Sunday School Material 12-18-16: The Forerunner of the Savior

(Luke 1:8-20: 12/18/16)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that an angel of the Lord told Zechariah about the birth of John the Baptist. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we trust God’s plan for our lives.

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Read Luke 1:8-10

I. Unsuspecting Priest. In our Sunday School material Zechariah was serving as the priest before God. He was handling the incense in the Temple. The assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Applications –

- Carrying out our duties. Notice in vss. 8-10 that Zechariah was carrying out his duties, in spite of his advance years. In like manner, we should make sure we understand and carry out our duties as members of God’s family, in our biological families, and in our communities.

We should also do the best that we can, while we can. Being older is not an excuse for doing nothing. We may not be able to do what we used to do, but we should do what we can. Let’s work on carrying out our duties for as long as we can.

- Praying and worshipping. Notice in vs. 10 the mention of prayer and worship. As believers, we should be known for our praying and worshipping of God.

We should have both our personal prayer lives and our participation in the prayer life of the church (i.e., worship, weekly prayer guide, prayer services, etc.).

We should worship God with enthusiasm. The more we praise Him, the better we tend to feel. Let’s work on our praying and worshipping.

Read Luke 1:11-17

II. Unexpected Announcement. An angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. The angel attended to Zechariah’s fear. He tells Zechariah about his prayer being heard and his wife getting ready to give birth to a son.

The son, John, will play a part in getting Jews to turn back to the Lord.

Applications –

- Faith and fear. Notice in vss. 12-13 the issue of fear. On one hand, there are a number of things that tempt us to be afraid. Think about getting older and your health, finances, nor relationships are what you would like for them to be.

The political and community issues are always in a state of flux. And then there is God moving in His mysterious ways.

But on the other hand, we need to have more faith in God than fear of what we see or don’t understand. Faith or fear will dominate, not both.

Let’s work on having more faith than fear. We can develop our faith, by prayerfully studying and obeying God’s word with the support of other disciples.

- God’s timing and our children. Notice in vss. 13-17 that God heard Zechariah’s prayer and had plans for the child that He was sending.

First, God hears our prayers and answers at the right time with the right stuff. We should work on living as if we believe this.

Second, God has plans for our children. They may not all be a John the Baptist, but God wants them to be saved and growing in the Lord, in every area of their lives. Let’s work on trusting God with our prayer lives and children.

- Evangelism and God first. Notice in vss. 16-17 that John would have a ministry of calling people back to God, in the spirit of Elijah.

First, every believer should be trying to help their loved ones and those they met on their journey to get right with God. This is evangelism.

Second, to have the spirit of Elijah includes seeing ourselves as the forerunner, not the main event. Every believer should understand that it is not about us. It is always about God and His plan. Let’s work on evangelizing and keeping God first.

Read Luke 1:18-20

III. Unwanted Proof. In our Sunday School material Zechariah raised questions about how can these things be, given the ages of his wife and himself. The angel informs him that he will be silent because of his unbelief. But the son will be born at the appointed time.

Applications -

- Unbelief. Notice in vss. 18-20 that Zechariah was punished for his unbelief. In like manner, it is dangerous for us to hear the word of God over and over again and yet not believe.

Think about people who have been in church for over 20 years and even held leadership positions but don’t trust God enough to tithe. Let’s work on trusting God enough to obey Him, so we don’t have to suffer punishment.

Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God’s plan for our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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