by Alan Carr
This is a chapter filled with the miraculous! The angel Gabriel appears to Zacharias and to Mary telling them both of impending births. Zacharias doubts words of the angel and is left speechless, v. 18-22. Later, when the baby is born, Zacharias calls his name John, v. 63. This is in obedience to the command of the angel, v. 13. Now, Zacharias' speech is restored and he lifts his voice in praise to the Lord. In this incredible paragraph of praise, this old man of God glorifies the Lord, v. 68; speaks of the coming Messiah, v. 68-75; give a prophecy concerning his son, v. 76-78a; and concludes by mentioning the "dayspring from on high", v. 78-79. The word "dayspring" means "sunrise". This is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is pictured as he sun rising upon a world trapped in darkness. Tonight, I would like to dwell on verses 78-79. These verses tell us about the rays of Heave's Sunrise and what they accomplish. We are told that about three areas of life that are dramatically changed by the warmth of the rays of Heaven's Sunrise. Allow me to take a few minutes this evening and show you Where The Rays Of Heaven's Sunrise Reach.
I. HE BRINGS THE LIGHT OF LIBERTY TO THOSE IN DARKNESS
A. Jesus came to a world that was bound in spiritual darkness! The Jewish religion had degenerated until it was nothing more than a religion of formalism and legalism. The spiritual aspect of their religion had long since passed away. It was a dark spiritual day when Jesus came into the world!
(Ill. God did not send His Son into the midst of a great spiritual revival. He sent Him to those who were floundering around in darkness. However, many saw the light of Jesus and were led out of darkness in that day. Think of Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John. Remember Mary Magdalene, the Gadarene Demoniac, even Mary His mother, Luke 1:46-47, and all the others who were delivered from darkness by the light of the life of the Sunrise of Heaven.)
B. Things haven't changed! In fact, the world may be in a darker spiritual condition today than it was then! We have more light! Think of all the Bibles and all the churches we have. However, the darkness of the world has millions trapped. Why? Because men love the darkness more than they love the light, John 3:19. Men need the light of Jesus to shine in their lives to make them free. (Ill. The darkness of this world is plain to see, both in the sins of mankind and in the sins of the church!)
C. The good news is that not everyone is trapped in darkness this evening! Do you remember the day the Light of God shined into the darkness of your life? Do you remember what it was like to see yourself as you really were and know that God offered you light, hope and life? (Ill. What the Lord did for you and for me - 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 4:6.)
D. The good news this evening is that Jesus came to bring light into our lives. We do not have to stumble around in the darkness any longer. We can walk in the light of life. Jesus Christ came to bring light to the world!
I. He Brings The Light Of Liberty To Those In Darkness
II. HE BRINGS THE LIGHT OF LIFE TO THOSE UNDER DEATH
A. The Bible tells us here that Jesus came to bring His light into the very shadow of death. Death is a fearful thing! However, we all live under its shadow, Heb. 9:27. The fact is, if the Lord doesn't come, we will all face death one day! The bottom line is this: None of us is more than a heartbeat away from eternity at any given moment!
B. However, we need not fear death! We must always remember that the Lord Jesus faced death for us, 2 Cor. 5:14-15, and that by rising from the dead, Matt. 28:1-6, He conquered death on our behalf. Therefore, we do not need to fear death, 1 Cor. 15:53-58! Death is nothing more than a doorway through which we pass from this world into the presence of the Lord in Heaven. It is no more to be feared than a shadow on the wall, Psa. 23:4.
C. Since the Rays of Heaven's Sunrise have shone upon the cold shores of death, death for the believer has become a blessed thing! God describes it this way, Psa. 116:15. When death comes to the child of God, it isn't a monster to be feared. It is, however, a friend to be embraced! Notice the attitude of the Apostle Paul when he faced the hour of His death, 2 Tim. 4:6-8. He described his death as a "departure". As I have shared in the past, this is a very expressive word. It was used by armies when it was time to strike their tents. Sailors used it to refer to losing the moorings and setting sail. Travelers used it to refer to the end of a journey, when the horses were put into the stable. Those in the legal professions used it to refer to the freeing of prisoners. Paul doesn't face his death with a spirit of fear, notice verse 8. Paul knows there is more to come after he passes through death's shadow! Believe me, it will be better on the other side!
D. If you still aren't convinced, just remember how death reacted around the Lord Jesus. Jesus attended four funerals, (Jairus' daughter, the widow of Nain's son, Lazarus, and His own burial), while here on earth, and each time He changed the funeral into a time of rejoicing because He raised the dead! Every where the Light of life traveled, death had to flee! If you are in Jesus this evening, death has no claim on you! Jesus conquered death for you forever - John 11:25-26; John 5:24. We may lay down these temporary bodies, but something better is waiting the other side, 2 Cor. 5:1-8.
I. He Brings The Light Of Liberty To Those In Darkness
II. He Brings The Light Of Life To Those Under Death
III. HE BRINGS THE LIGHT OF LEADERSHIP TO THOSE WITHOUT DIRECTION
A. None of us know how to walk for God as we should! Left to ourselves and our own devices, we merely tend to wander farther away from God, Isa. 53:6. In fact, the Bible teaches us that following our own ways leads nowhere but to death, Pro. 16:25.
B. Jesus came to give us the light of His guidance. When we received Him as our Savior, we were given 3 Heavenly helpers that make the difference between us knowing where we are going and us just wandering aimlessly around.
1. He Gave Us A New Heart - (Ill. The natural heart is a wicked thing, Jer. 17:9.) Jesus made us a new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17. He gave us a heart that is hungry for Him, Col. 3:2.
2. He Gave Us The Holy Spirit - John 16:13. The Spirit of God, Who dwells in the heart of every believer, John 14:16-17, gives direction and leadership as we go through life. No more are we left to the devices of the flesh and of the devil. The Spirit knows the mind of the Father and guides un in ways that please the Lord!
3. He Gave Us The Word Of God - When we were saved, the Lord gave us a heart to follow Him, His Spirit within us to guide us, and He gave us His perfect Word to teach us of His ways and of His will for our lives. This blessed old Book will never lead the saint of God astray, but will ever supply the guidance needed to get us safely home to Heaven, Psa. 119:105. Ill. Pro. 6:23; Psa. 18:28.
C. Now, We do not have to founder around in the dark, but we have the tools and the help we need to walk in the Lord light day by day. And that, my friends, is the place of greatest blessing, 1 John 1:7.
What is the goal of all this work of the rays of Heaven's Sunrise in our lives? To bring us to the place of perfect peace! God wants me to have peace about my spiritual condition, that I am no longer in darkness. He wants me to have peace about death, so that I am not terrified of that day, but so that I can face it in the steadfast confidence that He has conquered death for me forever. He wants me to have peace in my life today, so that i will know that He will never leave me, for forsake me, but that He will guide me safely through the valleys and hard places of life. Peace is a precious gift! So precious, in fact, that it literally passes all understanding, Phil. 4:7. I don't know where this message finds you. In darkness, afraid of the future, or unsure about today, but I know that where ever you are, there is help, and there is hope in the Person of Heaven's Sunrise! Will you come into His Light this evening and find the help you need?
Copyright 2003 by Alan Carr
Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the Sunday of the Birth of John the Baptist
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