The beginning of a Christmas miracle for you
When Zechariah, the aging priest in the video, went to work that day, he did not expect to encounter an angel. He had been a priest for decades and served faithfully in his priestly responsibilities for as
long as he could remember. However, God regularly works through ordinary people doing what they normally do in their life. Although Zechariah was in the midst of a once in a lifetime opportunity to
offer incense inside the Temple, angelic encounters are not as unique as we might expect. From the first chapters of Genesis in the Garden of Eden to the final descriptions in Revelation and all throughout the pages of the Bible, there are hundreds of references where the activities of angels are recorded.
A recent Google search of “angel encounters” produces well over one million results in less than one second. Historical reviews of virtually all nations and cultures demonstrate some belief in angels.
Many religions talk about the potential of angels
– Egyptians prepared ornate tombs expecting angels to visit them
– the entire focus of Islam depends upon the angel Gabriel
Does the Bible speak of angels in our every day lives?
For he will order his angels to protect you in all you do.
Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation?
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Everywhere in the Bible when godly men and women see angels they are overwhelmed that is why they need to keep saying “don’t be afraid”
However as we read in Hebrews God sends His angels at times in ways that we would not recognize so we need to be aware.
The word angel literally means messenger. God created them for worship of God and service to mankind this is why we do not become angels when we die. We will judge and rule over angelic beings.
Part of their service to mankind is to aid in the battle of powers and principalities so if the world is seeing more evil these days you can be assured that angel activity will be on the increase as well
References to angels far out number the references to Satan and demons so we should expect as always that the power of God in our lives can and should easily out weigh any influence the enemy has.
Angels will play a role in all of the teaching that we are going to do leading up to Christmas.
I need to ask you, do you believe God’s word to be true? If so, why do you worry, why are you fearful of demonic attacks why is your mind set on the negative rather than Christ? He has given his angels charge over you but we must choose to trust Him and walk in obedience so he can protect us.
Let’s start with the story of Zachariah
Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.
Luke is laying a foundation for everything that will follow here. This is the “I’m telling you a story that you already have heard but I’ve written it down so you know it has been verified type of thing”
It would be kind of like this if you had a group of people who have heard the “twas a night before Christmas” poem and you read it like this
Imagine the official storyteller of the family beginning the story
“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. Not a creature was stirring except for a mouse.”
Immediately the people listening to the story would stop the storyteller and say: “Wait. Stop. That’s not even a mouse”
Because they had heard it enough, the people Luke was writing to had heard all that he is about to share enough times but wants people to know the stories have been verified.
Luke begins this part this way…
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
The scripture is very clear one of the blessings of following the Lord is children. In this culture it was a stigma to not have children but obviously Elizabeth had not given up hope and Zachariah had not given up his faithfulness to serving God
8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.
Let’s pause there and talk about God’s impact in the great and the small.
- Elijah, according to biblical prophecy must come before the Messiah the big plan here is that God is doing that through Z and E this tripped up many people because like many today that get a prophetic word they don’t seek God for understanding they run with their own. God Blesses the world
- God cares about Z and E and all that they have gone through, this becomes a major miracle because of their ages, God’s timing is always perfect to make things happen the question is always will we keep trusting Him. God blesses Z and E
- God’s timing and purposes will always happen his way he caused the “lot” to fall to Zachariah and the perfect moment in time. God has got you
10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
Once again the angelic appearance and don’t be afraid these same fearsome, awesome, powerful angels are watching over you.
God named the baby John which means God is gracious until this time the people of God were under the law now God is prophesying through the name of this child that he will move in grace.
I need to pause here because some of you here tonight are still bound by law. Paul wrote to Timothy and said only the lawless, sinners, homosexuals, liars, the greedy, promise breakers, those who distort the word of God and sound teaching (1 Timothy 1: 8-10) If you are not those things then you need to walk out from under the law into grace. Not sloppy grace when you sin expecting God to just keeping on forgiving but grace motivated by love not to sin when sin grieves your heart.
14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
I want to encourage some of you today with this passage as well. Do you see how much detail there is here about John even before he is conceived?
God’s word says he knows you in that much detail about you as well. Read Psalm 139 1-18 for verification
Luke 1: 18-20
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” 19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
We know Zachariah was faithful because he kept serving even when others ridiculed him and rejected him because as a priest with no children that was a sign that God was not with him but he remained faithful. WE know the Elizabeth kept hoping because this happened.
How quickly have you given up on the promises of God? Don’t grow weary in well doing Galatians 6:9 says for in the end you will reap. Are there things you have given up on, repent and return to trusting God for your future.
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.
Charades may not have been Zachariah’s strong suit but eventually they got it. Most of us would be so excited we would run right off with what the Lord had told us but Zachariah proved his faithfulness he waited on God to know how and what to do.
How many of us have run right off with something we were told from the Lord or heard from the Lord but did not wait on him to give clarity or discuss with others with wisdom what God was saying?
23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
God spoke and then it happened, now they both understood about God’s timing. They weren’t fertile because of sin or some other failure but instead it was God’s timing. The devil didn’t stop the pregnancy instead God had a plan…if we live in fear we will bear the fruit of fear but if choose to trust God above our circumstances, what people say and hold onto His word we will every time.
There is a call tonight to remember what God has called you to. God has an amazing Christmas gift for you. Just as he did with Elizabeth and Zachariah we can restore and rebuild what you have given up on. God knows you knows the doubts and fears you face but like Zachariah and Elizabeth if you will choose to have hope and keep on serving you will see the fulfillment.
Please come tonight and ask the Lord to restore what you have surrendered. That will be the beginning of your Christmas miracle