Summary: Between Malachi and Matthew there were 400 years of silence, but, the Messiah was coming and a new day was dawning.
Intro. We live in a day that in many ways, God appears silent. He is not, but we are seeing a digression of all things Godly! The wicked seem loud and seek to silence those that love God. Here we are on the brink of Christmas and there are those opposed to saying Merry Christmas - silence abounds.
Between Malachi and Matthew there is 400 years of silence. Messiah had not come, the Gospel had not been completed, the Holy Spirit did not live inside of man, yet God was about to send Israel again into a type of wilderness. So what does God say to His people just before this time of silence? vs. 4-6 A New Day would Dawn!
I. A Commitment to Believe- Mal 4:4-6 God made a promise that preceded silence.
A. There were Things to be Remembered - vs. 4
1. The Scripture - They knew to do this: (Psalm 103:17-18)
2. The Journey - vs. 5 - (You have been in the wilderness before)
Moses was the hero of the wilderness, but did not enter Canaan
- They Knew of this Hero (Bedtime stories) (Psalm 77:20)
- They Knew of this Helper (106:23)
3. Remember the Place - Horeb (Mt. Sinai)
B. There would be a Reprieve - vs. 5
1. The Silence will not be Forever - Something will happen in God’s time
2. The Silence will be broken with Fulfillment - John the Baptist coming broke the silence and opened the New age which will end with the Day of the Lord!
C. There would be a Revival - vs. 6 A prophet would come, Malachi ends with the promise of the sign of the New Day. But the times became somewhat foggy - it had been so long since the promise. We now transition to Luke 1. Go with me to the Temple - Each family of the tribe of Levi would have a week that they would serve beginning at Passover.
II. A Confidence found Deficient - Luke 1:18-20
A. He was Serving- vs. 8-9 Zacharias in his place- Good to serve in faithfulness.
B. He was Scared - vs. 12 Sometimes God doesn't tell us His plan because we wouldn't believe it. Panic has messed us all up.
C. He had Sought the Lord - vs. 13 - Prayed for a child
D. He was Skeptical - Amazing!
1. The Information -vs. 16-17
- John the Baptist would preach Repentance - Turn the heart
(Fathers - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Children - Nation of Israel)
- The Silence would be Broken with a Sermon - Mark 1:3 "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight".
2. The Inconvenience - We do not know when Zacharias had prayed. Could
have been years before, so since God did not answer by His standards, Zacharias did not believe! He had trouble accepting the answer to prayer!
E. He was Silenced - His lack of faith silenced him
III. A Confrontation with Culture - vs. 57-61
A. A Time of Celebration - neighbors, friends and family all join together for the ceremony and naming of the son. What a joyous time. But then Elisabeth called his name John -
B. A Time of Challenge - vs. 59 “They called him” They tried to name the child for them! Is that not just like the world - Conform, do not be different. Do what we want!
1. Their intentions seemed good, but was against God's plan!
2. That is how Satan attacks, he makes his ways look ok, but is against God. (2 Peter 3:17)
IV. A Conviction to do Right - vs. 13, 62-63 There is a reason for this.
A. The Insistence of the Mother - Elisabeth called the name.
B. The Persistence of the Father - He obeyed!
1. Baby had been named from Heaven - John - "Jehovah is a gracious giver!"
2. This Baby's name is John - nothing else acceptable, God named him John.
Concl. A Chorus of Security - vs. 64-80 If there were ever a time that Zacharias felt the presence of the Lord, this was it. So what did he do? Did he yield to the flesh, oh no. He stopped and began to worship God - vs. 64
And His son was the Forerunner, the Fulfillment of Prophecy!
A new Day was Dawning! And the Messiah Came