Summary: This is number 4 in the four part series. God is worthy of our praise. Christmas is the prime time for us to stop and give thanks, praise and worship to God for the most precious of gifts, His Son.
THE FACES OF CHRISTMAS 4
For the next three minutes, I would like you to turn to two people, and share what was the most special present you ever received at Christmas? How did you feel when you received it? What were you feelings toward the person who gave it to you?
Usually the first feeling is surprise followed by gratitude and thanksgiving. We thank the person, perhaps hug them, or kiss them. ( If it is your brother or sister you might hit them in the arm. )
God is worthy of our praise. Christmas is the prime time for us to stop and give thanks, praise and worship to God for the most precious of gifts, His Son.
As the Christmas story continues to unfold, Luke introduces us to the face of PRAISE.
57Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord(A) had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59And(B) on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60but his mother answered, "No;(C) he shall be called John." 61And they said to her, "None of your relatives is called by this name." 62And(D) they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63And he asked for(E) a writing tablet and wrote,(F) "His name is John." And they all wondered. 64(G) And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue(H) loosed, and he spoke,(I) blessing God. 65And(J) fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all(K) the hill country of Judea, 66and all who heard them(L) laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For(M) the hand of the Lord was with him.
In Luke 1:57, we learn that Elizabeth came to full term in her pregnancy and delivered the son God had promised through Gabriel.
Luke tells us that on the eigth day, several women and neighbors arrived to attend the traditional circumcision and naming ceremony.
Many came with gifts addressed to ‘Baby Zach’ or Zach Jr. for the tradition was to name a child after the father or close male relative.
However, Elisabeth does something that completely took their friends by surprise.
“His name is John’ She declared.
I love the response given by the ladies: “What? We’ve never done it that way before!”
They turn and questioned Zacharias about it,
67And his father Zechariah(N) was filled with the Holy Spirit and(O) prophesied, saying, 68(P) "Blessed be the Lord(Q) God of Israel,
The first thing out of Zacharias’ mouth is praise. What a turn of events for this man.
Only a few verses and nine months earlier, Zacharias was filled with doubt and confusion.
The reason he had been stricken silent, was due to his unbelief at the angel’s announcement that God would answer his prayer, and provide Zach and Elisabeth with a son.
Now after nine months of silent contemplation and seeing firsthand the promise of God at work, Zach speaks up and declares the promise and word of God.
He is filled with the Spirit and praises God.
When we receive a blessing from God, our automatic response ought to be one of PRAISE. This is the biblical pattern.
When Noah came out of the ark onto dry land, the first thing he did was build and altar and worship.
When Isaac was born, the first thing Abraham did was build an altar and worship God.
When Moses and Isreal had reached the other side of the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of their enemy, the first thing they did was erupt in worship and praise with singing and dancing.
When Joshua led the people into the promised land, the first thing they did was set up altars to worship.
When David led the priest and Levites into Jerusalem with the Ark, they came dancing and leaping and praising God.
My Favorite passage in the New testament, is in Acts 3, when the lame man had been healed, he immediately went into the Temple, jumping and leaping as he praised God.
God is honored when we praise Him visibly, vocally, and passionately.
For the follower of Jesus, praise and worship should be second nature to us. We should not feel embarrassed or afraid to express our worship visibly, verbally and passionately.
Why is God to be praised? Why is God worthy of our adoration? Why do we express our praise verbally and visibly?
BECAUSE HE VISITED US
"Blessed be the Lord(Q) God of Israel, for he has(R) visited…His people’
Six year old Billy was trying to get to sleep but was frightened. He shouted down from the bedroom,