Here He Comes – Behold

Here He Comes – Behold

Here He Comes – Behold

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CHAPTER 9

SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – 'BEHOLD'!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:67-75

TEXT: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people." (Luke 1:68)

INTRODUCTION: God is the Author of salvation and, therefore, God is to be praised. Jesus is the Agent of salvation. He is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophesies regarding the coming of God's Anointed One whose mission to earth is a saving mission. Jesus is the believer's protector, rescuing man from all his enemies. Jesus is the believer's enabler, enabling believers to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all their days.

PROPOSITION: 'Behold' God's salvation, made possible through the corning of Jesus. Thank God for that salvation! Enjoy protection from all the enemies of your soul! Allow God to enable you to live a life without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all your days.

I. Praise For Salvation (Luke 1:68)

II. Prophecy Of Salvation (Luke 1:69-70, Luke 1:72-73)

III. Protection Through Salvation (Luke 1:71, Luke 1:74 a)

IV. Purpose In Salvation (Luke 74b-75) (Luke 1:74-75)

A. What Is The Motivation For Serving Christ?

B. What Is The Mode In Which One Serves God?

C. What Is The Measure Of Service?

CONCLUSION: If Jesus is the fulfillment of man's ancient longings, the redeemer from man's sins, the strength of man's salvation, the protector from man's enemies, and the enabler for man's call to holy and righteous living, then Christ is all-sufficient for you today! Behold the Saviour and His saving purposes today!

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CHAPTER 9

SUBJECT: "HERE HE COMES" – 'BEHOLD'!

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:67-75

TEXT: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people." (Luke 1:68)

INTRODUCTION: Have you ever asked yourself the all-important question of life: 'What is my ultimate purpose for living?' Or another question: 'What is the purpose for which God gave me a son or a daughter?'

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, recognized the fact that John, his newborn child, was to fulfill a very important purpose in life. "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Luke 1:76-79)

Later, it was to be this same John who would see Jesus coming to him one day and he would declare, "Behold! The Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world!"

Zechariah was taking note of the Saviour who was soon to be born to Mary, and he was so overwhelmed with a sense of God's saving purposes to be fulfilled in Jesus, that he declares in a Song (Luke 1:67-79) the glories of that salvation.

Let us together, with Zechariah, 'Behold' the Saviour and His saving purpose as related especially in Luke 1:67-75.

I. Praise For Salvation (Luke 1:68)

II. Prophecy Of Salvation (Luke 1:69-70, Luke 1:72-73)

III. Protection Through Salvation (Luke 1:71, Luke 1:74 a)

IV. Purpose In Salvation (Luke 74b-75) (Luke 1:74-75)

God is the Author of salvation and, therefore, God is to be praised. Jesus is the Agent of salvation. He is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophesies regarding the coming of God's Anointed One whose mission to earth is a saving mission. Jesus is the believer's protector, rescuing man from all his enemies. Jesus is the believer's enabler, enabling believers to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all their days.

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PROPOSITION: 'Behold' God's salvation, made possible through the coming of Jesus. Thank God for that salvation! Enjoy protection from all the enemies of your soul! Allow God to enable you to live a life without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all your days.

I. Praise For Salvation (Luke 1:68)

"Praise be the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people." (Luke 1:68)

Salvation is always the subject of praise, for salvation is the work of God alone. No man can save himself. Man is bound in sin until God takes the initiative to loose him from that bondage. God's 'address' is praise. God inhabits the praises of His people! Men ought always to praise the Lord, for God is the God of salvation. His purposes are all saving purposes. It is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) "This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time." (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

God has mercy on all men (Romans 11:32). Jesus is the Bread of life, sent by God to earth. Said Jesus about Himself: "If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51)

II. Prophecy Of Salvation (Luke 1:69-70, Luke 1:72-73)

In the fullness of time – at the right time in history – God sent His Son to earth to redeem His people. 'Redeem' means 'to set free'. Israel, God's people, often felt themselves enslaved by foreign armies. There were few times in their long history that Israel as a people were not either threatened or actually oppressed by powerful surrounding tribes or nations, such as Philistines, Midianites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and finally the Romans. Israel seemed constantly to be at the mercy of the superpowers which surrounded her. As a strategically-located nation, she was often used as a stepping stone for warfare between the larger nations. Israel often found herself crying out to God for deliverance from her enemies.

