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December 11, 2020 1:00 am
Over two thousand years ago Jesus was born in a small country in the Middle East. That birth became the turning point between BC and AD. But another child was born first, a forerunner of Jesus, whose name was John.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
One reason for us to Jesus under 2000 years ago Jesus was born in a small country in the middle birth became the turning point doing PC and another child was born first forerunner of Jesus, whose name was John. Today is with this is when one looks or teaching must make across the finish line. Tell us about the series that begins today. The baby changed the world. They let her know about you but I'm ready for Christmas after all that is happened this past year.
Isn't it wonderful for us to anticipate once again our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and in the world that is torn politically and spiritually, and healthwise we all know what is taken place in the year 2020. We anticipate the fact that once again we put these things aside and emphasize that which is most important that a Redeemer has been born.
I believe that this series of messages is going to be a great blessing to many, many people. The series is titled the baby who changed the world. You know here at the Moody church I preached many many messages about Christmas about the birth of Christ, and I never tired preparing those messages who can possibly become weary, thinking about the good news that took place in a manger.
So let's just open our hearts now.
Be blessed as we talk about the baby who changed the world will go back to some of the background material, but from here on out it's all about the Christmas season, the baby who changed the world and that baby did change the world. I have an atheist friend who told me one time that he didn't even believe that there is evidence that Jesus existed. I said to him all that you need to do is to look at a calendar and see that there is a BC and in ADE. I know that Jesus turns out to be the hinge of history. Of course he existed.
The manuscript evidence for Jesus and for the New Testament is overwhelmingly positive at its compelling Jesus change the world. Back then he changes the world now, and he especially is going to change the world in the future that is glorious return. Jesus is the baby that changed the world. Take your Bibles for a moment and turn to Luke chapter 1 Luke chapter 1 where we have the remarkable story not only of the visitation of the Angel to marry but we have also the same angel coming to a man by the name of Zachariah. This is Luke chapter 1 and when you look at this passage, you must realize of course that Zachariah is not the Zachariah of the Old Testament. He's not the Old Testament prophet Zechariah who lived hundreds of years before this Zachariah but he goes into the temple and they are an angel appears to him and says you are going to have a son and he's going to be the forerunner of the Messiah and Zachariah doesn't believe it, and as a result, the angel said you'll know that it's true because you are going to be struck down.
You are going to be mute until the baby is born and right on the spot.
He tried to learn sign language. The Bible says he came out of the temple and was trying to sign to people to try to explain to them why it is that he couldn't speak. Nine months later John is born and this also is in Luke chapter 1 and now were in the verse for seven and after he is born, they did they wonder what the child will be called and normally in those days you call the child by his father's name.
So they expected this to be Zachariah Junior but the angel had said no he is going to be called John.
So now Zachariah takes a tablet. The Bible says in verse 63 he wrote his name is John and they all wondered and immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke blessing God and fear came upon everyone. Here's a man who had not talked for 270 days, and them that we had not talked for that long period of time. Now he blesses God and we have the content of what he said when he blessed God and that's why we ask you to turn now to verse 67 of Luke chapter 1 where we begin this remarkable story this remarkable poem called the Benedictus. You may find that in your Bibles. It is the Benedictus because in Latin the first word is Benedictus remember there was a Latin translation of the Bible made by Jerome and when he made it first word blessed is Benedictus and that's why that may be heading in your Bible Benedictus next week we're going to look at the Magnificat and that word in Latin means. My soul magnifies that's based on the poem of Mary, but this is on the poem of none other than Zacharias. When you look at the New Testament, which was written in Greek. Remember, the New Testament was written in Greek the word that is used here blessed is you log a toss, you log a toss and what does that remind you of it's the word from which we get the word eulogy so he is here eulogizing God all of us know what it is like to eulogize people usually wait until they are dead and then we say all of those nice things about them and I'm sure that all of those nice things are true, but there is a story you've probably heard that I'm going to tell you it's been floating around for many years about twins and these twins were really evil men. I mean they were thieves they were liars. They extorted money from people and when one of them died. The others said to the pastor, I want you as you eulogize my brother.
I want you to make sure that in your eulogy you say he was St. I want those four words in his eulogy, so the pastor as he thought about it gave the eulogy and said the deceased was an evil man. He was an extortion or he was a liar. He was a thief even has a criminal record. But if you compare him to his twin brother.
He was a saint.
