#910. Luke 1. review - God foretells Jesus’ birth (2/10/23)
This week, in our devotionals, we are reviewing some aspects of Luke as we prepare to restart this series.
Lesson: God wants to build in us unshakeable faith and joyful, Spirit-inspired worship.
You can listen to this devotional at:
i. God wants to build in us unshakeable faith’
Luke begins his gospel by outlining his purpose in researching and writing:
‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ (Luke 1:1-4)
Luke outlines his great purpose in writing as helping this Roman dignitary, Theophilus, to grow in faith in the facts surrounding Jesus. This letter was also inspired by God to help us in a similar manner.
God foretells the birth of John The Baptist
In chapter 1, we are told of the visit of The Angel Gabriel to Zechariah. The angel informs him that after many childless years, he and his wife will give birth to John, who will prepare the people and the way for Jesus. Luke writes about John:
‘He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ (Luke 1:16-17)
ii. The response of joyful Spirit-inspired worship
Elizabeth is filled with the Spirit and overflows with worship as Mary comes to visit her. We read:
‘When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’ (1:41-42)
Luke also records Mary’s beautiful Spirit-inspired worship in what is often called The Magnificat. Mary is humbled at the honour of becoming the ‘mother of God’. Luke writes:
‘And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…’ (Luke 1:46-47)
In this account, Zechariah initial unbelief is also turned to Spirit-inspired worship. We read:
‘His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.’ (Luke 1:67-68)
God wants to build in us unshakeable faith and joyful, Spirit-inspired worship. He has given us His Word, particularly through the Gospel of Luke, so that we may read and understand the truth of what we believe. This written account also serves the purpose of enabling us to share the truth about Jesus with our community. However, the Christian life is not merely an academic pursuit. The Holy Spirit fills and inspires us in our faith and worship. Like Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah, He guides us on a journey toward faith and joyful, Spirit-inspired worship.
As we prepare to restart this series, I encourage you to read Luke chapter 1 and pray about the aspects that the Spirit brings to your attention.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY -SIV WEEK
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Study and pray together - This week is 'SIV' Week.
Last Sunday, it was a joy to have a child dedication and a number of baptisms. It was also very encouraging to have so many guests amongst us to celebrate and hear the gospel. I hope we can see that this Sunday was a snapshot of what every Sunday could be like if we all got serious about SIV and praying about it.
Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus. As we begin, and sorry if this is a bit repetitive, let's ensure that we understand what our SIV strategy is.
SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
Discussion and prayer
As we look to restart our Luke series this coming Sunday, please read Luke 1:76-79.
How are we to continue the ministry of John the Baptist?
What does this text teach about our message and the source of our confidence?
Do you have any encouraging stories of how you've been serving, investing and inviting?
Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the places and people that God has given to you? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable?
Let's pray for ourselves and our community together. Let's pray for the particular people that God is putting on your heart. Lets pray for the Holy Spirit to empower and direct us in how to Serve, invest and invite.