As we discovered in the last message Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous before God, by their faith in God’s word and promise of the coming Messiah. Having this understanding means that they were not attempting to be blameless in the commands and ordinances of God, as a means of salvation. So, what was their motivation?
This godly couple can serve as a model of motivation. In thanksgiving over God’s grace to bring Messiah to deal with their sin, they in turn walked out the commandments and ordinances of God “blameless”. This reveals that their effort, was not to save themselves, but a commitment of love to be a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2).
The word blameless means that before men, there were no evidence that they walked contrary to God, in any way. Blameless often deals with “in the sight of men”. Zechariah and Elizabeth understood that their lives were to be examples and they applied themselves to that seriously
Are we called to walk blamelessly, as followers of Christ? The word blameless is used 15 times in the New Testament alone. Consider a few of these usages.
1 Corinthians 1:7-8 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…
So, as Zechariah and his wife were examples to their fellow Israelites, so we are to be even more amplified examples of blamelessness, as we are being filled with the Holy Spirit, before the church and the world.
Let us examine the devotion necessary to be defined as blameless in the sight of men.
Psalms 101:1-4 I will sing of mercy and justice; to You, O LORD, I will sing praises. I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.
Eight times in the above Psalm the writer determines, as we see in the phrase “I will”, to be blameless, righteous and godly. Once more, this was not for the sake of saving himself, but because of his extreme devotion to God.
The writer is king David, who was a man after God’s own heart—a man who’s desire to pursue God and His ways, would lead him to the breaking point. David knew salvation was in God alone, through the promise of one of his offspring to sit on his throne forever and because of God’s promise he ran after God’s heart.
In both David and John the Baptists’ parents we behavior that lines up with the word of God declaring that “faith without works is dead faith” (James 2:14-26).
Now consider that for Zacharias and Elizabeth, their works were seen and revealed to all their faith and righteousness before God. Remember they walk this way without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Should not we, who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, have an even greater walk in His commandments? Absolutely and that motivation is our love for Him for He first lived us (I John 4:7-10). Consider Jesus words.
John 14:15-17 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
We love Him, for He took our sin into His own perfect life on the cursed tree, and we by faith, had His perfect righteousness imputed to us (II Corinthians 5:21). Oh, what marvelous love, that Jesus died with our names and sin written into His body, as our atonement (Colossians 2:15).
The New Testament makes it very clear that we all ought to be concerned about our testimony when it concerns blamelessness, before men, inside and outside of the church. Consider these passages… I Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 2:15; Colossians 3:13; II Peter 14-17. Consider that blameless in the sight of men, is a requirement for elders and deacons.
Remember that this deals with our outward testimony, which for all who follow Christ ought to be ever growing toward blamelessness in testimony and should not take forever to develop or mature. None of this is the basis of being saved, but our reasonable service of worship to Him, for His love and mercy in the Atonement, through Christ’s death for both Jew and Gentile.
ZACHARIAS STILL NEEDED CORRECTION
Although both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous by faith and blameless before men, we see in Luke 1:8-20, there is always a need for further perfecting or maturing, in sanctification.
Luke 1:13-17 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
In the first place, we see that Zacharias is told his son, will be unique in the realm of men, being filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. Secondly Zacharias is told his son will fulfill the very last O.T. prophecy from Malachi 4.
Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
Can anyone fault the man for his hesitation? He and his wife we passed childbearing age and God had spoken to no one in 400 years. But to the LORD, faith must obey even if it does not understand (the Bible is meant to be obeyed, not understood first). This was a place in Zacharias heart and practice, which was not sanctified to maturity. This was an area of unbelief and doubt concerning God’s nearness and will, which needed correcting.
Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
We in the church often need correction for the same.
In the American church there are two predominant crowds. Those save by grace and living as if God expects nothing and those who believe that they do more than enough. Both cheapen grace and are in error.
We are to be transformed from glory to glory. This occurs as we go through crisis and progression, in the fulness of the Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 4:16).
The issue addressed in this message is one of sanctification. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were blameless before men in practice. That did not save them, but it also does not mean they were not to grow more like the Christ, whom their son would herald and announce.
Sanctification does not cease for us in this life, and we ought never to complain about messages that reveal we need to be more like Christ, or the pain and difficulty associated with the call to be transformed, as we are corrected.
Yet so often we complain and even miss that it is God, in our difficulty, chastening some pattern of our past sinful life out of us. In fact, many Christians live most of their life never interacting with God intimately, where He reveals a pattern of sin. Many believe I have arrived and am all He desires me to be even though they may say differently in Christian company. This in fact is a sin.
So, let us as David in Psalm 101:1-4 and Zechariah and Elizabeth, determine to believe that Christ is our righteousness, by faith and determine to be blameless, as testimony of His salvation, in and through our lives. You may be the only Gospel anyone ever reads.