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)

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