Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007-12-30 AM The Old Timers.mp3

The Old-Timers

Genesis 17:1-14; Luke 2:21-39 / Isaiah 40:1-8
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Joseph and Mary Brought Jesus to God

A. The Messiah must be fully God and fully man and must fulfill all the obligations revealed in Scripture. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

B. The ritual process began with circumcision and naming. “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21) [Matthew 1:21]

C. The parents scrupulously followed God’s instructions for the child. “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)

D. Circumcision was obligatory. “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.” (Genesis 17:12)

E. A period of rest and retirement for the mother followed, ending with a sacrifice at the Temple. “And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.” (Leviticus 12:3-4) [41st for a male, and the 81st for a female]

II. Simeon Was Waiting for the Presentation

A. Simeon displayed a righteous faith, communicated with God, and expected the Messiah. “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:25-26)

B. The Holy Spirit brought Simeon to the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus. “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,” (Luke 2:27-28)

C. Simeon acknowledged that God had kept His promise of a Savior. “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;” (Luke 2:29-31)

D. In the child, Simeon saw the fulfillment of the double promise to Abraham of a Savior for both Israel and the Gentiles. “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:32)

E. The parents, who had grown accustomed to startling news from God, were amazed. “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” (Luke 2:33)

F. Simeon foresaw Mary’s agony; the mother would stand in the crowd at the cross. “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” (John 19:25)

G. The long-expected Redeemer would also be the terror of those who reject God; the hope of heaven includes the dread of hell. “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” (Isaiah 8:14-15) “To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16)

H. Those who refuse to answer the call to heaven will answer the order to hell. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38)

III. Anna Had Waited a Lifetime for the Messiah

A. The women of Asher were reputed to be the most beautiful in the world; God chose one of the beautiful women who had lived a long life of suffering and dedication to acknowledge His Son. “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” (Luke 2:36-37)

B. The hope of the hopeless, the guardian of widows and orphans, came to an old woman who believed against all worldly evidence that God would yet redeem His people. “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38)

C. Here was the second witness to testify that God keeps His promises; no one ever lost by trusting God’s promises. [Solomon said] “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” (1 Kings 8:56)

2007-12-30 PM The End and the Beginning - Romans 16.mp3

The End and the Beginning

Romans 16:1-27
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Christianity Thrives Communally

A. Jesus appeared to His people when they gathered weekly. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

B. The regular communion of the saints has continued an article of faith and a necessity of normal Christian life. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

C. Paul concluded Romans with extensive personal references; the people of sovereign grace must be the people of communal interaction. “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:” (Romans 16:1)

D. Christians must practice a communal intimacy foreign to the surrounding world. “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” (Romans 16:16)

II. Self-Examination Extends to the Communion of the Saints

A. The necessary and normal unity of the church must not extend to welcoming disruptive and heretical practices; unity in Christ is first unity in truth. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)

B. Jesus is the pattern for church life. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

C. Heresy and bad behavior repudiate Christ and close the door to heaven. “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:18) [Simple—innocent and unsuspicious or gullible]

D. Self-examination extends to the part a believer plays in the unity and integrity of the Community of Christ. “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” (Romans 16:19)

E. Let self-examination be done in the constant awareness that God’s great examination will soon come to pass. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:20)

III. The True Church Focuses on Christ

A. The God of sovereign grace will accomplish all which is necessary. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” (Romans 16:25)

B. The message and the life of the church spread across the world; are you helping or hindering? “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:26)

C. Keep your eyes on Jesus and the things of the world will dim. “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phoebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.” (Romans 16:27) [Phoebe was the radiant servant amanuensis.]

D. The gospel always focuses on Christ and the church always finds its substance and strength in Christ. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; Over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conquerors we are!
[Helen H. Lemmel]

E. Christ is the beginning and the end of His community. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Friday, December 21, 2007

2007-12-23 AM The Night Shift.mp3

The Night Shift

Isaiah 6:1-8; Luke 2:8-20 / Exodus 3:1-22
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, Jr.

