1st Sunday of Advent “Patiently You Wait for the Promise”

Luke 1
  /  December 3, 2023
Speaker: Jonathon Slagenweit

This morning, we’re looking at Luke’s gospel chapter 1. I’m gonna invite you to stand with me. I always love preaching Christmas series. There is there is so much richness, in the Christmas account. And I believe it was John Piper once made the the statement.

He said, you could preach on the subject of Christmas for years, never repeat yourself and always have new There is so much richness in the Christmas story. Reading in Luke chapter 1, beginning in verse 5. So this is a setting that’s taking place that is before In reverse 5, there was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias of the course of a bi. Daughters of Aaron and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

Blame, and they had no child because that Elizabeth was barren. And they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass that while he executed the priest’s office before the Lord or before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense and there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Troubled and fear fell upon him.

But the angel said unto him, fear not Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee acedure. Thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, And many shall rejoice at his birth, for he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall be turned to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just Lord.

And Zachariah said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife, Welles Striking in the and and and and and said unto him, I am gay tights shalt be dumb and not speak and not be able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed because thou believest not my words, and the people waited for Zacharias and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple and when he came he could not speak into them. And they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple for he beckoned into them and remained speechless. And it came to pass that as soon as the days of his administration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived and hid herself 5 months saying, thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me to take away my reproach.

Among This morning, we’re grateful for your word that you have given to us. Words that are meant to be a lamp into our feet, a light into our path, words that are intended to instruct us in the way in which we ought to go. This morning is we are looking at this passage of scripture, I pray that you would speak truth into our hearts in those moments of waiting. We can find you to be real in that process as we wait patiently. I pray it in Jesus name.

Amen. Your maybeseed. And Trismus is a season Christmas is a season of waiting. Children, you’ll find them, they can hardly wait Or maybe they’re waiting with anticipation that hopefully, sledding. How many of you kids say, yes, yes.

Let me This is a sideline note. I just saw that Chris Justice, our local meteorologist, is predicting a good snowy season this year. So kids just keep waiting. All right? Kids are waiting.

Parents are waiting. School. They’re waiting in lines as they’re purchasing gifts. Grandparents are waiting. They’re waiting for their children and their grandchildren to come into town, visiting.

Do you remember how it was when you were a child, the waiting process for Christmas? How many of you can remember back that A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a A stripper, a As kids, it was like, oh, I just I can’t, I can’t wait. And I can’t wait a Old enough to know better. There was a gift under the tree that I just could not wait any longer. And so he peeled back the tape.

I slid it out. I looked at it. I slid it back, put the tape back on, and then had to act surprised them. Just couldn’t wait. All of that waiting, especially in our childhood years, may just be preparation for may just be preparation for what we as adults are waiting for today, right?

Degree to finally be completed. Maybe your waiting for to come along. You’re waiting for the office space that you really want, you know, the one with the window view, We’re waiting for enough money to be built up in our bank account so that we can put that addition on the house. Account so that we can put that addition on the house. We’re waiting for that report from the doctor.

Life is full of waiting, isn’t it? You know, Christmas is a reminder of the waiting room of life. This year, I’ve I’ve been drawn to that idea of waiting. Waiting produces a whole host of emotions, the build up, the anticipation, the excitement of what’s about to happen. You know what I’m talking about?

The emotions that come with the waiting process. And oh, it’s just so exciting when it finally -And it also sometimes produces -Awards of dread, because you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait, and nothing ever happens. Waiting experience. It’s warning I want to talk to us about patiently. That’s not probably what you would really like to hear about this morning.

Waiting. There are several things that I want to point out to us this morning. As we look at Luke’s account, he’s writing to Theophilus. He’s giving him an account of Jesus I want you to notice this morning that in our text, there was a Herod, King of Judah, there was a priest named Zacharias, it gives us a time stamp of when these events are taking place. So Luke gives us a time stamp of when these events are taking place.

It’s in the period of time when Herod is a Now, that’s an interesting statement to me. And there are several things that I think we need to just pause and reflect on that this the rule of Babbleon. You find Israel in captivity. Now they’ve been allowed matriculate back to Israel. They’ve begun to process of rebuilding.

Testament, you know that of the new testament. You know that Israel has gone through a series of transfers of power within the and history tells us that there’s at least 4 major transitions of power that take place. We could look at those this morning. One of those would be Alexander the Great, brought in Greek culture, established much of what became the the foundational elements for the opening of the new testament. But then you roll a little farther along and you discover the Roman, overthrow of power and their rule that is now taking place.

And Herod is king of Judah, king of Judaea. But Herod’s not a Jew. Herod’s not of the descent of David. So we’re looking at a period of time in in history that Israel is again in captivity, this time to the Romans. First is this, waiting accentuates the problems that we’re facing.

Waiting will accentuate the problems that you’re facing. Within this particular account, if we could just zoom out for just a little bit, Israel is in a waiting process. Aren’t they? Silent. God has not said a word.

