2nd Sunday of Advent – Sermon 324

23rd December 2019 Off By Derek
  • 2nd Sunday of Advent
  • 10.45am Thursday HC
  • 12th December 2019

Prayer to start      

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



Our Gospel reading this morning is about John the Baptist. 

He was given a special job to herald in the arrival of Jesus – 

It was John’s mission to prepare the way for Him – to make sure that the world was ready to receive its long-awaited Messiah – the future hope of mankind

Preparing for an event can often be the most critical task – and in Advent – we – are invited to prepare for Jesus’ coming – to look again at the promises of His kingdom – and the coming celebration of His birth –

In this second week we are going to look especially at the part played by the prophets – John and Isaiah – to see how their words and actions can help us get ready in our preparations for Christmas –

Point 1 John the Baptist

First lets look at John

He was a loner – a man of the desert – which for Israel was considered to be a place of punishment and renewal –

His dress was very distinctive – “a rough coat of camel’s hair with a leather belt round his waist” – he also ate “locusts and wild honey” – not the usual diet of the time –

He was the one that Isaiah called – “the voice”

“A voice cries in the wilderness,

Prepare the way for the Lord;

Clear a straight path for Him”

But he was more than the town crier of his time –

He was also a first witness and believer in Jesus Christ – as the Son of God –

He knew that God was about to make a personal entrance into our history – and turn the world upside down – so for the people there was no time to lose –

They had to change – make a fresh start – a new beginning in readiness for the coming Messiah –

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is upon you”

Get your life in line before the Messiah comes –

Separate yourselves from the bad old ways –make a fresh start – do only the things that God would want you to do – because very soon He is going to be right here beside you –

Like the desert that he came from – John’s message had both a threat – and a promise –

A threat for those who do not listen – like the Pharisees and Sadducees – who had no intention of moving away from their self-built – influential lifestyles –

and a promise for those who are prepared to live out God’s love in their lives –

“I baptize you with water for repentance – said John “but the one who comes after me is mightier than I and He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”

John brought us water baptism as an outward statement of faith – and a public declaration that a new life in Christ has begun – a symbolic burial of our past  – and a turning towards God for our future –

But – Jesus brings the real life giving power – the Holy Spirit – to help those who follow Him – to live that new life for God – It will be a power that will overflow from those who accept Him but destroy those who turn away

The threshing floor is a place of sorting out the grain from the chaff – the good stuff from the junk – the furniture from the firewood –

His winnowing shovel is ready says John, “to gather the wheat in His granary – or burn the chaff on the fire that will never be put out”

Point 2        Isaiah New beginnings

Isaiah – too had harsh unyielding words – about what changes must take place – like John he didn’t temper his message for the sake of popular opinion

When he was called to be a prophet he was told there were going to be bad times ahead  – the emptying of the land – the Assyrian domination – the end of the monarchy – the deporting of the people – Israel would become like a felled tree – a tree cut down by a wielding axe –

But from that stump a new branch will grow – a new king will come – that will be both a shoot and a root – not just another king of David’s line – but through Him new life will become possible on a worldwide scale –

Isaiah paints us a beautiful picture of what life could be like when we allow ourselves to be transformed by Jesus –

Our natural attitudes towards things will be changed – anxiety and fear will be a thing of the past – we will learn to live our lives – through trust and dependence on God and on one another –

Jesus will do what we have failed to do – Obey God’s commandments fully from the heart – show us what peace and harmony really is – show us that we urgently need to re-examine our lifestyles and repent of our destructive ways

Jesus’ tree of peace will be put on a dead tree – the cross – and from that tree will come salvation for all who follow Him

God takes us dead as we are and puts us in the nature of Jesus –

Jesus came to die on the cross – so that our sins can be forgiven – and we can be brought back to a relationship with God –

God brought John and Isaiah to disturb our complacency to cut through the compromise and consensus – that so often fills our lives – to call us back to the heart of what it is all about – what the prophets were all pointing to

To be ready to change and accept Jesus Christ into our lives – and live in the power of His spirit –

point 3         what it means for us –

So we’ve heard from our two prophets – What about our preparation?

How can we make sure – as John puts it “that we bear fruit worthy of repentance” –

Repentance means turning away from evil – and turning towards God –

So first we have to get rid of the spiritual junk in our lives – stop thinking and doing those uncomfortable wrong things – that we know we shouldn’t be doing –

Borrowing our employers time and facilities – jumping to conclusions about other people’s actions and motives

We must overcome our pride and stubbornness – and recognize our own shortcomings – overcome our fear – of relying on someone we know is there for us – but who we can’t touch or see –

we must trust in God’s way of doing things – as Paul puts it “follow the manner of Jesus Christ” – “accept one another as Jesus accepted us, to the Glory of God” –


Many good things in life depend on careful planning and preparation

to be successful we have to do more than hope – we have to get involved –

Only those who actively make the decision to believe in and prepare for God’s Kingdom – will ever be part of it. 

So – If we want to be prepared for Jesus this Christmas – like the prophets –

We have to take notice of what God is telling us

Take action to change and make a new beginning

And then take Jesus into our lives to receive the full power of the Spirit

So that by God’s Grace – In the words of St. Paul

“He will fill us with all Joy and peace – as we – lead the life of faith –until by the power of the Holy Spirit we may all overflow with hope. AMEN