I. God Uses Shepherds

A. Moses kept sheep when God called him to lead Israel from Egyptian slavery to the Holy Land. “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.” (Exodus 3:1)

B. The revelation and the call to serve God came through the Angel of the Lord as Moses was faithfully performing his responsibilities as a shepherd. “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:2) “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

C. David was keeping sheep in Bethlehem when God began to use him for holy purposes. “Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.” (1 Samuel 16:19)

D. Shepherds were also part of the nativity story. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8)

E. Temple shepherds tended sacrificial sheep in Bethlehem; such people should attend the arrival of the Lamb of God. “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, [John the Baptist] saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)

II. At the Nativity, God Sent Angels to His Shepherds

A. Shepherds were working the night shift near Bethlehem when God began to announce the birth of the Savior. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:9)

B. Once more God had good news for the shepherds. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)

C. The Savior has arrived just as the prophet has said He would. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

D. Here is the evidence; God’s messages consistently prove true. “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:1-2)

E. The hills exploded with heavenly joy; just as God had said they should. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14) “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” (Psalm 103:20-21)

III. The Shepherds Became Witnesses of the Nativity

A. The shepherds did what the situation demanded; taking God at His word is always appropriate. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” (Luke 2:15)

B. When they obediently investigated, the shepherds found precisely what God had told them to expect; God keeps His promises to His servants. “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:16) “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

C. Once more God used shepherds to tell His story of redemption and release. “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” (Luke 2:17)

D. People were impressed. “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2:18)

E. Mary preserved the story of this connection with the God of history and hope. “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

F. The shepherds would not stop telling the story and neither should believers today. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” (Luke 2:20)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Psalm 21

I. Remember the Victories of Christ

A. The psalmist speaks of Christ’s ultimate victory. “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” (Psalm 21:1)

B. King Jesus brings perfect and perpetual peace. “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” (Psalm 21:2) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

C. God the Father will eventually show everyone that Jesus is king. “For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.” (Psalm 21:3) [prevent—come before or prepare in advance]

1. Scripture leads to the final triumph of Christ. “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.” (Revelation 4:1-2)

2. God will bring a people unable to bring itself and He will do whatever must be done to establish that final order described in Revelation. “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

D. God’s sovereign grace will produce the unending kingdom; God gives more than His people ask. “He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.” (Psalm 21:4) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

E. The Resurrection and Ascension introduced the kingdom. “His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.” (Psalm 21:5) “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” (Romans 1:4)

F. An eternal prize reduces the importance of present problems. “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.” (Psalm 21:6) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

II. The Future Will Be Filled with Victories

A. What God settles remains settled for ever; the turbulence of human kingdoms will pass away before King Jesus. “For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” (Psalm 21:7) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:7-8) “LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)

B. No pockets of resistance will hold out for sin and rebellion in the coming kingdom. “Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.” (Psalm 21:8) “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

C. The settling of accounts will be terrible and total. “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.” (Psalm 21:9,10) “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:” (Malachi 3:2)

D. Evil holds an unnaturally high opinion of itself which history demonstrates is unable to prevail against Providence. “For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.” (Psalm 21:11-12) “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)

III. Praise the Victorious King

A. Praise God for the King and the coming kingdom. “Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.” (Psalm 21:13)

B. The final settlement will be impressive. “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.” (Psalm 78:65-66)

Monday, December 10, 2007

2007-12-09 PM The Plan For Outsiders - Romans 15 Part 1.mp3

The Plan for Outsiders

Romans 15:1-21
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Outsiders Represent Opportunity

A. People who have the strength which inherently develops from understanding the gospel need to have consideration for those who do not; Paul had laid the platform for this analysis as he developed the interaction of Jews and Gentiles. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1)

B. The welfare of the less developed believer must be the object of the experienced believer. “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Romans 15:2)

C. Paul’s approach is simply an application of the pattern demonstrated by the Savior Who suffered as a substitute for His people to secure redemption for them. “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Romans 15:3)

D. The Scriptures are filled with such instructive patterns. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

1. All Scripture is instructional.All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

2. As believers learn, they must teach in turn. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)

E. The unity which results from mentoring glorifies God. “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6)

II. God’s Instructional Process Requires Outsiders

A. In gathering and accepting outsiders, believers replicate the outreach of the Savior. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

B. What Christ did actually fulfilled God’s promises to the ancients and set in process the conversion of the Gentiles or outsiders. “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” (Romans 15:8-9) [v9 from Psalm 18:49]

C. The prophets laid out the pattern and process, projecting the world religion Christianity has become. “And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.” (Romans 15:10-12) [v10 from Deuteronomy 32:43; v11 from Ps 117:1; v12 from Isaiah 11:10 in LXX]

D. Faith in God develops hope. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

III. Paul Took the Gentile Mission Personally

A. Paul believed his audience could do what he asked. “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Romans 15:14)