When Zechariah declared that God had come to redeem his people, he looked to the Messiah – the Anointed One from God – as the champion of justice and the grand deliverer for Israel. Declared Zechariah, "He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)." (Luke 1:69) To David, God promised: "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:16) God's covenant with David is summarized in Psalms 89:20-37. Note a portion of this Psalm: "I (God) will maintain my love to him (David) forever, and my covenant with

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him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure …. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness – and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun: it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky." (Psalms 89:28-29, Psalms 89:35-37)

Jesus is the great Son of David who sits on the throne of David, ruling not one nation, but all the nations. Genealogically-speaking, Jesus is the descendant of David. Spiritually-speaking, Jesus rules the hearts and the lives of all human subjects who compose the Kingdom of God. The day will come when all shall bow their knees and declare with their tongue that Jesus is the Lord of lords – and king of Kings. At that time the covenant made to David concerning a Son who would reign forever in David's line, will be totally fulfilled. All the kingdoms of earth shall surrender to the Kingdom of God.

The coming of Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God and signaled, not national victory of the Jews over the oppressing Romans, but spiritual victory for every man who willingly will submit to the kingship of Jesus!

The coming of Jesus was the fulfillment of the covenant made to David (v. 69). His coming was also the fulfillment of the covenant made to Abraham. "He has raised up a horn of salvation for us … to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham." (Luke 1:72-73) The Covenant God made with Abraham about 2000 B.C. was a covenant of salvation. To Abraham God promised: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3)

The coming of Jesus with his worldwide mission of salvation is the fulfillment of God's promise made to Abraham. Indeed, all people on the earth are blessed through the greatest descendant of Abraham – the Lord Jesus Christ! Salvation is offered to all through Christ – the greatest Son of Abraham. The universal offer of salvation is extended to the human race – a blessing that is all-inclusive. Only those who exclude themselves from the kingdom of God through deliberate rejection and unbelief, miss the blessing of salvation, intended for the whole human race. All who exercise saving faith – the same kind of faith that Abraham exercised when he believed God and took God at His word – is included in the Kingdom of God and is considered true sons of Abraham.

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III. Protection Through Salvation (Luke 1:71, Luke 1:74 a)

The protection which God's salvation offers to His people Israel and to all peoples is not necessarily a physical protection. Jesus did come to provide "salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us … to rescue us from the hand of our enemies." (vss. 71, 74a) History, however, proves that God's salvation was not always salvation from external enemies. Indeed, the Jewish nation was not spared the wrath of Rome, as evidenced by the destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70. Israel, as a nation, was not granted salvation from the hand of cruel Roman oppression in the first century, and history shows that the Jewish people have suffered incalculable agony at the hands of many other nations during the many centuries following the first century.

Also, history shows (as Jesus' predicted) that Christians, who have embraced Jesus' salvation, have suffered greatly. Christians have not always been physically protected from the hand of their enemies. Indeed, history shows that some Christians "were tortured and refused to be released … Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned: they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword, etc. etc. (Hebrews 11:35, Hebrews 11:37)

Jesus said to His followers: "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be give what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:16-20)

"Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us" (v. 71) is a guarantee of protection, but not necessarily physical protection. God's salvation through Christ guarantees protection from man's real enemies – the enemies of sin and Satan and eternal death.

As Luther wrote:

"Let goods and kindred go, 
This mortal life also; 
The body they may kill; 
God's truth abideth still; 
His kingdom is forever." 

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Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

Protection from the pit of ultimate hell is a great guarantee. What about the pits of earthly hells? Does the "salvation from our enemies" (v. 71) include salvation from these? Yes, indeed, for "by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus, the great Son of David, has come to conquer the enemies within – the enemies of the soul. The enemies of the soul are legion, but think of a few of those enemies from which He has promised us rescue.

