Summary: God works in mysterious and miraculous ways when we take the proper steps to allow Him to do His work.
STEPS IN ORDER TO SEE GOD AT WORK
Objective: My purpose is to challenge people to look to where God is at work in our lives, our church and our community.
Illus: A missionary went to a remote Indian village in Peru. If you were to visit the main "street" there, you would find that it’s just a dirt path surrounded by a dozen huts built on stilts and covered with palm roofs. Then just off the main path there is a small, granite marker. The story behind this is that there was a young missionary who planted a thriving church in that village .Then this missionary’s six-month old son died from a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea. Also about this time the young missionary seemed to crack. He hewed a marker by hand from local stone, buried his baby’s body, and planted a tree beside the grave They say that at the hottest part of each day, when everyone else sought shade, the missionary walked to the river and hauled back a jug of water for the tree. He would stand beside the grave, his shadow falling across it, as if to shield it from the blazing sun. Many times he would weep, other times he would pray, and sometimes he would just stand there with a vacant gaze. Others, such as his wife, the Indian church members and other missionaries tried to help him, but nothing would comfort his sorrow. Eventually, the missionary himself got sick, his mind wandered and he had constant diarrhea. He was flown to Lima, where doctors probed him for any signs of amoeba or other tropical organisms, but they could find nothing. No medication seemed to work and eventually they diagnosed his problem as "hysterical diarrhea" and sent him and his wife back to the United States. He had prayed for some sign of God’s presence, or at least a word of comfort. Why did he feel none?
In the Gospel of Luke, the central character is Jesus Christ. Before the Name of Jesus appears in Luke 1:31, we read of John the Baptist who paved the way for Jesus. In the opening chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we remember a man whose name was given to him by God. The man’s name was John. His name means “The Lord is gracious.” His name speaks of the grace of God, reaching out to many people through His ministry.
Luke wrote 2 books of the New Testament, his gospel and the Book of Acts. In writing these, he gave us about 28% of the content of the New Testament. This man God used by His Holy Spirit to communicate love and devotion for Jesus Christ. This morning I want to introduce you to an older couple who also longed to see God at work in their lives. They had asked God for children but there was none. They had probably stopped praying because they thought it was impossible. Also the Lord had promised (Mal. 4:5-6) “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Four hundred years God had been silent in sending the Messiah and the forerunner. Even today, a Jewish family will set a place and leave an empty chair for…who else but Elijah? Luke sees the connection between the coming of the forerunner and lets us know that after 400 years God was shattering the silence with the birth of John the Baptist. The name Zechariah means, “God remembers” and Elizabeth means “God’s oath” or “promise.” Thanks to David Dykes for some thoughts on the main points as we see steps that Zechariah took that allowed God to work in a miraculous way.