B. Ministering on the edge of the faith and the hope which develops from it is a privilege. “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:15-16)

C. Paul’s life became fulfilling as he lived out what he had learned from Jesus. “I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.” (Romans 15:17)

D. Paul strove to emphasize what Christ had done through him and to ignore things which he might have done himself or which Christ might have accomplished in some other way. What has God done through me? “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:18-19)

E. Paul’s ambition was to take the gospel where it was not known. “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:” (Romans 15:20)

F. Knowing that one is doing what God proposes is a powerful motive; every believer should share in Paul’s ambition. “But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” (Romans 15:21) [Isaiah 52:15 LXX]

Friday, December 7, 2007

2007-12-09 AM His Name Is John.mp3

His Name Is John

Genesis 21:1-8; Luke 1:57-80 / Habakkuk 2:1-14
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. John’s Birth Was Extraordinary

A. Elizabeth, John’s mother, was past childbearing age, but nothing is impossible with God; the entire nativity story is supernatural. “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” (Luke 1:36)

B. The human condition was too terrible for any ordinary solution; nativity is no ordinary story. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

C. Reliable witnesses recognized the wonderful character of John’s birth. “Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.” (Luke 1:57-58)

D. John’s circumcision and naming caused a great stir; the extraordinary baby received an extraordinary name. “And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.” (Luke 1:59-60) [Names followed covenantal patterns in Biblical culture.]

Zacharias--Remembered of Jehovah
John--Jehovah Is A Gracious Giver

E. Zacharias was adamant about the name; he had learned the drawback to crossing God. “And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.” (Luke 1:19-20) “And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marveled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.” (Luke 1:63-64)

F. Eye witnesses were deeply impressed. “And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” (Luke 1:65-66)

II. The Silent Priest Became the Prophetic Father

A. The Holy Ghost delivered a message through the believer who formerly had been silenced by unbelief. “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,” (Luke 1:67)

B. The time of the promised Deliverer had arrived. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” (Luke 1:68-69)

C. The faithful expected a Savior because God had made a promise and repeated it across the ages. “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;” (Luke 1:70-72) “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

D. Zacharias preached sovereign grace and growing holiness. “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:73-75) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

III. John Would Proclaim an Extraordinary Message

A. John would get to be a preacher of grace, hope, and fresh starts in life. “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,” (Luke 1:76-77)

B. The good times will come. “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79) “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

C. God had promised the impossible and He was beginning to deliver on the promise through John. “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

D. People who grow strong in the Spirit preach powerful messages of hope, preparing the way for the One Who gives eternal hope. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.” (Luke 1:80) “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:3-4)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

2007-12-05 Seek Help Where It Can Be Found - Psalm 20.mp3

Seek Help Where It Can Be Found

Psalm 20
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Rulers Need Spiritual Support

A. Believers can bless those in authority by asking God to hear in difficult times; David sought prayer partners to defend the nation. “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;” (Psalm 20:1) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

1. Christ, our King, sought such support from the Apostles on the night of the betrayal and then turned in prayer to the Father. “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:38-39)

2. God is the defense of those who trust in Him. “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)

B. Help from God’s house is better than any other kind. “Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;” (Psalm 20:2)

1. Solomon taught the people to turn to God for help in the face of trouble. “If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” (1 Kings 8:44-45)

2. Believers know that their protection is God’s concern; if God is with people, their enemies are defeated from the start. “For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.” (Isaiah 50:7-9) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

C. It helps to be on good terms with God before approaching Him. “Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.” (Psalm 20:3)

1. God dramatically accepted Israel’s sacrifice when the nation began. “And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” (Leviticus 9:24)

2. In the revival under Elijah, God also vividly consumed the sacrifice. “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38)

D. Believers can count on getting what they want from God when they have submitted their wills to God. “Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsel.” (Psalm 20:4)

II. Help Against Disaster Comes from Heaven

A. As long as Jesus remains High King, believers can expect to prevail. “We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions.” (Psalm 20:5)

B. Prayer has a way of encouraging confidence. “Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.” (Psalm 20:6)

III. Acknowledge God’s Sovereignty in Prayer

A. Christian confidence contrasts starkly with what assures the dying world. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

B. Earthly hope leads to despair and destruction; righteous hope overcomes. “They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:8)

C. The final victory has already been announced in heaven. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.” (Psalm 2:6-10)

D. The end result is always in God’s hands. “Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.” (Psalm 20:9) “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:” (Isaiah 55:6-10)

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