Prepare the Way (Matthew 4)

December 31, 2023 | Kyle Bjerga

The sermon discusses John the Baptist’s ministry of preparing for Jesus’ arrival by calling people to repentance and baptism. It describes Jesus’ baptism by John, when the Holy Spirit descended and God affirmed Jesus as his Son. Kyle Bjerga emphasizes that John prepared the way for Jesus, and Christians’ purpose now is to prepare others to receive Jesus and his offer of salvation. The overall message encourages repentance, coming to Jesus in faith, and sharing the good news with others.


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Go and grab your bibles turn to Matthew chapter three. Using one of the black pew Bibles in front of you, you’d find it on page 784. As Brandon was praying, I’m just reminded, every year that we talked about this at some point about how my goal is to look more like Jesus the end of 2024 than I do today. And so I look back in January 1 2023. And I hope and pray that that has been true in my life this year, I hope that’s your goal as well, they will look more and more like Jesus, hopefully, you’re praising him for that transformation your life from this year, and looking ahead to next year and how he’s going to work in your life this year. And it’s also good to know there are people in this room today, they have had massive life transformation happen in 2023. So we praise the Lord, for his work in all of our lives. Now, I was listening to a podcast this week with a popular Christian comedian. And he was discussing how He kind of broke into the comedy business. And so whether it’s comedy or to musician and artists, or some sort of entertainer, it’s always a very similar story. Because how do you start out, you start off in these very small venues, sometimes questionable places, places you don’t even know how to say or pronounce, wherever they’ll take you. And then sometimes you’ll move a little bit, you know, and get more people in the room, except for the fact that you’re just there to get them ready for the main act, the person that really matters. And so he’s talking about this, but but you’re doing all that because maybe just one day, you get that big break. And then all of a sudden, you’re the headliner, your name is on the marquee. You’re the one that everybody has come to see. And that moment does come for some, but most entertainers will never have that happen. So they may have a passion for what they’re doing. And it becomes their job to just prepare for someone else to get people ready for someone else after them someone more dynamic, more talented, funnier. So it pays the bills. But there’s a gnawing feeling of what if, what if I was the guy? What if I was that person? Now it doesn’t have to be the entertainment business or something in the public eye. It can be true in your life, as well. We think of kids and Christmas. And who is it all about Christmas? Well, we know the right answer. It’s Jesus until we’re there under the tree opening gifts. Then who’s it about? Well, whoever’s name was just called. And then you want more, and you want more, and you want it to be about you. Or in your job. It’s the climbing the ladder, it’s the next big promotion. It’s the next big thing. It’s the bigger offense. It’s the fact that people say, What do you think we should do? Like you’re the one that people turn to? You’re the one that gets the pat on the back. Your opinion matters. And people want to know what you have to say. And if we’d all be honest, we just we want to be remembered. We want to make a difference. We want people to remember us. But what if you were never meant to be the headliner? What if you were never meant to be that person? What if it was never actually about you? Last week, we were introduced to John, John the Baptist, the one we’re going to be looking at quite a bit today at his life were introduced to him last week. And Brian just kind of said, we’re going to talk about him this week, because that’s what we’re doing in Matthew chapter three. Caitlin just read a little bit about him for us. But I want to read that again. So look at John, chapter one. Start in verse six, there was a man sent from, from God, whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, the light, of course, being Jesus, so that through him all might believe he himself was not the light. He came only as a witness to the light, the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. So even before John was born, his father, Zachariah was told that John would make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And so we’re gonna look at this unique purpose that John has in preparing the way for Jesus. We’re looking at it in three different ways. We’re gonna see that he is a very unique man. We’re gonna see that he has a unique ministry. And there’s this very unique moment that happens in Matthew chapter three. So let’s look first at the man John. We’re gonna look at the first 12 verses of chapter three. So let’s read together. In those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, insane. