Summary: The story of the birth of John the Baptist teaches us about faith and the message we have for the world.
A Special Birth
Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Introduction: God often used families that were unable to have children when he wanted to bring a special child into the world. In the Old Testament, we have the examples of Isaac, Samson and Samuel. In the New Testament we have John.
1. Summarizing the story:
a. John’s parents were faithful in spite of their circumstances. They had spent many years in the service of God, yet had not received what they most desired: a child. It would have been easy for them to have been bitter, easy for them to turn away from God. Yet they remained faithful to him, even when he did not give them what they wanted.
b. Gabriel brought the news: God responds to his people. God hears the prayers of his people, even when it seems to them that he does not.
1) To Zechariah and Elizabeth. God would respond to their personal prayers for a son.
2) To Israel. The same son that would bless Zechariah and Elizabeth would be a blessing to his people, calling them to repentance. He would prepare the people for the Lord.
c. Zechariah brought the news of salvation. When Zechariah was able to speak again, he spoke the message of salvation. He spoke not of his visions nor his sufferings; he spoke of what God would do for his people.
2. Are you believing? Have you truly put your faith in God?
a. Unbelief cannot speak nor bless. When Zechariah doubted God, he lost the ability to speak. When we doubt, we cannot speak for God nor be a blessing to others. We must overcome doubt with faith.
b. Belief can proclaim God’s salvation. When Zechariah overcame his doubt, when he obeyed God, he was able to proclaim the message of salvation to those around him. When we overcome our doubts, we are able to announce God’s salvation to everyone.
3. Are you preparing the way?
a. Turning people. (Luke 1:16-17) God’s message is a message of change, of repentance. It does not leave people where they are. It turns them.
1) To God. Our society is turning away from God. We need to be spokesmen for God, calling people back to him.
2) To their children. The family is disintegrating in our culture. People self-servingly destroy their homes, caring not what it does to their children. They don’t think about the need for their children to know God. We call people to turn back to their children.
3) To the wisdom of the righteous. The world seeks wisdom in science and in the philosophies of men. We must show the world where true wisdom lies.
b. Giving people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness. (Luke 1:77) Our world needs to know of salvation. Our world needs to know of sin and the forgiveness that is available. Our world needs knowledge, knowledge of God. We are to give them that.
Conclusion: Like Zechariah, we are called to believe that God hears us and will respond. We are to have a faith that inspires us to speak the message of salvation, turning people back to God.