Central Christian Church Lampasas
Immanuel: Love From God
Pastor Nathan explores the radical revolutionary demonstration of God’s love. Beginning Sunday, November 27th, Sundays at 10:30 AM
Locations & Times
  • Central Christian Church
    204 S Broad St, Lampasas, TX 76550, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Sunday, Dec 11th
Today -- Board Meeting & Congregational Meeting

Dec 11 -- Community Christmas Cantata
Dec 17 -- Men’s Breakfast
Dec 24 --Christmas Eve Service 6 PM
Dec 21 -- CWF
Dec 25 -- Christmas Service 10:30 AM ONLY -- No Bible Study
Dec 28 -- No Bible Study

Jan 1 -- Worship 10:30 AM ONLY -- No Bible Study

It was already the most important day of Zechariah's life. A priest could go years without pulling Temple duty; there were that many priests in Jerusalem. But Zechariah was about to have a dream come true. Not only has his name been drawn for Temple duty, but he is assigned to offer incense, which was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. When a priest offered incense, he was just outside the Veil, behind which was the Holy of Holies where the Shekinah Glory of God's presence was manifest. Only the high priest got closer to the revealed presence of God, and that was only once a year. Jewish tradition described a priest who gets to offer the incense as "rich and holy" for the rest of his life.

Zechariah had been trained for this possibility for much of his life and was carefully going through the steps assigned to him when he was interrupted by the angel of the Lord, Gabriel. Can you see this old man standing there with a censer in his hand and his mouth hanging open as he heard the words of the angel?
Well, Zechariah refused point blank to believe the angel. His answer in so many words is "senior adults don't have babies." And he implies he won't believe without a sign. So Gabriel basically says, "Here's your sign!" and from that moment forward through the next 9 months of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Zechariah didn't speak another word.

The next time Zechariah spoke, it was to name his son John as the angel instructed. In that joyous moment, as he held his son in his arms, Zechariah broke forth in a song of praise to God. It is his "Benedictus." The lyrics to his song take us behind the scenes into the heart of a godly man on the eve of the Incarnation, when God became man.
Each line is loaded with deep truth about one overwhelming reality: God has at long last come! Faith will become sight. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah pours out from his heart joy with a melody about the purpose and meaning of God in the flesh, dwelling among men. Immanuel is coming and the gentle mercy of love of God will be made flesh.

1. Love is a verb. God demonstrated His love for us through actions.
God sent John the Baptist and his Son.
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” ―C.S. Lewis

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision?” ―Erich Fromm

"Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less." Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote
2. God works through people to share his love.

This hymn surveys God's plan through the forerunner and the anointed Davidic heir. The Lord, the God of Israel, is blessed for how he works through these two major agents. Where Mary's hymn was cosmic and personal, Zechariah's is cosmic and universal. Zechariah rejoices that God has raised up the Davidic horn to do his work of deliverance, as well as sending a prophet to prepare the way for him. That deliverance possesses both political and spiritual dimensions, as verses 71-75 and 78-79 show. God is using John the Baptist to prepare people’s hearts for the coming of the Savior.

Luke describes the hymn as Spirit-inspired. In other Lukan accounts, often the Spirit's presence leads to a prophetic declaration or to praise (Acts 2:17-18; 11:27; 13:1; 19:6; 21:9). This hymn offers a divine commentary on God's plan. John is the prophet of the Most High pointing to Jesus, the bright Morning Star. So Zechariah highlights Jesus just as his son John will. Praise for Messianic Redemption (1:68-75)

John's birth means that God is once again working actively to redeem his promise (vv. 72-73). Zechariah praises God, for he has come and has redeemed his people. What the NIV refers to as God's coming heralds an important Lukan concept, God's visitation (1:78; 7:16; 19:44; Acts 15:14). This introduction makes the hymn a praise psalm. The theme of the praise occurs in verses 68-70, while the explanation of the theme involves the rest of the hymn. God's visitation comes in Messiah's visitation (Lk 2:26-32). God has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. God often acted in history to "raise up" a prophet (Deut 18:15, 18), a judge (Judg 3:9, 15), a priest (1 Sam 2:35) or a king (2 Sam 3:10). Luke likes the idea as well (Acts 3:22, 26; 13:22), showing how God directs the events of his plan.
3. If we love God and others, we will sacrificially spend our lives glorifying God and loving people.