Preparing the Way of the Lord

PREPARING THE WAY OF THE LORD
(Pastor Lee Jackson FFWC)

I) INTRODUCTION – THE LIVES OF JESUS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST WERE LINKED TOGETHER BEFORE THEY WERE BORN. EACH HAD A ROLE TO PLAY IN THE UNFOLDING OF GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR HUMAN KIND. EACH OF THEM PLAYED THEIR ROLE TO THE END FULFILLING WHAT O.T. PROPHETS HAD SAID AND WHAT THE FATHER & SON HAD PLANNED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. THIS PLAN WAS REVEALED TO MARY & ZACHARIAH, JOHN’S FATHER (LUKE 1:31, 68-69, 72-73, 76 – 77). JOHN CAME TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR JESUS. WHEN HE WAS FINISHED; HE WAS VIOLENTLY REMOVED FROM THE SCENE. JESUS’ MINISTRY USHERED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. HE DEMONSTRATED HIS POWER OVER CREATION AND TAUGHT THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, THROUGH HIS LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS WITH SIGNS, WONDERS AND MIRACLES.
II) TEXT: MATT 3:1-10 (NIV)

III) JOHN CAME TO PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD (JESUS)
A) JOHN FULFILLED A PROPHECY BY ISAIAH LONG AGO, A GLIMPSE OF GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR SALVATION, APPROVED BY THE HOLY TRINITY IN ETERNITY PAST
B) HE WAS UNORTHODOX IN THE WAY HE LIVED, HIS FOOD, CLOTHING & MANNERISMS
C) HE DIDN’T PANDER TO PEOPLE; PEOPLE WENT INTO THE WILDERNESS TO HEAR HIM
D) JOHN KNEW WHO HE WAS ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE AND WHY HE WAS HERE
E) JOHN WAS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT FROM BIRTH ACCORDING TO LUKE 1:15
F) HE PREACHED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS NEAR BUT MANY WOULD NOT SEE IT

VII) WHAT DID HE DO OR SAY TO PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD?
A) HE CALLED THE PEOPLE TO REPENT & BE BAPTIZED. REPENT; “TO TURN AROUND”
B) TO TURN FROM OUR LIFE OF SIN TO FOLLOW CHRIST AND HIS COMMANDMENTS
C) SALVATION IS 2-FOLD: WE ACCEPT JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR AND MAKE HIM “OUR LORD”
D) TRUE REPENTANCE WILL BRING A RADICAL BREAK WITH OUR SINFUL PAST
E) WE DON’T KEEP DOING THE THINGS WE WERE DOING BEFORE WE WERE SAVED
F) WE CHANGE “KINGDOMS AND LORDS” FROM KINGDOM OF SATAN (EPH 2:1-7 NKJV); TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD THROUGH CHRIST & HIS WORD (ACTS 26:18 NKJV)
G) REPENTANCE IS ESSENTIAL AND INTEGRAL TO THE GOSPEL (LUK 24: 46, 47 NKJV)

VII) BEING “RELIGIOUS” DOESN’T PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
A) RELIGIOUS LEADERS (SCRIBES & PHARISEES) DIDN’T COME TO REPENT
B) THEY CAME TO OBSERVE, TO QUESTION, TO ANALYZE & REPORT BACK TO SUPERIORS
C) THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND – THEIR SPIRITUAL EYES & EARS WERE CLOSED
D) JOHN CALLED THE “A BROOD OF VIPERS” (DEN OF SNAKES)
E) HE TOLD THEM TO PRODUCE FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE
F) THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD GOD’S FAVOR; THEY WERE DECEDENTS OF ABRAHAM
G) THERE ARE MANY WHO GO TO CHURCH REGULARLY THAT ARE NOT WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: THEY ARE QUICK TO JUDGE, TO CENSOR, TO CONDEMN; THEY JUDGE OTHERS FOR WHAT THEY THEMSELVES DO HAVE DONE; IT IS GOD’S LOVE THAT DRAWS PEOPLE NOT OUR CONDEMNATION
H) JESUS TOLD THE SCRIBES & PHARISEES: MAT 23:13 BUT WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! FOR YE SHUT UP THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AGAINST MEN: FOR YE NEITHER GO IN YOURSELVES, NEITHER SUFFER YE THEM THAT ARE ENTERING TO GO IN.
I) THE WARNING IS GIVEN TO US ALSO: MAT 3:10(NIV) THE AX IS ALREADY AT THE ROOT OF THE TREES, AND EVERY TREE THAT DOES NOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT WILL BE CUT DOWN AND THROWN INTO THE FIRE.

VII) WHEN WE REPENT WE PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD
A) GOD CANNOT WORK IN OUR LIVES UNTIL WE ARE READY TO REPENT / CHANGE
B) WE MUST COME TO THE PLACE WHERE WE REALIZE WE CANNOT CHANGE OURSELVES AND BELIEVE AND ACCEPT JESUS HAS ALREADY DONE ALL THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE
C) PETER SAYS “HE HAS GIVEN EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE & GODLINESS: THIS NOT ONLY APPLIES TO SALVATION BUT OUR ONGOING SANCTIFICATION
D) WE WONDER WHY OUR PRAYERS ARE NOT BEING ANSWERED OR WE ARE LOOKING FOR A BREAK THROUGH IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES
E) WE NEED TO EXAMINE OUR LIVES IN THE LIGHT OF GOD’S WORD
F) ARE WE WALKING IN THE SPIRIT OR LIVING ACCORDING TO OUR OLD CARNAL NATURE
G) JOHN TESTIMONY OF JESUS & JESUS BEING BAPTIZED BY JOHN IN MAT 3:11-12 SPEAKS OF ANOTHER BAPTISM THAT JESUS BAPTIZES WITH.

IV) CONCLUSION – NEXT SUNDAY MORNING WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BAPTISMAL SERVICE. THE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING BAPTIZED IS GIVEN IN ROM 6:1-14. WHEN WE ARE BAPTIZED, WE PUBLICLY TESTIFY WHEN WE GO DOWN INTO THE WATER THAT OUR OLD LIFE OF SIN HAS BEEN BURIED WITH CHRIST AND THAT WE ARE RAISED UP BY HIM TO LIVE A NEW LIFE, A NEW CREATION. WE NO LONGER LET SIN REIGN OVER OUR BODY OR ITS MEMBERS. WE DO NOT OFFER PARTS OF OUR BODY TO SIN AS INSTRUMENTS OF WICKEDNESS, BUT OFFER OURSELVES TO GOD, WHO HAS BROUGHT US FROM DEATH TO LIFE. THIS NEW LIFE WILL BEAR THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. IF YOU WERE BAPTIZED AND YOUR LIFE IS NOT BEARING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, THEN YOU HAVE GIVEN A FALSE TESTIMONY.

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