It seems like all is dar. For 400 years, they’ve been waiting from some word, from a prophet somewhere. They’re waiting for a messiah. They’re waiting for deliverance. Just a little bit on this picture, we begin to see Zaccaria and Elizabeth have been waiting.

And their waiting process has accentuated the reality of their barrens in our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our text we read, that our and Elizabeth have no that’s significant in their that if a woman was not able to bear her her husband children, it was grounds for divorce. Her. It’s waiting process. We’re told in this passage of scripture that they’re old in years or advanced in years. Raider, and as a raider, and this has been missing seats around your table.

For some of you, that barrenness is unanswered prayers for family members that you have prayed would receive Christ as their savior. For some of you, that that barrenness is the loneliness that you feel from the loss of a accentuate barrenness, but it also has a tendency to elevate hopelessness. As we read this passage scripture, Luke records that while Zechariah was was in the holy place, he was he was administering the offering of incense on the altar. It says that an angel appeared to him. Approached.

You know the difference between approaching and appearing, right? You know the difference between approaching and appearing, right? If somebody approaches you, it’s not as troubling if somebody just appears. I have to confess this morning that, that I love scared and to Open the door and there stands somebody and they’ve got phone in here. Don’t look at me funny.

It’s, it’s great stuff. Phone in hand. Don’t look at me funny. It’s great stuff. You know, phone in hand and all that the phone goes and they’re on the floor.

I love that And watched when the angel appeared in Zachary. And watched when the angel appeared in Zachary. -And verse 13, it says, but the angel said to him, do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been And your wife, Elizabeth, will bear a and you will give him the name. And when I read that, I thought, well, that’s interesting. There are 2 ways that we could read that or interpret that.

Read that or interpret that. And this is amazing. Here’s Zach Rice. He’s advanced in years. We know that from from verse 8.

He’s advanced in years, and here he is still praying because the angel says to him, Gabriel says to him that your petition has been heard. That’s, that’s amazing. But the more that I read through this passage and you come to verse 18, I realized that I think Because in verse 18, his excuse to Gabriel is, how can this be? I’m an old man. My wife is old.

We’re beyond the years of bearing children. And I think he had given up. It is a bit It’s given up on the idea that they would have a stripper. And we asked you a question this morning. Are there things that the waiting for Maybe there are prayers that you have prayed and you’ve thought are some of you this morning that your marriage is And maybe there are prayers that you have prayed and you’ve thought And I’ve prayed about it and I’ve prayed about it and nothing is your situation that you’re facing you say there’s, there’s no hope of it ever.

I’ll forever be in this situation. Nothing is ever going to change. I don’t see Maybe you’ve lost hope for a promise that the Lord has given to you. You see, the waiting process has a way of just accentuating barren places and hopelessness in our lives. But as we read in our something about our and the waiting process not only is is our barren places accentuated, but I believe also that the divine is high.

It was a priest to the line of of David’s rule, if you if you go back in in Israel’s history, you go back to David’s rule. David’s rule, if you if you go back in if you go back in in Israel’s history, you go back to David’s, preparing to slip off of the face of of his rulership and his life was in. He took the priestly line and he divided it into 24 divisors tell us that at the time of Zacharias Priesthood, there was more than likely somewhere around 20,000 priests that were administering the priestly duties in the church. Could you imagine having 20,000 pastures, so every division was given a 1 week period Prius. So they would take lots as to who would do what duties.

And it just so happens at this particular occasion. And it just so happens at this particular occasion. At this particular occasion. And it was Happenstance, right? Pure luck.

A luck of the draw, and sta. It was divinely ordered by God. It was divinely ordered by God. It was divinely ordered by God. It was divinely ordered by God.

It God. I want you to notice within this text, there is nothing special about the time that Zachariah is ministering at the temple. Again, if you look at the history of the priesthood, at the high times of the year, the the the festival seasons of the year, all of the priests would come to minister when the Passover was taking place, the Feast of Booths. On those high occasions, all of the priests would come to be part of the administration of the priestly duties. But through the rest of the year, it was just each one of these divisions would take a week every, twice a year that they would come and time of the year.

Zachariah happens to be there because it’s his division’s turn, a Bayou’s division’s turn. That’s important because it’s a lot of times in the mundane activities of life that God is doing his divine work in the midst of our. I want you to observe that there was nothing special that’s going on, other than the fact that it was special that Zachariah was in the but there’s nothing special about the events. It’s just the everyday activities. Draw run the kids to school, pick up gross.

It’s just the normal activities of life, and God slips into the scene and reveals himself to and reveals himself to Zachariah. I wonder what so many times in our lives we think God only works And in reality, it’s oftentimes in just the everyday that are standing outside of the temple. Their but they’re done praying, and Zachariah has a and Zechariah is still inside speaking. To the I look at that and I say, here’s, here is all of this stuff that’s going on outside of the holy place. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle and prayers and things that are taking place.

