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John the Voice!

December 6, 2015


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Second Sunday in Advent                                Trinity Lutheran Church

6 December 2015                                               Murdock, NE


+Jesu Juva +


Luke 3:1-14


John the Baptist. You gotta love him. What a preacher! If you’re looking for a preacher to follow, if you’re serious about practicing the Christian faith, then you can’t go wrong with John. Why? Well, that’s a no brainer! John’s a faithful preacher. He fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah. John is “the voice.” But not just any voice. John is “the voice of one CRYING in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”


The Voice John preaches. The Voice John cries in this wilderness world to you in order to prepare you. Prepare you for what? Again, that’s a no brainer. He gets you ready for the Lord! John’s preaches so that you arrange your busy and hectic life differently. To turn from a curved in on yourself life so that you regularly receive and have good use of the salvation that Jesus brings to all people. Or as Isaiah put it that John voices: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”


You see, John’s all about making sure that you see the salvation of God that comes front and center in the nursing Babe of Bethlehem and the hanging and graveyard dead Man on the cross. Not only that you see that Jesus brings heaven’s salvation but most importantly that you believe that Jesus does His Christmas birth and Good Friday death FOR YOU. That what Jesus comes to do is to SAVE YOU from your sin, Satan’s hellish grip and eternal damnation in order to give you forgiveness, hold you in His wounded hands and give you heaven.


So the Voice goes to work. On you. So that you and “all flesh see the salvation of God” in Jesus.


Sinners are the ones that need salvation. So Voice John preaches: “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” Whoa! There’s that nasty word “r” word! It’s been banned from preaching for the most part. Preachers refuse to use it … ever! Repentance in the modern church is a no go zone! Not with John and not at Trinity Lutheran. Repentance is the heart of the Christian faith. It is the essence of Christian living.


All the prophets preached it. Voice John does. Jesus did in His very first sermon and all through His ministry. The blessed apostles did. All faithful preachers call sinners to repentance. God be praised and all thanks be to God when He sends you a preacher and puts you in a church that call you to repent.  Why? So that you “see the salvation of God” that comes down from heaven in Jesus.


Voice John exhorts you to, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” In the remaining few minutes, let’s talk about what the Bible teaches about repentance.


There are three parts to repentance. And God does all three to you in the preaching of His Word.


The first part of repentance is to confess a very important truth. Can’t get anywhere in seeing the “salvation of God” in Jesus unless you admit that … you … are … a … sinner. Yes, that’s right I said it. You are a poor, miserable sinner! By nature sinful and unclean. Sinned against God by your thoughts, words and deeds. Deserving of God’s wrath and eternal punishment. Psalm 51; Matthew 15; Romans 2-3, 5 etc.


That really is the truth. About you and all people. There’s no getting around it. It is the clear teaching of the Bible. Denial is hellaciously deadly. So, in His Word God shows you this truth. Reveals this truth. Diagnoses you. MRIs you. CAT scans you. So that you say tell the truth. So that you confess: “I am a sinner. I need the Savior Jesus.” If you won’t confess that truth, well, then you won’t have any need for … Jesus .. who died for sinners. Get the point? It’s like going to the doctor. He’s got to show you the problem so that he can treat you properly and get you well. If you don’t go to the doctor and get diagnosed properly, then it won’t end well. The Voice John puts it this way: “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”    


The getting you well or avoiding being thrown into the fire is the second part of repentance. And that’s is faith. THIS IS THE HEART OF REPENTACE. IT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART because faith is given Savior Jesus “the salvation of God.” Faith clings to Jesus’ forgiveness. Remarkably, faith in Savior Jesus is total gift from the Lord. He not only leads you to confess the truth that you are a sinner but He also faiths you. He does it through the preacher. Romans 10:17 teaches: “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ,” the preaching of Christ FOR YOU!


Yes, through the good news of the gospel God in His Word and through the preacher speaks these words to you: “Sinner, I sent my Son Jesus to die for you. He took all your sin and answered for it. Atoned for all of it. You are forgiven. In addition, I put my saving divine name on you in holy Baptism for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Sacrament of the Altar it’s there again. My Son’s body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.”


That’s precisely why Voice John preached one of the most remarkable sermons in the New Testament and the history of the world. Pointing to Jesus he proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world,” (Jn 1:29).


So now what? That’s what the crowd asked the Voice. When you’re repented and faith-ed; when you are given a baptism for the forgiveness of sins, you’re always asking, “What then shall we do?”  This is exactly how faith talks. Faith naturally wants to do something.


The “what shall we do” is the third part of bearing fruits of repentance. It is holy living. Or living according to God’s word. You want to live a holy life, right? Of course you do. That’s normal for Christians. Holy living is what faith in Jesus does. Like a good tree that bears good fruit. Not for the next world but for this world. It is the life of sacrificial living for the sake of others. You are saved by the Good Friday blood of Jesus. Therefore, you want to help people. Love them. Serve them. To be a servant like Jesus has been a salvation Servant to you on the cross.


The “what then shall we do” life looks like this. The Voice proclaims: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” If you work for the IRS or if you are a soldier there is no need to quit your job. Do your work and do it faithfully.   “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation and be content with your wages.” In other words, whatever your vocation, whether it’s a butcher, baker or candlestick maker do it honestly and with integrity for the sake of benefiting others, not yourself. Do your work as one who serves. Use Jesus as your example. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.


Well, I have to stop. This sermon has gone on for far too long. We need to pray and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Thanks be to God for preacher John, the Voice. Through the Voice God has repented you, faith-ed you and instructed you for holy living to be of service to others with love. You have seen “the salvation of God” in Jesus and its fruit for your life. Like I said at the beginning. It doesn’t get any better than that. Wouldn’t you agree?


See you next Sunday. Have a happy Advent.


In the Name of Jesus.

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