The Joy of Elisabeth’s Faith

Believing God is Never a Waste of Time

Luke 1:5-45



Dec 7, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction


A.    There is more to Christmas than just a Baby being born in a manger in Bethlehem.

B.     There were MANY things going on, all climaxing with the angels announcing that the Son of God had been born

C.     One of the amazing things that actually happened almost a year and a half earlier, happened to a woman named Elisabeth

D.    It is just as much a part of the Christmas story as the Wise Men from the east

E.     And this morning, I want us to learn all the truths we can from the joy of her faith in God


II.    Background (Luke 1:5-10)


A.    Meet a very old woman named Elisabeth

B.     She is married all her life to one man named Zacharias

C.     This married couple loved God together, and lived the word of God! Not like Sunday Morning  Only Christians, but full time fanatics!

D.    They were Levites – of the special tribe of Levi, and she was a descendant of Aaron


1.      The people of this tribe were responsible for the worship of the nation of Israel

2.      They helped make sure everyone knew about the Lord God, and worshipped Him rightly


E.     Zacharias had a part in helping people worship God (1:8,9) – made sure the Temple smelled wonderful as people gathered around to pray and sing and worship God – a High calling of God!

F.      Elisabeth had a job too - her job was as a help-meet to her husband so that he COULD serve God. He could not do it well without his wife!


1.      We forget that everyone is needed, even though not everyone is on the limelight!

2.      Zacharias needed his wife! She was God’s gift to him for so many things, but especially so that he and she could serve the Lord God together!

3.      There are many ‘Elisabeths’ in here this morning who are so necessary to our ministries!


G.    But Elisabeth was barren (1:7) – had tried so hard to have a baby


1.      It was unusual for any married woman to be barren in Israel

2.      God had promised that there would not be barrenness amongst God’s people (Deut 7:14)

3.      Yet here she was. Married for so many years, yet no children.

4.      It was embarrassing – and even more than embarrassing… it was as if God was against her and her husband! That was how it felt!

5.      But notice this – it didn’t stop them from being faithful to God’s will and God’s calling for their lives!!! They loved God enough to stay faithful!


H.    To make it all worse, she and her husband were very old (1:7) – well stricken in years. Time had been hard on them, so they were ready to retire. The LAST thing they would be thinking about and expecting was a BAY! It was just way too late to have a baby in their lives.


1.      This is where we meet Elisabeth.

2.      And this is where we learn how her faith brought so much joy!

3.      This is all part of the Christmas Story folks – just as much as the birth of the Son of God!

4.      It actually is all part of the story – the story of a God who allows things to happen in our lives to show us that living by faith, is the only way to live!


III. Message


A.    Elisabeth Learns… A Christian’s Faith is NEVER Wasted (1:13)


1.      An Angel meets Zacharias as he is going throughout the Temple, lighting incense (1:8-12) – HE BUMPS INTO HIM!

2.      The angel reveals something amazing…


a.       Evidently, this godly couple decided to do the right thing when they faced a need – they prayed! They faced their problem seeking GOD’S help!


1)      How often we turn to prayer, only to decide it is a waste of time

2)      We give up on God way too quickly!

3)      How often we judge God and Faith BY OUR TIME, and by our expectations!

4)      So, when God doesn’t answer in our time, and in our way, then we usually decide He is not really THERE! Sad! That’s not faith, that is making God into a SLAVE!


b.      Evidently… (and here is the wonderful part)…


1)      God had heard all the times that Zacharias and Elisabeth had prayed for a child (1:13)

2)      For years, they just believed God! Believed His promises. Obeyed God! Passionately loved God!

3)      God HAD seen their faith all those years earlier, and took note of their requests!


c.       Yet nothing happened! For all those years!

d.      But now…


1)      Even though it seemed as if God would never answer…

2)      Even though they had stopped praying for a child…

3)      God was now encouraging them that their faith was never wasted! Was never a waste of their time!

4)      If any of US were God, we would have gotten upset at them for their lack of faith

5)      But God honoured their faith! AMEN!

6)      I think when we get to heaven, we will have MANY regrets, and ONE of them will be that we did NOT spend more time praying and believing God for what we need!

7)      So, All that time spent praying is noticed by God – it pleased God! Honoured God. And God is committed to making sure our faith is always rewarded!


e.       See the examples of:


1)      Abraham and Sarah – 25 years of up and down faith, believing God so much in the beginning, and then getting to the point where they both decided it could NOT now happen when Ab was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old… well, that was when their faith was finally rewarded – with baby Isaac!

2)      Job – all his life believing God and trusting God, only to lose everything, and then, because of his trust in God, he did get double back again!

3)      You will search in vain the pages of this Bible, and search in vain throughout time, before you will find wasted faith in God! There is NO wasted faith, no wasted praying, no wasted trust in the Lord God of hosts!


