That’s Christmas, That’s Church! Repent

Isaiah 11:1-10            Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19  Romans 15:4-13

Matthew 3:1-12        December 8, 2013

We don’t like others to make us feel guilty.  We have a hard enough time when we know our guilt, let alone someone else harping on us for our sins and misdeeds.  There has to be a good way for us to not make others feel guilty when they know of their wrongdoings.

In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Edmund has gone after sweets.  The White Witch tempted Edmund with these treats and discovered that there were two daughters of Eve and another son of Adam wandering in Narnia.  After the Narnians rescue Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy reunite with him. 

And are Peter, Susan, and Lucy upset with their brother!   They want to give him the wherewithal that he deserves.  Oh, they are fuming.   But Aslan does not let Edmund feel their wrath.  Aslan tells the three upset Pevensies’ that they are to welcome Edmund back, with no mention of his indiscretions.

Edmond, with sunken shoulders and worry on his face, then meets Aslan in Aslan’s tent.  Peter, Susan, and Lucy are on a nearby hill, sitting and waiting to see their brother emerge.  Even the army of Narnia is subdued during this wait.  After Edmund emerges from his time with Aslan, his siblings greet him with smiles and a good slug on the shoulder from Peter.

Is that how we can welcome those who repent?  Is that how we can welcome a disciple or a pastor who has erred?  There has to be some reason that we would even attempt to welcome someone who has betrayed our trust.  I believe we find reason enough to welcome sinners among us.  After all, that’s Christmas, that’s Church! Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!  Let us see the importance of repenting.

 

  1. A shoot from Jesse is coming (Isaiah 11:1-10)
    1. Israel is nothing but a remnant (10:20-34)
    2. The line of David is so dispersed, it appears that only a descendent of Jesse could be king
    3. The shoot of Jesse will side with the poor and meek
    4. The shoot of Jesse will judge the wicked
    5. Then all the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (11:9)
    6. The nations will inquire after the root of Jesse (11:10)
    7. This shoot of Jesse, who we know as Jesus Christ, will rule and judge in ways that other kings have not.  The shoot of Jesse will fulfill the demands of his covenant relationship with Israel and be faithful to Israel.  The world sees this happen, and they want to know more about him.  So, they see what Israel has to do, and they end up doing the same task.

 

  1. We repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near (Matthew 3;1-12)
    1. John the Baptizer was sent to get Israel ready for the Lord
      1. Repent – change one’s mental attitude, reversal, be converted
      2. Our lives then reflect this repentance by the works we do (3:8)
  2. He was not dressed to impress (3:4)

–          That was real locust (bugs) (Leviticus 11:22)

  1. People were flocking to John
  2. They were baptized & confessed their sins (3:6)
    1. Dipped, moistened, washed (a start over)
    2. Agree fully that their ways were not God’s ways
    3. Baptism is God’s gift to us (a grace) – not our dedication to him, but his to us
  3. Even the religious leaders wanted to see what was going on! (3:7-10)

–          Have faith in the Lord & bear good fruit

  1. The Lord will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire
  2. Yes, it does look like we are still hearing the call to repent.  The kingdom of heaven has come near.  All, from the everyday person to the religious leaders are to repent.  Once we repent, we start living faithfully towards God.  This faithfulness is evident by the good we are able to do.  One example of that is our attitude towards others who come to know Jesus Christ.  Which leads us to our question:

 

  1. How has Christ welcomed us? (Romans 15:4-13)
    1. God has given us hope by way of the Scriptures
    2. We live in harmony so that with one voice we praise God – Jew & Gentile
    3. Christ has welcomed us – receive, accept
      1. Jesus confirms the promises to the patriarchs – God has mercy for his people
      2. Jesus brings the Gentiles in so they can speak highly of God’s mercy – God has mercy for Gentiles, too!
  2. God fills us – that baptism of the Holy Spirit (15:13)
  3. It is through believing in Jesus Christ that we are justified before God.  It is faith in Christ that helps us to get close to God.  Because we see how good Jesus has been to us, welcoming us, even when we were sinners, that we welcome one another.  It is through Jesus completing God’s promises to the Jews that we can realize those same promises to be completed in our lives.

Yes, we are preparing for the Lord’s coming.  It is advent after all.  That’s Christmas – all of us preparing to be with Christ.  That’s Church – all of us welcoming sinners, just as Jesus Christ has welcomed us. 

Let us repent.  We can change from our ways so that we can live God’s way.  Jesus welcomes us as we come to him in faith.  Jesus has made the way for us to be welcomed.  It would be foolish for us not to receive Christ’s welcome of us.

 We can welcome one another as we come to each other in faith.  All of us can welcome one another.  Then together we can glorify God.  It sure will sound better when we are all together praising God.

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