So I worked it into his eulogy, but here we have eulogizing God. Have you ever wondered why the Bible says in Psalm 103.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, we are to bless God you say to yourself, well, you know, I know that God is to bless me. But why should I blessing God does God need a blessing and the answer to that is found right here. The answer is yes.
In this sense we get to eulogize God.
And if you're in trouble today and you're living in darkness and hopelessness and you don't know what the future holds and you don't know where to go from here because life has done you many many bad turns and you're in pain either physically or emotionally.
Let me tell you that there is one thing you can do that will give God glory and praise and that is to eulogize him memorize Psalm such as Psalm 103 I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth, my soul shall make its boast of the Lord, and on and on it goes. You bless God you eulogize him and that's what you'd Zachariah does now he gives is actually the outline of the eulogy by referring to two covenants that God made that he is in the process of fulfilling two covenants. Let's look at them first of all, verse 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, by the way in the Bible.
The phrase, the God of Israel occurs more than 200 times you look at that thread running throughout the Scripture, the God of Israel and them, for he has visited and redeemed his people and is raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of the servant David as he spoke by the mouth of his holy profit from old that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant and his oath that he swore also to Abraham. Notice that that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear. David is referred to in verse 69 where it says the horn of salvation in the house of the servant David, that's the first covenant.
He refers to members second Samuel chapter 7 God comes to David and David says God I want to build you a house you know the old attempt, the tabernacle had been used for worship. And of course it was tattered and no doubt needed repairs and David said I want to build a permanent place for the tabernacle.
I want to build you a temple I want to build your house and God said no David you can do that but I will build you a house he's is after you have died, there will be posterity that will come you'll have a son and he may be disobedient.
And that's a reference to Solomon but then your kingship and kingdom will be established forever and that was God's promise to David and now Zachariah is looking at this and he is seeing the birth of Jesus which is to take place in chapter 2 of course John was three months older than Jesus and does so he is giving this and he's saying that to. This is a fulfillment of the promise made to David and you'll notice that he goes on to say first of all that he has redeemed his people. Verse 68 the redemption of God means the fact that God came to save us from our sins. That is the redemption that we have and he has raised up a horn of salvation imagery figure of speech. When that the ancients began to think about strengths they would think about oxen and here was a horn that was being raised up as a very strong force that would be able to crush whatever it is before it, and that this promise of God, deferred victory was being fulfilled in Jesus. Now we have to back off for a moment and I know that your Bibles are open or your cell phones, as the case may be, let's look at this more carefully. Jesus Christ is about to be born, and that you'll notice verse 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from old that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us to show the mercy promised to our fathers. Sen. fulfilled. Has there been a time when the God of Israel has preserved Israel from those who hate Israel and from its enemies know that has not yet happened. Let's be clear about this. When Zachariah is speaking he is thinking about any immediate fulfillment.
The Redeemer has come to redeem us from our sins.
But in his mind. He is also thinking of an ultimate fulfillment that is referred to in the Old Testament as the coming kingdom when Jesus will be established as king in Jerusalem, finally fulfilling the Old Testament promises but Zachariah didn't see that he didn't necessarily see that Jesus was going to die and be crucified, and there was going to be a church age of 2000 years before Jesus Christ returns to fulfill all of those promises. Israel saved from its enemies and delivered from all those that would exterminate her. That is not yet happened but happen it will so as Zachariah here is in an outburst of praise. This particular poem is laced with Old Testament Scriptures clearly he was a man who was steeped in Old Testament so he has allusions, and sometimes direct quotes to the Old Testament and the fulfillment of prophecy not not all of the prophecies have yet been fulfilled. For example, remember the angel said to Mary, he shall be great, and shall be called the son of the most high, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there shall be no land has not been fulfilled as Jesus rained on the throne of David.
I don't think so. Not yet, but it will be fulfilled someday to member those Old Testament promises such as Isaiah chapter 11 yes. Also, Isaiah chapter 2 I believe it is where it says these words, he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. You know that at the United Nations across the street. There is what is known as the Isaiah wall and it quotes they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, and underneath it says Isaiah doesn't get the reference. Because if it gave the reference people might actually look it up and discovered that this was messianic.
It is when Jesus shall reign among the nations, then there shall be peace. Then the lion and the lamb shall lie down together nowadays. If the lion and the Lamb lie down together.
If you notice carefully when the lion gets up. The Lamb is missing it's not there but the day is going to come when all those prophecies shall be fulfilled. But here Zachariah is speaking about the fact that the Redeemer has been born redemption. He's looking at it as if he's been born.
