I was driving to the church on Friday morning when I heard this ad come across the radio. The setting was a customer service representative answering the phone. She says, “Buckley’s Cough Mixture Customer Service … how may I help you?” An elderly gentleman responds, “Yeah, I’ve been using this cough mixture, and wow does it ever work. But I have a question — is it supposed to taste like the sweater off a monkey’s back? This tastes terrible!” To which the rep responds, “Why yes … and thank you!” Another customer calls, telling the representative how much the cough mixture is working … but wonders if it’s supposed to taste like trash bag leakage! The ad ends by saying, “Buckley’s Cough Mixture — It Tastes Awful … and It Works!” (
This morning, we look a monumental event that not only happened in the Scriptures around 2,000 years ago — this event was cataclysmic in nature because of who would enter onto the world’s stage: John the Baptist. It’s found in Luke 1:5-25. He would come into the world the way everyone else would come into the world — through a father and mother. We shall look at John the Baptist for sure, but let’s take a look at John’s dad, Zechariah. And we shall look at his question of unbelief: “How shall I know this?”
And just to be clear, when we talk about unbelief, we mean trusting in the promises of anything else over the promises of God. And do you know the best way to find out if you truly trust the promises of God? You know in a number of ways: when tragedy and trials hit that you didn’t see coming. It’s when we have our guard down where our trust in God is most accurately measured.
Zechariah found himself in just such a position. His guard was down and revealed his unbelief at a time when utmost belief should have won the day. In truth, for many Christians, there is a gap between understand God’s grace given to us in the past and the future hope that we will receive when we get to heaven — but what about the gap of today?2 Our saving faith is for all of life, not just in the by-and-by.
(Tomorrow, Part I: Knowing the Promises of God Does Not Equal Believing Them)
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