The Knowledge of Our Savior's Plan of Redemption

December 12, 2010 Luke 1:57-80

 

Introduction:

  1. This morning, we are continuing our 3rd part of our Sunday Morning series on the subject of Christmas.

> we’re continuing our theme for 2010:  Taking the Next Step with Joy

> specifically, this morning, we want to focus on Taking the Next Step With Joy . . . In the Knowledge of our Savior at Christmas

2.  You might be thinking, “Why is that so important?”

- for a lot of reasons, but one of them Peter addressed very specifically in 2 Peter 3:18:

  • 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

3.  We ought to be growing in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because He is worthy of being glorified by ALL of His creation and especially, the people He redeemed!

4.  I think it’s interesting that the man who wrote this verse (inspired by the Holy Spirit) was the same man, while cursing and swearing, denied Christ 3 times and said:

“I don’t know the man”

5.  But now, having repented and being restored in his relationship with Christ (due to the Gospel!!)

1)  Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 people got saved

2)  Under inspiration, he wrote 2 books in the NT . . . and this specific verse about ‘growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”!

> this is command, and it’s written in the present tense

> so it could be translated: “Be continually growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

Q: What do you about your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that would motivate you to ‘take the next step’ in your spiritual walk with the Lord?

  • Holy – completely separate from sin; He cannot sin; He doesn’t have the ability to sin
  • Love – unconditional love & everlasting love – Paul wrote these words!
  • Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Grace – God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you!”
  • Mercy – God withhold what you DO deserve (condemnation, punishment!)
  • Forgiving – He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west!
  • Patient – How thankful are you for God’s patience with you?
  • Sovereign – as Job said, “Nothing can thwart your
  • Job 42:2 "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Point: We could take the rest of our time and focus on the various attributes of our Lord!

6.  Today, our focus is on:

The Knowledge of Our Savior’s Plan of Redemption—(application) the heart of one speechless that now sings (Zacharias)

[Open your bible to Luke 1:57-80 (pg 44 the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you]

7.  The purpose of Luke’s Gospel was to show that Jesus’ life/death truly fulfilled what the prophets foretold, and remember:

> Luke is written to the Greeks and presents Christ as the Son of Man (the Perfect Man!)

READ LUKE 1:56-80

- Let’s focus on:Taking the Next Step with Joy: In the Knowledge of Our Savior at Christmas ...

I.   By Rejoicing in God’s Character – 57-66

  • Luke 1:57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.

- sometimes we can rejoice, but for the wrong reasons – that was NOT the case in this situation

- they were rejoicing because ‘her neighbors and relative heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward’ Elizabeth and had fulfilled His promise that she would bare a son!!

- we can rejoice this morning as these neighbors and relatives rejoiced . . .

A.  Because of God’s faithful promises – 57-58

- the angel that appeared to Zacharias told him back in Luke 1:

  • Luke 1:13 . . . "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.”

- now in v. 57, what God had promised, He fulfilled

- that’s the way God functions (He makes a promise and fulfills it– and His Word reveals to us:

  • Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

- “the Lord displayed His great mercy toward her”

> God’s mercy refers to His loving actions . .. by keeping His promise!

“God’s mercy is His loving action toward undeserving sufferers, such as this old, childless couple, stigmatized by barrenness and is a major theme in this context.”–  MacArthur, Luke, p. 88

Note: God keeping His promise and showing us mercy it not always in OUR TIMING or the in the EXACT WAY we would imagine . . . but He keeps His promises and shows mercy!

Q: What are some promises that our Savior made that we can rejoice in this morning?

  • Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
  • Matthew 16:18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
  • John 14:3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
  • John 14:16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.

 

- God keeps His promises because He is HOLY and He cannot lie!

- Secondly, they were also rejoicing . . .

B.  Because of God’s gracious purpose – 59-63

- God demonstrated His grace in a very surprising way in this passage – it was through a CONFLICT over naming Elizabeth & Zacharias’ son

- The connection of naming the child with the timing of the circumcision was unusual, since names were typically giving at birth

- but the occasion allowed for the people present to be surprised that the child was NOT going to named after his father (which was not unusual – though naming them after their grandfathers was more common)

- Elizabeth said: “but he shall be called John “

> the crowd responded (v. 61) and then turned to DADDY (v. 62)

- Zacharias wrote (couldn’t talk YET):  ‘HIS NAME IS JOHN!”

> not shall be, or could be . . . HIS NAME IS JOHN!

> because that’s what God said it would be!!

Example: God told Abraham to call his son, Isaac – Gen. 17:19

  • Genesis 17:19 But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

Example: Jesus – Matt. 1:21 (Angel told Joseph)

  • Matthew 1:21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

- to the Jew, names meant a lot – they were very descriptive (sometimes representing their physical characteristics)

  • Esau = hairy
  • Jacob = one who grabs the heel
  • John = God is gracious

- not only is the Messiah going to be born, but God is going to send a ‘forerunner’ in front to prepare the people for the message of the Gospel!

Q: What was the result of all this?  How did the ‘crowd’ respond?

v. 63 – and they were all ASTONISHED = marvel, amazed!!

- if THAT ‘astonished’ the people, wait till what you see the next few verses – they were rejoicing and astonished . . . .

C.  Because of God’s all-mighty power – 64-66

- Zacharias’ mouth was OPENED – i.e. he could SPEAK NOW!!

