Posted by Peter Thompson

Luke 1:11-17

Used By God: John

INTRODUCTION:  This story is a precursor to the Christmas story.  It is the story of Zachariah the priest.  He was the father of John the Baptist.  He is being told by the angel Gabriel here that John is going to be born.  As the angel is telling Zachariah about this, he describes how John is going to be used by God.  It struck me as I studied this passage, that everything that John would do for God, God still intends for you and I to be doing today.  No, we are not to dress in skins and eat locust out in the wilderness like John the Baptist.  But we are to be submissive like He was so that we can be used by God.  This is a prophetic message that Gabriel delivers, he was speaking about what kind of man that John would be, and John was exactly that man in his life.  There are three characteristics of John that you should possess if you want to be used by God.

  1. YOU SHOULD BE HIGHLY ESTEEMED IN THE EYES OF GOD (V. 15A)
  2. Gabriel told Zachariah that his son would be “great”
  3. The word “great” when referring to a person like it is here has the idea of importance and rank
  4. It is the same word that Gabriel used when describing Jesus to Mary
  5. He would be highly esteemed, well known, for the things he would do, the person that he was, the authority that he had and the power he wielded
  6. But look how that sentence concludes
  7. When this word is used of Jesus later in this chapter it refers to how great Jesus would be in the eyes of all the people
  8. But here, the end of the sentence says that John would great “in the sight of the Lord”
  9. Do you see what is going on here, John would be highly esteemed by God for the things that he would do, the person that he would be and the authority and power that he carried
  10. Wow! God thought John was amazing!
  11. That is why in Matthew 11:9 Jesus speaking about John the Baptist said, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”
  12. Why did God think so highly of John, because John lived his life for the approval of God
  13. He did everything God told him to do, including living out in the wilderness surviving on honey and locusts
  14. This man gave it all up for God, and spend his life serving God completely
  15. That made him great in the eyes of God
  16. Did you know that you can be great in the eyes of God too
  17. How do you do it?
  18. The same way that John did it
  19. You give everything up for God
  20. You serve God as if He is the only thing that matters
  21. Because truly He is all that matters
  22. God where God tells you to go
  23. Do what God tells you to do
  24. Even if it requires great sacrifice on your part
  25. And when you all out, nothing held back, serve God like that
  26. You will be used of God greatly like John the Baptist was
  27. And God will think you are great too
  28. YOU SHOULD BE SEPARATED FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD (V. 15B)
  29. Zachariah was given some instruction here about how he was supposed to raise this child
  30. John was not to drink any wine
  31. In fact John was not to drink any strong drink
  32. We see similar instructions given to Samson’s parents in the Old Testament
  33. The reason is that these men were supposed to be completely separated for the work of God
  34. They were to remain pure, holy without blemish, so that God could use them
  35. John the Baptist was to be God’s tool, controlled by God and he could not do that if he was being controlled by drink
  36. Gabriel goes on to say that he will be filled with the Spirit of God from his mother’s womb
  37. You see, he was not to be controlled by drink, but controlled by the Spirit of God
  38. God was going to use John in a mighty way when John let God control him and nothing else
  39. He was separated for God’s work
  40. Did you know that you have the same commandment from God?
  41. Ephesians 5:18 commands Christian people “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
  42. That is exactly the same thing that the angel says here about John
  43. He would not be drunk with win or any other strong drink but would be filled with the spirit all of his life
  44. You are to be controlled by the Spirit of God all of your life
  45. You are not to be controlled by drink or anything else, God is to have complete control over you
  46. You are set aside to the work of God
  47. He saved you, He washed you, He made you ready to work for Him
  48. That is what your life should be about
  49. Not getting things, not making your family comfortable, but serving God with all of you
  50. Set aside for God’s work
  51. In Romans 12:1 the scripture reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
  52. Reasonable service, means that it is the least you can do to meet the expectations of God
  53. What is the least you can do, give you life completely to God as a sacrifice
  54. It belongs to Him, to do only His work-make it that way so that you can truly be used of God
  55. YOU SHOULD MAKE PEOPLE READY TO RECEIVE JESUS (VS. 16-17)
  1. Gabriel gets down to the real reason that John the Baptist was coming into the world
  2. Because of John the Baptist, many people in Israel would turn back to their God in v. 16
  3. He would have the Spirit of God and the power of God like Elijah did (v. 17)
  4. Do you remember the stories about Elijah
  5. He is the one that stood on the mountain with the prophets of Bail and called down fire out of heaven to consume his water drenched sacrifice
  6. He followed that up by killing every prophet of Bail in the kingdom and calling on the nation of Israel to turn back to the one true God
  7. John the Baptist had that same Spirit and power
  8. Why did he have it?
  9. To turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children-in other words to put love back in families
  10. To turn the disobedient into wise, just people that came back to God
  11. He was going to do that by preparing a people for the Lord
  12. John’s job was to get people ready to receive Jesus
  13. He was to clear the path for Jesus, by getting people ready to receive Him
  14. Did you know that your job is the same
  15. You cannot change people’s hearts
  16. You cannot save people so you shouldn’t even try to do that
  17. You see the work of saving people belongs to Jesus Christ
  18. But your job, just like John’s job, is to get people ready to receive Jesus when He makes himself known to them through His Holy Spirit
  19. We are to tell people that Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life
  20. We are to tell people that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for their sin
  21. We are to tell people that Jesus rose from the grave
  22. We are to tell people that the way to accept Jesus is to believe that he did those things and make Him master of their lives
  23. So that when the Holy Spirit of God gets hold of their heart and convinces them to come to God, they will know exactly how to do that because you have prepared them
  24. Your job is to prepare people to answer the call of the Holy Spirit of God so that they can receive Jesus
  25. Obey God, and get busy doing that work, so that He can use you in that way

CONCLUSION:  Too many of us are looking to see what God can do for us.  We want to see Him give us peace.  We want to see Him forgive our sins.  We want to see Him give us eternal life.  We want to see Him give us joy and happiness.  Although God will do all of those things as you draw close to Him, your focus should not be on what God is going to do for you, but how you can be used for Him.  You should desire to be highly esteemed in the eyes of God, separated for the service of God and busy about making people ready to receive Jesus.