Sermon Notes: 11/18 – Christmas Prep – First Child

Scripture Reading: Luke 3:1-4 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

OP— — One family’s bright display of Christmas cheer at their Connecticut home has courted controversy this holiday season, after dozens of neighbors complained in a petition that the traffic the twinkling exhibition attracts creates “public safety and nuisance concerns.”

Mary Halliwell of Fairfield told ABC News that over the past 18 years, it has become a family tradition to transform their home into what they dub the “Wonderland on Roseville” each year, going all-out with lights and festive decorations.
This year, Halliwell said they employed over 350,000 Christmas lights to illuminate their home and yard, saying that some days the display attracts thousands of visitors. Halliwell said that they also use the Wonderland on Roseville to raise funds for Shriners Hospital for Children. The crowds this year caused neighbors to submit a petition that garnered 45 signatures to local authorities, calling on the town’s leaders and police to do something about the “significant public safety and nuisance concerns caused by the excessive volume of traffic the event creates in our neighborhood.”


WELCOME: To Central Church of Christ, a people gathered to show God’s love, Tell God’s Story, and Be God’s Family. Today we begin a new sermon series that will take us through the next four Sundays.  We’re calling it, Christmas Preparation. The scripture journey we take over the next few weeks will help  you prepare not for Christmas, but for the coming of the Christ. 

 “it seemed good to me … to write an orderly account for you.” Luke 1:3.

 In the book of Malachi God declared “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will PREPARE THE WAY before me.” Malachi 3:1

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘PREPARE THE WAY of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’” Isaiah 40:3-5


So what was John’s MISSION before the Christ?
Luke 1:17 “to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
 “(would) be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to GIVE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION to his people in the FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

John 1:29 “…John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted that QUOTE “People only see what they are prepared to see.” People only see what they’re looking for.,they%20are%20prepared%20to%20see.%E2%80%9D


ILLUS: Christian artist Matthew West made a controversial satirical song this year featuring his wife and daughters in the video. He was poking fun at himself for being an overprotective dad.  Needless to say, “Modest is hottest” made people mad.  In the process, non-Christians said all kinds of vile and evil things about Jesus, the Bible and Christians in general. And many of their comments were just obvious lies… but they didn’t care because THAT was what they were PREPARED to see. They weren’t PREPARED to look for or see Jesus in any of this. They were offended that this song would confront their way of life.  Right or wrong, the vile commentors weren’t prepared to see Jesus in the words.

“John the Baptist (preached) ‘REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” (Matthew 3:1-2)

Matthew 3:1-3 & 5-8 tells us “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “REPENT, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”… “YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”

“UNLESS YOU REPENT, you will all likewise PERISH.” Luke 13:3

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU crucified.” Acts 2:36
“YOU killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead…” Acts 3:15

“you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon US.” Acts 5:28

“REPENT and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38


 “Life is short, death is sure. Sin’s the cause, Christ is the cure.”

“… on the 8th day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; HE SHALL BE CALLED JOHN.’ And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered.” Luke 1:59-63
“Because the angel said to him ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’” Luke 1:13

John’s NAME was God’s idea!!! But why would God bother? Why bother to choose that name? Because the name John means “God Is Gracious.”

English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning “Yahweh is gracious”, from the roots יוֹ (yo) referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan) meaning “to be gracious”.

Paul wrote: “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is THE GIFT OF GOD” Ephesians 2:8


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