King Christmas

January 2, 2022
Posted in Sermons
January 2, 2022 UCC User

Part 4. Preparing for King Christmas

”1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” 7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

”15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you withthe Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.” – Luke 3:1-7; 15-17

Sermon Points

I. Preparing for the King in our Expectation

II. Preparing for the King in our Consecration

III. Preparing for the King in our Presentation 

Quick Note: Systematic Bible Reading in 2022

It has been said, only 15% of those who claim to be Bible-believing Christians regularly read the Book they claim to believe. 35% never read it at all. The other 50% only read it occasionally. Of course, we should approach such statistics with caution; nevertheless, something tells me these numbers give us a reasonably accurate big picture of the state of bible reading in our culture. Of course, they beg the question, where do I stand? Do I take Bible reading seriously?

In line with his desire to foster serious Bible reading in his own day, the Scottish preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1841) prepared a plan for daily reading that would take readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice each year and through the rest of the Bible once. To one young man, he wrote:

“You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read a small bit of an Epistle also. Turn the Bible into prayer. Thus, if you were reading the First Psalm, spread the Bible on the chair before you, and kneel and pray, “O Lord, give me the blessedness of the man”; “let me not stand in the counsel of the ungodly.” This is the best way of knowing the meaning of the Bible, and of learning to pray.”

UCC recommends a systematic approach to reading the Bible daily. In the past, we have recommended M’Cheyne reading plan (which you can access here, for example), but there are many options to read through the Bible systematically that may suit you better. Also, every year I (Pastor Shaun) issue an offer to have a phone call or a meeting with you to help you assess or even get started in your systematic bible reading, and that offer is extended again this year. I would be happy to hear from you (0503825148)