5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
Jesus’ evaluation of John the Baptist was this; “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. . .” (Matthew 11:11).
Now that is quite a commentary for the Lord to say about anyone. How would you like to have that said about one of your children?
I believe in our passage we can see the formula for producing children that will be Biblically sound, honorable, and working for God.
Today, when it seems that humanism has just about taken over our public school classrooms and when secularism controls the thinking process of (much of the) media, many parents have thrown up their hands and said, “I give up! What’s the use?!”
In this passage we see a family that was successful in their marriage and in raising their child. How did they do it? How did they grow a child that could be used in such a mighty way by God?
I. BOTH PARENTS WERE SAVED! (Vs 6) And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
It is very difficult, to produce godly children when one or both of the parents are unsaved.
You want to know why so many homes fail and families are ruined? Many times it boils down to one or both of the parents being unsaved.
They may go to Church. They may know how to talk like Christians talk at Church.
They may even profess Christ with their lips. But, when it comes down to truly being born again, they don’t know the Lord. It is next near to impossible to raise spiritual children, if you are spiritually dead yourself!
But, we see that John the Baptist’s parents were both saved and it made a difference in His life.
II. BOTH PARENTS WERE FAITHFUL IN THEIR DUTY TO GOD!
A. These Parents Were Obedient To The Commandments And Ordinances Of The Lord. (Vs 6) (i.e. They provided a good example for their child.)
Think about some things with me for a moment:
• How can we teach a child to be faithful if we are not faithful?
• How can we teach our child to be honest when the checkout clerk gives us too much change and we keep it rather than doing the right thing and returning it?
• How can we teach our child not to curse or take God’s name in vain if we curse or take God’s name in vain?
• How can we teach our child not to smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs if they know that we are guilty of smoking, drinking or using drugs?
• How can we teach our child to have the proper love and respect for the things of God, if we fail to have the proper love and respect for the things of God.
• How can we teach our child to be pure and if we plop down in front of the TV set and feed our mind and theirs on the trash and garbage that Hollywood and its crowd have to offer?
What I am saying here is this:
We teach our children more by our lives than we ever teach them with our lips!
What we do speaks so loud that it can (and oftentimes does) drown out what we say!
Our children are often just exactly what we have raised them to be.
If they grow up living lives that displease the Lord, could it be because we failed in our example?
Let me ask you something Mom and Dad. How are you doing in your obedience to the commandments and ordinances of God?
I can assure you that your obedience or disobedience will have a profound effect on the kind of child you raise.
Your disobedience will have a negative impact.
Your obedience will have a positive impact.
These Parents Were Obedient To The Commandments And Ordinances Of The Lord.
B. These Parents Were Faithful In Performing That Which God Had Called Them To Be And Do. (Vs 8-9) And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
Zachairias’ duty was to burn incense in the temple and he was performing that duty.
So many young people never amount to anything for God because they have observed mom and dad’s unfaithfulness in God’s work. (And don’t think they don’t notice!)
(I’m talking about folks who have no real life to their service and no real concern for their service. I’m talking about folks who just go through the motions of their service out of duty rather than out of love for God and others.)
Both Parents Were Saved!
Both Parents Were Faithful In Their Duty To God!
III. BOTH PARENTS FOLLOWED THE WILL OF GOD WHEN IT WAS CONTRARY TO THEIR PEERS! (Vs 59-63) And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
A. Jewish Tradition Did Not Deter Them.
1. Sons were named after their kindred.
2. There was no one named John in Zacharias’ family.
B. Criticism Did Not Deter Them.
• Zacharias was a priest breaking tradition.
• The Lord said, “Thou shalt call his name John.”
• They weren’t influenced by social pressures.
Both Parents Were Saved!
Both Parents Were Faithful In Their Duty To God!
Both Parents Followed The Will Of God When It Was Contrary To Their Peers!
IV. BOTH PARENTS WERE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT! (Vs 41, 67)
Ephesians 5:18–“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
A. This Is Not A Conviction, It Is A Command.
B. Being Filled With The Spirit Is Necessary For Doing God’s Work In God’s Way.
C. Many Parents Are Failing Because The Holy Spirit (does not) Control Their Lives.
What should we do about what we’ve heard?
What do we do if we have messed up with our children and we know we need to change?
1. We need to admit our mistakes and then determine to do something about it.
• If you are saved and have been a bad example, be honest with God and with your children, then (by God’s grace and help) change.
2. Make all decisions based on Bible principles and teachings. If you don’t know what the Bible says about certain things, then seek help.
3. by God’s grace, determine to be faithful in all areas of your Christian life and then be faithful.
4. Ask (God) to help you raise your children in the way that would be pleasing to Him.
Proverbs 22:6–“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
HOW TO RAISE A CROOK!
1. Begin from infancy to give the child everything he wants. This way he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. It will encourage him to pick up “cuter” phrases that will blow your mind later.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and then let him decide for himself.
4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong”. It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later when he is arrested for stealing a car that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up anything he leaves lying around — books, shoes, clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing the responsibility onto others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feed on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of the children. Then they won’t be too shocked when the home is broken up.
8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustrations.
10. Take his part against the neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourselves by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
12. Prepare for a life of grief — you will have it!