Study # 7
October 12, 2003
Lincolnton, N.C.

Thesis: Joyful fearlessness springs from realizing that because of grace there is no possibility of destructive judgment. Introduction: [Read Luke 1:13-14.] As we have been considering Luke's record of Zacharias' fear at the appearance of Gabriel, we have discovered that the fear was not a momentary thing for Zacharias. It was a deeper reality with a continuing presence. And we have seen that the promise of joy was not dependent upon a changing of most of the circumstances of Zacharias' life. He was still going to be living under Herod's rule; he was still going to be living in a corrupt religious environment; and the grief of this world was not going to diminish significantly at all. Actually, in terms of circumstances, only one thing was going to change: his wife was going to have a son and cease to be barren. But the angel promised that this one change would bring about an enduring "joy". When we look at the majority of this world and the level of desperation with which it lives, we have to wonder how the birth of a baby was going to bring about an on-going joy in the lives of those who had been living in fear. The key to the answer, as we have already seen, is in the angelic instruction to name him "John". This morning we want to look into the significance of understanding that Yahweh is gracious. How does coming to grips with grace lead to an abiding joy?