Growing in Grace

Download (right click and choose save as)

Sermon Notes

Good afternoon! today’s the gospel passage is taken from Luke chapter 1 verse 57 to 66 Luke’s gospel chapter 1 verses 57 to 66 was is a very familiar passage as I’ve said before every week in this Advent season we read a little bit from this chapter from Luke from Luke chapter 1 next week we will take a step back and will see what the angel had to say to Joseph before he found that’s when he found out that Mary was pregnant and after that we will change tracks and will look at something slightly more theological to be John’s gospel chapter 1 that the Sunday before Christmas and then of course will come back to Luke for Christmas they when we look at this passage one of those is a bunch of characters that we have grown up with the names it we’ve heard for so often Zechariah Elizabeth and John of the main three characters in the story that I I’m pretty sure that you all know the names especially in the Old Testament names had a meaning that nowadays it’s not so much the case but back then when the given name it it happened meaning in that meaning was very important is very critical that you would live up to the meaning of that name does anyone know what the meaning of Zechariah is the God remembers say that was once a this God remembers very good. Comes from two words from the Hebrew word for this saccade and then the first part of Yahweh’s name Yost of the new put Zach yeah that’s how God remembers that’s that is a nice name the know that God never forgets to know that he remembers Elizabeth does anyone know what Elizabeth name means is a little trickier we have very good very good God is my oath door or or my oath is God for God is my promise they could be seen in different ways perhaps that’s also very nice name and if you look at their lives a it it actually makes sense after so many years of not having a child finally God reminds them that I have not forgotten you and so Zechariah’s name actually is truth in his life and the thing that God had promised them that they would have a child in old-age and Elizabeth believed it NPC believe that I believe partly because her name was that so she had to believe that’s who she is she’s a person who wants to believe that God will fulfill his promises a what is John me God is God’s gift God’s gift or God is gracious correct and him he will in him Greek it’s a little different the way it’s pronounced it son John Greek for some reason when we take these Hebrew names and Greek name is and we bring them in the English language and him and somehow butchered John is actually I have given to double-click it to are you on this that’s that’s John actually Greek units that Yanez means God is gracious is gracious so if John’s name means God is gracious what that looked like how will that be fulfilled or how can we read this passage and understand a little bit more about what grace looks like a first of all know you now you all know we all know just like Abraham and Sarah Elizabeth and Zechariah had to wait a long time before they finally were blessed with a child they can imagine how difficult it was for them in the Jewish community should be without child for so long many people within the community will be giving all sorts of tips if only you did this if only pray like this then you would’ve had a child they would’ve faced all kinds of nonsense advice and and and and on looks because people would automatically assume ODs is as a priest without a child he must be doing something evil and some people would look down on them even so is a very desperate sad situation that they were in out of that situation comes this wonderful gift of a child definitely we can say the children are a gift of God the thing is when we look in John’s life is pans really didn’t get to hold on to from the beginning Zechariah was told that your son is destined for great things your child is not going to be the one who always leans on you is not to be the one who stays at home and helps out he has big big things in store for him if we read later on in this chapter and verse 80 it says that John the Baptist was in the wilderness until he started his public ministry so from a very young age is quite likely that John the Baptist left home and entered into serious training spiritual training theological training Scriptural training whatever it may be that he was preparing himself for public ministry when we say God is gracious and he gives this gift of life what sense is it then to have this gift of life go off somewhere in be away from you for one beautiful thing that so contrary to the way that we think is this truth but in order to understand grace you have to realize grace is meant to be given away it’s a very strange thing when we think of grace we think of getting something when Noorda understand what grace is about what it’s intention is all for it’s for the expansion it’s always meant to be given out it was a bittersweet moment when I told my parents that you want to go for ministry aimlessly in the sense that yes they and are happy that I’m going to do this it’s been in the sense that they know that I’ll never get Christmas with them I’ll probably never I get New Year’s with them they’ll have to come and see me and so I am in America and I’m not going to be in catalysts shifting around they know that I’m not can be as free as my brother would be who can just say a him taking these days often I’m going and they would just kind of vacation come down whenever they want to it son and of the where like my brother who gets to stay in one place and he gets this plant his roots into the ground gets to settle their offends knew that it’s can be difficult to give him to that kind of a lifestyle it was better for them in that sense but now if you asked them there’s no bitterness they they understand that grace is always meant to be let go of you don’t hold on to it you don’t stuff it in your pocket you give it out and then when you do you realize the beauty that this grace actually multiplies adding have said this story here before but that if you don’t remember if you don’t recall the say again when I was in order so we have had a one-month practical in order so when I was there in the mission field we would do we meaning the evangelist that would give Kathy to the kids candy and small cookies and I noticed something soon as they get the candy Saladin the pocket and I was recalling back to how it was in in Catalonia we have a VBS or when it’s Christmastime in the Christmas father Santa Claus comes and goes Candia the same thing would happen kids would take the candy and seven in the pockets and what I’ve seen in Kellaway whenever they get a chance not all about kids but some of the kids they would take this candy go off somewhere where no one Cinnabon the them