HOW TO SPEAK YOUR CONVICTIONS by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: Let me share something before we begin – everyday I meet someone who is listening to our 2 radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings or someone who knows someone who is listening to our messages. I am truly humbled and grateful at what God is doing. We are in our series on the life of Christ from all four gospels and this morning I am preaching a message starting in Luke 1:57 titled, “HOW TO SPEAK YOUR CONVICTIONS.” Many of us want to be bold about our faith and, at the same time, we don’t want to sound arrogant, obnoxious, and belligerent. In this message we will meet 2 people who will show us how to speak our convictions the right way.
Luke 1 57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son…59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.
Overall Background: As you may remember, Zachariah was a priest at the Temple and one day when he was burning incense (a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity), the angel Gabriel came to him and declared that he will be a father. Zechariah was up in age and so was Elizabeth and his reaction was “how shall I know this?” For that statement of unbelief, the Angel struck him with aphonia or mutism – he couldn’t speak anymore. Instead of remaining in doubt and fear, Zechariah and Elizabeth chose to trust God and, as you can understand, they did something about it (no virgin birth here). Nine months later Elizabeth gave birth to a son. There was no doubt in their minds that this baby was from God. But, for the neighbors and the relatives, it was another story. This is where Zechariah and Elizabeth shared with them what God had done in their life.
Sometimes we think that in order to share our faith in Jesus with our neighbors and relatives, we have to know every answer to every question in the Bible. We think that we have to be able to preach like the pastor or teach like the Sunday school teacher or read the latest book on the subject. All that is wonderful but an easier and more effective way is to invite people into your life, let them see what God has done for you, and tell them what he can do for them.
Application: Let me ask you – Are you speaking your convictions to your neighbors and relatives? Are you sharing with others what Jesus has done for you? Do you have a testimony to share? If not, you need to be saved before you can try to save others.
Let’s see from the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth how to speak your convictions:
1. REJOICE DURING TRIALS.
57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 “When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.”
Background: When the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah, he not only promised that he would have a son but he promised something more in Luke 1:14 “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” Meaning: Your miracle will bring joy to others. Just as he promised, the neighbors and relatives rejoiced. But there are two words that we often skip over. “They rejoiced with her.” It’s because Zechariah and Elizabeth responded with joy and gladness that the neighbors and relatives also responded with joy. Let me ask you – how would they have responded if Zechariah and Elizabeth had been faithless, frustrated, and frazzled?
Let me clarify: To rejoice does not mean they didn’t have some struggles. I’m sure Elizabeth had the same struggles that any pregnant woman goes through? You think she had morning sickness, cried without reason, and had cravings?
Illustration: I remember one night when Nicole was pregnant with Rebecca. We were living in Georgia at the time and I was working at an automotive plant. I had to pick heavy barrels of fiberglass boards all day long and then wash them in these industrial size washing machines. My body would be sore and I had this incredible itch all over from fiberglass being all over my clothes. Needless to say, when I lay down, I was out. One night I had just lain down and I heard these words, “What time does Shoney’s close?” My answer – “Its 9:30 at night.” She continued, “What if we left right now? Do you think we could make it in time for me to have their hot fudge sundae?” Long story short – she had hot fudge sundae that night!
I’m sure that Zechariah and Elizabeth had the same struggles that any expecting couple goes through and maybe even more because of their age. But in spite of that, they chose to rejoice. It’s not fake happiness or keeping a stoic smile. It is an attitude of the heart. It’s a spirit of trust that God is in control of the situation.
As Christians we are to rejoice in all situations. Psalm 5:11 “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.” Philippians 4:4-5 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men.”
Application: How do you respond to trials in your life? Do you gripe, worry, get angry, blame someone, or even blame God? When you do that, you destroy your testimony before others. James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” I’m sure Elizabeth and Zechariah struggled and yet they rejoiced. Are you rejoicing right now knowing that God is working all things together for good? Are people around you rejoicing because they see you rejoicing?
2. STAND TOGETHER IN BIBLICAL CONVICTIONS.
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias.
Background: In those days in Eastern cultures it was not impolite or out-of-the-way for neighbors and relatives to help in naming the child. In this situation the people were so happy for Zechariah and Elizabeth that they had a child in their old age that they wanted to name him after Zechariah. After all, Zechariah is not a bad name. It means “Yahweh has remembered again.” How can that be wrong? Their intentions were good but the angel Gabriel had already told Zechariah what the name of his baby should be in Luke 1:13, “and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” So listen to Elizabeth’s response in verse 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.” Even though Zechariah was mute, he must have written the name down for Elizabeth. But the crowd was relentless – verse 61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Why did they marvel? Because Zechariah and Elizabeth were on the same page.
What a beautiful sight! Both husband and wife are in agreement. They share the same convictions. They’re not undermining each other. There is no “I’ll see what mom has to say or best buddy has to say.” How awesome for the world to see a family united! They may disagree over ball teams and favorite foods but when it comes to God, Jesus, and His Word, there is uncompromising unity.
Illustration: Nicole and I are different and yet we have the same convictions.
Ladies – follow your husbands in obeying the Lord. Men – lead your wives in the way of God, not with some legalistic mess that you learned from legalistic church or pastor. Instead, lead your family to turn away from sin, trust Christ, obey His Word, and walk in the Spirit. It’s a beautiful thing to the world.
Application: How do the people around you see you? Do they see you as a family that is together in convictions and faith? How do they see a church in their convictions? What better testimony can you demonstrate before the watching world? A family/church that is bickering and fussing is a poor testimony for the gospel.
3. BE OBEDIENT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
What happened when Zachariah and Elizabeth were united in biblical convictions? 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. When a family or a church is united, God has the freedom to work. Unity opens the door for God to come in and do the miraculous.
What’s the result? 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; Our community needs some fear. I’ve been in this community for about 16 years. There is very little fear of the Lord. The way people talk about God, church, pastors, and church people is despicable! Why? Because there is no miraculous. Growing up in non-Christian country, even most non-Christians would show some respect for the things of God.
and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. Our community needs some discussion. Again, I’ve been in this community for about 16 years. People discuss everything from crime, politics, sports, and each other. There is very little godly discussion happening. Why? Because there is no miraculous. Start seeing people getting saved and discussion will begin.
Now this is important – 67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: Meaning: Zechariah is under the authority and direction of the Holy Spirit. He is submitted to the Spirit of God.
What we’re about to read is known as the Benedictus from the Latin first line – Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel – which is part of liturgies, Lauds and Matins.
68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
In other words, Zechariah is sharing the gospel. In my opinion, this is the first gospel presentation in the New Testament!
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, 71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. 76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Wow! Zechariah and Elizabeth shared the gospel with those around them in the power of the Holy Spirit. What a great example!
Are you sharing the gospel with people around you?
Do you know the gospel yourself?