches truth! Acts 7:1-60
    This is the longest discourse in Acts… yet it is powerful, concise, crucial, and a great reminder...
    Acts 7:1–60 NASB95
    The high priest said, “Are these things so?” And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ “Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. “But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him. “But God spoke to this effect, that his descendants would be aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. “ ‘And whatever nation to which they will be in bondage I Myself will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me in this place.’ “And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household. “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. “But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. “On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. “Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all. “And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. “But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, until there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. “It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. “It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. “And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. “Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. “But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. “And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. “And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. “On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ “But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ “At this remark, Moses fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. “When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. But the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them; come now, and I will send you to Egypt.’ “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. “This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. “This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.’ “This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you. “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egyptwe do not know what happened to him.’ “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. “But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will remove you beyond Babylon.’ “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. “And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. “But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: Heaven is My throne, And earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, Or what place is there for My repose? Was it not My hand which made all these things?’ “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

    Application of Stephen’s Sermon

    Those who have a wrong view of God
    Have you tried to confine Him to your ideas to a place or time
    Have you been rejecting Him, the truth He has been desperately trying to show you
    Have you covered your ears to the truth
    Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit
    Are you praying for a boldness and confidence OR asking God to make life easy
    Is there a passion for the TRUTH of Jesus Christ
    What is your heart to those who hurt you...
    Can you forgive them?
    There was one who heard this forgiveness there… His name was Saul Acts 8:1-2
    Acts 8:1–2 NASB95
    Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him.
    Initially: nothing seemed to come from this forgiveness other than the gospel spreading BUT GOD would work in this man Saul who we would come to know and love a The Apostle Paul!
    Maybe you are saying in your heart… “I cant forgive” or “Pastor you have no idea” … But God does and He can work in your heart.
    Dale Rhoton, one of the founders of Operation Mobilization recalled this story about Pastor Wurmbrand…
    During one visit, I was with them in their home as they were talking in Romanian. I do not understand one word of Romanian, but I could tell they were talking about a person. “Who is this person you are talking about?” I asked. “That is the man who betrayed Richard, and because of him Richard was put in prison,” replied his wife, Sabina. Some hours later Richard said, “Dale, let’s take a walk.” As we were walking, a man crossed the street and came over to us. In Romanian style, Pastor Wurmbrand and this man hugged and kissed, and then he introduced us. The man left, and Richard and I resumed our walk. “That is interesting,” I said to Pastor Wurmbrand. “That man has the same name as the man who betrayed you.” Without blinking an eye he said, “Dale, we all make mistakes.
    Wurmbrand, R. (2017). Tortured for christ: 50th anniversary edition. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook.
    How will you allow the Holy Spirit to have power in your life and give you a confidence in the face of persecution and hurt???
  • Song Mission of the Church
  • We are in the Gospel of Luke… today we are going to tackle most of one of the largest chapters in the Bible (80 verses!) We are going to be looking at the events of a man by the name of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth:
    He is a priest
    They are said to be considered righteous in the sight of God
    I am so glad God is watching!
    An angel will visit him
    God will work a miracle
    In the end this priest will prophesy and praise God…
    BUT FIRST! Let’s rewind and go back 400 years...

    Malachi

    Holman- “Malchi rebuked God’s people for specific violations of the covenant, such as laws concerning sacrifices, divorce, and tithes, but he also prophesied the coming of the Messenger who will set things right.
    At first glance it would appeared God had been silent or forgotten for 400 years after sending Malachi to the people and declaring His promise...
    Feelings of forgotten as a nation
    Zacharias forgotten as a priest (will God speak again?)
    Elizabeth forgotten as she is barren no children
    When in reality, God had not forgotten, but was DOING what he promised!
    & declare what God will do in the coming future...
    Malachi 3:1 NASB95
    1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.
    Malachi 4:4–6 NASB95
    4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
    The world stage had to be set… made ready for His Messenger who would come:
    Daniel had prophesied the things that would occur before the Messiah would come
    Alexander the Great would come in… create one language Greek
    His empire would be divided four way among his generals
    Eventually Rome would take over the world… roads being developed for transportation!
    God had not forgotten… On the contrary, He was remembering His promise, fulfilling His Word! In fact His promises… THE PROMISE goes all the way back to the beginning!

    God’s Promise

    The Seed of the woman would deliver a death blow to Satan
    Genesis 3:15 NASB95
    15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
    We see the three sons of Noah and there is a blessing passed to Shem
    Genesis 9:25–27 NASB95
    25 So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27 “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”
    Through Abraham’s seed all men would be blessed this is made clearer in Genesis 15
    Genesis 12:3 NASB95
    3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
    Abraham had many sons… Yet Issac is the one God’s blessing was with.
    Isaac had two sons yet the blessing (Promise) was with Jacob… The God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob.
    Jacob had 12 sons… Jacobs name is changed by God to Israel (one who wrestles with God)
    God’s blessing of promise is passed from Jacob to Judah in Indicating the One to come would be royal, a ruler King.
    Genesis 49:10 NASB95
    10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
    From the line of Judah comes a man who was anointed king by the name of David… in and God Promises this...
    2 Samuel 7:16 NASB95
    16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
    The Hebrew word: mashiyach, meaning “the anointed” gradually became a title for the Promised Savior-King Messiah!
    God did NOT forget… He had been working all along in even the smallest of details!
    NOW… back to Luke.

    We Can Take God at His Word!

    Setting:
    Priest had their turns to serve in the temple… this was Zacharias’ time
    Selected to go in and offer incense (prayers) to God… Usually on behalf of the people of Israel
    Luke 1:11–17 NASB95
    And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “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 he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
    I don’t think this man was praying for a son… too old.
    Praying for the people, felt forgotten, feeling the oppressions of the Romans, whatever it was GOD HEARD!
    Wow! the angel states the Zacharias’ son will fulfill the prophecy of Malachi
    Your son will prepare for the Promised Messiah
    It Is Time! The Messiah is coming!!!
    What God says WILL HAPPEN!
    Moody- Zacharias ought to have been focusing on the divine “promise” of the message, not the human “problems” of the message.
    Did you miss it? Do you doubt God due to human limitations?
    The Promise of the scriptures was being fulfilled and this is Zacharias’ response…
    Luke 1:18–20 NASB95
    Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
    Several lessons here:
    Be careful when you ask God to prove it or for a sign!
    This was good news, not intended to create a problem
    The last words he could hear was the promise, his last words were questioning God
    God has a time table and a plan, He is NEVER late and always stays true to His Word

    God’s Hand Working Deserves Praise

    “ His Name is John”
    These are the words Zacharias would write on a board for the questioning crowd…
    Wait a minute… Zacharias, he’s not going to carry your name?
    NO this baby boy would carry something much greater… the message that the Messiah has come repent!
    His Faith to obey and listen loosed his tongue… He begins to prophesy for all there to hear and share!
    Luke 1:67–79 NASB95
    And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant— As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
    Look at the people’s response to all they heard and had seen…
    Luke 1:65–66 NASB95
    Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
    Darrel Bock- The story’s close indicates that the Lord’s hand was with him. Luke is saying, in effect, “Be assured, Theophilus or any other reader of my account, that God was in these most unusual events.” When God’s hand is mentioned, usually an opportunity for deliverance is around the corner!

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