Summary: Some of what it means to prepare the way for the Lord.
“Here Is Our Awesome God!”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
I want all of us to think about something this morning and throughout the coming months.
“Are there any unconverted corners of our hearts?”
Is there anything in your heart which is blocking the way to your being completely sold out for Christ?
If so, what is it?
Could it be pride?
A desire for control and power?
What is it?
What have you not given completely over to God?
What are you holding on to?
Only you and God know the answer to that question.
I remember a colleague of mine telling me about a conversation he had with a church member.
She told him, “I have these little sins in my life, and I like my little sins.”
In other words, she had accepted her sins, she had come to like them and cherish them.
And I’m afraid that there are a lot of us who have done the same thing.
But when we make friends with our sins we are making friends with our greatest enemy!!!
Many of us have a contract with sin.
It’s like we’ve made an agreement with ourselves and the devil: “I can have my little sins.”
In our Old Testament Lesson and our New Testament Lesson for this morning we are told to “make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
If we are going to make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God, our contract with sin and the devil must be broken!!!
That’s why John the Baptist came preaching repentance!
He was preparing people’s hearts; he was making a highway in the wilderness of person’s lives for God.
And John wasn’t the first.
Isaiah did the same thing.
And God has been doing this for a long time.
In Genesis Chapter 3, immediately following the sin in the garden, God started clearing a path in the wilderness in order that God might break back through and thus restore a lost and broken world!!!
As Isaiah says in verse 2, our “sin has been paid for…”
And now it’s time for us to get rid of what is no longer ours!!!
It’s the only way for any of us to experience the abundant life that Christ has to offer us…
Give to Christ what is His!
Give Christ your sin…all of it.
After-all, Christ paid a hefty price for it.
He died on the Cross for it!!!
What an insult…
…it’s almost like stealing…
…if we do not yield everything to God!
And that includes, especially, our Church!!!
Christ died for the Church.
Christ owns the Church.
Christ, is indeed, the Lord of the Church!!!
So often we let our sins get in the way of the “highway for our God.”
We allow church-bullies to keep us off track, and allow us to become discouraged.
We become territorial about our building, about our groups, our cliques.
We allow ourselves to get into the mindset of, “Well, if I don’t get my way…
We often have too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Well, it’s time to change!!!
You know what’s so amazing?
Christ has never given up on Christ’s Church, and so what gives any of us the right to do so?
Jesus dealt with a small band of very flawed individuals.
They were uneducated.
They were sinners.
They kept stumbling all over themselves.
But Jesus picked them and never gave up on them, nonetheless.
He believed in them.
And, through those very flawed few, the Church of Jesus was born.
With God anything is possible!!!
God believes in you and God believes in me.
God believes in a people calling themselves Grace United Methodist Church in Soddy Daisy.
Let’s not put a great big log or boulder over the path or highway for our God here at Grace United Methodist Church!!!
We’ve got a lot going on and a lot going for us!
Could we focus on the negative?
But what’s the point?
Certainly it would lead only to hand-wringing and despair!
What you are called to do--what I am called to do is to “make straight in [Soddy Daisy, Hixson, and Chattanooga] a highway for our God.”
And if we do this, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low…and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all [of our community] together will see it.”
That’s something I want to be a part of, how about you?
Our Gospel Lesson from Mark begins with a portion of the passage from Isaiah Chapter 40 telling us that John the Baptist was the trailblazer for Jesus, and this is our job as well!!!