Sermon Transcript – A Voice in the Wilderness

Series B – Second Sunday of Advent – Sunday, December 7, 2014 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:27The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint Mark chapter 1 verses
0:311 through 8.
0:34the beginning of the Gospel about Jesus
0:37Christ the son of God
0:39it is written in Isaiah the prophet I
0:42will send my messenger ahead of you who
0:44will prepare your way a voice of one
0:47calling in the desert prepare the way
0:50for the Lord and make straight paths for
0:53and so John came baptizing in the desert
0:55region and preaching a baptism of
0:57repentance for the Forgiveness of sins
1:00the whole Judean Countryside and all the
1:03people of Jerusalem went out to him
1:04confessing their sins they were baptized
1:07by him in the River Jordan John wore
1:10clothing made of camel’s hair and a
1:11leather belt around his waist and he ate
1:14locusts and wild honey and this was his
1:16message after me will come one more
1:19powerful than I the thongs of who
1:21sandals I am not worthy to stoop down
1:23and untie I baptize you with water but
1:27he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit
1:29In The Name of Jesus
1:32so how do you prepare for Christmas how
1:36do you prepare for the arrival of Jesus
1:37well we all know the American traditions
1:41starting about the Fourth of July or the
1:435th because you got to get right after
1:45the 5th of July you know you put away
1:47the fireworks and then you start getting
1:49out the Christmas stuff and then by the
1:50time Thanksgiving rolls around out come
1:53the Christmas carols letting you put the
1:55radio on and you know like the Ella
1:57Fitzgerald Channel and you got this
1:58really cool Vibe you know semi-jazz
2:01Christmasy things going on it’s always
2:03in the background and you sing along and
2:05and you put up the lights and the tinsel
2:08and The Holly And and you put out the
2:10little nativity scene and and and if
2:12you’re really industrious you put out
2:15the Christmas Town you know what I’m
2:16talking about the little tiny Christmas
2:17time with little cars in the snow and
2:19stuff like that and it’s just so cute so
2:23ah yeah and we just sit there and go
2:25yeah well
2:27scripture doesn’t prepare us for
2:30Christmas in that way the Advent season
2:33historically has John the Baptist and
2:36John the Baptist is quite the character
2:38it says of him that he wore
2:43camel’s hair a leather belt around his
2:46waist and he ate locusts and wild honey
2:51and his message was repentance what kind
2:54of unruly character is this I mean how
2:57many people do you know that you know if
2:59their a vacancy comes open in their
3:01Church they’re saying you know we got to
3:03get somebody just like that John the
3:05Baptist guy now to show you just how
3:07unpopular he is too how many Christian
3:10booksellers right now are selling the
3:12John the Baptist diet book I don’t know
3:14of any how many of the major retailers
3:18in New York you know Macy’s or whatever
3:20are they do they have the John the
3:22Baptist line of clothing
3:25no there’s nothing practical about this
3:27guy there’s nothing that we can use
3:28about him that is going to make us money
3:31in fact this guy has like absolutely no
3:36tact whatsoever I mean he is not
3:39politically correct he doesn’t abide by
3:41all the nice ways in which we’re
3:43supposed to be diplomatic in fact listen
3:46to this
3:47from uh from the gospel of Matthew we
3:50have a cross-reference to this text that
3:53tells us what happened when the
3:55Pharisees came out to John the Baptist
3:57baptism now remember our text says that
3:59the whole Judean Countryside came out
4:01but let’s take a look at this character
4:03so he says in this says this in Matthew
4:05when he saw many of the Pharisees and
4:07Sadducees coming to his baptism he said
4:10to them you brood of vipers who won you
4:14to flee the Wrath to come
4:16well this is not a way to grow a church
4:18you know
4:20yeah and it gets worse it gets worse
4:23okay he says to the Pharisees you bear
4:26fruit in keeping with repentance and
4:27don’t presume to say to yourselves we
4:30have Abraham as our father I tell you
4:32God is able from these stones to raise
4:34up children for Abraham even now the ax
4:37is laid to the root of the trees every
4:40tree therefore that does
4:41good fruit is
4:49I mean if this were happening today
4:51whoever the equivalent of the Pharisees
4:53were this would be all over Twitter and
4:55Facebook I mean this this story would go
4:58viral I mean the headlines on Fox News
5:01and MSNBC would be saying is it time for
5:04John the Baptist to retire
5:07clearly he’s off his rocker can’t we all
5:10just get along right you know hasn’t he
5:13seen everybody out there has those
