Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 6
August 22, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<087> Thesis: The methodological difference between life and death is the attitude one takes toward the "personal" word of God. Introduction: In our study last week, we saw that Luke was attempting to get Theophilus to consider the answer to a most basic question: Have I any value to God? We saw that, behind the statements regarding the hill country of Judaea, there exists a dominant theme: Yahweh is going to arise from the hill country in order to "help" those whom He values very highly. At the end of that study we noted that the chief difference for men is not whether they are valuable to God -- all men have enormous value to God -- but whether they are going to embrace the fact of their value by "faith" -- the kind of conviction that dominates their emotional lives. Our current text concerns a man who did not embrace that fact early on and, as a consequence, was growing into a cynical old man. Consider what Zacharias' life would have been like, and what his contribution to his family and neighbors would have been, had he known and believed the content of Luke 1. My claim this morning is that if he had believed the early words of God, he would have known -- maybe not the specific details, but at least the general outline. Every record in the Old Testament of a "barren" woman who believed and practiced the covenant was a record of an extraordinary child to come...Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Samuel. This morning we are going to see that Luke actually determined to focus on this issue with his next words regarding Zacharias. There is one great issue before man: it is not whether he is important to God or not; it is whether he believes the fact that he is important to God.