There is rescue from real and false guilts. There is rescue from terrorizing fears – fears like the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of death. There is rescue from inferiority complexes which erode away the basic human need for wholesome self-esteem. There is rescue from the destructive passions of jealousy which threaten to destroy human relationships. There is also rescue from other destructive enemies – enemies like negativism, worry, greed, anger, doubt, and self-centeredness. There is victory in Jesus Christ, the One who has come to give us "salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us … to rescue us from the hand of our enemies." (Luke 1:71,74a) (Luke 1:71, Luke 1:74)

IV. Purpose In Salvation (Luke 74b-75) (Luke 1:74-75)

We are to BEHOLD God as the source of salvation and praise Him for His saving purposes, thanking Him for the fulfillment of His prophesies of salvation and for the protection from all of our enemies which His salvation brings!

The next emphasis is on the purpose in salvation: "to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days." (vss.74b-75)

We are saved from our enemies in order to serve, not ourselves, but to serve God. We are to surrender our lives entirely to Christ, giving Him everything we have and everything we are. This includes our time, our talents, our possessions and money, our influence. We are not our own. We are bought with the price of Jesus' blood. Therefore, we are to serve Christ all of our lives. We are never to serve our own selfish interests, but we are to serve the living Christ, giving ourselves for the advancement of the cause of Christ's kingdom.

A. What Is The Motivation For Serving Christ?

What is the motivation for serving Christ? The love of Christ, not terrorizing fear of God!! The motivation is found in this statement: "to enable us to serve him without fear." (v. 74a) It is true that reverential fear is the 'beginning of wisdom'. We are to respect God as a God of holiness, justice, and judgment,

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who will reward every man according to what he hath done in the body. We are to be thankful to God and to worship God "acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28)

However, while reverence and awe are appropriate motivations for serving God (in light of man's final accountability before God at the Judgment), terrorizing and paralyzing fear is not a motivation for serving the living God.

"It is a simple fact that man did not know what God was like until Jesus came. The Greeks thought of a passionless God beyond all joy and sorrow, looking on men in calm unmoved detachment – no help there. The Jews thought of a demanding God, whose name was law and whose function was that of judge – nothing but terror there. Jesus came to tell that God was love, and in staggered amazement men could only say, 'We never knew that God was like that.'" (Barclay's Luke; page 19)

The drawing love of God is the strongest of all motivations for serving God. To see God as a close Friend with whom you can share your deepest thoughts and desires is to be motivated to serve God wholeheartedly. To see God as a loving Father whose wisdom is perfect is to be motivated to obey Him explicitly. To see God as a Saviour whose life was poured out for undeserving sinners is to be motivated to worship God in 'wonder, love, and praise'!

In coming to earth, Jesus showed man the nature of the true God. What Jesus was on earth – perfect love – God has always been! Love is the magnet of God which strongly draws man to serve Him!

B. What Is The Mode In Which One Serves God?

If the motivation for serving God is love – not terrorizing fear – then what is the MODE in which one serves God? We are to serve God without fear "in holiness and righteousness."

Holiness means separation from outward sinful practices and from inward sinful attitudes. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) Holiness means separation from worldly practices. It also means separation or cleansing from carnal attitudes. Holy attitudes are attitudes characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, forbearance, forgiveness. Ephesians 4:31-32 summarizes well the life of outward and inward holiness: "Stop being mean, bad-tempered and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in

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your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ." (Living Bible)

We are to serve God without fear in holiness and in righteousness. 'Righteousness' refers to a right standing with God. That is, a relationship characterized by trust and commitment to Christ, and issuing forth in a life of good works. We are justified or made right with God through an exercise of positive faith in Christ. We are put in a right relationship with God the moment we place our total trust in Christ as our Saviour. After being put in that right relationship, we are to spend the rest of our lives doing good works for God. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

C. What Is The Measure Of Service?

We have noted that the motivation for service is love, and that the mode of service is holiness and righteousness. What is the measure of service? We are to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days (v. 75). This means that the sooner a human being in his life begins to serve God, the better! Samuel, in the Old Testament was dedicated to the Lord before his birth. Every husband and wife who is anticipating becoming parents should dedicate their unborn child to the Lord. Urge your youngest children to make a wholehearted commitment of their lives to Christ. It is wonderful to be saved out of sinful living, but it is much better to be saved in youngest childhood before one has indulged in sinful living. Every person has been called to serve Christ all his days – and this means the days of his childhood, his adolescence, his young adulthood, his middle years, and his later years. I have never yet heard anyone tell me that they regretted that they became a Christian so soon in life, but many have expressed regrets for waiting so long before they surrendered to Christ. There is forgiveness from God at any stage of life, but "nothing can deliver us from certain consequences of our sins; the clock cannot be put back." (Barclay's Luke; page 19)

May I strongly appeal to every parent: Lead your children into a strong, intimate relationship with Christ while your children are very young. Tell your children and your teens that God has called them to serve God "without fear in holiness and righteousness" all their days.

