Christmas - Praise God

Bible Book: Luke  1 : 8-50
Subject: Birth of Christ; Christmas; Blessings

It’s easy to get caught up in the “busy-ness” of the Christmas season that we fail to appreciate the “blessings” of our Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God! We tend to take for granted the incredible gift of salvation God brought down to mankind in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can get so wrapped up in all our “Christmas duties” that we neglect the “consistent devotion” in worship that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Someone has written that people use Xmas and it means Xhaustion, Xcuses, Xchanges, Xcesses, Xtravagances, Xasperations, Xhibitions and worldly Xcitement. How much better to make the Lord Jesus Christ the very center of our Christmas observance. Let’s keep Christ in Christmas!

The Bible teaches that Christ followers are a “chosen generation,” a “holy nation,” “His own special people,” that we might proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2.9). Christians must be known for their lifestyle of worship to the King of Kings and Lord and Lords!

A look into the life, struggles, faith of priest Zacharias, his wife, Elizabeth, and their miraculous/mission called son, John the Baptist, will give us great inspiration to continually “praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

I. Answers to Prayer

A. Faultless Devotion

Luke 1:5-6, 8-10

Just one look at Zacharias and Elizabeth and you can tell this is one married couple with a heart for God and the things of God.

Zachariah’s name means “Yahweh remembers” and Elizabeth’s name means “God is my oath” or “worshipper of God.”

To say they are “righteous” does not mean they were perfect or sinless – rather their lives were totally devoted to serving the Lord.

They loved and obeyed God…doing what He willed, not what they willed for their lives.

That’s where worship of the Lord really begins! It’s not about me…It’s about Him! Understanding that God has sent His Son the Lord Jesus Christ – to be the total Lord and Savior of your life should lead you to worship and serve Him!

Romans 14:7-9, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died (crucifixion) and rose (resurrection) and lived again (exaltation), that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”

The word “worship” is shortened from the old word “worth-ship” - showing God the worth He deserves from your life!

B. Fortitude Developed

Luke 1:7, 25

In spite of the fact that Zacharias and Elizabeth loved God with all their heart, soul, and strength… they still had problems in life! They lived under an oppressive government, Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

The Bible teaches that children are a gift from the Lord. Many people in these days believed that being barren meant God’s frowning displeasure was upon you.

Think of the pain and shame Elizabeth felt. Perhaps other ladies of faith looked down on her because they had been blessed by God and Elizabeth had not.

Be aware of attributing your blessings to your own personal godliness! God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve. God in His mercy does not give us what we do deserve!

Perhaps this morning, you find it hard to praise the Lord because of difficult circumstances, guilt, pain in your life. Let’s remember we praise Him first and foremost because He is God…not because life is always Good from our limited standpoint!

"I shall meet tomorrow bravely, I am stronger now,

The disappointments that befell me strengthened me somehow

The dawn shall find my face uplifted,

Serene, in the sun,

And with Him my problems sifted,

One by one."

C. Fears and Doubts

Luke 1:11-25

God came to Zacharias in the form of the angel, Gabriel with good news and answer to their most heartfelt prayer!

God would supernaturally enable them to conceive a son whose name would be “John.”

Luke 1:15-17 tells us John would bring “gladness,” be “great,” “godly,” and “gifted.” Ultimately, His life would bring much Glory To God!

Zacharias and Elizabeth were so blessed of God! Answer to prayer! A godly son who would serve the Messiah!

Instead of being overcome with praise, Zacharias us overloaded in unbelief!

Because of his unbelief, he would have to go a full 9 months before he would be able to speak again!

Once, an unbeliever visited Isaac Newton, the great English scientist and Christian. Newton had a mechanical model of the solar system in his study. The unbeliever asked, “Who made this?” “Nobody,” Mr. Newton replied promptly. “You must think I am a fool!” the unbeliever said, “It would take a genius to make this.” Newton said, “This is only a puny imitation of a much grander system. I cannot convince you that this mere toy is without a designer, yet you profess to believe that the great original from which this design is taken has come into being without a Designer or a Maker.”

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God Must Believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

You and I have God’s Holy Word to build our faith upon – yet we must believe and act upon His Word to enjoy the full benefits of it!

II. Assurances from The Past

A. Family Feud

Luke 1:57-66

Time came for Elizabeth to bring forth her son. The neighbors and relatives got all happy for Elizabeth, but then they tried to take control by forcing her to name the baby after Zacharias! They can’t make Elizabeth change her mind, so they go to John! John’s been waiting 9 months for this day and he writes down on the tablet, “HIS NAME IS JOHN!”

Family is one of life’s greatest blessings from God, but don’t let them keep you from being obedient to the will of God! Think of the sheer joy and happiness that Zacharias had as the Lord opened his mouth miraculously and he began to praise God!

