Classic Christianity – Bob George (12-19-18)
Bob George continues to share from Luke 1 where doctor Luke provides a detailed account from eyewitnesses concerning the events and circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ so one can have certainty of these things (Luke 1:1-4). All the gospel writers wrote things down so that man may come to believe in the finished work Jesus Christ came to do and to have life in his name. But Luke, in particular, provided much details that reveals how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets through what the angel Gabriel had spoken to Zechariah and Mary, and what the Holy Spirit spoke through Zechariah and to Elizabeth after their child was born. From Luke’s account, Bob shared what it means to walk in faith, what a prayer life looks like, what God looks for in the hearts of men, what a true leader looks like, and what really is the message concerning Jesus Christ. Bob appeals to men to receive new life that Jesus came to give. How blessed are those who believe in what the Lord has said! Bob emphasized that you are blessed not by what you do but what you believe in regards to Jesus Christ.
Bob shares from Luke 1:5-25 about the angel Gabriel who visited Zechariah and Elizabeth, both of whom were righteous in the sight of God and who observed all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. Zechariah, a priest from the tribe of Aaron, had been praying for a child while burning incense in the temple. In those days it is a disgrace for a woman not to bear a child, and the angel came to answer his prayer. God indeed answers our prayers yet in our humanity do we not sometimes doubt? Because he did not believe the words of the angel Gabriel, Gabriel pronounced that he would be unable to speak until after the child is born. Does it not take faith to believe that what God says will happen will happen? Now, Zechariah was looking in the natural realm. For indeed, they were both very old, and Elizabeth beyond the age of bearing a child. How blessed are those who simply believe what God says, even the impossible because nothing is impossible with God! Yet, God was merciful to Zechariah, as He is to all of us, and indeed what the angel said would happen happened exactly as he said it would.
And what amazing news the angel Gabriel told Zechariah concerning the child. The angel said that his name shall be John, he will be great in the sight of the Lord, be filled with the Holy Spirit even before birth, he will bring back many to the Lord, be in the spirit and power of Elijah, and to make a people ready for the Lord. As one reads in Luke 1:57-66, as their child was about to be born, their relatives argued concerning what his name should be. Zechariah was not able to speak and so he wrote down, “His name shall be John,” just as the angel Gabriel instructed. Once the child was born, he was then able to speak just as the Gabriel had said.
Bob shares from Luke 1:26-38 about an angel named Gabriel who visited Mary to bring a message from God concerning a child who will be born through her. And even more amazing news does the angel Gabriel share with Mary! The angel said that his name shall be Jesus, and will not be born in the natural way through sexual relations with a man but the Holy Spirit will come upon her so that her child will be called the Son of God. He will be given the throne of his father David and his kingdom will have no end. This is no earthly kingdom but a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of heaven that lives in the hearts of men unto the resurrection of life from the dead.
Unlike Zechariah, Mary believed what the angel had said to her. Mary truly walked by faith. Bob emphasized what it means to walk by faith from Mary’s response to the message she had heard from Gabriel. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” After hearing the news from the angel, she simply believed what the angel said would happen. The angel also told her that Elizabeth, who was barren and an old woman, was now in her sixth month of pregnancy. So she traveled to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
As one reads the account of Mary’s visit with Elizabeth in Luke 1:39-45, Elizabeth was filled with Holy Spirit and proclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”. Bob shares again how knowing Jesus Christ and simply believing in who he is and what he came to do that you will be blessed. Bob stated that you are blessed not by what you do but what you believe in regards to Jesus Christ.
After reviewing what he shared yesterday, in about the 14th minute into this audio, Bob shares about Mary’s response recorded in Luke 1:46-56, after her visit with her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. What the prophet Gabriel said concerning John the Baptist being filled with the Holy Spirit even before birth came true! Upon hearing the voice of Mary, Elizabeth’s baby leaped for joy in her womb. Elizabeth also was filled with the Holy Spirit and was overjoyed that the mother of her Lord should visit her and also said, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” What she said is so true of Mary’s faith and it is by such faith one is truly blessed. For Mary simply believed that what the angel said would come about as he had spoken.
Bob emphasized that what Mary said is what a prayer life looks like, not only in how she responded to the angel’s message but in her response to Elizabeth’s greeting. Luke records her saying:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
When someone knows the Lord, not about him, but knows Him, he too will rejoice in God their savior. Mary too needed a savior, and her faith was credited to her as righteousness. She was not blessed by anything she did but in whom she placed her trust. Those from generation to generation shall call her blessed because she simply believed what the angel of the Lord had said. Future generations shall revere the Lord, not Mary. Yet in Catholicism so many revere Mary as a co-redeemer as if she initiated salvation or had anything to do with saving mankind from their sins. Did Mary shed her blood for you? Why did she call God her savior? Why did she acknowledge the need of mercy to those who fear Him? By saying these things she acknowledges she is not sinless. Yet she also identifies herself as someone who fears the Lord. To fear the Lord is to have great wonderment and awe of who He is. She knew Him for she had a life of prayer and that prayer life came about as God initiated His love and mercy to her. She recalled what she had heard concerning the promise of God to be merciful to Abraham and all his descendants forever. She identifies with the faith of Abraham as one having the same faith. She believed what God had spoken through the prophets! God initiated the message of good news through the Old Testament prophets. How much more information do we have today to believe! Surely she heard many things for even her relative Zechariah was a priest in the order of Aaron and surely she heard things pertaining to God from him. She believed the message that the Holy Spirit spoke through them. She responded in simple faith in the message spoken by the angel and believed the prophets who prophesied of a coming Messiah to be born of a virgin. God chose her among all women that the Messiah would come through. Would you not also magnify the Lord for the marvelous things He has done? The proper focus is on the God of salvation, of mercy, of might deeds, of holiness and truth, sovereign over the affairs of men, even toppling the proud and bringing down rulers. The focus should not be on Mary, except concerning her faith that you too may have the same faith. God is looking into the hearts of men, longing for them to simply put their trust in Him.
