3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: “To prepare the way of the Lord,” what does that mean? Is John calling the people to do some road work? Is John saying that we need to go out and get hired on with road crew?

Introduction

In Matthew 3:3, the great prophet Isaiah says John the Baptist will call the people to prepare the way of the Lord, to make His path straight. “To prepare the way of the Lord,” what does that mean? Is John calling the people to do some road work? Is John saying that we need to go out and get hired on with MDOT?

I had to look at what John preached to see exactly what he meant by “prepare the way." And yes, it is road work but not of a physical nature; He is saying that we need to do some road work on our hearts. He preached a Gospel of repentance. Clean up your heart for his arrival. Do roadwork on your heart.

In fact, during Christmas time, we sing Joy to the World, and it goes like this.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room (Do the Road work)

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Answering one question, discovering what prepare the way of the Lord means leads me to another question. How do I do that? How do I do the spiritual roadwork on my heart? And that is where our sermon is going to take us today. So turn in your Bibles to John 3:25-30.

Scripture reading

John 3:25-30 (NIV)

25 An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.

26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.

28 You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'

29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

30 He must become greater; I must become less.

point #1

To prepare my heart, my motivation must be pure. I cannot be preparing my heart for Christ and at the same time, having some personal agenda driving my motivation.

26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'

I want you to see the contrast in motivations between John the Baptist and his own disciples. In verses 22 and 23 of this chapter, we discover that Jesus and his disciples were baptizing in the Judean countryside, and John and his disciples were baptizing the area of Salim. So, Jesus and John, for a while, had parallel ministeries.

And that causes us to see the personal motivation of the disciples vs. the pure motivation of John the Baptist. The disciples say to John that the one you testified about. They could not bring themselves to mention his name- Jesus. The one John called the Son of God. Secondly, He is doing the same thing that we are doing- baptizing. He copied our idea. Why cannot He do something different? And finally, everyone is going to Him. He is getting bigger than us. These disciples are in a religious setting, but their motivation is not seeking God but jealousy. We love our group, and we want our group to be the biggest and best.

Now, look at the motivation of John the Baptist. First, he says that I am only a man who was sent ahead of Christ. He is God, and I am not. His motivation was a pure motivation seeking God.

This story reminds us that people are in church today, and they are there with a whole bunch of different motivations. Some are there because their motivations are pure, and they want to seek God. Others might be there to please the person they are dating. Some might be there to avoid people thinking negatively about them. Some might be there today because they want to bargain with God. Look, I came to church now God fix my problem. Some might be there today because it is a place for a great source of business contacts. And there may be some who come to church just to start trouble.

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