- it’s interesting the 1s thing out of his mouth was: “he began to speak in PRAISE to God”

Q: What are you saying about God?(praise // thanks // sharing the Gospel)

Result: Fear came upon all those living around them . . .

- Fear (phobos) = not terror, but religious awe because of contact with the supernatural as in the case of Zacharias

* Fear = awesome respect for God’s presence and power!

- so this crowd asked a question: 

Q:  What then will this child turn out to be?  . . . BECAUSE (i.e. ‘for’)

‘hand of the Lord’ = presence & power & authority

 

Point: The character of our God, the character of His Son, and the character of the Holy Spirit is what VALIDATES the whole plan of redemption!

- God promised there would be a ‘forerunner’ of Christ, and John was the man!

> this was a demonstration of grace (though not the greatest demonstration – the CROSS!

> this was a demonstration of God’s power (though not the greatest demonstration – RESURRECTION!

- Take the Next Step with Joy: In the Knowledge of Our Savior at Christmas...

II.  By Responding to God’s Covenants – 67-79

“The emphasis in the song Zacharias sings is the “kingdom of God” a physical deliverance from enemies but also the forgiveness of sins.” – Wiersbe

- In this beautiful song, Zacharias gave several pictures symbolizing the salvation we have in Jesus Christ:

A.  Redemption – 67-68

- The word redeem means “to set free by paying a price” or to ‘buy back’

- It can refer to the releasing of a prisoner or the liberating of a slave.

- Jesus Christ came to earth to bring “deliverance to the captives” and salvation to people in bondage to sin and death.

  • Luke 4:18 "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”

- we don’t have the ability to set ourselves free – only Christ could pay the price necessary for our redemption:

  • Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
  • Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
  • Hebrews 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

- another part of this song focuses on the . . .

B.  Conquest – 69-75

“horn=  symbolizes power and victory(cf. 1 Kings 22:11)

- The picture here is that of an army about to be taken captive

> but then help arrives and the enemy is defeated!

- In the previous picture, the captives were set free; but in this picture, the enemy is defeated so that he cannot capture more prisoners.

- It means TOTAL VICTORY for the people of God – similar to what Paul would later write:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

- Zacharias uses the word ‘salvation’ - it carries the meaning of “health and soundness.”

“No matter what the condition of the captives, their Redeemer brings spiritual soundness. When you trust Jesus Christ as Savior, you are delivered from Satan’s power, moved into God’s kingdom, redeemed, and forgiven.” – Wiersbe

  • Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

- That Redeemer came from the house of David (v.69), who himself was a great conqueror

* The results of this victory are service and sanctification! (vs. 73–75)

  • Luke 1:73 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.

“He sets us free, not to do our own will, because that would be bondage, but to do His will and enjoy His freedom.”[1]

C.  Cancelling a debt – 76-77

- there is a transition in the song – now Zacharias is addressing his son – ‘and you child, will be called the prophet of the Most High”

- while we are prophets, we are ‘ambassadors for Christ’ and our privilege and responsibility is to proclaim the message of the Redeemer the way John the Baptist did

> to give people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins

Forgiveness = to send away, to dismiss, as a debt

- All of us are in debt to God because we’ve broken His law & failed to live up to His standards

- in reality, “all of us are spiritually bankrupt, unable to pay our debt. But Jesus came and paid the debt for us” [2]

  • John 1:29 The next day he (i.e. John the Baptist)saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

- then Zacharias’ song moves into the . . .

D.  Dawning of a new day – 78-79

  • Luke 1:78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,79 TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

* Jesus = the Light of the world– He said that of Himself:

  • John 8:12 "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

- this passage reminds me of the song: Here I Am to Worship

Light of the World . . .You stepped down into darkness

Opened my eyes . . .Let me see;

Beauty that made. . .This heart adore You,

Hope of a life . . .Spent with You

Chorus:

Here I am to worship . . . Here I am to bow down

Here I am to say that You're my God

You're altogether lovely . . . Altogether worthy . . . Altogether wonderful to me

- part of God’s wonder and worthiness is based on God’s sovereignty

- We can:Take the Next Step with Joy: In the Knowledge of Our Savior at Christmas...

III.  By Recognizing God’s Control – v. 80

- this refers back to v. 66

  • Luke 1:66 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.

- this verses demonstrates the character of the child born (John)

- he did what God had called him to do as the Messiah’s forerunner . . . “proclaiming the New covenant of which his father so eloquently and passionately spoke.”– MacArthur, Luke, p. 123

- John the Baptist didn’t look for a comfortable place to live, he lived in the wilderness

> “disciplining himself physically and spiritually, waiting for the day when God would send him out to prepare Israel for the arrival of the Messiah”

“God calls us today to believe His Good News. Those who believe it experience His joy and want to express their praise to Him. It is not enough for us to say that Jesus is a Saviour, or even the Saviour. With Mary, we must say, “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47)[3]

A.  He’s there to help us grow

- grow in our knowledge of and commit to Lord and Savior and King, Jesus!

Q: In what ways are you growing?

B.  He’s there to help us influence others

- it’s interesting that Jesus would later say:

  • Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 

Conclusion:

1. Are you growing in your knowledge of the Savior?

2. What are you doing as a result of your growth?

3. Are you fulfilling the role for which God has called you?

  • Husband/wife // Spiritual gifts // Proclaiming the Gospel

4. We serve a great a mighty God who is full of grace to help us accomplish the ultimate goal of bringing glory to God!



[1]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Lk 1:57

[2]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Lk 1:57

[3]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Lk 1:57