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. This is he who has spoken up through the prophet Isaiah, a voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare or the way for the Lord make straight paths for him. John’s clothes were made of camels hair and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea in the whole region of the Jordan. confessing their sins. They were baptized by him in the Jordan River. When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees, coming to where he was baptized, and he said to them, You brood of vipers, who wants you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit and keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe 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. I baptize you with water for repentance. But After me comes one who’s more powerful than I whose sandals I’m not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand and he will clear His threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. So we start off in those days, it says, And what are those days? Well, well, we just finished in Matthew chapter two, which we haven’t been in, but in chapter two, Jesus is in Nazareth. Growing up, this is where Jesus was from. So in those days, John starts his ministry while Jesus is in Nazareth. And these first six verses give us this great pilot biographical sketch of who John is an answer is five important questions for us. So we’re gonna walk through all five of those. We’ll see the answers very clearly here in the text. First question, Who is John? Well, John is a Baptist. So he’s in good company, he could be a member here. I know, it’s a terrible joke. But we’re in a Baptist church, you gotta say something about it. John isn’t a Baptist, John is the Baptist. And so John was a very common name at this time. In fact, one of Jesus’s disciples name was John. And so one way you distinguish between the different ones is you would either talk about their family where they’re from, or you would refer to what they’re known for. And John is known, according to verse six is the guy who was baptizing people in the Jordan River. So let’s call him John the Baptist. And we do this too. In my extended family, we have multiple Laura’s we have multiple Kim’s, and then believe it or not, we have multiple Luke’s and three of those Luke’s married into the bigger family. And so the way that we distinguish them is like Dr. Seuss, Luke one, Loop Two, loop three, because we’re not very clever. And you can just kind of assign whichever one you’d like, at that time is Luke one, whoever you don’t like is Luke three. Now, that’s not how we did it, we base it off the fact when they married into the family. So you married in first your Luke one. He married second year, Luke two and on it goes. But we do that because we want to be able to distinguish them. So this is John the Baptist. And this is very important, because his role is very important. So the second question then is, where is his ministry? We find out he’s preaching in the wilderness. Now, I don’t know about you. But if you wanted to start a ministry, nobody would tell you to go to a remote place and start it until people come to me. Right? That’s not That’s not how you do ministry. But there’s something about John, that’s like a magnet for people that they’re drawn to him. So they do in fact, you’ll that’s what verse five says, people went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea in the whole region of the Jordan, unique place to do ministry. And why are people going there? Well, that’s the answer to our third question. What is John like? He is unique. He’s a one of a kind person. So considering his ministry is in the wilderness, it isn’t a shocker to know that he’s not living a lavish lifestyle. In fact, he’s wearing clothes made from camels hair, he’s a leather belts. He’s living off the land eating honey, and locusts. That’s what he does. This is the same description that we get of Elijah in Second Kings. And we know that John the Baptist comes like Elijah as a prophet of God. But it wasn’t just the uniqueness of the place and the man that you people out to John, it was also his message. And that’s our next question. Our fourth question is, what is his message? What is he saying to the people
look at verse to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. Now, repentance is a word we use a lot here in the church. But a lot of times we’re talking about it from the standpoint that we’re believers and we want to repent of our sin and we want to turn back to God, right. We know there’s been something in our life that we need to give over to him. So we confess we repent, we turn from it. But what John is talking about here is massive. It is huge because not to talk about just a turn. He’s talking about a whole new way of life. He is saying repent, because there’s a new kingdom coming. There is a new king coming so he’s trying to get hearts and minds and attitudes to make this full switch in how they even approach life. so that they can be ready when this king and his kingdom come. So he’s trying to get them to think and believe in it in a whole new way. And it’s obvious because who is being baptized here, Jews. And this was not a common practice for them at this time. What was more common was Gentiles who were converting to Judaism being baptized. Because the thought was, of course, Gentiles who aren’t a part of the people of God who want to be in Judaism. We need to baptize them. Right to bring them into this family. When they’re converted. Of course, they have things to repent of. So let’s baptize them but the Jews are the ones being baptized, which means it isn’t enough to be Jewish, to follow Jesus. It wasn’t I’m Jewish. And so therefore, I’m going to follow the Messiah. We clearly see that throughout the Gospels, that not everybody was looking for this particular Messiah. And so John says, If you want to be ready, you need to repent. Now, John gets a rap in culture be kinda like that street preacher. You’ve seen them right? On the street corner yelling, repent, repent. And you’re thinking, Okay, well, John’s a little extreme for my taste. So let’s go to Jesus because Jesus, I like what he says