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W: 12/08/19: Elizabeth: The Friend

“Elizabeth: The Friend”

Series: Five Christmases

December 7 & 8, 2019

In this Christmas series we are looking at Christmas from 5 characters connected to the story of Jesus’, Emmanuel, God who is with us. Last wk Pastor Mark spoke Jesus mother Mary, soon to be husband, Joseph, Jesus’ Father. Each message is an “F” Today it’s Mary’s Friend, Elizabeth.

She’s a cousin to Mary, not sure if it’s a first cousin, but she’s ohana. Just like in Hawaii, you could be someone’s distant relative, but you’re still ohana, and can tell each other “Eh cous”. That was Elizabeth to Mary.

Today we’ll be talk about the power of belief, Faith in God and his promises tied to Peace (hand motion). How many of you wanna experience peace in this hectic time of year? You’re in a good place then.

Elizabeth knows well that Mary isn’t married and is hapai, carrying a child. Most people would disassociate themselves from Mary as she violated Joseph as we learned last week and shamed her family, but as we just saw, Elizabeth doesn’t reject Mary. Instead she embraces her and amazingly celebrates with Mary. Probably the only friend that Mary has at this point!

Why is that? It’s cuz Elizabeth believes in the promise that Mary is gonna carry this Christ child. She’s such a great friend as she validates Mary, honors her, accepts her, and celebrates with her the good news.

We all need friends like that who in the midst of what may not look like good news, would be there with us, for us, never abandoning us even when it looks bad

Let’s read more about Elizabeth. (in your notes)

5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. (Luke 1:5-6 NLT)

One thing we know for sure is that both Elizabeth and her husband Zecharish were pono people! Doing what God commanded them to do.  

We can learn from Elizabeth amazing faith, belief in the promise for her child, John, and Mary’s future child the messiah! She is a champion of faith

(And what is faith) This is what the author of Hebrews says about faith. . .

FAITH: “FAITH IS THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE CONVICTION OF THINGS NOT SEEN.” HEBREWS 11:1 ESV

Tonight, today, let’s focus on . . .

THREE THINGS WE LEARN FROM ELIZABETH:

She. . .

1. Find PEACE in God’s PROMISES

Elizabeth finds peace in God’s promise. The promise that she’ll give birth to a son in her old age and he’ll be a special son, and that her cousin Mary will be the mother of our savior, Jesus. That peace would allow her to celebrate with Mary when many others didn’t.

And God’s trustworthy promises should produce peace in our lives. And I’ll focus on this in tonight/today’s message.

This is not in your bulletin notes, but I wanted you catch this interaction that Elizabeth’s husband had with an angel who appeared to him.

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”  18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
“19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

Gabriel, didn’t find peace in God’s promises, so the Angel silenced him. You aren’t gonna be able to fulfill your priestly duties.

In this season that should bring us great peace knowing that Our Savior, the one who saves us from all kinds of hard life circumstances, sadly many of us are not experiencing peace. We worry about this, that. . . . We stay up late at night spinning on things: I looked online on what we Americans worry, and anxious about the most All start with “F”: Finances (how I gonna pay for that, save for this), our Future, (Fitness) health, Family (relationship – marriage, kids, other relationships)

This scripture we just read is speaking about Elizabeth’s husband who didn’t believe, and cuz of that, he was silenced. I haven’t heard of someone being silenced by an angel of the Lord because they chose not to believe the good news, but that’s what happened to Zechariah. His very name in Hebrew means Yahweh remembers, but he seems to forget that God’s promises are trustworthy!

And I know of many who like Zechariah fail to believe or forget the promises God gives them and they are affected in other ways: Share of other ways. Worry and Anxiety are those side effects. (THINK OF SOME)

Zechariah was rigid, firm in his thinking that he couldn’t father a son in his old age! He wasn’t open to hearing a promise from an angel who appeared to him f2f.

Have you seen or interacted with an angel? Maybe you have? The author of Hebrews says this, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”

Do you realize that PEACE is not the absence of hard times, conflict, struggle, warfare! So if you are thinking how can I have peace, cuz I have all these things happening in my life. That’s not PEACE. PEACE is this, having this sense that everything will be okay, everything will work out, I choose not to get negatively affected, provoked to anxiety or worry, when facing the hard times. Students you can find peace in the midst of your finals, Peace when things are not going well at work, in your home, in your relationships! Not a no care attitude, but one that says, “God I let you control what’s going on”

I was reminded of this past week. I was upgrading my kitchen appliances this past week. I’ve lived in my house for almost 20 years, so we’ve been way overdue for some changes. Bought a gently used replacement dishwasher on FB marketplace, it was a great deal! And I thought it was gonna be an easy installation, but boy I was wrong. I had to go to the hardware store, no joke, four times, each time not getting the right fitting. My initial irritation, turned into frustration, and frustration into anger, and anger into impatience! Definitely, no peace whatever. I was wasting my time with this what I thought was God’s provision for a new appliance!

