Summary: Repentance...John came before Jesus as a voice calling in the wilderness, to preach repentance, Jesus came to offer salvation, so in the same way, repentance comes before salvation.
HIS GLORY REVEALED
This voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord.
Who was the voice calling: John the Baptist.
Isaiah prophesies about John the Baptist being a voice in the wilderness, and in Luke he states the message of John the Baptist.
He is calling for a way to be prepared. A call to repentance. That was the message of John the Baptist, a call to repentance.
So why is this portion of scripture quoted in both the Old and New Testament?
Old convenent, New… Very important. If something is said in the Bible once important… twice Very important…three or more times it is considered a doctrine.
This is a message God wanted us to know, that Godly sorrow leads us to repentance.
John before Jesus…….repentance before salvation
This portion of scripture is also quoted in Matt. 3, but look down to Matt 3:13-15
Why did Jesus make this statement?
In order for us to experience His salvation, we must first repent.
John the Baptist’s message was repentance, what did Jesus come for? To save that which was lost.
So the way had to be prepared, that is what that is talking about, John had to prepare the way, we need to prepare the way to our hearts.
We must first repent before He can manifest His saving presence.
So how do we repent? We prepare the way. We prepare our hearts with repenting of our sinful nature, so now the way of holiness is opened to us.
And now God can enter in through the highway to our heart.
So you say that’s great Pastor Steve, but I have already repented of my sins, I have been saved, so how does this apply to me?
Turn to Psalms 51:1-3 Read
David wrote this prayer after his sin with Bethsheba.
So how could King David after being a murderer and adulterer be the predecessor of the coming Messiah?
It was only by the mercy and grace offered in response to TRUE repentance.
You see repentance is required of anyone who wants to encounter the presence of God and live.
You see under the Old covenant, God wanted to come close to mankind, but He knew that His holiness would destroy any living flesh because of the contaminating sin that flesh carries.
You see took an elaborate covering of blood, the smoke of incense, and holy garments to even keep a priest alive for only a few minutes in God’s manifest presence.
He still says that today… “Be careful, because if you really want to know me, then everything in you must die.
Even Paul says “No flesh should glory in His presence.”
If you are God’s own, then you better become acquainted with the passionate prayer of repentance.
You see every small annoyance and confrontation with other people—including people in the church—may create an offense and contaminate our hearts, unless repentance puts it to death.
So now we know that the days of blood sacrifices and Old Testament priestly ordinances are gone because of Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest.
But the key to everyone under the New Covenant is repentance. That is why repentance and brokenness brings the manifest presence of God so near.
Great leaders and Great men of God face great challenges, and many of the greatest pioneers in the church were forced to become “great repenters” too.
And that is necessary to do when you make up your mind to live holy before a Holy God.
Look at the next part of this scripture “Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God”
We need to make our heart a roadway, or a highway of His grace, through repentance, so now He can come and envelop our entire being. So we can experience the Greatness of who He is.
So we need to clear the way of all hindrances for the Lord to enter in and make smooth the paths to our hearts. Getting rid of our nature to allow Him to replace it with His nature.
So that is where most of us sit today, a repentant heart, longing for a purity that only He can give, so that we can experience His embrace, and the warmth and comfort of an intimate walk with our Savior.
Now there are 4 directions that the rest of this text takes us, and they must have our serious attention.
1. Every valley must be lifted or exalted.
Low and groveling thoughts of God must be given up.
We must realize the Greatness of who He is, and not take for granted the mercy and grace that is offered to us, and that was paid for, in blood by His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
All doubting and despair must be removed.