Acts 3:19; Matthew 3:1-3; 8-10
In Acts 3:19 it says, "Repent and turn to God so
that your sins may be wiped out." During Christmas people are going to shops
and buying presents to give to each other and we rejoice because of the birth of the Lord
Jesus but before His birth, the message was repent and turn to God. Repent is an amazing
word. At Christmas time we are happy and buy gifts but before being happy about the birth
of the Lord Jesus we have to repent. In the gospel of Matthew John said,
"Repent." The prophets also said, "Repent." It does not start with
accepting the Lord Jesus and with his birth but it starts with repentance. If we celebrate
the birth of the Lord Jesus and we dont start with repentance, we are guilty. That
is where John the Baptist and the prophets started.
What does repentance mean? When we think of the Lord Jesus coming,
the first thing we must experience is repentance. You can buy gifts for family and friends
but if you do that without repentance, it is in vain. You can have a Christmas tree and
many celebrations, but if there is no repentance, you are playing around. It is important
that you repent. The Child is coming but it is important that you repent. You, therefore,
need to stop and think, "Is there anything I need to repent from?" because
instead of Christmas being a blessing, it will be a curse. Maybe there is hatred or
grudges or stubbornness and without repentance, Christmas will not be a blessing.
David was a great warrior but before he could experience the Lord
Jesus, he had to repent. You cannot celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, without
repenting first. When Peter denied the Lord Jesus, he regretted it and was forgiven. Mary
Magdalene had remorse for her sin. You cannot celebrate Christmas if you do not repent.
Before the Lord Jesus can visit us we need to ask ourselves if is there anything we must
repent of. John the Baptists first word was "repent." We need to examine
our lives and see if we have sinned. It means nothing to celebrate Christmas if we
havent repented. Is there any where I have sinned? Have I done or said anything
wrong. Have you ever sinned against your husband, or child or relative? If you
havent made that right, then the coming of the Lord Jesus is meaningless. Maybe you
have hurt a person and if you dont make it right, His coming will mean nothing to
you. Search your heart and life because if you havent made it right, Christmas will
also be nothing to you.
You must make the path straight or the Lords coming will not
help you. What is not straight must be straightened. What is not straight in your life?
There are things that must be fixed. If you are with someone who is wrong, then even that
way must be made straight. The Lord said that there was no-one born of woman that was
greater than John the Baptist. Some he spoke harshly to. Why? It was because they came but
didnt repent of their evil ways. Children and adults must search their lives and if
they have gone wrong, they must go to that person and say, "I have sinned." How
can the Lord Jesus forgive you if you havent followed His instructions? If you
havent repented from that anger in your life, how do you expect to enter heaven? You
cannot celebrate Christmas, if you havent repented. John called the Pharisees a
brood of vipers because of the evil in their lives. If you have had an argument and spoken
harsh words to each other, how can you go to heaven if you havent made it right.
Dont think you are descendants of Abraham. God can raise up descendants of Abraham
from these stones. John the Baptist said, "Make the pathway straight" and if we
havent repented, then woe to us. Fix that which is broken and wrong now. That was
Johns message. Some were baptized but they repented half-heartedly. You cant
say "I am a man." No, you too must repent. God can make something from a stone
and he will enter heaven and you will stay outside. The axe is at the root of the tree and
anything that doesnt bear fruit will be cut down, old or young, and thrown into the
fire. These are the words of the Lord Jesus. We celebrate His coming, but do you hear what
He says? You must repent of your hatred and grudge. Even if it was a long time ago, a sin
doesnt get old. It must still be made right.