Summary: God has prepared us for a ministry. Why do we think God has prepared us our entire life to fail? Won’t He be with us along the journey?
Several centuries ago, a Japanese emperor commissioned an artist to paint a picture of a bird. A number of months passed, then several years, and still no painting was brought to the palace. Finally the emperor became so exasperated that he went to the artist’s home to demand an explanation. But instead of making excuses, the artist placed a blank canvas on the easel. In less than an hour, he completed a painting that was to become a brilliant masterpiece. When the emperor asked the reason for the delay, the artist showed him armloads of drawings that he had made of feathers, wings, heads, and feet. Then he explained that all of this research and study, this preparation had been necessary before he could complete the painting.
Life is full of preparations. This morning all of us prepared to come to church. All of us got dressed in our daily clothes as I see no one is here in their pajamas. I would expect most of us ate some sort of breakfast this morning in preparation for the day. I would hope all of us entered into this day in prayer especially because it is Sunday and we were coming to God’s house to worship him today.
However, everything we do, if you think about it, is preparation for something else. No matter what you do, you are preparing for something. Go grocery shopping you are preparing to cook something later and that is preparation to eat it. Put gas in you car you are preparing to go somewhere, maybe to work, which is in preparation to make money, which is to pay the bills and of course tithe to the church. So you see everything we do is in preparation for something else.
This season is a huge season for preparations. It is the Christmas season and just look at all of the things we are doing to prepare for that day. We may have been going through the ads looking at the deals or picking out the things we want receive. Maybe we have been going through the garage or attic looking for the Christmas decorations. Perhaps we have already hung some lights outside and made our homes look festive for the holidays. You may have purchased your Christmas cards and gone through the list of people you plan on sending a greeting to this year. Maybe you have not done any of this yet. You may be still preparing to prepare in your mind.
As Christians we are preparing every day or least should be preparing for Jesus to one day return to earth and claim his church. Even though we don’t know when that day will be we still prepare for it by making sure we are ready. We should also be making sure others are ready for that day as well. This Christmas season is a wonderful time to share your faith with someone, the door has already been cracked open for you because of the holiday.
This coming week we are going to have revival services as you know. I hope and pray that you are preparing yourself for this week. We need to humble ourselves in God’s presence and pray for him to move this week in our church, in our community, and in our lives. We need to prepare our selves for a revival to happen. God does not send revival just because we decided to bring an evangelist to the church! Revival will only come if we prepare ourselves for it.
In our scripture today we will see a wonderful story of preparation. Let’s turn to Mark 1:1-8 and read this week’s passage.
“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. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’”
Here we see John in the desert preparing the way for Jesus to come into his ministry. John was there preaching and baptizing in the name of repentance. And he said, “After me will come someone else, whose sandals I am unfit to untie. I am baptizing you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In essence John was saying, “I am preparing the way for Him to come. I am getting all of you ready for Him. We are repenting now so we will be ahead of the game when he gets here.”