Summary: May this message help us reflect on the purpose of Christmas and how we prepare for this season of Christ!
CHRISTMAS FROM THE FOUR GOSPELS – Part 1
Prepare The Way
A. Planning and Preparation is something we all know something about.
1. From about the age of 5, sometimes younger, we each start thinking in terms of organization
2. Let me give you a few examples
a. Tell a five year old that after daddy gets off work tomorrow and finishes the yard work they will go get an ice cream cone.
1) The child starts thinking – is it tomorrow yet?
2) Tomorrow comes and he starts asking when will daddy get off work
3) Then, have you got the yard done yet? If you say almost, they start getting their things together and putting on their coat. They are ready.
b. Teenage girl: prom is in a few weeks, what’s happening
1) They are planning: date, outfit, friends, ride, etc…..
2) Almost nothing is left to chance for most.
c. As adults we plan for jobs, vacations, and trips.
1) We buy insurances, take vitamins, exercise with a goal in mind.
2) Even Christmas: were planning what to buy, how to celebrate and of course, as Baptists, what we will eat at the Christmas meal.
B. It Should, Therefore, Not Surprise Us Our God A Planner
1. He began before the world was formed planning the coming of His son.
2. Following creation and in the history of man we find all sorts of indications of His planning and preparation
a. The virgin conception of Christ written of by Isaiah (7:14), some 700 years prior
b. His birth in Bethlehem spoken of by Micah (5:2), 730 years before
c. And then one we are presently concerned with, the coming of a forerunner to the Messiah, spoken of in both Isaiah (40:30) and Malachi (3:1)
C. Listen to our scripture passage for this morning found in Mark 1:1-8 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
1. As we consider the topic “Prepare the Way” we will keep it simple with only two points
a. First, John’s Preparation
b. Second, Our Preparation
2. May God’s preparation for the Messiah find its fulfillment in our lives today.
Let’s begin by taking a look at
I. JOHN’S PREPARATION, Mark 1:1-8, Note first
A. John’s Reason for Preparation – Mark 1:2 Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
1. I want you to think about this for a moment: John’s conception, birth and life were all about one thing – Jesus!
2. How be it a very in a very special way.
4. God saw fit to make preparations for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ the Son of God through John the Baptist
5. He was to get people thinking about the Messiah – they should not be taken by surprise at His coming because John was sent to “prepare” the way
- Thayer’s Greek Dictionary gave this definition: to prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings
6. It was a special reason for preparation
B. Secondly let us take note of the Manner of Preparation, Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
1. Matthew writes Matthew 3:1-2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
2. John’s manner was to preach the word of God, announce the arrival of the foretold Messiah and proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.
3. His message included:
a. Repentance of Sin