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Text Sermons : Erlo Stegen : True Preparation for Christmas (part 2)

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John 1:19-31

John the Baptist spoke with authority about repentance. Before and after Jesus there was none who spoke about repentance as John the Baptist. From the sophisticated to the lowest people in society were deeply touched by his preaching. They all came into the wilderness to be baptised by him, confessing their sins. They were drawn into the wilderness by the power of God.

The world was shaken. People began to ask if he was the Messiah. Eventually the religious leaders sent a delegation to him to ask whether he was the Messiah or Elijah, and by whose authority he baptises. Although he had an opportunity to grab the limelight, he instead gave his honest testimony, "I am not the Messiah or Elijah; but I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord." In this we see a wonderful mystery - he was the voice of Him (God) crying in the wilderness that people ought to repent. It is also marvelous that we do not find a trace of haugtiness in John, when he acknowledges, "I baptise with water, but there stands one among you, whom you do not know; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose."

John the baptist did as we read in 1Pet 3:15, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." Although John was humble, he was ready to answer anyone who asked him regarding God's call on his life.

Others have a right to ask you regarding your faith, and you must be ready at all times to answer them truthfully with meekness and fear.

When Jesus came to John among the crowds, John cried out, "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world", and "I knew Him not." This seems strange, since John and Jesus were family and Mary visited Elisabeth even before John was born. When Mary greeted Elisabeth the child John jumped in her womb, and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
However, up till the time Jesus came to John in the wilderness, John only knew Jesus as a family relation, but at that very moment God revealed to him the mystery that Jesus was not an ordinary man but even the "Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. He is the One of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me; for He was before me.'" Jesus was revealed to him as God, the Great I Am Who became flesh and dwelt among us to save us from our sins.

May God reveal Jesus unto you too as "the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world." Once that has happened, you will be a sanctified soul, unable to continue in sin. You cannot smoke, use drugs, sin sexually or in your thoughts and yet know Jesus. You might claim to know Him, but He doesn't know you, and certainly you do not know Him.

Blessed is the man or woman who can say with John, "I did not know Him before, because of the way God has revealed Jesus unto me." And may that revelation remain with you for the rest of your life and change your life to be sanctified.

Christmas is about God's Gift to mankind, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away our sins. Prepare yourself for this time of Christmas. Plow the fallow ground of your heart; part from sin this Christmas. In 1Pet 2:3 and Ps 34:8 we read, "taste and see that the Lord is good." You must taste and experience for yourself the goodness of the Lord. You might taste all the cakes and rejoice in the presents this Christmas, but unless you've tasked Jesus Christ, Christmas will mean nothing to you. It will be a crime and a grievous sin if you should remember Jesus' coming into this world but you haven't experienced His coming into your heart. He will not enter into a pigsty. Bring your sins to Him that He can remove them and make your heart a place fit for his abode.

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