Summary: It is possible for faithful people to doubt, but the cost for that doubt is high. In a world of darkness, God is is looking for the faithful. What is the cost of doubt

Grace Community Church

Winchester, VA

Rev. Bradford Reaves, Sr. Pastor

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On a scale of 1 to 10 where would you rank your faith today? Every day, I marvel at the things and people we put our faith. We drive our cars 60-70 miles per hour with an oncoming car. We fly on airplanes that take us over oceans. We ride on thrilling amusement rides. We trust pharmacists, surgeons, teachers, robots, vehicles, and computers. They are trained or programmed for a specific purpose.

How much do you trust God? If God shows up with the answer to your deepest heart’s prayer, would you trust Him - I mean really trust Him with the answer and the timing of the answer.

When we left Zechariah last week, he was serving as the priest tending to the Altar of Incense in the Temple. His job is a job of high reverence. The Altar of Incense is expressive of the prayers of God’s people reaching heaven. As Zechariah tends to his priestly duties at this altar, the Angel Gabriel appears on the right side of the altar to deliver Zechariah a message. This message was for both Zechariah and Israel.

The answer that was coming was an answer to the prayers of Israel and the prayers of Zechariah and his wife. Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth were up in years and childless. Israel was living in dark times and praying for the coming of Christ. Gabriel comes to Zechariah to let him know John the Baptist’s birth will answer both of those prayers.

As we will see today, the Zechariah doubts the very answer he’s been seeking. We all have times we doubt. What I want you to know today is that you can trust God - absolutely. And there is a cost for our unbelief.

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”(Luke 1:18-25)

I. People of Faith Will Experience Doubt

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this?

Luke is clear that Zechariah and Elizabeth were people of great faith. There were blameless and upright. So why would Zechariah after praying for a son and Christ for decades- an elder priest who was upright and righteous, versed in Scripture, visited by the Angel Gabriel, RIGHT THERE the Temple of the Lord, doubt? What Zechariah had been praying for ended up being the very thing he doubted God could do.

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

It’s easy to point our fingers as Zechariah’s doubt, but if we admit it, it is easy to identify with him too. If we are honest, there are times when you look into the heavens and wonder, “What is God doing? Does he even hear my prayers?”

The best thing we can do while we are waiting on Jesus is to get ready. Aligning our hearts toward his, repenting, restoring broken relationships. It is hard to doubt when there is a spirit of expectancy that Jesus is about to show up.

Zechariah wasn’t ready. “The man without a child did not believe the angel with the gospel, and because of his unbelief, he became a man without a voice. Zechariah was focused on his own circumstances. He was stuck with his own limitations. He was building on his own possibilities. I’m old. I lost my mojo. I’m tired. Elizabeth is barren.

II. Doubt Focuses On What We Can’t do, Rather Than what God CAN do!

For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

If you are walking around saying, “We can’t do that...” Well, you’re right. Get your eyes on the One who CAN! That’s faith. Doubt hinders the mission. Faith will move mountains.

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