Saturday, December 11, 2010

Advent 3

John 1:6-8
(alternate text)
John, who are you?
Lord God, may we Your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that love and thanksgiving.

Our Gospel lesson begins today with an introduction of the author of our text the apostle John. He is quite comfortable referring to himself simply as “that other disciple” and “the one whom Jesus loved”. Today he introduces himself to us with these words, “There was a man whose name was John.” As we review his life we will learn something important concerning ourselves and our life and work together. John, who are you?

I. John will remind us he was a man sent from God. (vs. 6)
A. He was selected by the Father to be the forerunner of Jesus.
1. He was an answer to prayers. His parents had been childless for years. Now they would have a son.
2. He was filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in the womb. Luke 1:15
3. He would go as a forerunner in the spirit and power of Elijah converting people, “the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous.” (Luke 1:17)
B. Likewise the Father has selected you to be His witness.
1. He has blessed you with talents, abilities and gifts to be used for His purposes.
2. As John was selected to be used of the Father you too are His instrument. Remember who you are, remember whose you are.
Transition: Not only was John sent by the Father he was used for a specific purpose.

II. He came to be a witness. (vs.7)
A. That he might be a witness of the life.
1. He simply told the people what he knew. He told the people, “He must increase while I must decrease.” John 3:30
2. In your life when given the opportunity you share your faith. You point people to Jesus.
3. But how do you do this in a winsome way? See LSB pg. 322
a. WHOM - I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.
b. WHAT – …who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me form all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil…
c. HOW – not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death…
d. WHY – …that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. In a very simple and winsome way you have just “gossiped the gospel”.
B. He came that all might believe through him.
1. God used John through his preaching, his baptizing, his life so that people believed in Christ through him.
2. Nothing has changed in close to 2,000 years. People come to Christ one soul at a time as the Lord uses you as you apply the Word to people’s lives. When you share, proclaim, and live out the gospel in you life people are being connected to Christ. Have you heard the phrase “put Christ back into Christmas”? You can’t take Christ out of Christmas! It’s all about Jesus – is always has it always will be.

Transition: John was sent from God. He came to be a witness. He knew who he was.

III. John knew his identity. (v.8)
A. He was not the light. He was not he Savior. He was not the Messiah. John knew who he was not.
B. But John came that He might bear witness of the true and only light – the light of Christ. He pointed people to Jesus. Likewise, in your living, in all of your preparations for this holy celebration of Christmas point people to Jesus. He is the reason for this season. It’s all about Jesus.
Jesus, direct my beginning
Jesus, remain ever near me;
Jesus, Refuge in temptation,
Jesus, be my sole desire.
Jesus, be ever in my thoughts,
Jesus, let me never falter!

From Bach's Christmas OratorioNew Year's Day #7#42 Chorale
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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