Prepare for the Best Gift

Malachi 3:1-4    Luke 1:68-79     Philippians 1:3-11     Luke 3:1-6

This is the time of year when the big question is: “Are you ready for Christmas?”

I have realized what a good answer is for that question. My answer is not about how dozens of cookies I have ate, or the number of gifts I have wrapped. My answer is not about how many times I have cut my tongue from licking the Christmas card envelopes.

As disciple of Jesus Christ I realize the question is not “Are you ready for Christmas?” The better question for this time of year is: “Are you ready for the day of Christ?”

Yes, I know this is a much bigger question. For many of us will be quite busy preparing our homes and the church building for Christmas guests. We will spend extra time and money making sure we have gifts and cards for even the paper guy and that sweet aunt whom we see once every five years.

This preparing for a festive time of year sounds like one of the routines of life. It is a routine of life in which we find meaning. Yet we know Christmas will come and go, like it has for so many years before. God has the best gift for us and it will not come and go like bygone Christmases. How are we to prepare for the best gift, the gift God has for us?

A. God’s messenger will help us prepare for the day of Christ (Malachi 3:1-4)
+++1. When God comes on earth, who will be able to endure that day?
+++2. Yet, God sent a messenger to help get us ready
+++3. The messenger will help us to be refined and purified for the day of the Lord
+++4. Why is it important to be refined and purified for the day of the Lord?
+++5. Worship!
+++6. To sing and say praises to God is important. By worshipping God we are able to place someone besides ourselves as being important in our life. When we bring the offerings, for example the tithe, we are saying that the work of God is more important than our selfish desires. It is our pursuit of the newest and latest that have caused us to miss out on having peace in our lives. Preparing for the best gift involves us seeking God. Why would we want the best gift that God has for us?

B. God prepares us so that we will have peace (Luke 1:68-79)
+++1. God wants us to be out of trouble
+++2. He has made a way for us to be out of trouble
+++3. The prophet of old have spoken about what God is going to do
+++4. John is the messenger to immediately precede Jesus & prepare his way
+++5. We find that God has forgiveness for us, even before we ask for forgiveness!
+++6. The mercy of our God gives us light to guide us to the way of peace
+++7. The first thing we do to prepare for the best gift is to repent.

C. Our preparation includes getting obstacles out of our way (Luke 3:1-6)
+++1. John came at the right time to prepare the way of the Lord
+++2. His message is still relevant and important today: Get baptized to show you have repented and received forgiveness for your sins!
+++3. Then watch out! The Lord God comes into your life and helps you to live. Not only can we prepare for great events like Christmas, but we can prepare for life with God for the rest of time.

D. The good work God began in you at your repentance will be completed (Philippian 1:3-11)
+++1. Paul knows the church in Philippi takes part in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ
+++2. Gladeville/Mt. Olivet have a part in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ
+++3. What God has started in us, He will bring to completion
+++4. The best gift, knowing and believing Jesus, helps us to grow love
+++5. Then, in the day of Christ we may be pure & blameless
+++6. Why do we need to be pure & blameless? So we can praise God!
+++7. This is what life leads to, our being with God and praising God for all the good he does for and in us. God helps us to be with him after we repent of our ways and follow God through Jesus Christ. Then we grow to love as God loves us in Christ.

“Are you ready for the day of Christ?” God wants you to be ready. So God sent a messenger to prepare this world for Jesus Christ. The messenger’s message is that we get baptized to show we have repented and are receiving forgiveness from God. As we continue to repent we grow to be pure and blameless, we grow to love as Christ loves us

All of this good work being completed in us helps us to be worship God. All we need is to worship God. I hope we can be prepared to do exactly that.

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