The storyline of Luke’s Gospel fast-forwards from the childhood of Jesus to the beginning of his ministry at about age 30. Chapter 3 begins with a description of the ministry of Jesus’ cousin, John (elsewhere called “the Baptist”). The sermon text for this Lord’s Day identifies John as a prophet who served as the forerunner of the Messiah. This means that John identified and introduced Israel’s long-awaited King. A summary statement of John’s message (v. 3) reveals that entrance into Jesus’ Kingdom requires forgiveness of sin available only to those who repent of sin.
The hymns selected for this service echo the themes of Israel’s expectation of her King, her deep need for salvation, and the work of Christ to provide salvation. We will also begin and end the service with focus on the Jesus’ identity and reign as King.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship Psalm 67:1-3
Hymn 13 Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Worship through Giving
Response: Hymn Doxology
Hymn 87 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Note: This hymn, usually sung at Christmas time, is a wistful prayer that reflects Israel’s centuries of longing for God’s promised Messiah. “Come Emmanuel,” who is “Rod of Jesse,” that is a conqueror in the lineage of King David (Jesse’s son). He not only comes to reign, but to free his people from “Satan’s tyranny.”
Hymn Insert Depth of Mercy
Israel’s offensive sin had to be dealt with before she could welcome the promised King and enter his reign. She needed the mercy of God that brings forgiveness.
Scripture Reading Isaiah 40:1-11
Note: This is the larger context of the passage that Luke cites in vv. 4-6 of the sermon text. It anticipates a time when Israel will be forgiven, restored, and will flourish with God in her midst. It makes clear that the salvation and reign of Messiah will extend beyond the borders of Israel.
Hymn 267 There is a Fountain
Note: Isaiah 53 makes clear that the Promised One would deal with Israel’s guilt through his own suffering and death. The mercy that brings salvation is found in the blood that “drawn from Immanuel’s veins.”
Message: John the Baptist: “The King is Coming”
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 51 Jesus Shall Reign
Note: John prepared the way for Israel to receive her King. In the end, she rejected Jesus, but that is not the end of the story. This hymn looks ahead to the return of Jesus and the Kingdom he will establish. In the last verse we will call on “ev’ry creature to rise and bring blessing and honor to our King.”
Prayer Response Mark Williams
Benediction John Miles