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The Rebirth of Hope 

Preparing The Way For God’s Presence

As we are beginning a new work, a new church I would like to take the opportunity speak on the topic of “The Rebirth of Hope”. At the start of a new work it is a good time to refocus our thoughts and energies on realising the hope that is within us. My prayer is that this church would be a rebirth of hope for each one of our lives in which we see the promises of God being fully realised in each of our hearts.

Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

This new beginning is a time in which we can set and prepare our hearts for all that God wants to do in our lives during the coming season. In light of this I would like to speak to you from Luke Chapter three. In chapter three we have the ministry of John the Baptist, who encourages the nation of Israel to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. It is a message of preparation and repentance.

A Saviour had been born who represented the rebirth of hope to the nation of Israel and now their hearts must be prepared to receive their Messiah. John the Baptist was the messenger sent by God to prepare the hearts of the people for this wonderful rebirth of hope. But this hope would not be realised until they personalised it. We need to get this bit, we have to personalise our relationship with Christ.

Luke 3:4-6 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; and the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

As we know by reading in the Gospel of John, our hearts must be prepared in humility and contrition before we can be drawn unto Jesus by the Father. Here we find John the Baptist introducing this thought to the people of Israel.

The Message of John the Baptist.

Luke 3:3-4 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD, make His paths straight.

The message of John the Baptist is just as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Before Christ can come and fill our lives with His fullness, there must first be a preparation in our hearts. Our hearts must be prepared for the way of the Lord. Therefore let’s look to his message and see how God wants our hearts prepared for the rebirth of hope He desires to bring forth in each of our lives.

1. The Condition of the Heart.

John came out of the desert like an old time prophet, boldly announcing God’s word and challenging his hearers to a complete change of heart. His words were straight forward.

• He called them a brood of vipers – Vs. 7.

Luke 3:7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptised by him,

“Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Using shock treatment he got their attention by calling them a brood of vipers. This helped them to see the condition of their hearts and their need for repentance. Could you imagine this happening today? Imagine all the offended people complaining to the Pastor that this guy John had called them a bunch of snakes. 

Without Christ and what He can do for us we are all a brood of vipers walking in wickedness of our sins.

Notice he didn’t use the feel good approach that so many are using in today’s world of easy believeism. He made them see their wretchedness. It is important that we understand and see our wretchedness.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, In Luke 3 Verse 8, He warned them not to trust in their ancestry .

Luke 3:8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

What is John doing? He is tearing away at everything that was secure to them. “We’re good Jews.” “We obey the commandments.” “We’re God’s chosen people”. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of christians? Those christians that haven’t yet graduated to sonship?

John first attacks their sense of righteousness and now he attacks their sense of belonging and who they are in God’s sight.

Many Jews expected that in the judgment God would deal very hard with Gentile sinners, but that the Jews, the descendants of Abraham, the friend of God, would be safe. Again we could exchange the word Jews for Christians.

John denounces this attitude and removes the presumed security. He is stripping away their protective shields so that they can identify with their need for a saviour. This allowed them to see the true condition of their hearts.

What kind of protective shields do we have around our hearts that need to be torn away to reveal our true condition before the Lord? 

Is it Works – stay busy so you don’t have time to listen to your heart? 

Is it Loyalty, basic commitment to church, family etc., is it basically being a good person.

John then evokes the fear of God into their lives. – Vs. 9.

Luke 3:9 “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every

tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

All of this together reveals the conditions of their hearts and produces a conviction of their genuine need before God.

Luke 3:10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”

This is what it takes to come to genuine repentance in our lives. The Father is looking for those to whom He can draw unto Jesus and this can only happen as a person’s heart is properly prepared through brokenness.

2. The Need For Genuine Repentance.

John now hits hard on the theme of repentance that had already been introduced earlier in the passage, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” This is a theme that Peter picked up on as well, when the Jews came to him on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:36-38, 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the [a]remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

And then again in Acts three.

Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

John goes on to reveal that in every walk of life there are temptations that people give into of which must be repented of.

Vs. 11 – To those who have been blessed with abundance his message was to give. To continue to horde when there are needs is sin that needs to be repented of.

Vss. 12-13 – To the tax collectors or those who in charge of collecting various fees, his message was to be honest.

Vs. 14 – To soldiers, policemen and those in places of authority, the message was don’t intimidate, accuse falsely and be content.

3. John’s message was simple.

There must be a change in your hearts — God is about to act — Judgment is coming — And you must have a new life!

Luke 3:3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…

• There must be forgiveness first – all have sinned and are vipers.

• There must be baptism next, as a public sign of a choice to run from sin.

• And then there must be a whole new lifestyle, a new life that is lived in

harmony with God and with holiness, a new life that breaks completely with sin. A new life in Christ shouldn’t look like the world.

4. John’s Other Message.

John had one other message. The Saviour – Messiah was coming. The One who would make all this possible was approaching. He would be here soon. Those who had prepared the way would have their hope restored and fulfilled.

In Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to them all, “I indeed baptise you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

And then Jesus did come. He stood in the waters and, by baptism, identified Himself with the people and with the stand for righteousness that this act symbolised.

Luke 3:21-22 Now when all the people were baptised, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptised; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

 

What are the special temptations in your sphere of life and influence that you must continually watch out for? God is calling you to repent and turn to Him so that the times of refreshing will come and you will experience a wonderful rebirth of hope that will enable you to begin this new season with a sense of fervency and zeal that will bring you into the fulfilment of all of your hopes and dreams for the future. Begin to prepare the way now for the presence of the Lord.

That is why today we are going to share communion together.

How hard was it for Jesus?

Today I want us to think about that!

To begin with, it meant a physical separation from the intimate relationship he had with his father.

He had to leave all of his heavenly glory behind, and live through our emotional up and down existence.

He had to fulfil in detail all the Old Testament prophesies, whether he’d read about them or not. Even his birth, his fleeing to Egypt and being raised in Nazareth.

He had to be born human, be born as a baby, vulnerable and helpless, and experience the sin of the world as we know it, and as we feel it.

He had to give up all the things we consider as earthly rights, justice, mercy were denied him.

He had to give up his own will completely, and do only what the father wanted him to say and do. He had to live 100% for others, and not for himself.

He had to live with no permanent address or roof over his head, living of the support of others, no stability at all, as we would say. “Birds have nests and foxes have holes but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”

He had to live without a wife and kids. “Who can speak of his offspring.”

He had to be sinless. He had to live in our filth, and destructive habits, and remain sinless.

He had to live knowing how he would die, and even on which day he would die because it had to be at the time of the Passover, to fulfil Scripture.

He even knew that he would be crucified on a cross. “When you see the son of man lifted up . . . ” He had to overcome death. Defeat the devil. Rise from the grave, and send the Holy Spirit.

He had to leave his friends behind, knowing that they would also be killed for their faith.

Through all this he had to love all of his enemies.

What a great friend this is. Our brother, our Saviour, our redeemer, our High Priest our God and our friend.

Breaking of Bread 

 The bread which get’s broken at the table is called Christ! 

 The emblems reflect the life of Christ which we assimilate as our spiritual sustenance! 

 The emblems are temporal symbols which reflect the eternal life of Christ in time! 

 The table provides a platform from which the Lord is “remembered” and brought into sharp focus within the hearts and minds of the believers! We are the Corporate Community 

 What is the Purpose of the Lord’s Supper?

The Lord’s Supper Reminds Us of How Jesus Covered Our Past

No matter who we are, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

We need God’s grace and salvation to make it to Heaven. 

 The two components of the Lord’s Supper: (1) bread—the symbol of the broken body of Christ, and (2) the blood—the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.

The Body

 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me 1 Cor 11:24 

 When we partake of the Lord’s Supper we eat unleavened bread, which is bread without yeast. 

 This is a part of the original meal of the Old Testament law Exodus 12:17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your [a]armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.

 When we eat the bread, Jesus instructed us to remember Him! 

We need to remember that His body was broken for us. 

 Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (KJV). 

 Remember the cruelty of the cross; there was no worse punishment. 

 The pain that Jesus felt when His body was broken—His bloodied back, 

the crown of thorns on His head, 

and the nails in His hands and feet—we should have felt it, but He took our place.

 In John 2:19, Jesus says “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up

 Jesus was referring to His body After Jesus was crucified on the cross, He died and was buried. 

 But, on the third day He rose from the grave

We need to remember how Jesus not only resurrected His own body and claimed victory over death, but how He has resurrected us from the dead and brought us into newness of life.

 Rom 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life

The Blood

1 Cor 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

 When Jesus died on the cross, His blood covered every sin that each of us have ever committed or will commit in our lifetime. 

 The wage of sin is death, and there must be a blood sacrifice for the price of sin.

 Jesus referred to His blood as the “fruit of the vine” in Matt 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins

 After Jesus broke the bread and presented the cup, He said it was the “new testament in [his] blood” 1 Cor 11:25 

 “Testament” means contract; Jesus was presenting a new contract, a new placeholder for the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Jesus became the lamb.

 Jesus instructed the disciples to take all of the blood, which was not an instruction for the bread. 

 There is significance in the blood! Leviticus 17:11 tells us that “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (KJV). 

 The broken body did not cover our sin—Jesus’ blood is what is our ultimate atonement. 

– Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins Hebrews 9:22

Communion

Luke 22:7-23 NKJV

“Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.”

Luke 22:7-23 NKJV

Prayer

Lord we thank you that your nature is always to have mercy, and lift us out of our mess. By your sacrifice you have restored our relationship to the Father, you have given us peace with God. Thank you Jesus.

Amen.

 

I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word. When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer. There’s nothing that’s too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.faithministries.com.au. When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you. So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

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