John: A Call to Repent




Break thou the bread of life
On the banks where Jordan rolled
Hark the glad sound, the Saviour come
Come thou long-expected Jesus
Angels, from the realms of glory
Thou didst leave thy throne



Scripture Reading:

 Matthew 3:1-12

 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”
Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”


Sermon Notes

400 years of silence, no prophets since Malachi

Suddenly there was a man in the wilderness.  He looked like Elijah.
Calling people to repentance,  for the kingdom of God was at hand.
He caught the attention of the Israelites.

Many came, many heard, of those many quite a few were baptized.
Repenting of their sin.

The call of repentance rings out throughout in the bible.

Repentance, people see it as old fashioned and don't really know what it means.

Repentance. It means turning around your life and going in a different direction.

Isaiah 55...let him return to the Lord who will have compassion.

A turning to God after all the fleeing from him we do.

Repentance starts with the turning away from the things you placed so high in your life, and turning to see where God is.

People sometimes fail to see what fleeing from God truly is.  They see it only as the bad sins....prostitution, theft, sex etc.   And fail to see it is anything that takes the place of God.

The pharisees were fleeing from God because
1. They were trying to be so good to show that he owed them and
2. The claimed sonship with Abraham and therefore safe

All the good deeds we do are like a polluted garment.   They won't save us.
Your birthright won't save you.   If God can raise up stones to be children of God,  the our birthright means nothing.   So don't rest in the fact you came from a family of faith.

What matters is this.   Are we people of faith? Do we repent of our sin?

Repentance is not a one time thing.
It is an ongoing process in life.  It's a daily turning away from wrong, and a turning to God for cleansing.

Advent reminds us that he has come and that he will come back.  And he will gather his own safely to himself.  The wheat gathered, the chaff burned. 

So look and see , let yourself be shown where your sin is,  turn to Christ and his great mercy.

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