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Third Sunday In Advent
Series
A

Option #1: "Surviving an Attack of the DD's"
Matthew 11:2-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

John in prison--diagnosis: doubt and discouragement, vv2-3

  I. Remember that the heroes of faith had doubts--e.g., Abraham (Gen 15:8), Moses (Ex 17:4) and Elijah (1 K 19:3-4)

 II. Remember what Jesus said--v4, John 8:12, Matt 11:29-30, Mk 1:14-15

III. Remember what Jesus did--v5: He raised the dead man at Nain, the occasion of John’s question; cf Lk 7:11ff; He provided spiritual sight and physical sight, spiritual freedom and spiritual food, which see in John 8:32, Rom 8:2 & 21, 2 Cor 3:15-16, John 8:12 & 6:27

Application: v11--get to work for Christ. John was the last prophet of the Old Testament. Anyone who points to Jesus’ finished work is "greater than he."

Adam Clarke explains: The prophets pointed out a Christ that was coming; John showed that that Christ was among them; and the preachers of the Gospel prove that this Christ has suffered and entered into his glory and that repentance and remission of sins are proclaimed through his blood. There is a saying similar to this among the Jews: "Even the servant maid that passed through the Red Sea saw what neither Ezekiel nor any other of the prophets had seen." The miracles of Christ were not only the most convincing proofs of the supreme power of Christ, but were also emblematic of that work of salvation which he effects in the souls of men.

Sinners are blind; their understanding is darkened by sin. They are lame, unable to walk the path of righteousness. They are leprous, their souls defiled by sin. They are deaf to the voice of God, His Word and their own conscience. They are dead in sin. Nothing less than the power of Christ can redeem from all this ...The poor have the Gospel preached to them--the glad tidings that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

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CHILDREN’S MESSAGE
Matthew11:8: What did you go out in the desert to see? A man dressed in fine clothes?

This is the time of year when we see people wearing strange clothes. There’s this guy (Santa Claus) and this guy (Frosty Snowman), but none more strange than this man, who was a preacher in the desert about 2,000 years ago. We expect the red and white suit of this man (SC) and the snow ball suit of this guy (Frosty), but listen to what the Bible says this man was wearing: (Matt 3:4) John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. You’ve probably never even seen a suit of camel’s hair, but think of a dog with really scratchy fur and you’ll get the idea. You’d be scratching yourself all the time if you wore a suit like that!

And here is what he ate: His food was locusts and wild honey. A "locust" is a big grasshopper. I’m told they taste really good if you dip them in chocolate. They taste like cashews. Yum! Yum! Our soldiers who have survival training learn what insects and wild plants they can eat to stay alive for weeks if they have to. Oh, and John also raided bee hives for honey.

A very large man in a red suit, a snow man that sings and dances, and now a grasshopper-eating preacher who wears camel’s hair. But these are not the most different Christmas clothes. The most unusual Christmas suit was worn by the Man John jumped to hear about even before he was born! This man heard John preach in the desert and was later baptized by him.

What was he wearing? This was God wearing flesh and blood! He looked a lot just like you and me! God doesn’t have a body; God is a Spirit. But the Son of God took our flesh to wear so that he could live among us and keep God’s Law without sinning even once! Then this coat of flesh he was wearing was whipped and pierced with nails and, when he was dead, stabbed with a spear.

All this to save us from our sins! All this so that we could be God’s children! All this so that we could wear white robes in heaven! When you see this man in red and this guy in white and when you hear about John in camel’s hair clothes, remember the robe of flesh and blood that Jesus wore to be our Savior. John the Gospel writer told us: (John 1:14) The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us.

Praise God this Christmas and always!   

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Option #2: "No Offense, No God; Know God, Know Offense"
Matthew 11:2-11
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: If we accept the popular Christ, we may lose the real Christ. (Quentin Wesselschmidt)
 
The Problem: We "make" Christ in our own image, looking and settling for ultimately miracle-less miracles, non-judgmental judgments, and Ruler-less rulebooks.
 
The Promise: God made Christ to suffer for our offenses, forgiving us for same, and equips and empowers us as messengers of His heavenly kingdom. 
 
Notes:
 
1. "Wherever the crowd is, there is untruth." (Soren Kierkegaard)
 
2. ...the least true Christian believer has a more perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ, of his redemption and kingdom, than John the Baptist had, who died before the full manifestation of the Gospel. (John Wesley)
 
3.The course of Jesus was so different from what John himself, in common with other Jews, expected of the Messiah that, after lying in a dungeon for a year, he began to be uncertain. If Jesus was the Christ, why did he not proclaim himself the Messiah King, destroy the power of the Romans and of Herod and release John himself from prison? So he reasoned. (B.W. Johnson)
 
4. ...tell John about change and transformation in people’s lives. That is what we are here for and that is what excites us. Spiritualities excited by anything else (like the magic of miracles, like overcoming the enemies of God by judgment, like getting all the rules right) miss the point. (William Loader)
 
5.The good news, therefore, cannot be lepers cured to suffer re-infection later, nor can it be tied to the religious monstrosity of corpses raised for a few more years here only to die again. The continuing ministry of the kingdom, to which the healing ministries of Jesus and the apostles attest, bestows the greater blessing of cleansing from sin (as seen in healing lepers) and eternal life (as seen in the raising of the dead). (Charles Dennison)
 
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