STUDY TEXT FOR THIS WEEK'S LESSON: LUKE 1:1-25,57-80
CENTRAL TRUTH: The era of God's grace that began with the birth of john the Baptist is still in effect today.
KEY VERSE: Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people. (KJV).
"Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people"(NLT).
a new era begins
LET'S GET STARTED
Luke, one of paul's companions, a Gentile by birth, was a physician who recorded the most detailed account we have of Jesus' birth. In this study we are looking at a miraculous birth that preceded the birth of Jesus, that of John the Baptist. The announcement to Zechariah that he would have a son, John, marked the beginning of a new era that would change lives from the first century and through the coming ages. John the Baptist was a key figure in the first coming of Christ, as recorded in the Gospels. John served as Christ's forerunner; calling people to repent in preparation for His coming. God had raised up John to proclaim repentance and declare Christ, and John faithfully fulfilled that purpose. The message of repentance remains important today, for repentance opens the heart to receive Christ's marvelous gift of grace salvation and eternal life.
PART 1--John's Birth Foretold
A prayer Had Been Answered- Luke 1:5-13
The miraculous power of God played a central role in John's ministry, beginning with the announcement of his birth. John was born to a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. Zechariah was startled, but the angel assured him that God had heard his prayer. many scholars conclude that Zechariah, like all godly people in Israel, would have been praying for the coming of the Messiah. The great hope and desire of the nation was that God would send the Promised One to His people.
REACT ? Described a time when God answered a prayer of yours. How did God answer impact your life
John: Empowered by the Holy Spirit- Luke 1:13-17
While God had answered Zechariah's prayer, He also provided an additional blessing: Zechariah and Elizabeth would miraculousy have a son, God instructed them to name him John. The angel also spoke of John's character, and the effect he would have on his family as well as on the nation. God had a special plan for John's life and empowered him for it at the very beginning of his life. Sin had separated many of the Jewish people from their God, and John would remind them of their need to turn back to God. The message of John's ministry still rings true today. We, too, must prepare our hearts for Christ's rule and submit to His rule. We need the Spirit's power in our lives to minister effectively and powerfully in a sinful world.
REACT? How does the Holy Spirit help us in serving Jesus today?
PART 2 -- Zechariah's Reaction
Zechariah Expresses Disbelief- Luke 1:18-22
Zechariah first reacted to the angel's message with disbelief. Both he and Elizabeth were well beyond the normal age of procreation. He certainly knew the story of Abraham and Sarah, how Sarah bore a child in her old age. The miracles foreshadowed an important truth that Christ himself would teach: "With God everything is power." Still Zechariah struggled with disbelief at what was told to him. As a result, the angel Gabriel took away Zechariah's ability to speak until the naming of John after he was born. While Zechariah's loss of speech was a penalty for his lack of belief in Gabriel's message, it also confirmed the truth of that message. If the angel could silence Zechariah for months--then restore his speech--clearly his message was true'
REACT? Why do you think Zechariah struggled to believe the message from Gabriel?
The Lord is Kind: Luke 1:23-25
After his time of service in the temple came to an end Zechariah had returned home, Elizabeth became pregnant just as the angel had said. Elizabeth found great joy in being a part of what God was doing among His people. God had enabled this woman who was pst the age of childbearing to become pregnant. God had a marvelous plan for her son, and He even empowered him before he was born. John came to prepare the Jewish people for the coming of Christ and labored for the lofty goal of pointing hearts toward the Savior of the world. John played a crucial role in God's plan.
React? Described a time when God has been kind to you?
PART 3-- John's Birth
John's Arrival-- Luke 1:57-68
John was born, just as the angel had foretold, and Zechariah and Elizabeth brought him to be circumcised on the eight day, at which point it was customary to announce the child's name. While the family assumed they would name him after his father, Elizabeth announced that he would be named John. Meaning "the Lord is gracious." Zechariah, who had been unable to speak since the angel had visited him. He confirmed the name in writing, and the moment he did, his speech was restored in response to his obedience. Obedience is still a central part of our walk with God. when we step out in obedience to God and call upon Him to work in our circumstances, His power and His grace will be evident to those around us.
React? In what ways might God have prepared you for what He has called you to do?
John's Call-- Luke 1:76-80
In Luke 1:76-79, Zechariah delivered a word of blessing over John, but this was no ordinary parental blessing. Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke a prophetic message over his son. Zechariah prophesied that John would be the forerunner of the Messiah, telling of the salvation of God through forgiveness of sin. John would proclaim God's mercy, personified in His Son, the Messiah. salvation had come to the world.
React? In what ways might have prepared you for what He has called you to do?
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
A new era began when God sent His Son to be the savior of the world. After centuries of prophecies, God sent the forerunner to prepare the way for the Messiah. while we may not have had a dramatic call from birth as John did, God has called each of us to follow Him and to point the way to salvation through Jesus.
LIVING IT OUT
- Find a tangible way to serve someone, pointing them to Christ.
- Examine your life , asking yourself if you are being obedient to God.
- Look for ways you can represent Christ in your job and other activities
Monday: The light shines in Darkness: Isaiah 9:1-3
Tuesday: A Voice in the Wildness. Isiah 9:1-3
Wednesday: hearts of the Fathers. Malachi 4:1-6
Thursday: The Holy Spirit and Fire. Luke 3:15-18
Friday: The Kingdom of God Advances: Matthew 11:7-15
Saturday: The Mystery of Ministerial Authority. Mark 11:27-33
See You In Sunday School Next Week!!!!