December 17, 2000
"Good News - Bad News"
Introduction: General Custer has just set his camp around little big horn.
He sends out his scout to get a lay of the land.
A few hours later the scout returns. "I've got good news and I've
got bad news" says the scout.
"Well, let's hear the bad news
first" said Custer
"There are 100,000 hostile Indians who
have surrounded us. We're completely cut off. They've got their war paint on and
they attack at dawn! We won't make it out of here alive!"
"Well, if that's the bad news what's the
good news?" replied Custer
Said the scout: "Well, the way I see it,
at least we won't have to go back through Nebraska!"
Good news, bad news. What is it?
It all depends on your perspective. In the preaching of John the Baptist
he gives us some serious bad news as well as precious good news that we need to
hear. This morning, let's consider
the good and the bad news from John the Baptist.
The Bad News -vv.7-9 "You
generation of vipers who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring
forth fruits worthy of repentance and begin not to say within yourselves. We
have Abraham as our father for I say unto you that God is able of these stones
to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of
the tree, every tree, therefore, which does not bring forth good fruit is hewn
down and cast into the fire."
Bad news for the barren. John puts it bluntly. "Who has warned you
to flee from the wrath to come?" At
the end of this age there will be a judgment, of which, the world has never
known. The visitations of the Lord
up until the last visit have been limited in scope. The last visitation of the
Lord, on the last great day, will be complete. All will stand before Him for an
accounting of their life.
the last great day the sky will open, and there, in the clouds, we shall see the
Son of Man returning to this earth to judge the children of man. No one can
escape His judgment. All must stand
on the last great day to give an account concerning what they have done in this
When He comes in judgment, there will be a destruction of this world. The
world as we know it will cease to exist. It will come to an end. It will be
purged in fire. Nothing will be left. All will be gone.
wonder John tells us that there is "bad news" for this earth. For who
can withstand His judgment? Who can withstand His righteous decrees? Who can
stand before Him blameless and undefiled when He comes again in glory?
Transition: Yes, all would spell disaster if
Jesus' coming were left us without any hope. But He has already set in motion a
plan, that when followed will give an escape. The bad news is there will be a
righteous judgment, which no one can escape. The good news is that God in Christ
has established a plan, that by it we will receive forgiveness and life.
Consider His gracious offer this day.
2. The Good News - vv.15-18
is coming mightily to save. V.16a "I baptize you with water but he who is coming after me is mightier
then me the laces of his sandals I am not worth to untie" John could
only bring people to repentance. Jesus has fulfilled all righteousness.
Jesus, who came right after John, is the very Son of God. He came to take
unto Himself our misery and sin. He came to set us right, for in His obedience
to the Father's gracious will He took our sin. He carried that sin and bore it
in His body on the tree of the cross; and there, at the cross, He suffered and
died and rose again for our salvation and life.
The good news for us is that "there is now peace on earth and good
will toward men" God and sinners are reconciled. There is now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for in Jesus Christ, all sin,
each and every sin is forgiven - period!
He comes to
baptize with the Spirit v. 16b " he
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" Christ has come to
visit His people. When He visits His people He gives us a baptism of life with
the fire of the Holy Spirit. It is
the Holy Spirit which, calls gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps us in
the one true faith. He turns us
need not fear the Second Coming of Christ for in His first coming, in His
baptism, He delivered a judgment once and for all. He took our sins and had them
drowned and killed in the waters of baptism. He declared us dead to sin and
alive to Him. Paul puts it this way "when we were baptized into Christ
Jesus we were baptized into His death. We
were buried with Him in our baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from
the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also might walk in newness of
life. For if we have been untied with Him in His death we will certainly be
reunited with Him in His resurrection."
Our baptism is a certificate of death. Our baptism is a certificate of life.
How do you know that I am alive? I
have been given a birth certificate. When
I was born, a physician, a person of authority, examined my body and signed a
legal document called a birth certificate, which says: "I testify that this
person is certainly alive". And
when I die, another physician, a person of authority, will examine my body and
sign a legal document called a death
certificate which says: "I testify that this person is certainly
baptism is a certificate of death. In baptism, the Savior says: "I testify
that this person is dead to sin". Likewise, our baptism is a certificate of
life. In baptism, the Savior says: "I testify that this person is alive in
Christ". That is why the
Scriptures simply say "consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to
God". On the last great day Jesus who
came the first time to bring us to life will come to find us, to take us to be
That's what this Advent season is all about. We recall Jesus'
first Advent, we anticipate His Second Advent. Once He came as a baby, when He
comes again He will return as judge and king.
The bad news will continue to be that Christ is serious about sin and
will return to judge the world's sinners. The
good news for you and me is that we have already been declared righteous in the
Savior's' baptism, a baptism of fire and with the Holy Spirit. That fire has
burned our sin and refined our faith so that no impurity remains. When He
returns He will find you blameless as His Holy Spirit seals you.
The bad news - you're a sinner -
"consider yourself dead to sin."
The good news - you're a redeemed child of God
consider yourself alive in Christ but the power of the Holy Spirit.
Walk in that newness of life each and every
day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.