he’s the loving teacher. Well, what does Jesus say when he first starts preaching to Matthew For verse 17. If you have it, you can flip over to it, but I’ll just read it for you. Jesus says, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near the same message, the same message. So standing on the street corner today, yelling, repent, may not be the best evangelistic method, it may not get a lot of people to give you an ear and listen to what you have to say. But according to John and Jesus, you are eventually going to have to deal with your sin. That is true, you are eventually going to come to the place where you say I am not the king. And so that’s a real truth that we need to reckon with that there needs to be confession, repentance, to follow this king and this kingdom. Which leads to our fifth question, what is John’s purpose? John was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Specifically, we get here, a quote from Isaiah, chapter 40, verse three, which says, a voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. We all know how important it is in life to find your purpose, because purpose sets the course for everything that we do. When we’re living our purpose, we feel like we’re doing exactly what God wants us to do here on this earth. And it was exactly what John was doing. This was his purpose. And it was always to make much of Jesus always. Now, verse six ends by saying that the people were coming, confessing their sins, they were being baptized, they were acknowledging their need for a Savior, by acknowledging their own sin and rebellion. And this baptism then demonstrated that they were ready for a change. Okay, that’s what this represents. That’s the baptism with water, the baptism for repentance. But not everyone had the same reason for coming out to John. When we get to verse seven, it’s almost like in a movie when an ominous music starts playing. And then you see the camera pan across this group of people walking towards our hero. That’s what’s happening here, because who’s coming in verse seven, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the religious leaders of the day. And they’re coming out to John, not because they want to be baptized, they’re coming out to John, because they’re interested. They have some questions. They want to kind of see what’s going on. And, and based on John’s responses, not the first time John has been around the religious leaders, so it’s safe to assume they’ve had many interactions already. This is not John’s first day on the job. And so they’re coming to me, he’s kind of got an understanding of their hearts. Maybe God has revealed a little bit more to him. But in either case, he knows they’re not coming with pure motives. So what happens? He calls them a brood of vipers. You brood of vipers, which basically means you are evil and your teaching is poisonous. So it’s safe to say that the Pharisees and Sadducees were not teaching about repentance at this time, they’re teaching that something else. And now when worldviews collide, I don’t know if any of you had this experience over Christmas with family and friends and you start to talk about things that really matter in life. There’s some conflict. And when you have worldviews that come in conflict with each other, there are serious sparks. Okay, serious sparks. And what happens throughout the New Testament. We’re introduced to it here with John, John and religious leaders have worldview collisions. Then Jesus and the religious leaders have worldview collisions. And then the apostles and the religious leaders have worldview collisions. There are fundamental differences in how they approach God OD. There are fundamental fundamental differences in how they view Jesus. And I see two kind of worldview clashes that we see here in John’s interaction with the religious leaders. So the first one is false repentance. Okay, he kind of warns them that there’s wrath coming. And then he says in verse eight produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Now fruit is evidence of a godly life. That’s what he’s talking about here. That’s the fruit. And so the only way to the only way to bear true and lasting fruit is it to be something that comes from a complete change of your life, which requires repentance. It’s fruit that comes from an interchange that works itself out in your life. And so you can’t just say, like, Oh, I’m going to live my life exactly how I’ve been doing it, I’m just going to add Jesus on to it. That’s not going to work. And that’s not going to lead to lasting fruit because God comes and says, Repent, first of what you’ve been doing, get ready for that change in your life. So it’s not just outward appearances, make yourself look good. By doing good things. John says the kingdom is near and requires a whole new way of living. So we want to get ready to live in that kingdom. But the religious leaders are not ready to be baptized produce fruit because they aren’t ready to enter the kingdom of God on His terms. They come and they’re going to fight against that time and time again. They’re living in what Paul would call a worldly sorrow. So you’ll see it on the screen here. Second Corinthians seven Paul says godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation. Sorry, I lost my place here leads to salvation leaves, no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. So worldly sorrow is feeling bad about something getting caught. And maybe you do feel guilty, you feel ashamed for a couple of minutes, couple hours, maybe a couple of days, but then you’re right back doing the same thing. Because there hasn’t really been