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Summary: As predicted by the prophets, John the Baptist came to tell the world to prepare the way for Jesus. Emphasis on faith & repentance, Salvation message.

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A Voice in the Wilderness

Text: Matthew 3

Introduction

At an intersection, the green light changes to yellow.

At the theater the house lights flash

In the Battalion Tactical Operations Center a WARNO comes down from Brigade

At the airport terminal the boarding call comes over the intercom

At a railroad crossing the lights begin to flash

In a small Midwestern town the tornado siren screams

On the football field the two minute warning sounds

In the cargo bay of a C-140 a red-light comes on

In the Desert of Judea, a voice of one calling in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the Lord"

What do each of these have in common? They are signs or warnings that we need to prepare ourselves for what is about to happen. The prophets of the Old Testament foretold that there would be a forerunner to the Messiah, who would alert the world to the coming of this "anointed one."

Just as predicted, here comes John the Baptist, the miracle child of old and childless parents, preaching repentance, living a spartan existence by God’s provision and telling of a coming Messiah. Really an OT character, the last of the OT Prophets. One who stands astride the two testaments, bridging the gap, showing the progression from God’s old covenant with Israel to His new covenant with all humanity through Jesus Christ. And what is the message of this the lost of the Old Covenant prophets?

Proposition: Prepare the way, get ready, get your hearts ready, get your lives ready, get your homes ready

Interrogative: And how exactly are we to do that? How should we prepare ourselves for the Messiah to come into our lives?

Transition: As we look at John the Baptist’s ministry Three things are apparent about the nature of this preparation. I want to invite you to look at these with me this morning and ask yourself, "How well have I done in preparing the way for Jesus?" First our preparation must be...

1. Sorrowful

vv. 5-6 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance. The people who come to be baptized confess their sins, out of sorrow for the way they have trampled God’s expectations for them.

ILLUSTRATION: Not too many years ago many newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his newfound faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was nineteen years old. Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted for the offense. Still, he believed his relationship with Christ demanded a confession. And he even voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money!(Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 13)

Why did he confess this sin when he had already gotten away with it ? Because when he came face to face with Jesus he was filled with sorrow over the wrong he had done.


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