One Way

Admit the Need, it is hard for us to do (Matthew 3:2-6). I don’t know about you but I lose my cool on rare occasions and fly off the handle, my quick-witted self might say something I should not. One of my mentors used to say that poor pitiful piece of trash. If we aren’t careful we’ll adopt the expressions of others, and nothing God makes is trash. Though you and I have made some really good attempts at trashing our lives with sin. Thank God that He sent people to share the simplicity of faith, of learning how to talk right and to live in a way that pleases God with our whole lives. When the Lord sent John ahead of Jesus, Isaiah 40:3 records him as a voice crying in the wilderness his message was simple. Matthew 3:2~Repent (μετανοέω metanoeō), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (ESV) 

(μετανοέω metanoeō) the word translated repent to turn, to change one’s mind, turn around. It denotes turning from sin and towards God. This word is much more than regret or remorse. Repentance involves sorrow, but it is a sorrow that leads to a changed life. A synonym for the word repent is convert. We were one thing living one way, and we are remade in the image of God’s son. The reason for repentance Matt records is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (3:2). Matt uses the phrase kingdom of heaven 33 times. The phrase is synonymous with the kingdom of God. Therefore, the thrust of John’s mission is to herald the Way, Jesus Christ. Matthew 3:3~This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. (ESV) If you were sharing the Lord with a friend or co-worker and they asked, How do we prepare for God’s kingdom? What would you say? You would take them to James 4:8~Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NIV) Notice James says come, draw near, then clean your lives, hearts, mind.

The way to prepare for God’s kingdom has always been to repent—to turn from sin to righteousness. 2 Chronicles 7:14~If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (NKJ) Now John wasn’t the stylish man before you, there was no beard wax, quaffed hair, skinny jeans, and boots. He held no penchant for haberdashery or personal property. No, he was a more rugged man in a style devoid of flannel and fleece. He wore a garment of camel’s hair, not the faux-finish fashion fit of double knit as you wore as a young child bearing the twins of poly and ester. This was the real deal, I rather picture the Boer goat with its Jack Russell-esk styling of white bodies and reddish-brown heads. Tying this ensemble to gather a leather belt wrapping his waist (Matthew 3:4). Probably wide and so out of fashion, it was a revival of the prophets of yesteryear. 

That’s right, John was a perfectly primed candidate for what not to wear. Sometimes as a believer we think we want to fit in, but that is not what we were called to do. We were called to tell people about Jesus. I hope that you will take ownership of your faith and begin sharing all that Jesus Christ has done in your life.



Prepare the Way

Do you have a doomsday castle? A bunker of food and supplies for you and your family, should the world run out, or come unhinged? The Bible tells us our world will one day come to a close and that we need to be ready. As believers, we are closer to this than ever before. This has led many in our world to become “preppers.” People who are storing up for a time forthcoming. How many of you or your parents bought extra for Y2K?

Arriving at the Gospels, readers are told to prepare the way for Jesus. (Matthew 3:1-17) So, are you ready for the kingdom of God to come? Matthew 4 reveals how we can be ready. Remember, Matt does not record anything about Jesus’ childhood, rather he picks up when Jesus is 30 years old (Luke 3:23). He writes: In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea (3:1). Understand God has been silent for 400 years. Now He’s speaking through John the Baptist. John is born to Zacharias and Elizabeth when they are well past child-bearing age (Luke 1:7). John is somehow related to Jesus, a cousin through their mothers and is about six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:36). John is considered to be the last of the Old Testament prophets and the only prophet who lives to see the Messiah. 

This week, we want to learn how we can Prepare the Way of Christ. Join me in becoming a herald for our soon coming King. Why not take time today to prepare your testimony. Get it down to about 2 powerful minutes of how God has worked in your life, and get ready to share. Then begin praying about who God would have you tell your amazing story.


Waiting

Expect Indefinite Waiting (Matthew 2:19-23). Those may not be the words you want to hear today, but when we wait on God, we never know for how long. I have a friend who was a language specialist. Her dream, to teach on the mission field. She linked up with the SBC and got ready, papers filed, support raised, and immunized. She let go of her teaching position, her home, sold and gave away all of her stuff. With two weeks to go her life was reduced to two large suitcases. Then days away, she got the call, now is not your time. Waiting. You may be waiting in one of life’s waiting rooms. Waiting like Leroy for strength, waiting for a lower cancer count, waiting for children to own their lives. We all wait in this life and often times the seems indefinite. Joseph was waiting to return home, but not before Herod finally dies. After his death, an angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt (2:19). Listen to what the angel tells Joseph in Matthew 2:20~Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead. (ESV)

If the Lord spoke those words to you today, would you be ready? Ready to move into the moment of His in-breaking. Are you actively waiting on God? God offers us some insight for what active waiting looks like in Exodus 12:11~These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the LORD’s Passover. (NLT)

I am concerned church, that some are not ready to move when God says go. There will not be any time to get prepared for the moment of 1 Corinthians 15:52~in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (ESV) There is a plan for our world, there is a plan for your life. God has brought each of us here to ask the question.

Our Takeaway: A you living with Expectation? Jesus is coming back for a bride who has oil in their lamps (Matthew 25), a bride without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:27). It was six months later, my missionary friend got the call. She tried to tell them she was not ready, she told the Lord I don’t have anything prepared. The Lord responded, I know, now you’re ready to trust me. Wait for the Lord to move, and be ready when He does. When doing God’s will expect to be led Incrementally, Saints we are going to receive Strong Opposition, and our waiting may seem Indefinite. But Solomon said it best in Proverbs 3:5-6~Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV) As we come to the end of our week, if you need some oil for your lamp, have a blemish that needs to be removed, or perhaps your path needs a little straightening, why not talk to God, He is as close as a prayer. By asking, you can receive from Him with liberality.