Summary: This sermon series is based on the stories we find in Luke/Matthew. While they can be used during Advent/Christmas they can also be used in a Bible Study as we look at God Encounters and what they can do in our lives
Scripture: Luke 1:5-25
Theme: Be Ready
Title: Be Ready … For God’s Surprises!
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Welcome to the 1st Sunday of the Advent Season!
This month I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit for us to look at a series of God Encounters surrounding the events of Advent and Christmas. I would like for us to look at a series of times when people found themselves in the presence of God Himself, in the presence of one of His Holy Angels or something revolutionary was revealed to them through a dream, a vision or through nature itself.
As we look at each encounter, I would like for us to examine how each person grew from their encounter with the LORD. And then how we can in turn learn from their experience and perhaps open a door for us have a God encounter ourselves. How we can have an amazing experience with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit this Advent and Christmas season.
But in order for us to experience such encounters we have to do something. We have to BE READY …
– and that is the theme I would like for us to look at this Advent and Christmas Season
BE READY …
I. Be Ready … to Remember who God Is and what that Means
Our first encounter involves a priest who was named Zachariah – or “God remembers”. That is what the name Zachariah means – “THE LORD REMEMBERS”
Each time Zachariah heard his name or thought about his name he was to remember the that he was in the presence of the God who remembers:
+ The God who remembers the names of His Children – who remembers that He created them in His Own Image
+ The God who remembers where His People are living and what they are experiencing
+ The God who remembers His People’s dreams, hopes and wishes
+ The God who is not distant but present – who remembers the struggles, trials and testing that His People are enduring.
And each time that someone said his name – Zachariah; they were to remember themselves who God is – His Identity, His Characteristics and His Qualities. They were to remember that their God –the Good God of Creation – the God of the Exodus and the God of Rescue, Redemption and Restoration is:
+The God of All Creation – All things were and are made by Him
+The God of Love – not just loving but is LOVE
+The God of Covenant – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
+The God of Mercy and Grace
+The God who is the Only God that Exists – all else are false gods – fallen angels or statues made of stone, wood or metal. Ultimately, they have no power, they cannot give either physical life or everlasting life.
+The God who desires to be a part of people’s lives
Each time the name Zachariah was spoken it was to be a testimony to the LORD
+ God who remembers His people
+The God who is Faithful
+The God who is Truthful
Luke tells us that both Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth were excellent examples of people who both remembered God and lived lives worthy of God. They were faithful in their marriage. They were faithful in their love for one another.
They were faithful in their walk with the LORD. The words that Luke chooses to describe this wonderful couple are words that speak of integrity, innocence, truthfulness and holiness.
Now, of course they were not perfect. They were not sinless but they were lives that were pleasing to the LORD. Over the years they had developed the habits of spiritual faithfulness. They had grown in their walk with the LORD to the point where serving the LORD was not out of duty but became a walk of love and joy. They had become the words righteous and blameless. They had become like some of the saints of old; Enoch, Job, Deborah and Hannah.
We don’t know their exact age. We don’t know whether they were middle aged or were senior citizens. Some have speculated that since Zachariah was still serving in the Temple that he had to be under the age of fifty going back to what Moses wrote in Numbers 8:24-26
“This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they1 shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”