5:15coexist bumper stickers on their cars
5:17right now and you’re out there telling
5:19the Pharisees that their moms are snakes
5:21which is kind of a rough translation of
5:23brutal vipers your mom is a snake
5:27well so much for the soft preparations
5:30for Christmas right this guy is quite
5:33the character
5:34now if we go back into our text here
5:36that’s kind of a little bit of what’s
5:38coming but here’s what it says let me
5:40reread our text the beginning of the
5:42Gospel gospel you angelian good news
5:45this is the beginning of the good news
5:47about Jesus Christ the son of God it is
5:50written in Isaiah the prophet I will
5:52send my messenger ahead of you who will
5:54prepare your way a voice of one calling
5:57in the desert prepare the way for the
6:00Lord make straight paths for him
6:03so how is the way of the Lord prepared
6:06how is the way of the Lord are the paths
6:08made straight well what’s funny is is
6:11the way the Greek picks this up and I
6:13think the ESV has a has a better way of
6:15doing this it it Mark starts off if you
6:18haven’t read the gospel of Mark cover to
6:19cover it’s a really quick read it’s uh
6:22oftentimes believe that this is the
6:24gospel associated with the preaching of
6:26the Apostle Peter and this is the gospel
6:28of Action Man I mean this this reads
6:31like a comic book graphic novel it just
6:33has this great Pace to it so the way it
6:35kind of reads in the Greek and the ESV
6:36picks this up and it’s translation when
6:38it says that he appeared so it says it’s
6:39written in Isaiah the prophet I’ll send
6:41my messenger ahead of you who will
6:42prepare your way a voice of one calling
6:44in the desert and then verse four and so
6:46John appeared is the kind of the Greek
6:50reads it’s like so Isaiah writes this
6:52down and the the way that Mark writes it
6:54says the way Isaiah writes this prophecy
6:56down about the one who’s going to
6:58precede the Lord and then poof he shows
7:01up right and which is I think the reason
7:04why the people who put the lectionary
7:06together gave us that second Peter
7:08reading today here’s what it says do not
7:10overlook this one fact beloved that the
7:12Lord with the Lord one day is like a
7:14thousand years and a thousand years like
7:15one day
7:16and this tells us something about the
7:18surety of God’s word Isaiah wrote his
7:21prophecy hundreds of years before John
7:24the Baptist ever came onto the scene but
7:27God never forgets his word and God’s
7:29word always accomplishes what he sets it
7:31out to do and so God through the prophet
7:33Isaiah said that he will send a
7:35messenger ahead of the Messiah who will
7:37prepare his way and that Messenger will
7:39be a voice of one calling in the desert
7:41prepare for the Lord make straight his
7:44paths and then poof John appeared
7:47it’s kind of like that God says and then
7:50it happens now in this particular case
7:52it was a little bit of a delay by our
7:54chronology but in God’s way of thinking
7:55it happened as soon as he said it was
7:57going to happen because God’s word
7:58accomplishes what it sets out to do so
8:01John came baptizing in the desert region
8:04and preaching a baptism of repentance
8:07for the Forgiveness of sins
8:10how is the way of the Lord prepared how
8:13were the Crooked paths straightened well
8:16it’s real simple repent repent repent
8:20you are a dirty rotten Sinner and John
8:23the Baptist says and while he’s saying
8:25it he spits a grasshopper leg in your
8:29sure his teeth were black and he’s
8:31probably smelled bad too what kind of
8:33preacher is this well he’s the right
8:35kind of preacher for the right job and
8:37then if you think about it what is John
8:39the Baptist something to consider here
8:41is he a prophet
8:43well not exactly
8:44uh he’s kind of this guy who sits with
8:47one foot in the Old Testament and one
8:51foot in the New Testament he’s retro
8:54dressed kind of like the old prophets of
8:56old he comes in the spirit of Elijah so
8:58he’s kind of like a prophet in that
9:00sense but see all of the prophets of the
9:02Old Testament they told us about God is
9:06going to someday send the Messiah
9:09but John the Baptist isn’t saying God is
9:11someday going to send them aside so he’s
9:12not acting like a prophet in that sense
9:14now let me give you a metaphor here we
9:17all believe that we’re living in the
9:18last days and truly we are but there are
9:20some people who think we’re actually
9:21living in the last last last last last
9:22last last days okay that you know Jesus
9:26is literally you know got his foot out
9:27the door he’s about to show up well
9:29that’s the case every now and then you
9:31always run across somebody who’s popular
9:33in the Christian church who likes to
9:34play that proverbial game of pin the
9:36tail on the Antichrist yeah this is
