2019 12 08 Lorna Laister ADVENT 2 JOHN THE BAPTIST
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ADVENT 2: John prepares the way

Matthew 2:1-12

Redhill. 8 December 2019. Presented by Lorna Laister

The world in Jesus’ times was NOT ready for their Messiah.

But God did send a messenger to tell the Ancient world that Jesus was coming. He heralded (came to announce) Jesus. This man was John the Baptist

The message of John the Baptist tells us how to prepare for the coming of Jesus in this Holy Season. So, this is what we will study

  1. What it meant in John’s day to be the wilderness voice
  2. The wilderness voice in the world today
  3. Paying attention to the wilderness voice in our lives
  4. What it means to be the wilderness voice ourselves.

Read Matthew 3:1-12

God sends John to the wilderness

IT’S NOT IN THE TEMPLE. NOT IN THE CITY SQUARE. BUT OUT IN THE WILDERNESS.

And John didn’t preach a nice sermon It was more like a protest because He was disrupting the system. And like a protester, he was doing so with some powerful symbols. He shouted and called people names. Not nice at all

Matthew says he was in the wilderness. It’s a little detail BUT is very important,

NOW. THINK. YOU’RE JEWISH. THE O.T. IS WHAT YOU KNOW. HERE IS JOHN THE BAPTIST. RUGGED. IN THE DESERT/WILDERNESS. YOU’RE SEEING/HEARING ABOUT JOHN WITH HIS ODD CLOTHING AND WEIRD DIET. AND YOU’RE GOING TO GOING TO conjure up the image of Elijah’s clothing.

  1. So, our first point: What it means in John’s day to be the wilderness voice

THINK JEWISH

John is taking them through the Jordan. He is re-enacting the story of the Exodus—God’s deliverance of Egypt. And now it will be God’s deliverance of all people in Christ. The Jews were familiar with a similar story of one coming out of the wilderness—Elijah. Read (2 Kings 1:8)

JOHN, LIKE ELIJAH BEFORE HIM, HAD DROPPED OUT SOCIETY. He had got AWAY FROM NORMAL LIFE, He was the wilderness voice. Just as the prophets before him, especially Elijah, he was someone outside the everyday, self-centred rhythms of human society who was calling for something very new and something very old at the same moment. Prepare ye the way of the Lord…

So why BAPTISM? It was common practice by the time John came along, for gentiles to be able to convert.

Everyone so mad because HE’S CALLING FOR CHANGE

Who is he baptizing? He is baptizing Jewish people. He is converting the already converted.  HE’S TELLING THEM THEY HAVE TO START OVER. John is telling them they need to get back to square one.

TO THE PEOPLE WHOSE ANCESTORS CAME FROM THE WILDERNESS, A VOICE COMES OUT OF THAT WILDERNESS. TO THE PEOPLE WHOSE ANCESTORS PASSED THROUGH THE PARTED SEA, HE CALLS THEM TO PLUNGE BACK INTO THE WATERS. TO THE PEOPLE WHO PRACTICE BAPTISM TO BRING IN NEW CONVERTS, HE OFFERS BAPTISM.

  1. The wilderness voice in the world today

The church today, should be that voice in the wilderness. We’re not here to entertain you. BUT to sometimes speak the hard words REPENT And is the church is that VOICE – so must you

“Repentance:
Not to make the people feel guilty
But to promote a life of JOYFUL self-denial in which we find our righteousness and truth, not in ourselves, but in Christ alone” James Torrance

  1. What is the wilderness voice in your life today?

Where is God calling you to change—change not in just your mind, but your heart and your actions, the deepest part of who you are? Where are those wounds that Jesus is pointing out deep in you that need healing?

Pay attention.

  1. Is God calling you to be the wilderness voice?

John first made the CHANGE IN himself. He first made sure he was listening to his own voice. He lived out in the wilderness, eating and clothing himself with only what God provided.

Are we able to live with that kind of radical trust? He could speak out of it because he lived it first, not just because he felt like saying it.

 

This is the most important thing John the Baptist ever said, John 3:30: “He must increase, I must decrease.” Jesus said there was no greater prophet born of woman than John the Baptist. He said good-bye. He prepared the way, and when Christ came, he got out of the way.

 

 

So, there’s repentance going on all the time. It’s not a one-off thing. The scriptures recorded and saved FOR us and included in this selection for this week, include Matthew 3:1-12. About John the Baptist. We might not want to hear the word repent. But it is necessary. This is a time of thinking and meditation. A time to examine again what is in our hearts



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