Summary: We do a lot to get ready for the coming of Christmas. Shouldn’t we do more to get ready for the coming of Jesus?
Getting Ready For Christ to Come
How do you get ready for Christmas? Lots of folk start by buying a tree and decorating it. I’ve noticed retailers starting earlier and earlier. This used to it was after Thanksgiving (Macy’s parade being the kick-off) and then it began after Halloween. Now Christmas stuff is out there with back to school. I used to complain about that, but I’ve decided retailers have the right idea. We ought to start early getting ready for the coming of Jesus. That is where Mark begins his gospel. He doesn’t worry about the “begats” or the virgin birth or the shepherds and wise men. He starts with what he sees as the beginning of the gospel – the good news – about Jesus Christ.
While all of those other things were important, and are covered in Matthew and Luke, for Mark the place to begin was getting ready for the ministry of Jesus. What he understood was Jesus coming in a manger was not as important on a personal level as Jesus coming into you life and your heart. So he begins with John telling people to get ready for the Messiah to come by preparing their heart for his coming.
TEXT: Mark 1:1-8 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"— "a voice of one calling in the desert, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ "
And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
I. You Need to Go to Some Trouble
A. Go to All Kinds of Trouble Getting Ready For Christmas
1. Decorate tree and house
2. Brave the crowds to shop
3. Cook all kinds of things
4. Go caroling
B. How Much More to Get Ready For Christ
1. John was in an inconvenient place
2. He was an unorthodox messenger
3. He had a discomforting message
a. how many times are people unhappy with what they hear
1) Joel Osteen, “we don’t talk about sin, we refer to mistakes”
2) churches sued and have property confiscated for standing for what God’s word says
• Church of Christ, La Porte CO over opposing special treatment for homosexuals
• Coral Ridge church for allowing Operation Rescue to use their building
• Church of Christ sued for following biblical plan for making congregation aware of person living in sin and unwilling to repent
3) many churches afraid to confront sin because people will just go somewhere else where it is tolerated or encouraged
II. You Need to Spend Time In Introspection
1. Change of direction
2. Where are you going this year
a. is it where you say you want to go?
b. if you keep going where will you end up?
1. Confessing their sins
a. sin is:
1) transgression of God’s law
2) missing the mark
b. confession is acknowledging, admitting or agreeing to what God already knows
2. We need confession
a. lots of talk about “denial”
1) deny what we are doing
2) deny it is sin
• Justify – if you knew what I was going through
• Rationalize – just a “little white lie”
b. denial keeps us entrapped
1) acknowledges the reality of what we are doing
2) recognizes it is wrong because GOD SAYS IT IS WRONG
3) puts us in a position to do something about it
d. if we are “missing the mark” the sooner we admit it the sooner we can get back on track
1. Based on faith in the coming of the Messiah
2. Preceded by Repentance
2. But did not yet come with the promise of the Holy Sprit
4. Our does
III. You Need to Realize the Current Event is Just the Preliminary
A. One Who Is Mightier Would Come After John
1. As great as John was the least in the kingdom was greater
• Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.