9:38always a fun game to uh to play and I
9:40remember I told you a few months ago
9:42there was a guy when I used to work at a
9:44bank in Seattle who was a Vietnam vet
9:47he’d been injured in Vietnam and and so
9:49you know he was in a wheelchair and
9:51every month he would get his disability
9:53check from the government and he would
9:54come in to cash it and I remember one
9:56time he comes up to me says you know
9:58Chris I’m wondering if Nancy Reagan is
10:01the Antichrist
10:02you know he just said there you go all
10:04right but here’s the idea in the same
10:07way that we’re all kind of thinking
10:08could this be it could we be at the end
10:11could that person be the man of
10:13lawlessness is the man of lawlessness
10:14right now breathing where does he live
10:17is he in Vienna maybe he’s living in
10:19London in a flat maybe he’s hiding out
10:22in Liberia who knows where he is but
10:25right now he’s could be breathing right
10:26yeah we’re just waiting for him to show
10:28up on the scene we all kind of
10:30understand the sense of expectation
10:31regarding the end and the appearance of
10:33the man of lawlessness well
10:36cross out the man of lawlessness here
10:38and put Jesus in place and Christ the
10:41Messiah the one promised in the Old
10:42Testament hasn’t shown up yet but
10:44everybody knows it’s got to be now it’s
10:46got to be soon it’s got to be really
10:48really soon well John the Baptist shows
10:51up and he’s not like the prophet saying
10:53yeah he’s gonna come John the Baptist is
10:55like the guy who’s the MC at well at you
10:59know a huge event and the curtain is
11:01drawn and he shows up the spotlight’s on
11:03him he’s out you know it’s dark all
11:05around except for the spotlight and Now
11:07ladies and gentlemen I’d like to
11:09introduce you to Jesus Christ and the
11:11curtain Rises up and here comes Jesus
11:13that’s John’s role so he’s not like a
11:16prophet in that sense he’s he already
11:18knows that the Messiah is on the planet
11:20breathing has been around for 30 years
11:22and so he’s there to reveal him but
11:26reveal him in this sense by Preparing
11:29People for his now soon to be appearing
11:33publicly that’s John the Baptist’s job
11:37so he does this and the way to prepare
11:40for the arrival of the Messiah is to
11:44tell everybody
11:46you’re a sinner
11:49you’re a sinner you don’t measure up
11:51let’s take a look at those Ten
11:52Commandments how well are you keeping
11:54them you’re not you’re Wicked in your
11:57paths are crooked
11:59straighten them out repent
12:01this is what he preaches and you think
12:03well this isn’t very nice I don’t like
12:06this message
12:07this is the only way to prepare for the
12:09arrival of the Lord because Christ has
12:12come to take away your sins and so John
12:15the Baptist in preaching the law and
12:17preaching repentance it says he was
12:19baptizing people for the Forgiveness of
12:22your sins in a true sense John isn’t a
12:26prophet he’s the First Gospel preacher
12:29and you’ll notice that after he’s
12:31arrested Jesus what does he preach
12:34repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at
12:36hand Jesus picks up John’s preaching and
12:38preaches it to prepare for himself he
12:41preaches repentance and you know what
12:43the apostles preach they preach repent
12:48this is what they do
12:50and so the way you prepare the way of
12:52the Lord is not with cute little tinsel
12:54and Holly and songs and little twinkly
12:57you know the way you prepare for the
12:59arrival of the Lord is to examine your
13:01life in light of the Ten Commandments
13:03and see that you should you come up
13:04short I come up short each and every one
13:07of us does and you see the reason why
13:10the Pharisees didn’t really accept the
13:12baptism of John is because they didn’t
13:15think they needed to repent
13:17this is why he said your moms are snakes
13:19because they were holy they were
13:22righteous they were good they tied all
13:24the way down to 10 percent of the herbs
13:27that are growing in their little gardens
13:30oh they were so they didn’t need to
13:34and that’s why John got in their face
13:37and said who warned you to flee the
13:39Wrath to come you don’t really believe
13:41you need my baptism now do you
13:44but the reality is we all need to repent
13:47we all need to be forgiven we all need
13:49our sins washed away and before you
13:51think for a second the John the Baptist
13:53was some kind of arrogant jerk
13:56listen again to his words his message
13:58was this after me will come one more
14:02powerful than I and here’s the important
14:05part the thongs of whose sandals I am
14:07not worthy to stoop down and untie
14:11there’s always that saying pastor do you
14:13practice what you preach
14:16well John the Baptist did
