Luke 3 (7)
Pray Psalm 116.4-6.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Sing Psalm 116.4-6.
(Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
I called to God, “O Lord, I pray, my soul redeem with favor!”
The Lord is gracious in His way, and righteous is our Savior.
His mercy to the simple flies; He lifted me up to the skies –
I rest in Him forever!
Read Luke 3.1-38; meditate on verses 4-6.
1. What did John come to prepare?
2. What would be the result of his work?
Straight. Filled. Low. Smooth. This is how we prepare to know the salvation Jesus came to bring. Isaiah (40.3-5) used poetic language to impress his readers with how they may expect to realize the salvation of the Lord (v. 6). We must humble ourselves (low) and turn from our crooked ways (straight) so that we may be filled with God’s Spirit by the smooth working of His grace in our lives.
No one can be saved who is unwilling to come to the Lord on His terms: repentant, humbled, seeking grace, depending entirely on Him. Yes, salvation is a gift, but even to receive a gift one must hold forth his hands. It is the work of God’s Spirit to convert and empower us for salvation (Phil. 2.13; Gal. 4.4). When He comes, tearing out our heart of stone, opening our mind to the Good News of Jesus, and setting up shop in our conscience, then we will be humbled, repentant, and reached by the grace of the Lord. And then we will see His salvation.
John’s message, based on Isaiah’s, is true not just for when we first come to salvation, but for continuing to grow in it. We must ever seek the filling of God’s Spirit from a humble and contrite heart, calling on the Lord for mercy and grace to smooth our path and all our ways. More of God’s great salvation awaits us every day – exceedingly, abundantly more (Eph. 3.20)! Do we long to know more of the salvation of the Lord? Do we lift the cup of salvation and drink it down until we are positively controlled by it (Ps. 116.12-14)?
If so, we must humble ourselves, repent of all sins, cry out for grace, and yield to the filling of the Spirit day by day and moment by moment. Then truly we will know more of the salvation of the Lord.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct [make smooth or straight] your paths” (Prov. 3.5, 6).
Salvation is a gift of grace from our heavenly Father through the work of Jesus Christ His Son. John was put on earth to declare that message of love and forgiveness. “Yes, salvation is a gift, but even to receive a gift one must hold forth his hands.”
But any gift that is only unwrapped and never appreciated or used becomes merely a dust-catcher. Do we allow our salvation to become a pointless gift if we don’t strenuously work to make it useful?
We must put on this gift. Wear it. Use it. And be more fruitful because of it. Paul wrote a tutorial for us in how to prepare for our day and be ready to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and to wrestle against “the rulers of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6.12-20). Here is his eight-step program:
1. Take up the whole armor of God (1 Sam. 17.45, 46).
2. Stand and surround your waist with God’s truth (Jn. 14.6).
3. Put on the breastplate of righteousness (2 Cor. 5.21).
4. Put on your shoes and be ready to share the gospel of peace (1 Pet. 3.15).
5. Take the shield of faith that quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one (2 Cor. 5.7).
6. Take the helmet of salvation (2 Tim. 1.12; Rom. 8.38, 39).
7. Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ps. 119.11, 16, 89, 105).
8. Pray always, communing with God continuously (1 Thess. 5.16-18).
John came to prepare the way so that all mankind would “see the salvation of God” (Lk. 3.6). When we “hold forth our hands” to accept the gift, we gladly and joyously take it; and the rest of our lives we are saying “Thank You” by using, and working out our gift of salvation with appreciation, fear, and trembling (Phil. 2.12).
And on this smooth and straight path we will truly know the salvation of the Lord; and in this knowledge we are blessed and will be a blessing to our Personal Mission Field.
1. What difference has the Lord’s salvation made in your life?
2. In what areas of your life would you like to know more of the Lord’s salvation?
3. What is your approach to applying Paul’s eight-step program for realizing more of the Lord’s salvation?
The meaning is: by his wonderful power, God will open a way to his people through impassable forests, through broken rocks, through a sandy desert; for he will have at hand the ministers of his grace, to remove all hindrances out of the way. But that was a shadowy anticipation of redemption. When the spiritual truth is about to appear, John is sent to remove obstacles. And even now the same voice sounds in our ears, that we may prepare the way of the Lord. John Calvin (1559-1564), Commentary on Luke 3.4-6
Pray Psalm 116.7-14.
Praise the Lord for all the blessings that come to you because of Jesus. Count those blessings back to Him with thanksgiving. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to be an agent of grace to the people around you today.
Sing Psalm 116.7-14.
(Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
and dwell with them forever.
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
and pay my vows most truly.
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.
Want to learn more about revival and how you can seek and know it? Order a free copy of our book, Revived!, by clicking here.
If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.