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Summary: Getting ready for Santa is turning from misbehaving to right behaving (in Christian understanding, this is called repentance).

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SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN

MATTHEW 3: 1-12

DECEMBER 9, 2001

INTRODUCTION: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town:

J. Fred Coots, Henry Gillespie (c) 1934

You better watch out

You better not cry

Better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list,

And checking it twice;

Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice.

Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out!

You better not cry.

Better not pout, I’m telling you why.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

TRANSITION THOUGHT: Today, our text, Just like the Christmas Carol “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, speaks of the call to behave. We know that Santa is watching, but sometimes we forget. If we remembered, we might act a little different. John the Baptist came preaching and his preaching focused on one idea or understanding: Repentance, to turn from misbehaving to right behavior. This morning, we are going to think together about getting ready for Santa. We only have a few more weeks and none of us want coal in our Christmas stocking. Santa’s watching, so let’s get it right.

THESIS SENTENCE: Getting ready for Santa is turning from misbehaving to right behaving (in Christian understanding, this is called repentance).

JOHN THE BAPTIZER TAKES US THROUGH THREE MOVEMENTS CONCERING THIS UNDERSTANDING OF GETTING READY FOR SANTA/REPENTANCE. THE FIRST MOVEMENT IS…

I. WE MUST HEAR THE MUSIC (VV. 1-4)

A. JOHN LIKES THE OLDIES BUT GOODIES!

1. John liked the way the prophets of old sang, “Elijah” if you will. He even quotes the prophet Isaiah “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

2. He came “Singing the same song”/ Preaching like the prophets of old, proclaiming Divine judgment and summoned all to “Get ready for Santa/Repent” and start being a good boy and girl/amend their ways!

3. Do you remember Jonah preaching to Nineveh: “On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: ‘Forty days and Nineveh will be overturned (Jonah 3:4).’”

4. John had the message of old, “REPENT!” He came to turn people back to the true and living God!

B. JOHN LIKES THE NEW HITS, TOO!

1. John could hear Elvis Singing Blue Christmas: It just wouldn’t be the same if Jesus wasn’t coming.

2. Unlike the prophets of old, John offered a sacrament of repentance, “Baptism.” There is no reference in the OT of a once for all baptism. But John seems to be proclaiming: “To repent and be baptized is to be sealed into God new Reign!”

3. He also states a “New Reign” has arrived. It is the Reign of the Kingdom of Heaven!

4. It may even appear that John would stand in opposition to the message Jesus would come proclaiming. It might appear surprising that all four Gospel proceed Jesus ministry with that of John and that this is affirmed in the book of Acts, chapter 10 verses 36-37, “You know the word which he sent to Israel… beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached.”

5. John’s preaching did not stand in opposition to the soon ministry of Jesus. It heralds it in! He was the forerunner as Isaiah prophesied! He was preparing the way!!

SANTA CLAUSE IS COMING TO TOWN:

THE SECOND MOVEMENT OF THIS UNDERSTANDING OF GETTING READY FOR SANTA…

II. WE MUST ACCEPTANCE THE MUSIC (VV. 4-6)

A. MANY WILL COME AND SING THE SONG

1. John did not follow the church growth mentality. It wasn’t concerned with his location of preaching. He could have been a “First” Baptist in uptown Jerusalem, but he chose to be the “Last” Baptist in the Desert of Judea.

2. Location didn’t seem to matter to the crowd, either. Verse 5 tells us that “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.”

3. You don’t cover this much territory without gaining a “Multitude.”

4. What makes the Multitude come? Do you remember Jesus asking the crowd about John, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a Prophet…. I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist;… (Matthew 11: 7-11).”

5. CAN YOU IMAGINE GOING OUT OF YOUR WAY TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD????????????????????????????

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