Study # 8
October 19, 2003
Lincolnton, N.C.

<018> Thesis: The joy John was to bring was the joy of being deeply connected to the gracious God. Introduction: [Read Luke 1:15-17.] As we have moved through some of the details of Luke's record of John's coming into the world, we have noticed a specific focus on the issues of fear, joy, and grace. Zacharias, who was a fearful man, was promised a coming joy because he was to have a son named Yahweh is Gracious. Last week we considered the specific identity of grace and saw that it requires of us that we cease looking for ways to leverage our wants and settle into a realization that Yahweh is already committed to meeting our needs -- if He can do so without setting disaster in motion. Our greatest need is a love/faith heart/mind reality that is focused upon Truth. If God meets any lesser need without meeting that need, disaster is lurking around the corner. This morning we are going to begin to look into the angelic rationale for the promise of coming joy. Zacharias was promised that he would have great joy, and that it would become a characteristic of his life so that fear would become a diminishing commodity in his experience. This would happen at a fundamental level because he would come to grips with the reality of Yahweh's gracious character. But, it was going to happen at a methodological level because Yahweh's gracious character was going to produce a son for him who would have four major characteristics. Our text tells us that John was going to be great before the Lord, that he would abstain from wine and strong drink, that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb, and that he would be a divine instrument for the conversion of many in Israel. Our question is this: how does having a son who will be all of these things bring a man out of an abiding fear into a consistently joyful heart?