3.      So… Joy begins when we realise OUR FAITH, as small as it may be, HAS NOT BEEN A WASTE OF OUR TIME!!!



B.     Faith Receives God’s Answer, Not Our Expectations (1:13-17)


1.      Zacharias and Elisabeth wanted A CHILD – any child would do!

2.      But God wanted to give them something more


a.       A Prophet! A preacher! And what a preacher John the Baptist became!

b.      A Nazarite – not an engineer, businessman, Doctor, Lawyer, but a man totally dedicated to the will of God! A man separate from the culture of the world!

c.       The HERALD of the Messiah


1)      Someone who would go ahead of the Messiah, and do the work of a JCB in people’s hearts, bulldozing them out of God’s way…

2)      So that when the Messiah came, everyone was humbled, and ready to believe and follow the Messiah!


d.      Oh this baby, named John, would be GREAT! Maybe not in the eyes of Hollywood, or of the Fashion designers of the day, or the political mongers… but he will be great in God’s eyes!


3.      The angel promises Zacharias and Elisabeth JOY and GLADNESS (1:14)


a.       Not only because of getting a baby finally

b.      Not only in that baby being used so greatly by God

c.       But in knowing the entire nation of Israel would benefit from their little, struggling faith!

d.      Our joy, as we walk with Christ, affects so many others! We all know what anger does, and what murmuring, and gossiping, and complaining does to people around us

e.       The same is true about our JOY! I wonder if we ever see the need for us to have joy for OTHER’S sake?

f.       Oh how great is our joy, not because we have great faith, but because our faith COUNTS! And God honours even small faith!


4.      People are SO unhappy, grouchy, defeated because they have unfulfilled expectations

5.      But, Joy grows as we believe God’s promises to US in the Bible!
Not as we receive what WE want! Only SPOILED children demand what THEY want, and are never happy until they get what they want!
But AS we just believe God!


C.     It is Okay to Believe Again (1:18-25)


1.      Here is the Story…


a.       Elisabeth’s husband had come out of the temple unable to speak – he had been in there a lot longer than he was supposed to be

b.      Elisabeth was worried. She wanted to know what happened to him in the temple

c.       Zacharias had to write out what all had happened in the Temple

d.      At the end of his note, he had to admit that his dumbness was because he had not believed God would give them a son!


2.      Here is the Truth…

3.      Zacharias had no more faith. He had quit believing God for the impossible things.


a.       Oh he still loved God, and worshipped God, and obeyed God

b.      But he constantly now doubted God

c.       And not only doubted God, but decided that some of the promises of God just were not possible.

d.      And even an ANGEL talking right with him couldn’t convince him to believe God again


4.      But evidently Elisabeth was able to believe God again!


a.       All Elisabeth had now, was God’s promise – and she just believed it! Ever so slightly!

b.      You see… Elisabeth could do nothing to get this baby


1)      She could not rush off to a fertility clinic

2)      She could not push and beg God like Hannah did – maybe she had even tried it

3)      And she did not scheme and twist things to get a baby like Sarah did


c.       All she could do was BELIEVE GOD, WAIT ON GOD, and let Him keep His promise to her husband and to herself!


5.      Some people are always on the edge of quitting on God.


a.       They have tried everything except just trusting God’s words

b.      Except just waiting on God

c.       Except constantly choosing to believe God once again, like He is worthy of!


6.      Elisabeth shows all of us that it is okay to believe God once again, picking up where we left off – even maybe years ago!

7.      So, Even if you have given up trusting God before, it’s okay to start believing God again!

8.      Even if your husband or wife, or someone much more “spiritual” than you has stopped, it is okay and a good thing to start believing God again!


D.    It is Also Okay to be Cautious (1:24,25)


1.      So, she gets pregnant!


a.       In spite of her barrenness AND old age

b.      In spite of her own lack of faith

c.       In spite of her husband’s lack of faith

d.      God gave her life in her womb!


2.      She didn’t know what to do

3.      So she hides herself – doesn’t go shopping, visiting friends, family, etc in case someone asks her what’s the bump all about!


a.       Maybe she is scared she will miscarriage, I don’t know.

b.      But it is okay with God. He just kept that little baby growing in her womb even though she doesn’t know what to do now that she is pregnant!


4.      So, It is okay to be cautious about what God is doing in your life! Don’t rush ahead and just talk big, and talk proud

5.      Just LET patience have her perfect work!

6.      Faith doesn’t boast – it just trusts, and waits on the Lord!


E.     Rejoice in Incomplete Answers (1:25, 39-45)


1.      Elisabeth IS already REJOICING – even before the fulfilment!


a.       She begins to praise God that HE had noticed HER (1:25) out of a universe filled with planets, galaxies, stars, nebulae… God say HER!

b.      That He had noticed her LITLLE faith, from so long ago. She got excited that FAITH had worked!

c.       Rejoiced that God had now blessed her – even though she was so unworthy, AND so old

d.      She rejoiced that God could still use HER for great things! This special gift of a son was going to still need a Mom and a Dad!