repentance, you’ve just felt bad about what you’ve done in that moment. But as soon as, as you forget, which we’re very good at forgetting things pretty quickly, we fall right back into that same pattern because there hasn’t been repentance, you never intended to make that the last time. You never intended to give your entire life over to Jesus in this moment. So that’s what worldly sorrow looks like. Godly sorrow looks upward. And sees that there’s nothing that we deserve from God, other than his wrath, judgment, punishment on us. And yet, when we see him, we know we can come to Him and in His grace, we can confess, we can repent, we can ask for forgiveness, and then pray that He changes us from the inside out. That’s the difference. It’s not just about like, Oh, what happened to me? It’s how did this offend God? And how am I going to change? And what is he going to do in it. And so a good way of looking at this is with kids, and when they get in trouble, and what happens and you start to see how they interact with you, and, and really, where worldly sorrow is that they got caught. And they feel bad about that in the moment. But then five minutes later, you’re on them for the same exact thing. Because again, it’s not repentance. It’s just worldly sorrow. But then there’s those times, and you’ve experienced them to where there is real repentance. And so one of my kids a few weeks ago, asked to talk to me, and, and he wanted to confess some sin in his life. And so he wanted to talk to me about it. And so we went away in his room, and he starts to share about it with me. And he says that I wanted to tell you, because for last few days, my chest has been hurting. And I was like, ashamed, because I don’t remember the last time my chest hurt. When I sinned, and I’m sitting there, I’m like, I don’t want him to feel that way. And neither did he put the Lord was putting that there, the Holy Spirit was convicting him of his sin, so he would actually repent of it.
And when I talk about repent, I’m talking about like, he had a plan, a discipline plan for himself. And then a way to make sure didn’t happen again. And I was like, That’s repentance. That St. I want to see change in my life. A couple hours later, he shared with me he’s like, Hey, my chest doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m like, that’s, that’s the release that you get. That’s what repentance does. And that’s what John wants for us. It’s what he wants from the religious leaders. He wants them to feel that and then to feel this new king, to feel that repentance to feel that forgiveness in that moment. That’s what he’s after. That’s the difference between worldly sorrow and godly repentance, godly sorrow. So the question is, are you producing fruit in keeping with repentance? It is hard to see every day. But we know just like that seed is being true transform from the inside out will eventually produce fruit. If we are faithful if we repent, if we’re following God, we will see that inner transformation come out for others to see, as well. And when we step back, we say, it’s good to see that I’m a different person. That’s what repentance does. So that’s the first worldview clash that we have here. The second worldview, Clash has to do with status. Look at verse nine. John says, And do not think you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father, I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. So they’re thinking, why do we need to repent? We’re Israelites, children of Abraham children of the promise. Again, of course, the Gentiles need to repent. They’re outside the people of God, but by being virtue of a Jew, they thought they were good, like that this was it. But then you start to think like, look at the history of the Israelites in the Old Testament. How many times were they called to repent? And they chose to continue to reject God. How many times did the prophets say turn from those worthless idols and turn back to God and they didn’t time and time again? And what did God do? He brought judgment on them. And yet, they’re standing here thinking, we’re the religious leaders, we’re banking on our heritage, to save us. When God is saying, Repent, prepare yourselves. This is an important for kids and teens, and maybe somebody else in this room that’s in this boat, but you are not saved because your parents are Christians. You’re not saved because you grew up in Cityview. And went to kids city, city link cities to the only way that you are a Christian is when you repent of your sin, and you believe in Jesus. That’s it. That’s what it takes. Now, John, finishes here with a warning. And it is a warning of judgments just like the Old Testament Israelites had. The religious leaders, he says, will not escape the judgment coming if they do not repent, he says, The axe is at the root of the tree. And if you take an axe to the root, that means everything is coming up. So when this judgment comes, everything will be removed if there isn’t fruit. And he says, the one coming after me is more powerful than I. He has so much power, that his baptism is one of the Holy Spirit and fire. Like John’s like I baptize with water, for repentance, as a symbol, to show change, a desire to change. But when He comes, He will actually bring the power to change. Yes, see the difference there. Right when when John baptize is people are prepared and getting ready to to accept Jesus to be ready for this kingdom and what he’s bringing. When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, when when he comes into our life at conversion. We have the power of God, the power of God to repent, the power of