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Prepare the Way

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Text: Lk 3:1-6

Theme: Jesus came, he is coming again

Doctrine: Return of Christ

Image: Coming of a King

Need: to prepare for Christ

Message: prepare for Jesus's coming

Prepare the Way

Luke 3:1-6

Intro: We prepare for Christmas

            Story of how our family is preparing for Christmas this year. Have not been there for 5 years.

–     Sherilyn's mum ringing and asking what we want.

–     Brothers ringing us up to ask what we are getting for the other people so as not to give duplicate gifts.

–     Going shopping, along with everyone else in the world, to get just the right gift; knowing that they will probably want to return it to get something else. Esp. Brian, also Sharon.

–     Christmas always seemed like a let down to me, all this preparation, and not much to show for it. Now, even the preparation seems to be tedious.

God prepares for Christmas

–     I wonder if God ever felt like I do when the gift I spent so much time and energy on selecting and purchasing is dismissed and returned for something else?

–     John 1:11 (NIV)  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

–     Sometimes I wonder if our attitude toward presents is because we do not prepare ourselves properly. We tell our kids that it is better to give than to receive, but if we are honest with ourselves we think it is really better to receive than give.

–     We want stuff. We want the stuff we want. We have so much stuff it is hard to think of anything we could possibly need, let alone want, and yet we still want people to get us stuff.

–     In this passage in Luke, we are told of how God prepares us to meet the gift he has given us.

            John the Baptist (life)

–     John the Baptist is one in a line of miracle children to the people of Israel. Zechariah and Elizabeth are old, and without children. Elizabeth is reckoned barren, just as Sarah was, and also Rachel. Just as Manoah's wife was who bore Samson. But God miraculously provided a child to them. A child who would be the 'voice of one crying in the desert' to whom Isaiah had prophesied.

–     Remember, Zechariah is in the temple offering incense when an angel visit him and tells him he will have a son. He questions the angel and he says that Zechariah will not be able to speak until this has come about. (interesting, is it not, the voice to introduce Jesus is introduced with silence)  How fitting is was then that Zechariah's voice should be taken away when he questioned the word of the angel who told him of the coming birth of John.

                        Historical event

–     Luke wants to make it clear that this is an historical event. He uses no fewer than six different people to date the events of the things to follow. (name them from the text, perhaps with some explanation)

–     spends much precious time in doing this, the historicity of this event is important to Luke

                        Called as a prophet

–     at this time, “The Word of the Lord came to John.”

–     very simple statement with profound meaning. This links John with the OT prophets. This was the manner in which the prophets were sent out with a message from God.

                                   examples (Joel 1.1, Hosea 1.1, Jonah 1.1, Micah 1.1, Zechariah 1.1, note historical reference here as well)

                        fulfils prophecy of Isaiah

                                   background (kingly visits, etc.)

–     this preparation that John calls for is similar to the preparation given to a country or city before the king comes to visit. (contemporary analogy, preparing for the Olympics)

            John the Baptist (message)

            Prepare!

–     Luke says that this prophet in the dessert preaching a baptism of repentance is a fulfilment of the Isaiah prophecy to 'prepare the way of the Lord'.

                        Repent; change your life.

–     Preparing for the saviour, then means preparing our hearts and living a life which enacts justice.

–     John's instructions to the crowds who came out to him. (read vv. 10-14)

Why? Why the preparation?

–     Then: The glory of the Lord was about to be revealed in his salvation through Jesus.

–     God himself had come down and was walking among them.

–     He was going to take away the sin of the world, he was going to reconcile people to God, he was going to begin the process of making all things new.

–     Now: The glory of the Lord is revealed in us as we await his return.

–     Our mission is to head John's call.

–     We are to prepare our own hearts as we wait to celebrate the first coming of Jesus, and as we wait for him to return.

–     We are also to follow John's example and call people to prepare themselves for the coming of the King.

–    Contemporary Testimony stanza 44 (p 1033 GPH)

–     because Jesus is coming, and this time he will come in judgement. (vv. 7-9)

Amen

Let us pray

 

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