Christmas Portraits: Zachariah and Elizabeth
Sermon Series: Christmas Portraits
Series Sermon #: 2
Sermon title: Zacharias and Elizabeth
Text: Luke 1:5-25; 57-80
ETS: God performed the miracle of reproduction for Zacharias and Elizabeth.
ESS: Zacharias and Elizabeth faced and passed some serious tests of faith through the process of giing birth to their son John.
OSS: Believers face tests of faith through God’s work in our lives.
PQ: How will I respond to the questions faith poses in my life?
A- Read Text:
5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.
6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.
7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week.
9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.
10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
What? : What does the Bible say?
B- The Kind of People Zacharias and Elizabeth were:
1- Righteous before God
2- Obedient to the Scriptures
4- Advanced in years: Past the child-bearing age
5- Leaders among God’s People
TS: We are going to ask some questions and answer them from this scriptural incident. These questions will uncover some issues in their lives that may parallel issues in our own lives.
I- WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S MESSAGE TO YOU?
(LUKE 1:12-13). "While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah!"
1. You may be sensing the communication of the God to your heart.
(John 16:8) "When he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment."
1- Why are you afraid?
a. Afraid of being confronted with your sin?
* Like Peter
(Luke 5:8) "When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”
b. Afraid because you distrust God?
- The Israelites were afraid to enter the promised land--they did not trust God (Numbers 13:16-14:25)
C- Confident Trust? (vs. 13a).
1- This is the response God desires
(Romans 4:20-21) "Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises."
II- WHY DO YOU DOUBT GOD? (LUKE 1:13-18).
"3 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
A- Because it defies human reasoning (v. 18).
1- What is impossible with man is possible with God
(Luke 1:37) "For nothing is impossible with God."
(Mark 10:27) "Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
B- Because the task is beyond human capability (vs. 13-17).
1- God can do anything through a willing servant.
a. When we are frail, his power flows.
(2 Corinthians 12:10) "That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Two things God can’t do:
III- HOW MUCH WILL UNBELIEF COST YOU?
(Luke 1:19-23) "19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.
23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home."
A- Costs vary
1. It cost Zacharias at least 10 months of lost fellowship with others.
2. It cost Israel 40 years of desert wandering. (Numbers 13:16-14:25)
B- God will accomplish his plan—but we can miss out on being a part of it.
1. 10 of the 12 spies missed the blessing of entering the promised-land. (Numbers 13:16-14:25)
IV- HOW WILL YOU RESPOND TO GOD’S ACTIVITY?
(LUKE 1:24-25) "Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
A- Hide it?
1. What should sometimes be a matter of great joy is sometimes hidden as though we are ashamed of it.
(Romans 1:16) "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile."
(Luke 9:26) "6 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels."
(Romans 10:11) "As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."
B- Share it?
/(vs. 57) "57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her."
You can’t hide it forever!/
(Luke 11:33) "33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket.* Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house."
V- WILL YOU OBEY GOD IN SPITE OF PRESSURE FROM OTHERS?
(LUKE 1:13, 60, 62).
13 "But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John."
59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.”
A- Obedience brings freedom.
(vs. 64) "64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God."
1- It freed Zacharias to praise God and fellowship with others again.
2- It freed both Zacharias and Elizabeth to experience the joy of obedience.
60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.”
B- Obedience affects others for Christ (vs. 65-66).
"65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way."
1- To obey draws others toward God.
2- To disobey brings blasphemy to him from other people.
(Romans 2:23-24) "23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
A- So What?
1. God wants to do his work in transforming lives, transforming our city, and transforming the world.
2. God has a message to share with the people around us--in every day life.
3. Better Life Community Church--we have a choice to make--in answer to the same questions Zacharias and Elizabeth faced.
B- Now What?: What does this mean to you and I individually?
1. What will your answers be to the questions Zacharias and Elizabeth faced?
• How will you respond to God's message to you? (About salvation? About commitment to follow Christ?)
• What will you do to practically demonstrate that you trust God in regard to his message to you?
• What steps will you take to be open about your faith in God?
• What will you do to avoid caving in to peer pressure and insure that you will obey God's message to you?