14:18he practiced what he preached
14:21he had been brought to repentance he
14:23understood that he was in need of
14:24forgiveness and he understood that the
14:27one who came after him was mightier than
14:29himself and he understood that because
14:31of his own sin he was not worthy to
14:33stoop down and even untie Jesus’s
14:36this man practiced what he preached he
14:39believed that he needed repentance and
14:42the reality is is that each and every
14:43one of us needs to repent repent daily
14:46repentance is the way of life of the
14:49it’s the way of life this is why we pray
14:51at the end of the day
14:53the Lord’s Prayers he taught us to pray
14:56Our Father Who Art in Heaven
14:58holy hallowed is your name
15:01your kingdom come your will be done on
15:03Earth as it is in heaven and then you
15:05ask God give us this day our daily bread
15:07and forgive us our trespasses
15:11as we forgive those who trespass against
15:13us you’ll notice this is a daily prayer
15:16give us this day our daily bread if you
15:19ask for your daily bread today do you
15:20need to pray again for it tomorrow
15:23and we’re not praying for a stockpile
15:25and Lord give us this year our
15:29stockpiled of Y2K survivalist Goods that
15:33we can keep in our basement no this is
15:35not what we’re paying we’re paying for
15:36Daily Bread so if you’re praying for
15:37daily bread
15:38daily sustenance everything that you
15:40need for today you’re going to need to
15:42pray this prayer again tomorrow
15:44and that’s what God promises you that’s
15:46what he gave the children of Israel out
15:48in the wilderness daily Manna daily
15:51bread and so because we’re praying for
15:53Daily Bread we daily pray forgive us our
15:59and that reveals that the entire
16:02Christian Life
16:03here on this side of the true Promised
16:08it’s daily repentance the message of
16:10John the Baptist never goes out of style
16:12even though his clothing line never will
16:15be in style even though his diet will
16:18never be a bestseller
16:20his message never goes out of style and
16:22it applies to each and every one of us
16:25and so he John the Baptist realized his
16:27on his own unworthiness his own
16:30sinfulness and even confessed he was not
16:32worthy to untie
16:35the straps of the sandals of Jesus and
16:38so he baptizes with water but when Jesus
16:41appears he said Jesus Will baptize you
16:43with the Holy Spirit now a little bit of
16:46confusion about this let’s clear it up
16:48there’s a lot of confusion especially in
16:49the past Century as if somehow baptism
16:51in the baptism of the Holy Spirit are
16:53two different things scripture teaches
16:55they go together in Acts chapter 2
16:58on the great day of Pentecost we read
17:01that Peter preached the gospel and it
17:03cut people to the quick verse 37 says
17:06this now when they heard this Peter’s
17:08preaching they were cut to the heart and
17:09said to Peter and the rest of the
17:10Apostles Brothers what shall we do and
17:14Peter said to them listen to this repent
17:18he sounds just like John the Baptist
17:21and be baptized be baptized there is in
17:24the passive voice it’s something that
17:26happens to you not something you do be
17:29baptized every one of you in the name of
17:31Jesus Christ for the Forgiveness of your
17:34sins and you will receive the gift of
17:36the Holy Spirit
17:37according to this text the Holy Spirit
17:39and baptism go together
17:42and so they do so on the day you were
17:45baptized your sins were washed away and
17:47God gave you the Holy Spirit and so you
17:50have received this promise that John the
17:53Baptist foretold would happen that when
17:56he comes Jesus would baptize them not
17:59just with water but also with the Holy
18:01Spirit and so you have been baptized you
18:03have the Holy Spirit and Christ keeps
18:06you and he sustains you so how do you
18:08prepare again for Jesus’s arrival well
18:12tinsel and twinkly lights are cute and
18:14there’s nothing wrong with them but the
18:16way we always prepare and the way we
18:18prepare to receive Jesus every Sunday
18:20and even every day when we read his word
18:22is by confessing that we are sinners in
18:24need of a savior and believing and
18:27trusting that Jesus Christ as John the
18:29Baptist said is truly the Lamb of God
18:31who takes away the sin of the world you
18:33don’t take away your own sin you
18:35couldn’t pay for even the simplest of
18:38your sins if you tried Christ bled and
18:40died for all of them so stop striving to
18:44be righteous on your own trust in the
18:46one who clothe you in his righteousness
18:48the one whose sandals you are not worthy
18:51to stoop down and untie but the one who
18:53makes you worthy by his shed blood for
18:55you on the cross in the name of Jesus
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