B i b l e S t u d y
O u t l i n e s
H O M E P A G E
Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:57-58, 67-79
KEY VERSES: 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, (Luke 1:76-77)
Ø The Lord breaks through after 400 years of silence.
Chronologically Luke begins the New Testament. He goes back to the birth of John the Baptist, to where the angel Gabriel appeared to John’s father as he served in the temple. John’s parents were Zacharias and Elisabeth. Zacharias means “God remembers,” and Elisabeth means “His oath.” Together their names mean, “God remembers His oath.”
Ø When did God take an oath?
Psalm 89:34–37 records God’s oath: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.”
Ø God swore an oath to the Hebrew King David
God promised that one of David’s descendants would have an eternal reign. Jesus Christ is that descendant. “God remembers His oath!” God is ready to break through into human history after 400 years of silence.
INTRODUCTION: On March 5, 1994, a man armed with a bomb and a gun entered the Salt Lake City library and took numerous hostages. A deputy sheriff, who was dressed in “street clothes” and who just happened to be in the building at the same time, saw what was happening and voluntarily joined the group as the gunman herded them into a room. The deputy sheriff then waited . . . and waited. When time and circumstance were just right, he made his move and overcame the gunman. As a result, the hostages escaped unharmed.
A human parallel such as this can remind us -- in a very small, inadequate way --of what God did to deliver us from the power of sin and the devil. The Gospels teach that God dressed Himself in “street clothes” and entered our world to bring about this rescue. But His was no spur-of-the-moment plan! He did not come unprepared, nor did He come as many expected. Today’s Bible study demonstrates how carefully God prepared the way for that rescue operation.
Luke begins his gospel before the other synoptic Gospels. Heaven had been silent for over four hundred years when the angel Gabriel broke through the blue at the golden altar of prayer to announce the birth of John the Baptist. Luke gives us the background as well as the births of John and Jesus.
I. JOHN THE BAPTIST IS BORN. (Luke 1:57-58, 67)
A. John’s birth. (Luke 1:57-58)
(Luke 1:57-58) 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
1. The Lord’s blessing.
The Lord’s blessing was resting richly on Elizabeth and Zacharias. God sent them a baby boy, just as He had promised.
2. The baby’s name.
Elizabeth and Zacharias named him “John” just as the Lord had instructed. The Hebrews looked on children as a gift from God and a “heritage from the Lord,” and rightly so, for children are.
Note: By Hebrew tradition, a baby boy would be named after his father or someone else in the family; therefore the neighbors and relatives were surprised when Elizabeth insisted on the name “John.” Zacharias wrote “His name is John” on a tablet, and that settled it! Immediately the Lord opened the old priest’s mouth, and Zacharias sang a song that gives us some beautiful pictures of what the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth really means.
3. The greatest force.
Someone has said, “The greatest forces in the world are NOT the earthquakes and the thunderbolts.” Then he went on to say, “The greatest forces in the world are babies.”
Note: Israel would not follow the practices of their heathen neighbors by killing or forsaking their children. When we consider that 4,000 babies are aborted each day in the USA alone (this works out to be about one every 20 seconds), we can see how far we have drifted from the Laws of the Lord. LET’S PRACTICE ADOPTION AND NOT ABORTION! – Adapted from http://www.ask.com/question/how-many-abortions-are-performed-yearly?ad=dirN&o=0
B. John’s power. (Luke 1:67)
(Luke 1:67) 67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
1. Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:41.
Now Zechariah is too (verse 67). In this way Zechariah is enabled to speak, as did the prophets of the Old Testament, the truth that God wants revealed (i.e., Luke 2:1; 28:1; 1:2).
2. John the Baptist had Holy Spirit power too. (Luke 1:15)
“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” (Luke 1:15).
John the Baptist
The Gospel of Mark begins with a quotation from Isaiah of a messenger, a voice "crying aloud in the wilderness". John the Baptist is described as someone "in the wilderness", wearing clothes of "camel's hair", living on "locusts and wild honey".
Mark describes John's proclamation of baptism [because of] the forgiveness of sin. Mark also describes John as preaching a future leader who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit".
Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan, whereupon Jesus has a vision, seeing "the heavens split open and the Spirit coming down to him like a dove, and from the heavens came a voice — “You are my dearly loved son; you bring me great joy."
In the gospel account of John's death, Herod has John imprisoned for denouncing his incestuous marriage, and later executes John by beheading. John condemned Herod for marrying Herodias (who was not only his brother Philip's former wife but also Herod's niece) in violation of Old Testament law.
Later Herodias's daughter (traditionally called Salome) who was both Herod's grand-niece and stepdaughter) dances before Herod, who offers her a favour in return. Herodias tells her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, which is delivered to her on a plate (Mark 6:14-29). Later, Herod learns that some people claim Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead. -- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
II. ZECHARIAH’S SONG. (Luke 1:68-75)
A. The Savior will open the prison door. (Luke 1:68)
(Luke 1:68) 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
1. Slaves to sin.
The word “redeem” means “to set free by paying a price.” Redeem can refer to the freeing of a slave or prisoner. In Luke 4:18 it says that Jesus Christ came to earth to bring “deliverance to the captives,” salvation to all people in bondage to sin and death.
2. Saved to serve.
Surely we are unable to set ourselves free. Only Jesus Christ could pay the price necessary for our redemption (see, Ephesians 1:7 and 1 Peter 1:18-21). We are bought with a price!
