Sermon #11 Luke Sermons
Title: THREE GREAT
REASONS FOR PRAISE
Text: Luke 1:67-80
Subject: Zecharias’ Prophetic Song
Date: Sunday Evening – August 22, 1999
Tape # V-42a
Readings: Office: Merle Hart Auditorium: Mark Henson
Let’s look first at the prophet by whom this prophecy was spoken. Zecharias was not a prophet; but his song was a prophecy. One of the most instructive prophesies ever given. He was not a musician; but his prophecy was a song, one of the greatest hymns ever written. What qualified him to write this song and give this prophecy? Look at verse 67.
God not only forgave the old man for his unbelief, he poured out his grace upon him in an extraordinary manner by filling him with the Holy Ghost. To be filled with the Holy Ghost is to be controlled by the Spirit. Every believer ought to seek, always, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, ruled by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our lives (Eph. 5:18). The Spirit filled life is not an emotional frenzy of senseless religion. The Spirit filled life is…
· A Life of Wisdom – “Understanding what the will of the Lord is” (v. 17).
· A Life of Thanksgiving and Praise – “Giving thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 20).
· A Life of Voluntary Submission – Submitting my will and my life to Christ and his people. – “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (v. 21).
But there is another sense in which a man is filled with the Holy Ghost. Zecharias was filled with the Holy Ghost in the sense that he was given a special unction, a special anointing to deliver the Word of God. – He was divinely inspired. Oh, may God grant such an anointing to this preacher this hour! I want, more than I can express in words, to preach to you as a man filled with the Holy Ghost! – To deliver a message directly from God to you, for the praise, honor, and glory of God alone! That is what we have in our text. – A message directly from God to his people, for their good and his glory.
Now, be sure you notice what the subject of Zecharias’ prophecy was. Remember this old man had just passed through some great, extraordinary experiences. He had seen an angel. The angel of the Lord had spoken directly to him. The Lord has given him and his wife, Elizabeth, a child in their old age. Because of his unbelief, the Lord had made the old priest a deaf-mute for nine months. Now, the Lord graciously took away his reproach, opened his mouth, loosed his tongue, and unstopped his ears.
What will this old man say? What will he talk about? -- Miracles? No. – His experiences? No. -- The angelic visit? No. Zecharias spoke not as a man, but as a prophet. He spoke for God. So he passed by all those things which tickle men’s ears and spoke about God, his grace, his Son, his redemption, his salvation, and his praise!
I want you to just hold your Bibles open on your laps, as we go through this blessed paragraph of Holy Scripture. It contains the very first words spoken by Zecharias after the Lord loosed his tongue. He had been a deaf mute for nine long months. But now, after the birth of his son, John the Baptist, the old servant of God speaks to God in a song of praise. And his song of praise was also a prophecy concerning both the person and work of Christ and the ministry of John the Baptist.
We could, perhaps, approach this passage in many ways. But I want to simply use Zecharias’ prophetic song to show you THREE GREAT REASONS FOR PRAISE. This old man, filled with the Holy Ghost, gave praise to God for three specific reasons.
Proposition: Every believer has great reason to give praise to God for these three things.
1. God Our Savior (v. 68)
2. God’s Great Salvation (vv. 69-75)
3. God’s Chosen Servant (vv. 76-80)
I. Zecharias’ first word of thanksgiving and praise is about GOD OUR SAVIOR (v. 67).
Let us ever be quick with praise and thanksgiving to the great God, our Savior. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!” WE must never forget to thank God for his blessings; but we ought to thank and praise him first and foremost for his Being! “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!” The entire first chapter of Ephesians is taking up with blessing God our Savior, the great, glorious, triune God.
A. Blessed be God the Father, who planned salvation for us.
B. Blessed be God the Son, who purchased salvation for us.
C. Blessed be God the Holy Spirit, who performs salvation in us.
Let us ever give praise to our God because he is God. “Bless the Lord, O my soul. All that is within me, bless his holy name!”
II. After ascribing all praise, honor, and glory to God, Zecharias offers thanksgiving and praise for GOD’S GREAT SALVATION (vv. 69-75).
