Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent 3

John 1:6-8, 19-28

"There was a man sent from God." Now when John mentions the word "Man" he uses it here in the biblical sense of male and female. God had a mission and a purpose for John's life. He had a destiny and was sent for that purpose, a divine purpose. In our time, we need to find our purpose and meaning for life as well. Our text for this morning should help us find the purpose and meaning to our life today.

People in our day need a purpose for living. Have you ever considered the purpose for which you were born? What is your destiny? What is your purpose and aim in life?  There are many asking themselves this question. Who is asking this question? People from every walk of life, all the way from the college student who is contemplating changing her major to the man in his mid-forties who is considering a change in his career. It's the retiree who looks back at 40 years of service to a company who has said thanks but now has to wake up every morning and think to himself "what's next?" All these and so many more are seeking for meaning and purpose in their lives! What should be my goal in life? Meaninglessness of life is based upon seeing no reason or purpose for living, which sometimes can lead to depression. We might ask, "is that all there is?" to this life. In the life of John the Baptist, we can see how his reason for living could also be our reason for living as well. Let's see how God used John to be His man. How can you be a man or woman of God? John tells us how…

1. Have a God - given mission (Have a purpose of life) Listen to verses 6-8 "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe."

John the Baptist was a man sent from God. He is not alone in this. Every person has a divine destiny. God has a purpose and plan for every life, for your life! This gives us a purpose and meaning for living. What we do is more then mere tasks that someone has to perform. There is a profound meaning in what we do. We are not here to dream, to drift, and to play. There is a mission to accomplish. There is an assignment, a charge that we are given. Some in this world do not know why they were sent to the world or what God wants them to do with their lives. John has a keen sense of knowing his mission. Like John, we are to live for the One who has redeemed us. We are to share Christ with our families, or neighbors and friends. We are to point to Christ the Savior of the world, or one and only redeemer. John knew his purpose. What is your purpose today?

2. To be a person of God be God's voice. (This is our identity) Listen to verses 19-23 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[a] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

The delegation sent to interview John asked a direct question, "Who are you?" Certainly, they knew his first and family name. They knew his birthplace and parents. They could see that he was a prophet. But who are you, really? It is a case of self-identity. Many are in the position of the man who was asked by a little girl, "Who are you?" He replied, "I wish I knew." To know who you are you need to know whose you are! John the Baptist knew who he was because of his call to be the forerunner of Christ. You, like John, are a child of the king. You are a sheep of His fold, a lamb of His flock, a sinner of His own redeeming!

John the Baptist identified himself as a voice. Throughout the passage, there is evidence of a voice. John "gave testimony", "witnessed", "confessed". The voice proclaims the truth of Christ. Out of the heart the mouth speaks, the Bible tells us. What we believe in our hearts we are to confess with our lips. Witnessing is a natural, spontaneous expression of faith in Christ. A true Christian needs not to be commanded, exhorted, or trained to witness. The Christian cannot help but tell of Christ at all times. We share and live Christ on a daily basis. That is our identity.

3. Be God's witness (work!) Listen to verses 24-28 And those sent were of the Pharisees, and they questioned him and said to him, `Why, then, dost thou baptize, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?' John answered them, saying, `I baptize with water, but in midst of you he hath stood whom ye have not known, this one it is who is coming after me, who hath been before me, of whom I am not worthy that I may loose the cord of his sandal.' These things came to pass in Bethabara, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing,

It is assumed that Jesus was in the crowd John the Baptist was addressing. Yet, John the Baptist told them that one about whom he was witnessing as greater than he was there and they did not know him. Perhaps many in the crowd knew about Jesus of Nazareth, but they did not know Him. We are called to have a relationship with Christ on a personal, interment level.

The Germans have two words for knowing. These two words are "wissen " and "kennen". The former (wissen) is knowing certain facts; the latter (kennen) is knowing a person with whom you have a relationship. In this latter sense, the people did not know Jesus. But John did; he pointed to Jesus saying, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

The Advent wreath has the pink candle burning this morning. It is the candle that calls us to rejoice in this season. We are to rejoice at the coming of Christ. For us as Christians happiness does not depend on possessions or good fortune. A Christian is the happiest person in the world because he has been freed from sin and now experiences the fullness of life. He knows who is coming at the end of time. This is our reason for our rejoicing - the coming One brings us victory, peace and love. Jesus Christ, He is our purpose in living.

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