Matthew 3:1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, 

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight.’” 

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Joshua 3:4b-6

you have not passed this way before.” 5Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” 6And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

1 Chronicles 22:5

For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.

Hope’s preparations - 

In the New Testament the word HOPE - does not refer to some pie in the sky, “you never know!” kind of emotion.  The word translated HOPE in the New Testament means living in eager expectation of something that IS coming.

    It’s like seeing a ball hit high and knowing it’s headed straight for our glove.

    Seeing a wave build a few feet out in the ocean and knowing it will soon crash over us.

    Watching those heavy clouds roll in knowing the storm is about to hit like a hammer.

    Seeing the pregnancy test and knowing a baby is on the way!

Living in such a deep understanding of God’s character and of what HE HAS ALREADY DONE that we see the effect of that finished work making its way toward us in the present AND in the future!

    But WHAT if you saw the ball coming and don’t lift your hand?

    see the wave coming and don’t brace yourself?

    see the storm coming and don’t go inside?

    find out you are pregnant and do nothing to prepare of the coming of the baby?

 

God calls us to make preparations - to live in a posture that is always READY to receive and RESPOND to GRACE.

 

    There are some key aspects to the posture that is ready to receive and respond to Grace

  • repentance - 
    • this is a 5 dollar word for CHANGING the way we THINK - our value system has to shift to match HIS 
    • getting rid of all the things that might make it hard for us to respond
    • we have to believe - 
  • consecration - 
    • Becoming about ONE SINGULAR THING - this is what my life is about - everything else serves this one thing
    • getting rid of the extra weight of other concerns
    • let all that is important become important because of this one thing
  • cooperation - 
    • David began to put away the money for what was coming
    • Joseph saved the crops during the years of plenty
    • Faith without WORKS is dead - faith without cooperation that’s what this means
      • God refuses to do what He wants to do without us!
      • Life today lived in the light of what God has shown us about tomorrow
    • put it all on the line - put our money where our mouth is.
      • the kids at the middle school.
  • One more - letting go of the way things “were”
    • This is really tough - we all like the good ole days.  We all get used to one idea.  
    • Each of the above examples have this thread attached to them.
    • resist the urge to be offended by the fact that the world is not going to stay the way it was.
    • DO NOT THINK that just because things are changing you don’t have a part in the next season - 
    • DO NOT THINK that your job is staying the same and don’t be upset when you are asked to take a different role than you have in the past.  You are still desperately needed
    • you are VITAL to what is to come ask what God wants you to do and put your hand to it with all your heart!
    • Phil 3:13-14 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Advent teaches us that God is at work now - moments of GRACE are exploding onto the scene!  You have been given the promise!  Now today lets get out of our own way and get connected to what God is doing with joy filling our hearts!  It doesn’t look like you thought it would. Who cares!  God is on the move.  Let’s jump in.

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