For the Lord’s Day, December 20, 2015
Tomorrow evening’s sermon text, Matthew 3:1-12, has John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!” And we will see that John’s main theme of preparing the way for the coming of King Jesus with His Kingdom of Heaven is for us to confess and repent of our sins so that He will save us from them.
John is preaching to where the preparation needs to be done: our hearts. This is why he as the last Old Testament Prophet spends time in the text calling out the religious leaders for their hypocritical and deceitful motives in approaching him smugly. And this is why he warns that truly cultivated hearts that are actually ready to receive the Word of God will soon be found fruitful.
The stage of John’s preaching is the wilderness to picture how the hearts and lives of God’s people had rotten to the point of becoming dry and desolate. Thus, they needed to be torn open again to receive the Redeemer and His redemption.
May we prepare our hearts to drink in the Lord Jesus and His righteousness in worship by becoming thirsty for new showers of the Holy Spirit’s baptism of fresh, holy produce in us. Let us make way for Jesus to walk straight into our sanctuary and deep into our souls tomorrow by heeding tonight the following cries from another prophet cut from the same cloth as John the Baptist and Elijah:
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (Jeremiah 4:3-4)
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. (Jeremiah 6:16-17)
Beloved, John the Baptist will have a heavy message for us tomorrow evening that can lighten our load if we truly wish to progress in our pilgrimage. Let us walk. Let us hearken. Let us say we will so that we do — so that Jesus will not walk right over us or right by us. Rather, may we find our feet taking us to the river so we stay standing on Christ’s straight and narrow way that leadeth unto life.