Friday, July 20, 2007

Luke #15 – Let’s Get This Party Started Right!

Luke #15 – Let’s Get This Party Started Right!

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Luke 1:67-80 – King James Version).

We knew it was coming. We weren’t sure of the time. We were positive of the place. We were there; waiting. It was a “surprise” party. All the preparations had been made; invitations sent; supplies on hand. Then I walked in the door and a hush fell over the room. My buddy walked in behind me and everyone yelled “Surprise!” It was really no surprise for my friend; he knew it was his birthday. The only surprise is that he was fooled that I was used to keep him away from the party.

That may be the case with John the Baptist; or at least how John’s dad saw it. Zacharias had trouble even believing that a son would be born to him in his old age, but that happened. When John was born, Zacharias’ unbelief was cured. Not only did Zacharias believe that John WOULD be born, but the Holy Spirit carried it to the next level. Through Zacharias, the Holy Spirit communicated all that the Messiah would mean to the world. Furthermore, Zacharias finally understood what John’s role would be. John was bringing the news that Jesus was on the scene; it was time to get the party started!

John’s job was to tell the people that salvation was coming; the Messiah was on the way. John was to preach repentance; it was time to face up to sin and get ready to receive the gift of eternal life. John was telling the world “Clear your calendar! It’s time to come together and celebrate!” Now preaching repentance as a way to get invited to a party may seem strange, but think about it for a moment. When invited to a party for a friend the first thing we have to do is decide if we will accept the invitation. The very next thing that we must do is decide if we will forsake our own plans in order to go to the party. That, though crude, is an illustration of repentance. Spiritually we must decide if we will accept God’s invitation and then we must clear out any sin that is in the way of coming to the salvation party that He is throwing for us.

Often we never see it coming. God will use strange and wondrous circumstances to get us to the party. It may be the death of a loved one. It may be an experience with bad health or an accident. It may be a sermon that made us squirm in discomfort. It may even be some strange person like John who leads us to the knowledge that we’ve got to change because the Lord Jesus wants to do a work in our lives.

In the case of Zacharias, he saw past the simple birth of his son and through the Holy Spirit understood the magnitude of what was to come. Three things in closing: (1) God is still calling people to the party. Have you accepted the invitation? (2) God is still using people to call others to come and celebrate in the gift of salvation. Would you be used? (3) Zacharias looked forward to the cross and salvation in faith. We are to look back at it. We have a decided advantage that we KNOW that what Zacharias said would happen DID happen. Are you enjoying the party today? That’s what it is. If you have joined the throng of saints you have a part in the greatest celebration of all time. Any who would come have been freed of their previous commitment to sin and hopelessness and have been guaranteed a spot around the throne of God where we will worship Him forever. All we need to do is repent, confess, believe, and profess. Let’s get this party started right!

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