Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prepare for Christ's Coming - Is. 40:1-11

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

Advent 2December 10, 2008

Prepare for the Savior’s coming by Repentance
On the Road to Bethlehem
Isaiah 40:1-11

Almighty and everlasting God whose will it is to restore all things to your beloved Son, whom you anointed priest forever and king of all creation: Grant that all people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united under the glorious and gentle rule of your Son.

Introduction: Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They did not start their journey the day before Christmas. They started early weeks before that first Christmas. They started early enough that the child Jesus would be born in Bethlehem according to the prophecy - accord to the way God had planned it from the very beginning.

During this Advent season you and I are on the road to Bethlehem. As we anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas Day the question for us is this: will we get there in time? With the busyness and the hustle and bustle of this season will we make it? With our time and our schedules pushed to the limit will we get there in time and can we find the time for Christ to be born in our hearts anew?

For us to properly worship this new born king depends on what road we are on and the kind of road we travel. Before Jesus began His ministry John the Baptist was sent to urge His hearers to build a road on which the Christ would come. We should build a highway for our God. Isaiah describes for us the kind of road we need to build as we consider the road which leads to Bethlehem.

1. A road, if it is to be well traveled will need to be STRAIGHT, without the twists and turns that might aggravate us. This is what we are told when we hear the words, “Make His paths straight.” The highway which leads to God is a straight street a road of RIGHTEOUSNESS.

All is made right when Christ comes in sight. All is made right when Christ enters a life. For Christ is the One who came to make us right – right before God and right with each others. Our Savior was born for those whose lives are filled with sing. He came into a world that was deep in sin and separated from God.

The birth and the coming of Christ was not one of many options the Father had to work with. The Father sent His Son as the only solution to man’s problem with sin. There was only one way for God to rid the world of and the people of the world from the sting and the weight of sin and that was for His own Son to take on sin.

Christ came into this world for only one purpose which was to take our sin to Himself and to take it for our righteousness. Christ is the righteous one. He comes to us daily to make us righteous. When we receive Him by faith we receive His gift of righteousness and are declared to be His own.

2. A proper road also needs to be LEVEL. In the coming of Christ the valleys are lifted up and the mountains are brought low so that we can see God. The level road which leads to God is the road of HUMILITY.

Christ, as much as He desires all to come to Him, as much as He desires all to be saved will not force Himself on anyone. He calls, He pleads, He offers Himself to all but He will not force Himself on anyone. The Lord will not drag anyone kicking and screaming into His kingdom. In humility He invites all to receive Him by faith. The Savior is a humble king. He is not one who comes taking His kingdom by force. Rather, He entered this world and lived out His life in meekness and humbleness of spirit.

Today He still invites all to turn to Him and live. He says, “Come unto Me all ye who are weary and heavy laden with thee cares and concerns of this world and I will give you rest.’’ The rest we know from this humble king is the peace and comfort that we receive in knowing that our sins are forgiven and heaven has been granted to us as a free gift by grace and grace alone. We have been restored and reconciled and redeemed by a humble king who came in true humility.

3. The road which leads to God is a SMOOTH road – paved by a gracious Savior. Isaiah reminds us that the rough places are made smooth as we see God.

The Lord is truly gracious – think about it for a moment - we do not deserve His blessings certainly we can not earn His favor. We simply receive his blessings because He has had mercy upon us.

Luther on his death bed is known to have said, “We are only beggars!” We come to God shabby and dirty. Derelict in fulfilling any of his commandments and yet out of mercy and a gracious heart He restores us and establishes us to be His own.

It isn’t simply that the Lord gives us a second chance – He gives us a new start, a new beginning, a life that is filled with a future and a hope for tomorrow because He is gracious and ready to forgive when we turn to Him and live.

Conclusion: The highway which we travel is one which has been constructed by our loving and merciful Savior. It is a Straight street of righteousness; it is a Level road of humility, it is a Highway made smooth by His activity in our life by His suffering, death and resurrection. It all got started by His entering our world and our life. Shall we not travel this same road to meet Him? Shall we not travel to journey to worship Christ our Savior King? May it be so in Jesus’ name.

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