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Summary: God fulfills His promises. The priest Zechariah knew this and at the dedication of his son John, Zechariah bursts forth in a song of praise to the God who keeps promises. Join Pastor Danny as he teaches about Zechariah's Song.

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(ME)

Good morning Odessa First – Hope you had a great a Thanksgiving!

– MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

– INTRO MYSELF

This morning we are beginning a sermon series called THE BIG STORY. Over the next 4 weeks we will be taking a unique look at the entire Christmas story. Specifically we are going to focus on 4 songs found in the Gospel of Luke that really sum up The Big Story – you know – the one about Jesus being born in a manger

Usually at this time of year we focus in on Mary and Joseph as well as the Bethlehem scene. But I want to look at The Big Story this year through Luke’s eyes. Luke is the only gospel writer to record the first “Christmas Carols.”

(TRANSITION) All of the 4 songs found in Luke’s Big Story follow a similar pattern. The singer first sings about a PROMISE – then sings about its FULFILLMENT and the ends with PRAISE unto God.

(WE)

What is your favorite Christmas Carol? (GET RESPONSES)

My favorite Carol is “Silent Night.” I don’t know why but it just isn’t Christmas until I have sung or heard this great old carol.

I think it would be good if we could sing it together this morning – you up for that? Well, let’s at least sing the first verse – the one most everyone knows.

SING

The words to this song are filled with such great expectation. Just before the crying of the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem’s manger there was silence. But then the promise was fulfilled and angels sing and shepherds quake. Beautiful

(TRANSITION) I want to look at one of the events that happened BEFORE the birth of Christ – during the silence. Before Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and Jesus was conceived in her womb another family was visited by an angel and told they too would have child. A promise leads to fulfillment resulting in praise to God.

(GOD)

This story is found in Luke 1:1-25; 57-73

This story is about a childless couple: Zechariah & Elizabeth.

OUTLINE OF THE STORY

1. Zechariah is chosen by lot to go into the Temple and offer incense to the Lord (a once in a lifetime opportunity).

a. While in the Temple the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah.

b. Zechariah is scared.

c. The angel tells him to not be afraid.

d. THE PROMISE – angel tells him Elizabeth will conceive and give birth to a child

e. This child would be a JOY & DELIGHT to them (not necessarily to others)

f. This child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth

2. Zechariah doubts the angel

a. He is old and his wife is old.

b. They are past the time when people have children. (How old???)

c. How could they have a child

d. Gabriel causes Zechariah to be unable to speak until the time when the promise of this child was fulfilled

3. MEANWHILE People who had come to pray

a. It was custom that people would gather to pray in the morning and evening when the incense was offered to God. (SYMBOL of prayer going up to God – Tabernacle days)

b. Most people knew about how long it took the priests to do the job BUT something was messing up the custom.

c. Zechariah did not come out when he was supposed to – people thought something was wrong.

4. Zechariah appears before the people.

a. Unable to speak

b. They think he has had some kind of vision

c. He tried to make SIGNS to them but no one understood what had just happened within the Temple.

5. Zechariah completes his service at the Temple

a. Goes home to Elizabeth and she became pregnant.

b. She goes into seclusion for five months

6. Elizabeth gives birth to a son

a. When news of Elizabeth’s son being born hit the streets everyone rejoiced: her neighbors and relatives rejoiced in God’s mercy in giving her a son (cultural relevance).

b. After 8 days Zechariah & Elizabeth take their son to the Temple to be circumcised.

c. It was at this time that a boy child was given a name.

d. Normally the first born son would take the name of the father.

e. BUT ELIZABETH SPOKE UP AND SAID NO – HE WILL BE CALLED JOHN (Jehovah is a gracious giver)

f. The family wondered if Elizabeth had lost it….they look to Zechariah but he cannot speak.

g. He asks for a writing tablet and writes: HIS NAME IS JOHN.

i. At that moment Zechariah’s mouth opens and he regains the ability to speak

ii. Everyone was filled with AWE

iii. The news of this event spread throughout the land of Judea and the Hill Country

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