B. The Savior will win the battle. (Luke 1:69-75)
1. Power and victory. (Luke 1:69)
(Luke 1:69) 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
In the Word of God, a “horn” symbolizes power and victory. (The figure is taken from the fact that in horned animals the strength lies in the horn.) The picture here is that of an army about to be taken captive, but then help arrives and the enemy is defeated.
Note: In the previous picture (Luke 1:68), the captives were set free; but in this picture (Luke 1:69), the enemy is defeated so that he cannot capture more prisoners. It means total victory for the Lord’s people!
2. Redeemed and forgiven. (Luke 1:70-71)
(Luke 1:70-71) 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
In Verse 69 and 71, the word salvation carries the meaning of “health and soundness.” No matter what the condition of the captives, their Redeemer brings spiritual soundness. When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are delivered from Satan’s power, moved into the Lord’s kingdom, redeemed, and forgiven (see, Colossians 1:12-14).
Note: God did not send His Son into the midst of a great spiritual revival. He sent Him to those who were floundering around in darkness. However, many saw the light of Jesus and were led out of darkness in that day. Think of Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James and John. Remember Mary Magdalene, the Gadarene Demoniac, even Jesus’ mother Mary (Luke 1:46-47), and all the others who were delivered from spiritual darkness by the sacrifice and power of Jesus Christ.
3. Savior and Lord. (Luke 1:72-73)
(Luke 1:72-73) 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
1. Where did the Redeemer come from?
He came from the family of King David (Luke 1:69). David himself was a great conqueror.
2. God had promised that the Savior would be a Hebrew (“a Jew”) (Genesis 12:1-3).
He will be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), from the family of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16), and born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
3. Both Joseph (Matthew 1:20) and Mary (Luke 1:27) belonged to King David’s line.
The coming of the Redeemer was inherent in the covenants the Lord made with the Hebrew people (Luke 1:72). Also, the coming of the Redeemer was promised by the prophets (Luke 1:70).
C. The Savior will be joyfully served. (Luke 1:74-75)
(Luke 1:74-75) 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
God’s people are saved to serve! In verses 74-75 the results of this victory are service and holiness. The Lord sets us free, not to do our own will (because that would be bondage), but to do God’s will and enjoy His freedom.
Note: Isaiah 6:5-8 says: "5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."
III. WORDS TO A SON. (Luke 1:76-79)
A. John, God will cancel a debt. (Luke 1:76-77)
(Luke 1:76-77) 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Remission means “to send away, to dismiss, as a debt.” All of us are in debt to the Lord God because we have broken His law and failed to live up to His standards (Luke 7:40-50). But Jesus Christ came and paid the debt for us (see, Psalm 103:12; John 1:29).
B. John, God will bring in a new day. (Luke 1:78-79)
(Luke 1:78-79) 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Note: “Dayspring” means “sunrise.” The people were sitting in darkness and death, and distress gripped them when Jesus Christ came. He brought light, life, and peace. It was the dawn of a new day because of the tender mercies of God (see, Matthew 4:16).
1. Zacharias’ testimony.
Zacharias the priest had not said anything for nine months, but he certainly compensated for his silence when he sang his song of praise to the Lord! And how joyful Zacharias was that his son was chosen by the Lord to prepare the way for the Messiah (Isaiah 40:1-3; Malachi 3:1).
Zacharias said that John the Baptist would be…
(1) the “prophet of the Highest” (Luke 1:76),…
(2) presenting to Israel “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32)
(3) who was conceived in Mary’s womb by “the power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35).
2. John’s testimony.
Instead of enjoying a comfortable life as a priest, John lived in the wilderness, disciplining himself spiritually and physically, waiting for the day when God would send him out to prepare Israel for the arrival of their promised Messiah. People like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38) had been waiting for this day for many years, and soon it would come. There was great joy in Israel!
3. Our testimony.
The Lord calls us today to believe His Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who believe it feel God’s joy and want to express their praise to Him. It is not enough for us to say that Jesus Christ is “a Savior”, or even “the Savior.” With Mary the mother of Jesus, we too must say (and mean it), “My spirit hath rejoiced in God MY Savior” (Luke 1:47).
The Finest Captain on the Mississippi
The old Methodist evangelist of the 1800s, Sam Jones, used to talk about a certain man who worked on a Mississippi River pier. Every time a certain steamboat passed, this man would get excited and say to everyone else working on the dock, “Look, look, yonder’s the captain! Do you see him? He’s the finest captain on the Mississippi.”
Newcomers would always ask him why he got so excited and pointed out that particular captain. The man would smile and say, “Years ago I was working on his boat and I fell in the river. I couldn’t swim, and that captain dove in and rescued me.” Then with a big smile, he would say, “And ever since he saved me, I just love to point him out.”
That’s what you and I should be doing! “I was sinking deep in sin/far from the peaceful shore/very deeply stained within/sinking to rise no more/but the Master of the sea/heard my despairing cry/from the waters lifted me/now safe am I! We should be pointing to Jesus with our words and with our lifestyles. – Author Unknown, (“Love Lifted Me” words by James Rowe)
CONCLUSION: On the day John the Baptist was circumcised, his father, Zechariah, prophesied not only about John but also about Jesus Christ, John’s cousin. He praised the Lord, because the Savior was coming through the line of David, and in Him the mercy of God would be shown to His people Israel.
Today, Christians know that the Savior is Jesus, and if we have placed our faith in Him, the Lord’s mercy resides in our hearts. Thank God for Christmas; thank God for Jesus Christ!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Think of the time when Jesus became your Savior and what that means to you.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, selected illustrations, and other references.
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