In my final trip to the hardware store, God spoke to me. Didn’t I provide for you! Didn’t I give you a new stove, a saw an electric range on FB Marketplace, noticed I knew the person, went over and they gave it to me!

Pastor Mark helped me haul it. After four trips back and forth to the hardware store, I was I finally was able to install it!

You know what this is, it’s a PEX pipe. Many of your mauka homes are fitted with these pipes.

And it took me time to get the right fittings (not brass, compression fitting, wrong size, too short hose, all to connect my new dishwasher, I did this sort of as a Christmas gift for my wife, but it was turning out as the dishwasher from hell in my mind. Why do this? And it didn’t help when my wife said, why do we need a new dishwasher, we’ve been ok with hand washing for so long! In my mind, I go through all this and you don’t even care!

On my last trip to the hardware store, God spoke and said “Earl, why are you not at peace! Didn’t I provide for you these appliances” You gotta be like this PEX pipe, you so rigid. Be flexible, learn to roll with the punches, roadblocks going come, life is gonna be hard, So flex, cuz I’ve got you. Yes, life can be irritating at times, people can be irritating at times, but don’t let that steal your peace! So I’ve decided to keep this PEX piece in my car to remind me to be flexible, open when God promises me something and I face hard times along the way.

What are you facing right now that you are irritated about, frustrated, maybe worrying and anxious about that you are facing? What are the promises you are holding onto? Never forget God’s promises for you in that situation.

2. Choose FAITH over PHYSICAL

(not in bulletin notes)
( “23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.” (In bulletin) “36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

This is another example of God doing something that goes against what screams to us what is not physically possible.

Those hard times we face in our lives gives us opportunities to build our faith in God. Without these hard times where we only have God to turn to, then how could we build our faith.

It was through my hard time when I was searching for answers about the afterlife that I became open to God and his promises. Maybe I wasn’t looking for Jesus, as I was looking for what he promised more that the promiser, but that crisis of faith moment made me open to trusting Jesus as my savior.

What are you facing right now that you need BY Faith in God to show up in your life? Resurrect a dying marriage, open the eyes of somebody’s heart receiving Jesus, provide miraculously, become content/steadfast/don’t lose hope in a difficult situation you’re in, especially if it’s hard to see a way out of it? (in keynote) Paul says this, “We live by . . . FAITH, not by . . . SIGHT. Sometimes it’s best not to trust what we see in the physical, the natural, why because God’s best work happens not in the natural, but in the Supernatural.

Is there a promise you are holding onto for God to do in the supernatural? Maybe God is here telling you now, “choose faith over the physical. Don’t define God’s power by what you see happening. Trust in God’s promises more than your circumstances and you’ll see his promises fulfilled!

3. Remain STEADFAST

“59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”
“80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.”

Eventually nine months later, God’s promise to Zechariah and Elizabeth was fulfilled. They gave birth to a son and it wasn’t a girl. God fulfilled his promise. And they remembered what the angel commanded them to do, name him John. If you know the story of John, he would become John the. . . Baptist (not cuz he go Baptist church), cuz he was baptizing people to make ready the coming of Jesus. And John had the honor of baptizing Jesus and that started Jesus public ministry on earth. (in keynote)

End with a story of waiting on God and God comes through!

Speak about my sharing with Vincent, we go on the holy land trip. Praying for my friend to receive Jesus many years. We became buddies at my previous life as an English teacher. We both move on. He moves to D.C works in the Pentagon, we see each other every Christmas season. I call him out of the blue cuz I run into an old student, and tell him I’m going to the holy land, he wants to go, someone dies, and opens a space for him, he comes, gives his heart to Jesus on the trip, and I baptize him in the Jordon.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

What do you sense God is asking you to remain steadfast for?

We just heard our state of our church report! God has brought us this far! A miracle land acquisition, basically given to us for free, a miracle design for that property, a miracle financing, now God is asking us to remain steadfast! Even after all these delays, are we gonna remain steadfast, as Paul speaks 2000 years ago, to remain steadfast? I think God is stretching our faith in him again! Are we still gonna belief, trust and hope that our future home will be built? Let’s as Paul urges us to do, remain steadfast, always giving ourselves fully to whatever God has asked you to do! There is a promise in this scripture and what is it. You labor, your work will not be in vain, not gonna be worthless. Your effort to trust God in the wait time will produce something great. God’s timing is so different from ours. Maybe in your season of waiting, God so desires to build your faith in him. How’s your faith muscle, maybe it’s weak! So he wants to put some weight of wait on it so that it can get stronger. Does that make sense?

Some of you have been laboring in prayer for a while for God’s promise to be fulfilled in your life! Save your marriage, provide for you all that you need, new working situation, finances, personal breakthrough, whatever you sense God has promised you, remain steadfast in God and his promises. He’ll never let us down.

Pray: To usher people to Christ. What are you going through now that you are not experiencing the peace that God has promised?

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