Summary: Preparing the way for the establishment of God's Kingdom rule in the life of the believer
Prepare The Way
Mal. 4:4 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn…
There were 500 or so years between the closing of the Old Testament in the book of Malachi until the ministry of John the Baptist. All of Israel was without the Word of the Lord waiting until Elijah would come or the Messiah would appear in order that they would be delivered from the current oppression of the Roman Empire.
There was a corrupt religious order in place, a ministry of rules and regulations that were enforced by scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Rules and regulations that God never intended. God was going to set it straight.
Mentioned last week about a prophetic word that I heard from Paul Cain that God was coming to the church to remove everything that bears His name but that does not bear his character. WE know that judgment begins with the house of God.
I. The Messenger Of Change Luke 1:14-16
A. The Birth Announcement
1. He will be great in the sight of the Lord. v.15
2. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit v.15
3. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
4. He would minister in the spirit and power of Elijah v.17
- turning the hearts of the fathers to the children
- the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
- to make a people prepared for the Lord
5. The hand of the Lord was with him. V.66
B. The Witness Of The Holy Spirit v.76-79
1. He will be a prophet of the Most High God v.76
2. He would prepare the way of the Lord/Messiah
3. He would give knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of sins. V.77
4. He would have the mercy of god
5. He would give light to those sitting in darkness
6. He would guide into the way of peace
B. The Place Of Preparation v.80
1. He was in the deserts (revelation to manifestation)
- it is here in the desert that God has His perfect work in you.
- There are no distractions, a place of utter dependence
2. He grew and became strong in spirit
3. God was making the messenger the message.
Matt. 3:4 “Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”
- John’s simple lifestyle prophesied against the people
- he ate locusts, wore camel hair, wore long hair
- he was a visual protest against self-indulgence
Q. How many of you would welcome this guy into your church to preach?
II. The Message Of Change Luke 3:2-20
A. John’s Manifestation To The People v.2
1. The Word of the Lord came to John
- notice it didn’t come to the religious leaders of the day
B. The Message of Change is…Baptism Of Repentance
1. The Message hasn’t changed. God is calling everywhere through the voice of His prophets to repent. Or in modern translation: Wake up. Get real, get your life turned around and look to God!
2. Matthew says that John came preaching “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” This is the same message of Jesus and which followed right through the birth of the church in Acts. God’s Kingdom from John on has been forcefully advancing…and forceful men lay hold of it! Matt. 11:12 God’s rule and authority and being established on earth as it is in heaven. Repentance gets us facing in the right direction and opens our hearts to receive His rule over our lives.
3. We need to repent: (an about face) and take an honest look at our lives. Repentance is good medicine.
4. When God takes residence in an individual’s life, everything must change!
5. Repentance will give us revival: God is jealous for our total loyalty, unreserved dedication, unblemished love and our unswerving commitment. God wants all of you!
6. We need more conviction and absence of it may reflect that we have flirted with the world for too long and have forgotten how to blush. Beware when you no longer feel the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in your life. * Samson was a man who wasn’t aware the Spirit of God left him *
7. Repentance precedes revival and there can be no revival without tears of conviction and sorrow. Dr. Michael Brown has said, “Heaven and earth have become fairy tales..We talk the right talk, but our tearless prayers, our whole hearted pursuit of the things of this world, our obsession with worthless entertainment, our idolization of sports, our lack of burden for the lost, our dwelling at ease while the world perishes….all this testifies against us. Revival will open our eyes! The spiritual becomes more real than the natural, and eternal matters become more urgent than temporal matters.