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Summary: God uses faithful people to achieve His purposes of redemption.

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#2005-49

Title: What Does He Want From Me?

Text: Luke 1:5-9, 11-17, 57-60

Truth: God uses faithful people to help achieve His purpose of redemption.

Aim: To encourage availability to God for His purpose of redemption.

Life ?: What does God want from Me?

INTRODUCTION

I suppose the most frequently asked question this season will be, “What do you want for Christmas?” Santa will ask that of children sitting on his lap. One mall Santa asked that of a little girl, and incredulously she asked, “Didn’t you get my e-mail?” Clueless husbands will ask that of their wives or sneak around and ask their children if they know what mother wants for Christmas. Parents ask children what they want for Christmas.

My three year-old grandson Bradley said to his grandmother Vanbebber, “Grandmother, we need to talk.” She sat down and said, “OK, what do we need to talk about?” He said, “I need to give you my Christmas list.” I guess he’s not going to take any chances.

Every Christmas shopping season, we see a version of the same phenomenon; there will be a scarcity of some popular, heavily-advertised toy, and it becomes the mission of many parents to track one down for their child. In 1996, it was the “Tickle-Me Elmo” which reportedly sold on the black market for as much as $2,000. A couple of Christmases later it was the “Furby,” originally priced at $30 but selling during the Christmas rush for as much as $700. One lady told Carol and me that the popular item this Christmas is a video game. Her son stood in line for an hour and half at Wal-Mart to buy it. They were only selling 45 that day. It was limited to one/family. This game cost less than a $100 but within hours of its availability, they were being sold on eBay for over $400.

It’s been said this shortage is engineered by toy manufacturers. They know if parents don’t find the desired toy, they’ll substitute some replacement toy. They also go out in January or February and buy the toy when the shortage is over. January and February happen to be the two lowest months for toy sales. The company has now sold two toys instead of one and lifted their sales during the slump.

Two thousand years ago another rush was about to take place. People were required to return to their hometowns and pay their taxes. If you’d asked people what they most needed or wanted, they’d probably have said money to pay the tax. But that was not what the world most needed. It needed a Savior. For it to receive that gift from God, He used faithful people to help achieve His purpose of redemption.

At the beginning of the Christmas season let’s not ask what we want for Christmas; let’s ask what does God want from us for Christmas?

Luke states that his purpose was to write an orderly account of the coming of the Messiah. He begins his story with God visiting His people in the miraculous birth of the forerunner and the even more miraculous birth of the Messiah. The foretelling and birth of John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah parallel one another. They have similarities and differences, but the main theme is God is fulfilling His promise to sinners to provide us a Savior. To achieve His purpose of redemption, God used faithful people in the past and He uses faithful people today.

What does God want from me?

I. GOD WANTS ME DOING MY DUTY DESPITE DISAPPOINTMENT (LUKE 1:5-9)

This occurs during the time of Herod the Great. He was great because of his extensive building programs but he was great in his cruelty, too. He is the same ruler that killed all the babies two years and younger in Bethlehem in His attempt to kill baby Jesus.

There were about 18,000 priests in the land that took care of the temple. Zechariah belonged to one of 24 divisions of priests, and each division would serve in the temple and take care of the needs of the temple twice a year. During the major festivals of Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles, representitives of all 24 divisions served to meet the needs of the people and the temple. Elizabeth also came from a preacher’s family.

These two people were genuine in their devotion before God (v.6). It wasn’t just for appearances like so many of the priests or Pharisees. God knew it was real.

The outward evidence of their inward love for God was their obedience to the Word of God. Later Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep what I command.” This description will come to mean in the N.T. that you believe in and follow God’s Son and by his grace follow God’s will, which is spelled out in the commandments.

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