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Summary: 1 of 3. Zacharias & Elizabeth were chosen to fulfill His plan of salvation for mankind. God chooses people for His most vital of ministries. But what are their circumstances? You may be chosen for the most vital of ministries in the midst of...

CHOSEN for the MOST VITAL of MINISTRIES —Luke 1:5-25

Attention:

There were two evil brothers. They were rich & used their money to keep their ways from the public eye. They even attended the same church & looked to be perfect Christians but the pastor was wise to their charade.

Their church began a fund-raising campaign to build a new sanctuary.

Unexpectedly, one of the brothers died. The remaining brother sought out the pastor to perform the funeral. The day before the funeral, the brother promised the pastor a check for the amount needed to finish paying for the new building....

"I have only one condition," he said....

"At his funeral, you must say my brother was a saint." The pastor hesitated but gave his word, knowing the church’s need for the money.

The next day at the funeral, the pastor did not hold back. "He was an evil man," he said. "He cheated on his wife & abused his family, was a drunk, sold illegal drugs, treated his employees like abject slaves...."

After going on in this vein, painting a grim picture of the deceased, the surviving brother, seated on the front row caught the attention of the pastor. He pulled out his checkbook, removed the check for the $250,000, & signaled to the pastor that he was going to rip it apart.

The pastor then quickly ended by saying, "But, compared to his brother, he was a saint."

That pastor was chosen for the most vital of ministries!

Any of us could be chosen for the same.

Need:

Despondency, purposelessness, uselessness, I’ve missed my opportunity, too old, etc...

To recognize that God can use even us for something profoundly wonderful!

Zacharias & Elizabeth were 2 servants of God thru whom He chose to fulfill His plan of salvation for mankind.

God used Zacharias & Elizabeth to initiate His plan of salvation for mankind.

God chooses people for His most vital of ministries.

When are God’s people chosen for the most vital of ministries?

Those chosen for the most vital of ministries arise in the midst of...

1—You may be chosen for the most vital of ministries in the midst of...

POLITICAL UPHEAVAL(:5)

Explanation:(:5)

:5—“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, & her name was Elizabeth.”

Herod the Great—Appointed ‘King of the Jews’ by senate—37BC-4 BC(death)—Born in southern Palestine. Received his commission to reign from Mark Antony(a lifelong friend) & the Roman senate. in 40BC. His military conquest of Jerusalem in 37AD officially began his reign.

He brought the blessings of Roman political system—Certain freedoms protected thru ubiquitous military enforcement.

He also built the Temple known as ‘Herod’s Temple.’

Personally—Paranoid/Fearful for his position/Meglomaniac(obsessed with his own power). How does someone of that stripe treat his citizens?

Israel was an occupied nation, whose boundaries were determined by the Roman political system....Cities renamed....Soldiers everywhere....Martial law abounded.

Zacharias = “Remembered of Jehovah”....

—Allowed to fulfill his God-appointed priestly duties.

—Had a godly wife...Elisabeth = "Oath of God"

*Political upheaval involves the lack of freedom. It puts people on edge. They cannot trust current support systems & are wary of them. They must place their trust elsewhere. They may even look to God.

1Tim. 2:1-2— “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties & prayers, petitions & thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings & all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil & quiet life in all godliness & dignity.”

Human freedoms can aid but are not essential to the success of God’s plan.

In fact—‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’—Tertullian (160-225 AD)

Circumstance is not irrelevant but it is secondary to God’s ability.

?What happens to the church in countrys closed to the Gospel?...Who do not allow the Bible to be possessed by its citizens? Where God’s truth is not allowed to be spoken of favorably?...Does God use them?...YES!

*It is unpopular to hear from God, particularly if it speaks negatively of the governing parties.

Argumentation:

Abraham was constantly on the move from occupied land to occupied land.

The nation of Israel arose in political conflict.

Israel was divided against itself(Israel & Judah) & constantly battled militarily.

The Major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel—all prophesied in uncertain times—as did the Minor prophets...

Isaiah(739-701?BC)...Assyria & Egypt were at odds & exerting their influence in the region. Assyria deported over 27,000 Israelites during this time.

Ezekiel(593BC-573BC)...Political jockeying between Babylon & Egypt resulted in his being taken captive(597BC) by Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem besieged & fell(587BC) to Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel(605BC-536BC)...He was taken captive by the Babylonians(605BC). The nations of Israel had been exiled to other areas of Mesopotamia.

*What better time is there to offer people Hope(in Christ) than when they have discovered that this world offers no hope.

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