And in the midst of that, God is communicating. The divine is communicating with, with Zachariah through the angel Gabriel. Often the mundane events that God reveals. Process of waiting, just the everyday grind that God begins to reveal his divine purpose. The experiences of your about your business and you’re not really you’re not engaged in anything extraordinary.

And you’re not engaged in anything extraordinary. And you’re not engaged in and anything extraordinary. Nowhere God slips into your world and begins to minister grace in your there have been times that it seems like I can be going about just my routine activities when God the Holy Spirit begins to work and navigate to work and navigate through my mind and into my heart to give me aid and give me help. Do you know, in the every day activities of life, God is looking for opportunities to highlight his divine presence in your world. In the middle of your waiting process, God is looking for ways to highlight his divine revelation in your life.

Jaccariah thought I’m just simply going in to do my priestly duties. Sagerai thought, I’m just simply going in to do my priestly duties. I’ll offer my sacrifice. I’ll do what is asked of me. Now, this, this was a great honor for him.

No doubt. But instead sun. A son. It’s not just any son. You know, if you go back to Malachi chapter 4, the closing out come along, One who had the spirit of Elias.

One who would prepare the way for the coming of the mausai. That were some of the final words that were given in the Old Testament, they become the first words, some of the first words that we hear recorded in the new who has the spirit of Elias is coming. What is it? It’s the promise that had been given years before coming to fruition. This morning, maybe the barren areas of your life that that waiting will accentuate your problems, but it’s the opportunity for God to highlight the divine work that he wants to do.

Strikes me about Zachariah and Elizabeth is the fact that even after What strikes me about Zacharias and Elizabeth is the fact that even after all of these years of and what seemed to be hopeless situation, they’re not Right. The fact that God is still God in the world. Waiting will reveal a lot of stuff about us. 1 it reveal what you’re willing to sacrifice in the process of waiting. A brain?

When year after year after year, the promise of a child didn’t come to pass, what did he do? He and Sarah conspired together and said, Ah, Hagar. We’ll have a child through Hagar. That’ll be God said, prom. Waiting will reveal to us what we really value.

I watched this with interest, with some in my family. I really want this. I really want this. Okay? You want that.

It’s going to cost this much. Okay? You want that. It’s gonna cost this much. And it’s not a small amount.

You realize that if you spend that $10 here, what you won over here, You realize that if you spend that $10 here, what you want over here, you’re never going to get there. Waiting reveals how easily you and I can lose sight of process of waiting, That waiting reveals to us the barren areas of our life, whatever that might would be, And it’s easy for us to lose sight of the big picture in life. By getting our eyes off of the big picture to see the little picture. We get caught up in seeing the temporal, the here and the now, what’s right before us. The here and the now, what’s right before us.

And we lose sight of the bigger picture, the grander scope. Picture, the grander scope. So the patient waiting that you’ll find God working out the details of your life. For, it’s in the patiently all of those areas of your life, the barren areas, the hopelessness, are accentuated that God wants to come into your world and reveal his divine appointment with you and his purpose to means to begin to press in on your faith. Do you believe?

Do you trust the Lord? This Christmas season is you and I are patiently waiting for the Lord to work in our lives. They continue to be faithful in the mundane. The same way that Zachariah and Elizabeth were faithful in their daily activities, they didn’t lose sight that God is still God. You and I not lose sight that God is still God.

Amen? In your everyday activity that just seems like the regular run of the mill daily grind, God is at work. Knows what I’m going I don’t think God understands any more. And I’ll tell you that God is still God. And he’s divinely working in your life to bring about the fulfillment of his promise to you.

So this morning, the things that you’re waiting for that the Lord has given promise to you, don’t lose sight that he’s still in control. Know this morning that you can trust his plan. You can trust that he’s still working out his divine plan and purpose. Amen? So as this Christmas, we wait upon the Lord, whatever that might be in your life.

May I remind you that God is still God. Wait we acknowledge that it’s so easy for us to hear your word in the intervening time of waiting to see that promise, to hear your word, to hear your word, to at one point take great confidence in that word, those promises that you’ve given to us. For all sorts of things to transpire that cause us to lose hope. So it’s a things to transpire that cause us to lose hope. So, to lose reasons for us that we begin to doubt in our faith to be Zachariah of Zachariah and Elizabeth that here’s a couple that they had waited and waited and waited and you, the divine, showed up on their behalf.

Trying to breed hopelessness. Maybe there are some that have even despaired of the promises that you have given. But this morning, I pray that you and allowing you to accomplish your divine purpose. We know that you are still God and it’s God you are good and you’re working all things together for our, so help us to wait patient as you work. I pray it in jesus as you work.

I pray it in Jesus name. Amen. The Lord bless you. You are dismissed. And then, the Lord bless you.

You are dismissed.

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