"Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord"
November 4, 2022, 5:38 PM

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

Advent is a season in the Church Year that was instituted so that Christians would heed the warning of the Prophet Isaiah: “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). Several hundred years later, John the Baptist came as God’s spokesman to call God’s people to prepare to meet the Messiah by repenting of their sins. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Matthew 11:11-14; Luke 1:17). The Season of Advent is meant to call God’s people to prepare to celebrate the historical and miraculous event of the Incarnation. God ordained in eternity that His Son would take upon Himself human nature and give Himself as a ransom for many. Jesus, the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah and others, is the God-Man who came in the fullness of time. He was born under the law to redeem those who were under the law so that [God’s people\ might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).

John’s message is still applicable. Repentance is one of the two gifts God gives to His people at their conversion. The other is faith. Those who have received these gifts from God live them throughout their lives. That is, professing Christians are penitent people. We repent of our sins and confess them knowing that God has promised to forgive our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Likewise, professing Christians live in reliance on the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the object of our faith. He is the Holy One of God before whom we see the truth of our sinfulness and know that He is life.

As you worship in your local church during Advent, focus on John’s call to prepare for the Messiah! May God give you eyes to see the truth of Jesus Christ as He is offered in the gospel.

Jesus told us to prepare and consider John the Baptist’s declaration. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

In our country, perhaps in the western world, preparing to celebrate the Incarnation has been overshadowed by making sure that we’ve managed to buy gifts for family and friends.

Now I am not suggesting that Christians refrain from buying gifts for others. In fact, giving is an expression of those who have received. But I am suggesting that we remember what we have received and give in response to God’s grace as a demonstration of having received His mercy.

As a child I remember that Christmas wasn’t fully realized until our whole family went to church on Christmas Eve. It has been our church family’s practice to celebrate Christmas Eve with a traditional worship service called “Lessons and Carols”. Lessons and Carols is a worship service for our church family and all whom the Lord our God sends to us. This Service was first used in 1918 at the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. The Service consists of reading of nine texts of Scripture and nine carols. The lessons declare a summary of God’s Plan of Redemption.

The Scripture lessons begin in Genesis and end with John’s Gospel. We hear from God and respond in song. Our aim is to turn our minds to God’s grace in saving His people. As God’s word reminds us that God established His plan of redemption in eternity. The Father and the Son made a covenant. The Son agreed to give His life to redeem those whom the Father chose before the world began.

If you have not thought of preparing to celebrate Christmas in this way, I would encourage you to begin. Celebrate the Incarnation by attending corporate worship on each Lord’s Day and especially if your church is gathering on Christmas Eve.

Jesus called all to “repent and believe in the good news of the Kingdom.” Outside of the church there is no ordinary means of salvation. As you come to worship, expect to hear the good news that Jesus came and died for the sins of His people and that His work of redemption has been confirmed by His bodily resurrection. This is the gospel by which you are being saved if you receive it in faith and live by it (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

May Advent be a time of holy preparation as you remember God’s incomparable gift of His only Son, Jesus.