God to believe that’s the difference. And with that comes the power to bring judgment. He will come it says with a winnowing fork. And he will start to separate those who repent and believe and those who don’t. And so the whole idea here of the wheat and the chaff we’ve explained before, but you would take the winnowing fork into the wheat and you throw it up in the air and the heavy wheat, the good wheat would fall to the ground, but the chaff that outer husk would end up getting taken away by the wind would fall somewhere else. Now what would happen is both piles are going to sit there. And so what it’s saying here is Jesus is going to separate those piles and make sure those who are His who repent and believe in Him are going to be put into the store houses into the kingdom and those who do not to eternal fire. So John is warning them in this moment, he wants repentance. Question is, will they repent? So that was our longest section. We’re gonna be moving pretty quickly from here on out for the rest of the passage. But we’re gonna look now not at just one unique man, but another unique man in Jesus that John has been preparing for. And John has this very unique ministry. Look at verses 13 through 15. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him saying, I need to be baptized by you. And do you come to me? Jesus replied, Let it be. So now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. So Jesus comes from Nazareth, in Galilee, with the purpose to be baptized by John, and this is incredibly important. At this time, Jesus has not started his public ministry. He does not have followers. He has not performed a miracle. He has not preached yet. He has left his home to come be baptized by John. So first thing he does, and he shows up with this purpose. And John says, no, no, no, no. I need to be baptized by you. Now what John knows about Jesus at this point Meet, we’re not really sure. But remember, they’re in the same family. So they probably had some interactions before he knows there’s something about Jesus, that’s different. He’s gonna really be confirmed here in a second after he baptizes him. But he knows there’s something about Jesus and says, no, no, I need to be baptized by you. Have you ever been in that situation at work or at school? Or wherever you might be where somebody who’s an expert or older than you or more experience says, You Hey, you do this. You’re like, no, no. Like you do that? I am not ready for what I think like the first time somebody performed surgery on somebody. I’m not ready. You do that? For me, it was student teaching. I remember showing up the first day and my one kind of mentor teacher handed me his binder and says, Have a good day. Like, pretty sure I’m supposed to follow you for a while. And I was like, no, no, you take the clipboard like this is this is not okay. I was not ready for that. And John saying like, no, no, no, no, like you think this is this is I’ve been waiting for you. You need to baptize me. And then you think of Peter, getting his feet washed by Jesus? And he says, no, no, you shall never wash my feet. And Jesus says, I’m going to wash your feet. I’m going to set an example that yours to do this for others as well. And so Jesus is clearly leaving us an example. But even more than that, he’s bringing fulfillment. He’s bring fulfillment. Look what he says he tells Gize that let it be. So now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. And if I could say it in a way that maybe we understand the language a little bit more now, it’s basically like saying, let’s do this. Because this is what God wants. And it’s what needs to happen. That’s what Jesus is saying, No, we need to do this. It’s what God wants. It’s what needs to happen. That’s what the fulfill all righteousness is it’s God’s plan. It’s God’s will. And in doing this, John is gonna see soon that God confirms that this is exactly the promise one. This is the one who is to come the one he has been preparing for, to complete God’s Will on Earth. This is right. This is the plan. And the way to show it was being baptized and identifying with sinners. So think about it, we just celebrated Christmas, Joseph and Mary are told, give him the name Jesus, because he will save their people from their sins. And then Jesus grows up and he never since he never since, completely obedient to them, the only one ever undeserving of God’s wrath and punishment. And here he is getting in the waters to be baptized by John in order to show that he would, in fact, be taken into the waters of judgment, that he would be lowered into the grave. For what sin for arson. That’s what he’s doing of getting in those waters, and identify and say, this must happen. This is what it means to fulfill all righteousness, because there was a plan before time began for this moment to happen. The most important thing for us when understanding this is to know that Jesus came to identify with us, but then also to take our place to identify with us and take our place, Jesus followed the law completely for us, succeeding in every area where we fail the whole law, fulfilled in him, completely righteous, living out God’s will perfectly. Then he took our place in the cross. He took our place to to save us through His perfect obedience, he took our place on the cross with the judgment that we deserved. First, Peter 318 says, For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. That is good news. He did it all for us. And while John’s ministry is similar to that of other prophets, it’s very unique in this sense. He’s the only one to ever baptize someone who was completely innocent.
