Summary: Advent 2 (C) -- Our Lord sends his messenger John the Baptist. John the Baptist prepares the way for our Savior, Jesus, who purifies sinners.
OUR LORD SENDS HIS MESSENGER (Outline)
December 7, 2008 --
ADVENT 2 --
INTRO: There is always excitement expecting a special day to arrive. There are many special days in our lives. They can include birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and holidays. We have only three weeks left before we celebrate Christmas. In the Scriptures messengers were sent out to proclaim special events that were coming. When the day arrived messengers were sent out again for the final invitation to attend. Today we receive messages rather than personal messengers for announcements and invitations. The importance of a messenger may be lost on us today. There we want to be reminded of the value of God’s messengers. The greatest messenger in the New Testament was John the Baptist. John’s coming and message were clearly announced by Old Testament messengers, God’s prophets. "A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God’" (ISAIAH 40:3 (quickview) ).
OUR LORD SENDS HIS MESSENGER.
I. John the Baptist prepares the way.
II. Jesus, our Savior, purifies sinners.
I. JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARES THE WAY
A. A quick recap of Malachi. The captivities and conquering of God’s people were over.
1. God returned Israel to the Promised Land. BUT they had begun to forget and forsake God.
2. God sent Malachi to remind the people to return to the Lord. How indifferent they were!
3. Malachi repeated: “The day of the Lord is coming!” God’s word needed to be heard.
B. Malachi is the last of the Old Testament prophets. After him the Lord is “silent” for 400 years.
1. The Lord God next sends John the Baptist – his chosen Way-Preparer.
2. Verse 1a,c. A messenger to prepare the way before me. That me is the LORD Almighty.
C. Verse 1b. The messenger, John the Baptist, prepares the way for the Lord, the Messiah, the Christ.
1. John and Jesus lived during the same time. The Lord they desired would appear suddenly.
2. Suddenly is compared to the long wait from the promise made to Adam centuries before.
D. John’s message was one of preparation. Get ready; the kingdom of God is near. Get ready; the Lamb of God is here. The gospels record the message of John. John used physical terms with spiritual encour-agements. "Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation"(LUKE 3:5 (quickview) ,6). Our Lord fills in the valleys of despair in our hearts. It is God who is able to make molehills out of our mountains rather than the other way around. Christ creates straight roads out of our crooked paths of disobedi-ence. Our Savior makes our rough hearts smooth with his precious blood. John says, “Prepare”.
E. Thankfully, the Lord is the one who prepares us. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our ears to hear so that our hearts may believe. Our eternal salvation is so vitally important that our gracious God would not let this depend on our choice or decision. For goodness’ sake Adam and Eve made the wrong choice. And they lived in a perfect world. It is by grace we have been saved not by our works, not by our choice, not by our desire, but by God’s choice alone. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh"(EZEKIEL 11:19 (quickview) ).