2.      Because, Faith rejoices in the things BEFORE they begin to happen, and AS they happen! All because with God, “there shall be a performance of whatever God has promised!” (1:45)

3.      And not just Elisabeth, but Mary too!


a.       Elisabeth has a cousin named Mary

b.      Mary has had a rushed wedding, and has not been very visible lately either

c.       Mary hears about Elisabeth being pregnant, and travels 40-50 miles to visit her

d.      Elisabeth didn’t know Mary was pregnant

e.       But as soon as Mary enters a room where Elisabeth was, the baby in her womb leaped several somersaults!

f.       And Elisabeth quickly figures out why


1)      Mary is not just pregnant

2)      But with a baby that was prophesied 4,000 years earlier in the Garden


g.      And the two of them are dancing around like young girls at a candy store! Rejoicing in the JOY that both of their small faiths have produced!


4.      So, the JOY is in the believing, as much as in the receiving (1:45)!


a.       Now, neither one of them have their babies yet

b.      But they still rejoice as if it was Christmas Day!


F.      She Saw Things as Part of Something Bigger than Herself (1:42,43)


1.      Evidently, Elisabeth’s barrenness was part of God’s bigger plan!


a.       A MUCH bigger plan

b.      Almost EVERYTHING in the Old Testament pointed to the coming of the Messiah

c.       And here were two woman, rejoicing to see it all happening IN THEIR LIVES!


2.      Faith rejoices at the will of God just being awesome!


a.       It was God’s will for Elisabeth to be barren

b.      THAT was so that He could give her and Zacharias a very special baby, in a very special way, just before HE HIMSELF was born in a Manger on Christmas Day!

c.       You couldn’t come up with a better way to do things, than the way God always does things! His way is PERFECT!


G.    Elisabeth’s Faith Had Produced a Holy Spirit filled Home (1:41,15,67)


1.      What does YOUR home reflect about YOUR faith? Not your husbands, or your pastor, or your Mom or Dad’s?

2.      Thank God for godly women who believe GOD over their own doubts, and sorrows and troubles and obstacles! They just believe God! They just trust Him to do what is right!

3.      Elisabeth obviously didn’t have GREAT faith, or PERFECT faith

4.      But the faith that she had worked!

5.      And it was the open door for the Holy Spirit to come and fill their lives with God’s presence instead of darkness!


a.       Elisabeth became FULL of the presence of God in her life (1:41)

b.      Her son, John was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (1:15)

c.       Her doubting husband, Zacharias was also finally filled with the Holy Ghost (1:67)

d.      And that home produced the greatest prophet ever – John the Baptist (Luke 7:26-28)


H.    There is more to this story in the Bible, but we will save it for next week!



IV. Application


A.    Throughout the entire Christmas story, there is joy!


1.      The angels were announcing the birth of the Saviour with such joy

2.      Shepherds were rejoicing

3.      Wise men rejoicing

4.      Mary and Joseph rejoicing

5.      And Elisabeth too!

6.      This is all part of the Christmas Story folks – just as much as the birth of the Son of God!

7.      There was JOY from start to finish!


B.     But Elisabeth didn’t magically just experience joy, for no reason

C.     Elisabeth experienced JOY because of several important ingredients – ingredients that are missing in this world and culture of ours


1.      Her Trust in God Mattered to God! A Christian’s Faith is NEVER Wasted – at some point, I hope you have lived by faith

2.      She Looked Forward to Receiving God’s Answer, Not Her Expectations


a.       YOU can Look forward to how God is going to answer your need


3.      It is Okay to Believe Again


a.       Today you can Believe God Again! Elisabeth is proof you can!


4.      It is Also Okay to be Cautious


a.       Faith doesn’t boast – it just trusts, and waits on the Lord!


5.      Go Ahead and Rejoice in Incomplete Answers


a.       Get started Rejoicing in Incomplete Answers – in all the little things happening


6.      See Things happening in your life as Part of Something Bigger than You


a.       Remember, God is working out a lot more than just answering your prayer


7.      Through it all, let God Give You a Holy Spirit filled Home


a.       Ask God to make your home, and your life something filled with HIMSELF instead of your problem or need!


V.    Invitation


A.    Do you even trust God at all?

B.     You can trust His Son, Jesus, the Messiah!


1.      That is how you get born again

2.      Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of all sins!

3.      Call upon His wonderful name, believing that He can save a wretch like you!

4.      Trust Him with all your heart, that he is good, and will work everything out FOR good!

5.      So, Has there ever been a time where you passionately cried out to God to SAVE your soul?

6.      Well, if you have, and you are born again, then you can ALSO cry out to God to meet your deepest need, and trust Him to always do right!