Today’s message summary of October 7, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
God recognizes that there is not much of a difference between people, but each person experiences change in some way, shape or form, and it is often misunderstood.
Zechariah may not have understood all that his son, John, was going to do. What he did understand is that God was going to be involved in his life.
Zechariah might have thought his son was going to be a great priest (as he came from a family of priesthood). He thought that he would be a great teacher in the temple, and not one preaching in the desert land, or not in prison or even eventually beheaded. He certainly did not see him as challenging Herod about his marriage.
What did Zechariah see from God pertaining to his son?
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited
and provided redemption for his people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
just as he spoke by the mouth
of his holy prophets in ancient times;
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of those who hate us.
He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
and remembered his holy covenant—
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham.
He has given us the privilege,
since we have been rescued
from the hand of our enemies,
to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness
in his presence all our days.
And you, child, will be called
a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the dawn from on high will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave a prophesy and praise (v. 67-68).
Praise to God comes from those who are joyfully filled by the Spirit. The Spirit gives insight in such a way that helps you give praises to Jesus Christ.
The praise was for God, who had declared that He was coming to redeem His people (Israel). The Romans were the ones who was oppressing their people.
Zechariah may not have even understood what he declared about this change (v. 69).
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.
He spoke about salvation from our enemies–all who hate us (v. 71).
It was not just about the enemy of the flesh but within your own spiritual life.
A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.
Zechariah is recalling what the prophets said to us long ago (v. 70). Sometimes, we are to remind ourselves as to what God’s Word says to us. There is hope in His Word in that it gives us clarity, and it reminds us that He is coming again to us. His Word reminds us as to how God is working actively in your life.
God is remembering his holy covenant (v.72-73) that he made with Abraham.
Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the city gates of their enemies.”
Abraham could not have possibly understood what God meant about the number of his descendants nor about overcoming their enemies in the future. He could only rely upon faith.
Zechariah had to experience being unable to speak for eight days until the child was circumcised and he wrote on a tablet to everyone that “His name was John” (v. 63). When his mouth was opened, he was able to give his praises to God.
But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, “so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
God “remembered” his covenant with His people, but note that He never forgets about us. We are often guilty of remembering Him. Are you living the life that He desires for you to live?
Zechariah also noted the importance of serving God without fear due to the rescue of his people from their enemies (v. 74) in holiness and righteousness (v. 75).
Zechariah knew that there were some things in his life that had hindered his spiritual growth. Perhaps he had resentment for the Romans and the unjust rules over the people. He was serving with other groups in the temple (the Sadducees), and had to deal with the rulings of the Sanhedrin.
We all have to examine ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless you fail the test.
Zechariah refers to John, his son (v. 76) and because of the Holy Spirit, he speaks about his child who has not yet been born. Remember that there are people listening to him (v. 59). He tells everyone that his son will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.
And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
John’s purpose was to give the people knowledge. He did not have the ability to grant them salvation. He was just like us…we can pass on the knowledge by telling others that Christ is coming again. He is the Savior, but only He can save people.
Zechariah, in going to the temple, went to make a sacrifice for the people in the temple for their sins. This was part of the change that was taking place in his life. He could see that there was a new day coming.
Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Death is no longer anything to be feared.
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, death, is your victory?
Where, death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
John was the person who called on others to recognize their sins and to confess and repent from them. He helped them to see the importance of forgiveness before the appearance of the one who forgives sin.