B. Filled and Focused

Luke 1:67

Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit to speak God’s praises and to tell glad tidings of salvation for all people! The purpose of the Holy Spirit filling our lives is not mainly for an emotional experience where we go into some kind of trance and fall out! The purpose of the Holy Spirit filling our lives is that we will be witnesses unto the Lord of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Dr. Jack Graham is one of my favorite pastors and in a sermon recently he said, “Far too many of us are more interested in the “feeling of the Spirit,” over the “filling of the Spirit!” Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Being filled with God’s Spirit is for every single child of God - not just “the elite.”

C. Forever Faithful - Our Fortress

Luke 1:68-73

Zacharias praised God for visiting and saving His people!

The Jews were primarily interested in a “political deliverer” – one who would free them from the oppressive Roman government - Yet the primary purpose of Jesus was not political in agenda, rather personal, peaceful, and powerful in assuring us that our sins have been forgiven by a Holy God!

The coming of the Baby Jesus through the lineage of David, in a lowly manger in Bethlehem to be our Savior is certainly reason for praise to God! As the Prophet Isaiah tells, “…of His kingdom there will be no end! Zacharias also recalls God’s covenant promises to Abraham.

Genesis 22:16-18 - Abraham was faithful to obey God to the point of being willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. God promised by Himself that Abraham and all his descendants would be forever blessed and Zacharias is rejoicing in God’s forever faithfulness!

Looking back at the faithfulness of God in times past brings great assurance to our hearts that He is just as faithful now!

A missionary returned to the little village which had been destroyed by the enemies of the gospel. He found the people weeping over the ashes which were previously their thatched roofs. One of the natives said to him, “They even burned my Bible and my hymn book!” And then in the ruins he saw a little white paper not totally burned. He picked it up and read it. The only thing that remained was “Joy to the World, the Lord is come.” He stopped for a moment and then he said, “That’s enough for me.”

III. Anchors in the Present

A. Anchor #1 - Freedom from Fear

Luke 1:74

With Zachariah, we can praise God today because in the coming of Jesus we’ve been “delivered from the hand of our enemies,” (Sin, Satan, Death) that we might “serve Him without fear.”

Because you have a Savior in the Lord Jesus Christ – without fear you can look at people in the eye and say, “Merry Christmas!” rather than Happy Holidays.

Because of Jesus - You can go to bed at night without fear that whatever “bad news” you’ve heard through the day will over take the “good news” that Jesus is Lord and you belong to Him!

Because of Jesus - You can look at death without fear and say, “I know the One who was dead, yet now is alive and I will reign with Him through all eternity!" Rev. 1:17-18

Does fear or faith control you today? Fear is a choice and faith is a choice and the only way to break free of fear is to know the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ!

One writer said it this way: “The greatness of our fears shows us the littleness of our faith.”

B. Anchor # 2 - Forgiveness of Sins

Luke 1:77

John the Baptist would preach about salvation and remission of sins. As sinners what we need more than anything else is a Savior. There is nothing that you and I can do to become good enough or somehow “earn” God’s forgiveness.

One of my pastor friends, David Lyle, recently wrote in our evangelism blog that the one thing he must never forget is that he is a sinner in need of a Savior. It’s so true, but so easily forgotten! Have you come to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins and an everlasting salvation? Jesus is the “horn of salvation” for us.

The word “horn” has come to signify a figure of beauty, power, and dominion.

One has said, “In speaking of Christ as a Horn of Salvation, Zechariah meant to emphasize the glory and beauty of the Savior, His supreme and universal dominion and His infinite and divine power. It is coronation, singing, “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.”

C. Future That Is Bright

Luke 1:78-80

We look at our world today and these words seem more real than ever before. It is a world full of “darkness” and “death.” People need the light of Jesus Christ today just as much as they ever did. Aren’t you thankful this morning that no matter how dark it gets…no matter how real death is…that there is the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Malachi 4:2, “But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.”


As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, “Dear, something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a big game hunting expedition and everybody makes much of him, but nobody gives two hoots about us. If God is running this world, why does he permit such injustice?” When the ship docked, a band was waiting there to greet the president. The mayor of New York was there, along with other leaders of the nation. The papers were full of the president’s arrival, but no one even noticed this missionary couple. That night the man’s spirit just broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly.” His wife replied, “Why don’t you go in the bathroom and talk to the Lord about this whole thing?” A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked him, “Dear, what happened?” “Yes,” he said, “the Lord has settled it with me. I told him how bitter I was that the president should receive this tremendous homecoming, who no one met us when we returned home. And you know, when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, “But you’re not home yet!” –Ray Stedman, Talking to My Father

It’s so easy to get caught up in the momentary pains and strains of life, sometimes even to the neglect of how great our hope in the Lord Jesus is!

The Bible teaches that Christians are called to continually be “praising God from whom all blessings flow.” This is not always easy because our circumstance or struggles can make it difficult to worship Him faithfully. However, God has answered prayer, assured us of His work in the past, and anchored us in freedom, forgiveness, and a forever future with Him. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!