Summary: Looking at John the Baptist, as he prepared the way for Jesus Christ.
Preparing “The Way”
The title of this message is “Preparing the Way” and if you have your Bibles please go with me to Mark, Chapter 1.
If you will recall, last Sunday we discussed Abraham and his willingness to be faithful to God in all things; even when it came to sacrificing his own son. Of course he was rewarded for his faithfulness and God provided the sacrifice in the form of a ram.
This past Wednesday we discussed the importance of needing to have a broken spirit as you come into the presence of the Lord; and two weeks ago we talked of the encouragement that God has given us through those who have come before us in servanthood to Him.
Just before we discuss the importance of the Christmas gift (next week’s message), I want to look at the importance of one more man’s testimony as he faithfully and diligently prepared the way for the One who would come after him; One that was promised from the beginning of time for mankind; and One who would deliver us all from our own sinful ways.
Read Mark 1:1-8
Point 1 – A prophecy declared and revealed
Isaiah prophesized about one being given unto this earth thousands of years before John was ever called into the ministry. (Isaiah 53)
However, Isaiah 40 gives us a view into the future of one man whose sole purpose is to declare and prepare the world for the arrival of the Messiah. John was a bold man, who pulled no punches, and who declared that the only way to live is to repent, and be baptized, period.
He added no flair, no special effects, just admit that you need to change and come to God out of obedience to His will, and not your own. (Repent = Turn away)
Remember that Isaiah was a man who was unclean – a man who considered himself ruined because he had seen the Lord and he knew who he was. (Ref: Isaiah, Chapter 6)
But, God sent an angel to cleanse him from all unrighteousness, and Isaiah was anointed in a way that allowed him to obey the Lord’s calling when God asked, “Who will I send?” Isaiah answered that call willingly, because he had been made whole again.
IMPORTANT: Because of Isaiah’s faithfulness to the Lord, John the Baptist was able to begin and complete his ministry in the face of the religious and the unbelievers. Isaiah declares that this one would be “a prophet crying out in the wilderness, preparing a way for the Lord”.
John was simply a messenger to all that would hear. This morning, you are also a messenger that God could use to prepare the way for the Lord. We have been promised in the Word that Jesus will return for His church – and we should be preparing the way for the Lord today. The only way to prepare the way … is to obey the call.
Point 2 – Obeying the call
John went forth in this world preaching repentance, and baptizing all in the name of Lord. We see clearly that he was a humble man, of very little means, and even his clothes and diet were of no consequence.
However, what John had was willingness – and faithfulness to carry out God’s calling.
John declares that one will come after him that will baptize with the Holy Ghost.
This One that John preached is Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. John declares to all that would hear that he is merely one who is preparing the way – and Jesus answered (and clarified) this statement during his ministry: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. (John 14:6)
You see, John was focused on spreading the word and baptizing those who would repent of their sins and profess their faithfulness to God. Today, this is the exact same thing that we do today. We are called to baptize out of faithfulness to the Lord, and to only baptize those who would ask for Jesus to come into their lives.
Christmas is not about presents, but it is about God’s gift of His Son to us!!
As we approach the final week of preparations, dinners, and running around for last minute shopping, let us be challenged this Christmas to do more than we have ever done before … let us challenge ourselves to be more faithful than we have ever been.
Point 3 – Challenge yourself to do more!
Isaiah 40:1-5 has a very unique message in here that I want you to see.
Read Isaiah 40:1-5
Have you ever wondered why the birth of Jesus still brings comfort and joy to people after 2,000 years? It is because of His coming that we can sing “Free at last, thank God we’re free at last.”