Summary: Followers of Christ are effective in the Kingdom of God as messengers.
A Fitting and Fulfilling Voice (Matt. 3: 13-17)
1 "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching (crying) in the Desert of Judea (not a good translation- “Wilderness or of a flock deserted by the shepherd) 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'
Introduction: Matthew started with a 2,000 year genealogy (with the help of ancestry.com)
1. Is full of fulfillment (plainly the 6th fulfillment of OT prophecy, but it isn’t Jesus who is fulfilling it but John. Demonstrates (again) the promise of the Old fulfilled in the New. God doesn’t only fulfill His promises in Christ. He fulfills them in all believers.)
2. Progresses quickly from manger to ministry.
3. John the Baptist brings a Godly message. (voice-Phone-John the Baptist was making a call on God’s behalf.) Rev. 10:3: and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke
I. Kingdom Keys (We are not latch-key kids but a Kingdom of God Kids!)
1. Repent personally. Change your mind and mental direction. A Turning of your heart to God. It is trusting Him as Savior, first of all for forgiveness. That’s the “biggy” repentance, but then repentance is also a way of life for a Kingdom kid.
2. Accept God’s forgiveness and move into Kingdom living. If you buy a house or rent an apartment, you accept the conditions and you move in. God says: Accept what I have done in Christ for you and move in. You also accept what He wants you to do as a “voice” for God. Imagine if John had rejected the calling of God to be His voice: Fulfillment would be unfulfilled. Christ’s ministry launch would be lost. Jesus baptism wouldn’t be recorded.
God is fulfilling (building) His kingdom through you and your life. You and I are living in the Kingdom of God NOW. What we see is so often our focus, but if we are believers, we are already IN the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom exists in US: We are IN CHRIST and He is in us, the hope of Glory. (Col. 1:27)
3. Change is inevitable when you repent. Prepare personally. It is not the responsibility of others to change or for us to change others, but for ME to change. Expect God to change things and to change you. God changes things for His Glory: You have to expect changes when you come to Jesus. God also changes people for His glory. He WILL change you, and use you.
II. Your “Call” to the Gospel is in a “desert land”
1. You have a voice.
We literally live in a “desert land”, where there is little life giving spiritual water. There are plenteous amounts of contaminated water that people are drinking (false gospels that will result in death. Neither John the Baptist (nor Matthew) were the living water. They weren’t Messiahs, but they were faucets, “tea spouts”, which poured out the message. They were used as “voices” for God.
2. Part of your “voice” speaks “Prepare the way”.
Oriental custom would send a person ahead of a king or dignitary as a sort of town crier to announce that royalty was coming. The idea of the word “prepare” was that of sending a herald before the king. John the Baptist was a herald standing at the end of the BC years and the beginning of the AD years.
We are standing toward the end of the AD years and have to BE prepared as the heralds who are saying: “The king HAS come and DID what He promised. The evidence is overwhelming. Watch out because the King IS coming again.”
3. Your voice and life should continue to say: “Make straight paths” and TAKE THE straight path. It means that we stop wandering around in the deserts. Part of your “voice” is to speak “Straight paths”. “Paths” comes from the word “to rub”. If you keep rubbing on something it becomes worn and ragged.
“Straight” means level but it can also mean the right “straight way to God. Peter describes people who follow the ways of satan in 2 Peter 2:15: “They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.” The straight path is the way of Jesus and belief in Him. Any other path is crooked. Stay on the straight and narrow which Jesus presented.
Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:18 offers the a “warning label” which is often overlooked: “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”