That which fills a man’s mouth when he is filled with the Spirit is God’s salvation. Look at our text again (vv. 69-75).
What a description we have here of God’s salvation!
A. In verse 69, we are told that God has “raised up an horn of salvation.”
Those words tell us four things about salvation.
1. It is God’s work. – God raised up this horn of salvation.
2. It is an exalted salvation – “raised up.”
3. It is a powerful, omnipotent salvation – The horn is a symbol of power.
4. It is a bountiful salvation – “a horn,” a cornucopia, “of salvation.”
Look at verse 69 again.
B. God’s salvation is for a specific people.
It was never God’s intention or purpose to save all men. He did not send his Son to save all men. God’s salvation is for his elect, the house of David, the Israel of God.
C. In verse 70, we see that this great salvation of which we speak is a Bible salvation, spoken of by all the prophets – “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.”
D. God’s salvation is a very old salvation.
1. Spoken of by God in eternity.
2. Spoken of by Adam.
3. Spoken of by Enoch.
4. Spoken of by Noah.
5. Spoken of by All the Prophets. – God’s prophets have always spoken about one thing – God’s salvation!
E. Salvation is the complete deliverance of our souls from all our enemies into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (v. 71).
F. Salvation is an act and work of God’s covenant mercy (vv. 72-73).
· The Performance of God’s Mercy.
· The Performance of God’s Covenant.
· The Performance of God’s Oath (Heb. 6:16-20).
G. A God wrought salvation causes sinners to become the willing servants of God forever (vv. 74-75).
Look at these two verses. God has saved us that we might serve him. Do you see that? Those who are saved by God serve God.
· Without Fear.
· In Holiness and Righteousness.
· Walking Before Him – In His Immediate Presence!
· All the Days of Our Lives!
Zecharias offered praise and thanksgiving to God for God himself. Then he gave thanks to God for his great salvation. Now, let’s look at verses 76-80. Here…
III. Zecharias expresses praise and thanksgiving for the gift of GOD’S CHOSEN SERVANT.
Faithful, gospel preachers are the gifts of Christ to his church in this world. It is by these chosen men, specifically called and gifted for the work of the gospel, that God speaks to, ministers to, calls, converts, edifies, comforts, corrects, feeds, and cares for chosen sinners in this world (Eph. 4:11-16).
Gospel preachers do not seek, or want praise from men. Faithful men seek and crave the praise of God alone. We must never make idols out of God’s servants, treating them as priests, mediators, or lords over our souls. But God’s servants are not to be despised and treated as useless things. Both the welfare of your own soul and the happiness and peace of God’s church is greatly determined by the love and respect you show for and to those who preach the gospel to you (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
Back here in Luke 1:76-80, we see an old, old man talking about his own son; but talking about his son not as his son, but as God’s messenger to men. Listen to what he says.
That which is said here concerning John the Baptist is specifically a prophecy of that great man and his extraordinary ministry. However, it is also a declaration of every faithful gospel preacher’s work in this world.
A. The gospel preacher is the servant of the most high God, whose business it is to prepare the way of the Lord (v. 76).
B. Those men who are God’s servants are sent with a specific message to declare, by which they prepare the way of the Lord (vv. 77-79).
It is every preacher’s business and responsibility, his only business and responsibility, “To give knowledge of salvation.” He cannot give salvation; but he must give the knowledge of it
1. There is no knowledge of salvation apart from the preaching of the gospel.
2. The salvation we proclaim is not a general salvation hoped for, but the salvation of “his people” accomplished.
3. The only way salvation can come to sinners is “by the remission of their sins.”
4. The source and cause of this salvation by the remission of sins is “the tender mercy of our God!”
5. The only way this salvation could ever be accomplished is by the incarnation, life, and death of Christ as our Substitute. – “Whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.”
6. It is the preacher’s business “to give light to them that sit in darkness.”
7. By the preaching of the gospel, God’s servants, “guide our feet into the way of peace.”
One last thing I want you to see in verse 80.
C. For every chosen preacher, God has appointed ”the day of his showing to Israel.”
I a man is chosen of God for this great and glorious work, he will not need to wave his own flag and toot his own horn. God knows where he is. At the time appointed, God will show his people who he is.