Tuesday, December 22, 2015

John the Baptist - Herald of the Visitation

Luke 1:1-25, 57-80
Luke 1:1-4 = this is eye witness stuff.  5 - 25 - Zechariah was of the priestly order of Aaron.  Due to the number of priests that served, a priest was chosen by lot to burn incense on the incense altar.  He could expect this to happen only once in his lifetime.  This was Zechariah's time.
Vs. 57-80 - John fulfilled the last prophecies in the last verses of the last book of the Old Testament.  There had been 400 years pass since those prophecies were given.

John's role - preparing the people for a Visitation of God
ie:  a coming ...... stop in, drop by, show up, make an appearance, etc.

God's Visitation includes:
1)  Incarnation
2)  Return
But also =
3)   Any time God drops in

4 Divisions of Visitation

#1.  Corporate Visitation - (He comes to Israel/to Us)
#2.  Individual Visitation - Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph
#3.  Initial Visitation - drawing for salvation
#4.  Subsequent visitation - Note:  John's audience = mostly believers already!!!

John's Message (sermon) on Preparing 'self for Messiah's Visitation:
I.  Repent
II.  Prepare
III.  Produce

I.  Repent = turn around, about
Elements of Repentance:
A)   recognition of your sin(s)
B)  Contrition = sorrow for sin(s)
C.  Conversion = turning around - no salvation without conversion

NOTE:  1).  Initial repentance  (drawing for salvation)
             2).  subsequent Repentance = recognize, readjust, return - Note:  Johns audience were believers.
We have to re-recognize sins.

II.  Prepare  usually refers to "heart" - sensitivity, openness - which = wide range!!
So, Boil down to:  PRE-SUBMISSION   ie:  submission Prior to Visitation - Example:  Mary - chosen because she had pre-submitted.  "behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

Observation: = those with prepared hearts are 1st. to recognize and accept Messiah.
If we can stay in a state of submission to Him, then are ready for visitation.

III.  Produce - Matt. 3:8   (roughly a third of John's message)
Fruit = outward evidence  - actions are reflection of the heart that matches the profession
Call = produce evidence PRIOR to and in anticipation of His Visit!!!  (examples:  Parables of Master's Return)  - never know when it will happen

Point:  #1.  He will Visit
          #2.  the Visit will Not be neutral!!
The result will be either - A)  Blessing (mercy, goodness)
                OR                 B)  Judgment

What we NEED:
Personal Evaluation - Is heart really prepared???

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