He’s the only one to baptize the Son of God. That was his purpose, as why he came to fulfill in that moment, what was coming. And in that moment, that was a very unique moment. Let’s look at that. Now. In verses 16, and 17. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my son whom I love with him. I am well pleased. When Jesus comes up out of the water is confirmed. This is to fulfill all righteousness. This is what God wants us to have and this needs to happen and we know that because the heavens open. The Holy Spirit descends like a dove on Jesus and the Father speaks. This is a unique moment. This is not a normal occurrence in Scripture to see the members of the Trinity the Godhead at the same At time, but this moment is especially unique, that the kingdom was being announced. The king was being ordained, and the rescue mission was ramping up right here, at this point. JC Ryle, the famous 19th century Anglican bishop says this while Matthew three and I love this, it was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, Let us make man, it was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the gospel seem to say, Let us save man. They were always there. But in this moment, we see something special, John sees the dog descend on Jesus. That’s why he can say when you see Jesus, the next day, there’s the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. He knew, because it was revealed to him that the spirit was on Jesus, everything Jesus is about to do, and his ministry is approved and affirmed by the words of his father in this moment. And everything he’s about to do is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Which makes us think, isn’t he God? Why does he need the Holy Spirit? Well, Jesus has a human nature. And he needs to be equipped by the Holy Spirit empowered by the Holy Spirit in his human nature, to fulfill the mission and the purpose for which he was sent. And we’re going to see a lot more of that next week in Matthew chapter four, as we see what happens next after this baptism. So come back. And you’ll you’ll get more of that part of what that looks like. But God’s words here, God, the Father speaks, and his words here are taken from two Old Testament passages, kind of this mash up of these verses, you have Psalm two and Isaiah 42. Now, knowing the context of these chapters is important, because we just get a few small words here, when he says, This is my Son, whom I love with him, I am well pleased. So knowing the context is important. Where is God the Father, bringing these passages from first psalm to is a royal song. It’s a song about the Messiah, it talks about the Lord’s anointed. What just happened now, he was anointed by the Spirit. It goes on to talk about the king who would reign a begotten son, who would reign one better than even David. So here we see Jesus is the King to come, the baptism acting as that anointing or that ordination, for his service for the role that Jesus would fulfill. So that’s Psalm two. And then then we get some of Psalm or Isaiah 42, which says, it talks about the suffering servant, who will come, one it says, Who God delights in someone he is well pleased with. And it goes on to say, I will put my Spirit on him. And he will bring justice to the nations. So these are the words that God the Father chooses to bring together at this moment in time to talk about his son. And so I love how the story of redemption Bible summarizes these truths. It says this, in essence, the voice declares Jesus to be triply crowned. He wears the eternal crown of Heaven is God’s Son. The ancient crown of David is Israel’s King, and the crown of thorns as a suffering servant. This is what’s happening in this moment. So John the Baptist is preparing the way for the for the Messiah, preparing the people in their hearts, telling them what they needed to hear. And then Jesus comes and he prepares the way for us, by saving us in doing what we could never do for ourselves. And so we could take all of this, this whole chapter together, here’s the main idea, you’ll see it’s blank at on your notes, if you want to write it in the way has been prepared. The way has been prepared for you. So repent, and come to Jesus. The way has been prepared for you So repent and come to Jesus. So if you’re here, and maybe you’re intrigued by Jesus, this whole Christmas season, maybe think about him a little bit more. But you start to think I’m living in that false repentance, like I feel bad about things, but only for so long. And then I don’t know how to change. Well, we know someone who can help you change. We know his name is Jesus. But to come into that kingdom, you need to repent of how you’ve been living, you need to repent of everything that you have