Sunday School Material 12-15-13: Zechariah Prophesies About His Son, John

(Luke 1:46-56; 12/15/13)

Introduction::A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is John is born, and he is to do a mighty work in God’s plan for taking care of His people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to do our part in God’s plan to take care of His people.

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Read Luke 1:57-58

I. Promise Fulfilled. Elizabeth gave birth to a son at the appointed time. The neighbors heard about God’s great mercy upon her. They came to the house and shared her joy.

Applications -

- Supportive relationships. Notice in vs. 58 of the Sunday School material that the neighbors shared in the joy that Elizabeth had. There are too many people who have too few people to share with them, when things are well.

Too many are surrounded by negative and jealous people. To share with them the blessings that God has shared with us will only lead to jealousy and negative comments about how we think we are so much better than others and how we don’t need all of those blessings.

Let’s work on developing relationships where we can share our joys with one another in a safe and supportive environment. This calls for all of us knowing things like “God knows what to give, to whom to give, and when it is the best time to give.”

If God blesses your neighbor then God must be in the neighborhood. Too whom much is given much is required.

Read Luke 1:67-79

II. Promise Reaffirmed. In our Sunday School material Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about what was going on and what was planned for the future. He talks about praising the Lord for keeping His promise to send a deliver by way of David’s ancestors.

He talks about being saved from their enemies and being saved to serve the Lord in righteousness. John is to be a forerunner of the Lord.

Applications -

- Being filled with the Spirit. Notice in vs. 67 that Zachariah’s being filled with the Spirit was not simply a matter of feeling good or speaking in unknown tongues in a worship service. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit.

The greatest measure of being filled or controlled is our obeying the will of God. In our text, being filled or controlled by the Spirit resulted in Zachariah’s prophesying.

Let’s be filled with and controlled by the Spirit. God is calling us to be witnesses, worshippers, and those who love our neighbors.

- Praising the Lord. Notice n vs. 68 of our Sunday School material the call to praise the Lord. It is unfortunate that so many worship services have to include an encouragement to believers to praise the Lord.

One would think that everyone who comes to a worship service came to worship. However, this is not always the case. Let’s work on worshipping God. God is so worthy of our praise and worship.

There are so many who wish they had one more chance to give God some praise. Think about those in hospitals, nursing homes, and those who died unexpectedly.

- God the promise keeper. Notice in vs. 73 that God is a promise keeper. As God kept His promise that He made to Abraham, we can count on God to keep His promises that He has made to us, in the Bible.

Of course, we would do well to prayerfully study the Bible, so we can know God’s promises. We should remember that God comes according to His timing, not ours. And we should remember the promises to bless obedience and punish disobedience.

Let’s live like we believe that God is a promise keeper. Such living should include obedience. When we fail to do right and continue to do wrong but say we believe that God will bless our doing right and punish our doing wrong, we are being inconsistent.

- Saved to serve. Notice in vss. 74-75 of the Sunday School material that God saved His people from the enemies, so His people could serve in righteousness. First, we should rejoice in knowing that God can save and rescue us from our enemies and terrible situations.

Second, God saves us from bad situations, so we can do His good will. There are too many who want to be saved from bad but don’t live as if they were saved to do good works. God is calling us to be bright lights and useful salt in ways that are right (i.e., righteousness).

Third, notice that we are called to serve all of our days. There are too many who stop serving because of old age or some other reason. Granted, old age will keep us from doing some things.

However, we should always do what we can. At any age, we can encourage those who serve and pray for the work. Let’s work on serving the Lord like we appreciate being saved from our troubles.

- Forerunners. Notice in vss. 76-77 that John is to be the forerunner of Jesus. In our Sunday School material John is not the main event. In like manner, we are not the main event. We are called to help people get to know Jesus and God’s will for their lives.

If people are getting right with God but not really giving us much praise, this should not bother us, since it was never about us.

What should really concerned us is when people are praising us but not getting right and growing in the Lord. Let’s work on being faithful forerunners, instead of competitors with the Lord.

- Merciful forgiveness. Notice in vss. 77-79 of the Sunday School material that merciful forgiveness of sin is available for those in darkness.

If you are saved, you should praise the Lord, because the only we became saved was by God’s merciful forgiveness of our sins. He came into our darkness and saved us to dwell in His marvelous light.

If you are not saved, you ought to get saved. No matter how many and terrible your sins may be, God has merciful forgiveness of sin and is not afraid of our dark places. Let’s show our appreciation for God’s forgiving us by helping others become forgiven as well.

Conclusion: Let’s work on doing our part in God’s plan to take care of His people. God has much for those who obey His will.

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