CONCLUSION: 'Behold' the Saviour! 'Behold' means to take note of something important and to focus your total attention upon that object of importance. Jesus is the object of importance! It is Jesus who deserves all your praise and worship. 'Behold' Jesus in your life today. Center your total focus on Him!

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To focus your attention on Jesus is to see the salvation of the Lord – the same as Zechariah saw the salvation of the Lord!

To see the salvation of the Lord is first to see that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies regarding God's salvation of mankind.

Jesus is the one of whom all the holy prophets of long ago spoke (v.70). Jesus is the redeemer of His people (v. 68). Jesus is the strength of man's salvation (v. 69), the fulfillment of the covenant made both to Abraham (v. 73) and to David (v. 69). Jesus is the protector and rescuer from man's enemies – these enemies which threaten to destroy man's soul (vss. 71, 74a). Jesus is the enabler of believers – the one who makes it possible for believers to serve God in holiness and in righteousness all their days (vs. 74, 75).

If Jesus is the fulfillment of man's ancient longings, the redeemer from man's sins, the strength of man's salvation, the protector from man's enemies, and the enabler for man's call to holy and righteous living, then Christ is all-sufficient for you today!

Have you received Christ as your Saviour? Has Christ satisfied your ancient longings? Has Christ set you free (redeemed you) from your sins? Has He conquered your inner enemies, whatever they may be? Is He enabling you to live a life of holiness – separation from outward and inward sin – and a life of righteousness – a life of good deeds? Have you committed yourself to live for God all your days – every day you have the rest of your life, be that a short time or a long time?

Behold the Saviour and His saving purposes today!

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Chapter 9

Questions

  1. Why should the theme of 'Salvation' evoke praise in the hearts of humans? (Note Luke 1:68; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; Romans 11:32; John 6:51)

  2. In what way did God fulfill His ancient promise to David, that David's throne "will be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16; Psalms 89:20-37)?

  3. In what way were all the nations of the earth blessed through Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3; Luke 1:72-73)?

  4. In light of the fact that both God's chosen people – the Jewish People – and God's holy people – dedicated Christians – have suffered incalculable loss, physically and economically, why can we say with integrity and conviction that God "has raised up a horn of salvation" to save us "from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us" (Luke 1:69-71)? (Note Hebrews 11:35, Hebrews 11:37; Matthew 10:16-20, Matthew 10:28)

  5. What, according to Luke 1:74 b, is the motivation for serving Christ?

  6. What is the difference between 'reverential fear' of God (Proverbs 3:7; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17) and 'terrorizing fear' of God (Hebrews 10:27-31)?

  7. Tell with what degree of conviction you agree with the following statements: "While reverence and awe are appropriate motivations for serving God (in light of man's final accountability before God at the Judgment), terrorizing and paralyzing fear is not a motivation for serving the living God. The drawing love of God is the strongest of all motivations for serving God."

  8. If 'holiness' is the mode in which we are to serve God (Luke 1:75), then how would you define and describe 'Holiness'? (Note 2 Corinthians 6:17, 2 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:31-32; 1 Peter 1:13-16)

  9. How does the believer who serves God in righteousness before Him all his days, practically demonstrate and manifest such righteousness in his daily life? (Note Ephesians 2:10)

  10. If the motivation for service is love, and if the mode of service is holiness and righteousness, then what is the measure of service? (Luke 1:76)

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  11. Give an example from contemporary life that illustrates the truth of the following statements: "It is wonderful to be saved out of sinful living, but it is much better to be saved in youngest childhood before one has indulged in sinful living. There is forgiveness from God at any stage of life, but nothing can deliver us from certain consequences of our sins; the clock cannot be put back."

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