The same message is for people today, the message of faith spoken of in the scriptures, through eyewitnesses, those who have seen the Lord of glory, full of grace and truth. What more do you need so that you may believe? If you want to be blessed, believe the Lord. You are not blessed by what you do, but by what you believe. Everything we have God initiated. God did not consult us at salvation. He did not even consult with Mary. He sent an angel to tell her what will happen. So blessed are you when you simply believe what He said.
Zechariah too, after the birth of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. This is what the Holy Spirit spoke through Zechariah.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 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), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us — to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
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.”
All these events were reported throughout Judea, so this news was widespread. Everyone grew afraid and wondered about all these things said. So think of the boldness of Zechariah to speak what the Holy Spirit would have him speak. Zechariah is an example of a true leader, being a priest of God. But we are the priesthood of believers today, those who are born again having believed the message concerning Jesus Christ. Have you received such amazing news that you cannot be silent? Would not you be greatly rejoicing of the news of Christ in you, the hope of glory, of eternal life, of salvation, of God’s mercy and grace?
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
A leader is what God has for people today as well as then. People who are willing to stand up and say I believe in something because that something is worthy of belief. To stand up and be able to say I believe in Jesus. The reason I believe in Jesus is because I met him. Now, we have not seen Jesus physically, but if you are born again, you have met Him, for the Holy Spirit has spoken into your hearts and you heard His voice and you believed what He said.
So this is what meeting Jesus Christ looks like today, “I had an experience with Jesus.” There is no explanation for a person going in this direction and merely saying a prayer. A person going in this direction, all sorts of sin, with associated sorrow, grief, pain and heartache, and merely saying a prayer, “Lord Jesus I need you. I thank you that you took away sins on the cross in the eyes of God never to see them again. I thank you that you were buried and on the third day raised from dead so that life that raised you from the dead can raise me from spiritual death. The problem is not in what I am doing but my problem is me. I need a new me, a new heart. Please Jesus come into my heart and make me new.”
The next day you are going in a different direction. One day you have no interest in the bible at all, even thinking that all Christians are just hypocrites anyway. The next day, after your prayer of expressing your trust in Christ to save you and change you, you cannot get enough time reading the bible. The words of the bible are like a love letter to you from God. The words are living words of life to you. One day you use the name of Jesus as a vulgarity and the next day you are praising Him as Lord. Explain to me, Mr. Psychologist, how that takes place and continues to take place in the lives of people who simply put their trust in what the Lord has done. The drunk becomes sober and the addict becomes free from addiction. It is a new life in Christ Jesus.
1 John 2:17
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Now, what should someone expect who says such a prayer, not just merely saying a prayer but expressing what is really in your heart to God? That does not mean you will be perfect overnight or that everything falls away and just say loving sweet things to each other. What really happens is you have a new desire, a new passion, that says “I know who I know who I know.” That is what makes you different for that difference is the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ living in you, knowing God and Jesus Christ. It is a growing process and you continue growing in Christ Jesus until the day you die. That is why scripture identifies you as a child of God. And what does a child do, he grows as God causes him to grow according to his perfect design.
1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
2 Corinthians 5:6-9
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
That is for those who choose life. What happens to those who choose death? They remain dead. They will not go into the presence of the Lord. Why? They do not want to. God does not condemn you to hell. You condemn yourself. You say in your heart, yet believing a lie, “I do not want to be around these stupid Christians. They are all hypocrites anyway.” Do not deny there is a place called hell anymore than denying there is darkness. Where there is darkness, there is light. There is light and there is darkness. There will be an eternal place of residence. You will live in the presence of God or live in accordance to your own choice away from the presence of God.
Unfortunately Satan is active and Satan would rather people associate Christmas with Santa Claus and get people’s attention away from the Truth and the Word of God, as reported by reliable eyewitnesses. So much attention is on this “What am I going to get for Christmas? What kind of Christmas tree should I get?” Yet, people who do not know Him are going to talk about Him. The world does not know Him and business owners will celebrate it. To them it is all about profit. No business owner will stop Christmas because he makes money off it. Yet, those who know the Lord, in their hearts they are rejoicing and thanking Him. Yet Christmas may be the only time some people will even hear the name Jesus. Many may become curious as to who this Jesus is that the whole world pays homage to.
Regardless of what you personally believe concerning Christmas, its pagan origins and the like that you may have studied and learned, use the opportunity to share from the gospel of Luke, who Jesus is and what he came to do. Use the opportunity to lead someone into a prayer of their heart, if indeed their heart is wanting a new life in Christ Jesus. Not all men will want that new life. The choice is theirs. My wife, Pam, not being raised in religion, saw a nativity scene outside someone’s home. She pondered in her heart what is the meaning of these things. So she walked into a church, a place of worship, for the very first time. Shortly thereafter, the pastor visited her in her home and shared the message of the gospel, which she readily accepted and believed.
Bob ends by leading people in a prayer. It seems the whole world pauses to pay homage to Jesus birth. He appeals to men to open their hearts to receive truth to set them free. Have you tried all kinds of things to find fulfillment in life and nothing works? So in a moment in time you can simply by faith accept Truth that went to the cross to take away sins in the eyes of God to never see again. Only sin attributable to mankind is sin of rejection of the finished work of Christ, his death, burial, and resurrection. Accept that work, thanking him for his forgiveness and receive his resurrected life. Become born again of the Spirit, a new man, a new creature in Christ for the first time to have meaning and purpose in your life? Rejoice with those who have believed and received this message.
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