done to this point to try to get yourself to that next place to save yourself. You need to get a completely over to him or maybe you’ve relied on your status of growing up in a Christian home or your status as a good person that people like and enjoy being around. What we know here is that is not enough, either, we must confess all of our sin because that we’ve sinned against God. We need to confess it, bring it to him, admit it, and he’s faithful to forgive us. The beautiful thing that happens then is when you receive Jesus, you get his spirit, the powerful one, the one who helps make that inner life change. possible. So everyone who comes in humility, admitting their need for a Savior will find the grace of Jesus Christ. And then I’ll just have this and be baptized. What Jesus did in that moment of his baptism is not the same of how we get baptized, of course. But it is a picture of what he will eventually do in his death, and rising again to new life, and what we can experience now, and what we display when we are lowered into the waters. And we were brought up to newness of life as we find ourselves in Jesus Christ. And then if you are here, and you’ve been following Jesus for a while, you remember that first time you repented, you remember what that was like. But maybe it’s been a while. The same call is for you repent, and come to Jesus. And it gets easier and easier to repent. If we get into practice, and we do this on a regular basis, it gets easier becomes a part of our life, because we know I can come to Jesus with anything because he already knows that he already died for it. So I can come at any time with anything that I’m dealing with, with any cinema life, and I can give it over to him. So practice the gospel waltz. Some of your like, I don’t know what that is. Others were very familiar with it. The Gospel said, if you get the pulse, you can go back and this week, Brandon’s devotional had the pod the waltz in it explains it a little bit. You could also ask us, Well, the Gospel, it’s those those three steps that we as Christians live in, when we sin, we repent of it, we turn immediately, well, where are we turning to? We’re turning to the Gospel. And we’re saying, Okay, I repent of this. And now I give my life over to Jesus. And I remember that he is purified me, he has cleansed me, he has forgiven me of this sin. And now through the power of His Holy Spirit, I can then go and obey. That’s the three steps repent, believe and obey. And you can do this in a matter of 30 seconds in your own mind and your own heart, maybe it’s gonna take a lot longer. But you just capture those things, you say, I know I need to turn from this. But don’t turn to just try and do better turn remember who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for you, and how he empowers you. And then you go out and you live that life of obedience to Him. So you can ask us questions, if you want to know more about that, you can go back to the polls and get a little bit more information there as well. And then finally, for us as a church, we need to repent, come to Jesus, and then prepare the way for others. I know it’s not on the screen, but write that in that main point there and prepare the way for others. John prepared the way for the people to to be ready to receive Jesus, Jesus prepared the way for us to be saved. And now when we are saved, when we have received Him and His Kingdom, what are we doing? We need to go tell others, this good news. Alright, so we need to prepare the way for others. I don’t know what that looks like in your life. I don’t know where those people are. But at some point, you need to have a conversation with them. And at some point, you’re gonna have to have that conversation about repenting. Now, maybe that’s not the language you use. It’s not the word use. But the idea is there of asking, How are things working for you? It’s one of the best questions you could ask somebody who continues to try and do things on their own. How’s that working? Let them figure that out that it’s not working, and then be there with the grace of the gospel in that moment. But John and Jesus are clear at some point we have to reckon with our sin. And if we want to live a fruitful life, we need to repent, first believe in the gospel, and obey Jesus following him. We were never put here to be the headliners. Our name was never meant to be on the marquee. We were always here to do one thing. And that is to point others to Jesus. That’s what our lives should be about. That’s what I pray Your life is about my life’s about and our church is about this year, as we turn the page to 2024 and just say this church is all about Jesus. Let’s pray.

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