He knows that Messiah is coming and he rejoices in the fact that even now, today you can be redeemed by God because the Redeemer has come so he refers to the promise made to David. That's verse 69. Notice in verse 73. He now refers to the promise that was made to Abraham he swore to our father Abraham to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all of our days. Once again he's referring now to the oath that God made to Abraham. If we are to go back to Genesis chapter 12 we would discover that God said Abraham I making you certain promises.
First of all, your name shall be great, and that has been fulfilled. Not only shall your name be great, but also you will be a blessing and in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. In other words, it was an allusion already to the coming Redeemer. And when God made that promise to Abraham he ratified eight times in the book of Genesis alone, and it was what was known as an unconditional covenant that is to say a covenant that would be fulfilled by God and not even dependent upon the faithfulness of the Jewish nation the Jewish nation throughout its history. As you know has been wracked by idolatry, apostasy, turning from God and all those things and still the angel comes to Mary and assures us and Mary that in the future. Those kinds of covenants are going to be fulfilled dependent upon the faithfulness of God and in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth are going to be blessed and so what the prophet here is saying what Zachariah is saying is he seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of these prophecies because without the Messiah, the prophecies cannot be fulfilled Jesus as Messiah Jesus as King comes in.
The prophecies are going to be fulfilled. So what you have in this Benedictus in this eulogy to God are first of all, Thanksgiving for the promises God gave to David and then he goes a thousand years before that Thanksgiving for the promises that God made to Abraham and of the fact that the fulfillment of those prophecies is beginning and then he turns to his own son, John, and this is what he says and you child. I'm now in verse 76 and you child will be called the prophet of the most high, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to give knowledge of salvation to his people and the forgiveness of their sins. And you know that John the Baptist, of course, when he went out into the wilderness, and preach to the people, the people actually came to him because they recognize that he was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. You know the Bible says, for example in the book of Kings, or rather I should say the Scripture says in chapter 1 verse 17 right here of Luke that Tim he will go before him in the strength and power of Elijah because one of the last prophets of the Old Testament, Malachi predicted that Elijah would come before the day of the Lord, and John the Baptist fulfills that because he actually has the role of being a prophet, and is, so to speak, the forerunner of Jesus.
In fact, he also fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah. When Isaiah says that there is a voice crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. Get ready for the intervention of God. Be ready because it is going to happen and then that the text goes on with his beautiful language. It says in the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The imagery there would've been much more pronounced and clear to the people of the first century sometimes when people were in a caravan. They were delayed. For whatever reason, and they were overtaken by darkness. Now, if you are overtaken by darkness and you're in a caravan number one. The road is unclear.
You're not sure exactly where you should be going and therefore you can become confused easily. It is very dangerous because you don't know what animals there are that lurk in the darkness and the Bible says in the book of the Psalms and how accurate the Scripture is that it says those who are wicked, they stumble in the darkness and they don't even know what it is that they're stumbling over. I don't know whether they're stumbling over a piece of gold or a piece of steel or some wood that was left along the way.
They do not know darkness is terrible and it's terrifying. But Jesus Christ is the sunrise. My friend is in that wonderful, no matter how dark it is. We have Jesus Christ and he is indeed the sunrise. Let me ask you a question. Have you been blessed as a result of running to win.
Perhaps you been listening for many years and you've never connected with us.
Would you stand with us during this Christmas season and say that yes you are willing to help us get the gospel of Jesus Christ to more than 20 different countries. Thousands upon thousands of people listen to running to win. And the reason that this ministry can continue is because of people like you who say yes we will pray and we will give consider becoming an endurance partner. Those are people who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts and we are so grateful for the many of you who have committed yourself to help us in order to find more information. Here's what you do you go to RTW offer.com I'm going to give that information to you again give you a chance to get that pen and pencil or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 but on the web. It's RTW offer.com. Click on the endurance partner button and that's where all the information is that you will need to become an endurance partner helping us share the good light of the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. Here's what you do. You can also call us.
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God bless you as you stand with us because together we are making a difference. You can write to us run into when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. Jesus did not appear on earth without advance notice.
Many Old Testament prophecies foretold his arrival in the New Testament we find an amazing prophecy even just before his birth through a man named Zechariah. Next time I'm going to win more from Luke chapter 1 for Dr. Erwin Luzerne this is Dale McAllister running to win is sponsored. The church