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First Baptist Church of Berwick

Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Prepare the Way for the LORD!
Luke 1:5-25
December 4, 2011: Advent #2

Introduction: On Monday, my wife did the work…she took down the pack and play, moved the furniture, and I drug up the boxes, and we set up the tree. On Wednesday, Bobby and Joe got the chainsaw, etc. and set up the tree at church. The kids began it this morning. All over the place there are people preparing for Christmas… and so we are too, here as we will decorate after our service. While we could talk all day about the various preparations you and I must make…talk some about the preparations…we must never neglect the most important preparation of all…Preparing our hearts.

What does it mean to prepare our hearts?
•    To clear out all the things that invade them, that steal the place of the LORD
•    To sweep away all the barriers we have built up
•    To allow the Holy Spirit to wash them and make us whiter than snow
•    To open all the recesses of them

Why do we need to prepare our hearts?
•    We cannot just expect to come to church and get it instantly, it is not that simple…and I’m not that good of a preacher
•    We must be ready to hear the Word of the LORD, ready to let him in, because most of the time we do a good job of keeping things away from our deepest being.
•    We must prepare our hearts for the coming King, for when He arrives, He expects to enter in and change us.

How does God provide for us to be prepared? He gives us stories and events to study and records the important information in his Word.
    I struggled to find out why Luke included the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, but then I realized it was to get us ready, and to show us what God can do.

The story begins with ordinary people…people striving to do the right thing, people who are living out their faith
    If we look for personal application in the Bible, what it means for us, we must start by realizing what it means to be the people God wants us to be…people who aren’t perfect, but people who are walking in the ways of God.
    However, though they were walking in the ways of God…they didn’t have it all…Elizabeth was barren. Living for God doesn’t mean everything will happen when you want it, when you want it. Elizabeth probably wanted a baby.
    Walking in God’s ways, living for Him, does mean that God will seek to use you, and bless you.

Ordinary people, sometimes meet God in extraordinary ways…God arranged for Zechariah to be in the Temple…God arranges history for his purposes…look for God at work in your life.

But Zechariah wasn't prepared for someone else to be int the temple...so he was afraid

God was ready to prepare the people…with someone who would get the people ready for Jesus. The people were in desperate need of someone who would help them turn back to the LORD. While John doesn’t walk in the world today, we should be reminded that God desires we turn back to Him.

So after all this wonderful information, all this wonderful preparation, after God brings us and Zechariah to the place where we are at a moment when we should be saying…YES GOD! I worship you, you are awesome, you can do the impossible, thank you God…Zechariah says it…

Come on…are you sure? Can’t you prove it?...he was prepared for more proof but not the proof the angel gave
    The proof was right in front of him. He had been chosen by lot, he was standing in front of an angel… but it wasn’t enough
    Perhaps there is something in your life right now that you are doubting, but God is trying to give you the proof…perhaps it is right in his Word.

Conclusion: Here is what we face…we face an instant society, that is telling us there is no time to wait, but we face a LORD who says we need to prepare.  We face a world who would tell us that Zechariah and Elizabeth should have given up on living for God because He left them without children, but we have a God who accomplishes things at just the right moment in time. We face a world that tells us to doubt the supernatural, but we have a LORD who gave a barren woman a child and who places proof for our lives in his WORD. So we face some definite tension this morning. Tension that spills over and causes us to wonder if we can find a place in this world and a place in God’s plan, yet today we are reminded that we must prepare ourselves, for we have a God who made a place for us by sending his son, who spilled his blood to make us fit for the Kingdom of God.

As we prepare for communion, let us cry out to God that He would prepare our lives, as we join the cry echoed through the years, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

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