this art eating so when I saw this in the mission field that they’re taking this candy or cooking putting in a pocket and I leaned over to the evangelist I said agate kids everywhere all the same we all can do the same things can keeping it for themselves and he looked puzzled and he looked at reason know that keeping it safe so that when they get home they can share with her brother and sister and and were talking about a tiny little hard can be they will break it they will crack it and share little bits and pieces with whoever’s there in the family I felt horribly embarrassed for thinking that about those kids understood what grace means they knew that this chance to get this can be world cookie whatever it is it’s not an opportunity for me to court but it’s a chance for me to share when we read this passage we have to know that Zechariah and Elizabeth understood this wonderful gift of life that they had been given is meant to be given back for society is meant to be given back to the Lord in the Presbyterian Church some pastors will do this just before they do the baptism the asked a few questions publicly to the parents and one of the last questions is the toughest one last question is if in the course of time God calls your child to be with him will you let your child go what a difficult question how can you Hansen is very tough is very tough with all the blessings we have with the good clothes with a good car with the good homes that we have it’s difficult to let go of that but unless we are able to let go of it we can’t say that we understand grace grace is meant to be given just to emphasize that one step further to my post of first Peter chapter 4 verse 10 this is not some concept that I’m just kind of making up is not something that I’m reading into the text first Peter chapter 4 verse 10 is someone didn’t read that out loud this is exactly what we said like good stewards of the manifold grace of God serve one another with what ever give each of you has received so a good steward of grace gives it out to others about the first thing that we can learn we can understand about John God is gracious humans what the second thing if we look at verse 3463 and 64 were 63 and 64 what do we read the asked for a writing tablet and wrote his name is John all of them were amazed immediately his mouth was open that his tongue was freed and he began to speak crazing God the other thing that we have to know about grace is that it’s only after we a knowledge that this is God’s grace can we be effective witnesses up until this point we know the Zechariah was mute was unable to speak he was unable to communicate properly in that state there’s no way he could tell about the glories of God the people it was only after he you wrote down this phrase his name is God is gracious suddenly he can speak suddenly he has a witness again suddenly he’s praising God do we realize that every talent that we have needs to be acknowledged as gods grace and by doing so we can be witnesses of God’s good this is how can we witness unless we’ve experienced how can we experience unless we do what the psalmist says taste and see taste and see that the Lord is good finally he was able to express that God is gracious and went that and we went around him understood something about who God it’s can we do the same we who have experienced so much grace are we acknowledging it as much as we should all be proclaiming God’s goodness in our lives are we being witnesses like Zechariah was the third thing when we look at the Scriptures we look earlier on in verse 15 it says very clearly the angel said before he’s born he will be what filled with the Holy Spirit even before birth is filled with the Holy Spirit, so still waiting for Steve before he was born already added now if we were in that situation if once we get to the age of understanding we are told Monnet I had an angel come and tell me that even before you were born you have the police are to me if our us when we be so happy when we think wow I’m set I done what more is there after that I had that’s all the highest honor anyone could be told we don’t find that sort of the stagnation happened in John’s life is and say oh well thank you I’m done if we go further down to the last verse in the chapter not Lazarus and chapter and verse 80 it says that while he was in the desert he grew and he grew in the spirit that was constant grow we a have the grace of the Holy Spirit before he was born but he understood that grace is not a one-time event when we say God is gracious and him and with just that sentence coming to church two times a year because those our favorite Sundays isn’t grace that’s not how it’s done do we know that it’s meant to be growing in we know that it’s meant to be developed we are just small and young children who are just finally experiencing this grace and now we have to grow winnings suggest like every day we eat food in order to grow every day we have to develop in that grace just like every day at least we we hope that we would exercise we should do the same thing in our spiritual lives John the Baptist whose very name means God is gracious understood that I have a great task ahead of me I must grow in it I must soak up the word I must study a mystery even get as much as I can of who this Christ is heated know Christ it not in this fullness but we do we have that opportunity in first Peter chapter 3 verse 18 it’s the same concept Peter tells them but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are we growing a regrowing when we look at this passage we can see three things we can learn three things the name John means God is gracious grace is never meant to be ported grace is meant to be give can we give all that we have back to the Lord for the sake of others if you can do it don’t worry it’s quite likely that he will not ask you to do that but you need to be willing to do that’s the difference just like Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac God did not take Isaac from him but that wheeling this shows something that shows our witness because once we have experienced grace remember to once we have experienced grace and acknowledge grace then only do we become effective witnesses and the third thing in order to realize the fullness of grace we must grow when it day by day minute by minute prayer) we should grow in that wonderful experience of grace from this passage may God teach us about this grace this grace that on the 25th we actually give it a new name Jesus in this Jesus came to be with us and he came to show us that grace is not some abstract concept grace is a person a person who wants to have a relationship with us and we growing that relationship can we share that relationship with his which he with others can we witness to the may the good Lord help us and strengthen us.