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SermonClearing the Way for the Lord
An all-creatures Bible Message

Clearing the Way for the Lord
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
6 December 2015
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Malachi 3:1-4
Luke 3:1-6
Philippians 1:3-11

Clearing the way for the Lord is a two pronged approach for each of us to be involved in.
 
Just like a snow plow clears away the snow on the roads, we need to be clearing the way for the Lord by clearing away the evil and worldly ways that have dominated this world for far too many years.
 
But first of all, we need to clear away those worldly ways that are in our own lives, just as we clear away the snow from our own walks and driveways in the wintertime.
 
If we donít begin with ourselves, we will never be able to clear away the evil in the world around us, because we first have to be examples of righteous living before others, if they are ever going to listen to us.
 
As an example, think of shopping for food; we need to symbolically shovel or plow all meat and other things containing animal products out of the way of our shopping cart or basket so they donít fall in, for they contain death and are part of the corruption of Godís beautiful creation.
 
We need to fill our shopping carts only with produce and other things that donít contain animal products.
 
And there is one other thing we need to do; we need to read the labels to make sure that the contents contain no animal products, which is like salting all icy spots so we donít slip and slide when we are walking and driving.
 
This is one of the ways that we should be clearing the way for the Lord in our own lives.
 
We need to be the peacemaking children of God who do everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption, and end all human caused violence, corruption, indifference, bloodshed, and death. The easiest way to do this is by ending the exploitation of animals, for we donít need animals for food or clothing.
 
We can and should be living in peace with the rest of creation.
 
We can be clearing the way for the Lord.
 
As we look at Malachi 3:1-4, letís keep in mind that we need to bring these verses up to date so that we can apply them in our lives today.

1. "Behold, I am going to send My messenger,
and he will clear the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
will suddenly come to His temple;
and the messenger of the covenant,
in whom you delight, behold,
He is coming," says the LORD of hosts.

The way this verse is written, it could have applied to people like John the Baptist, who cleared the way before the Lord; but it also applies to the Holy Spirit who is clearing the way for the Lord by working through the peacemaking children of God, who truly live in His heavenly will.

2. "But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.

This is definitely referring to the Lord, who will come with power to end the corrupt ways of this world once and for all time; but like we said above, we are to be doing the preliminary but substantial work to help free creation from its present corruption, as a way of clearing the way for the Lord.

3. "And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.

In understanding this verse, we need to understand that we need to add the clergy of today to this list, for like the sons of Levi of the past, they are the religious leaders whom the Lord will refine by removing their worldly ways.
 
Then, and only then, will they be able to come before the Lord and make their own offerings of righteousness.
 
There will be no scapegoating of animals and the offering of their innocent blood; for once refined, these clergy can present themselves before the Lord as offerings of righteousness.

4. "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD, as in the days of old and as in former years.
NASB

And we can add the refined clergy and churches to this list, for they will be acceptable to the Lord.
 
We shouldnít have to wait for this to happen; the clergy and churches should wake up to their worldly ways, and repent and refine themselves, now, for that is in the heavenly will of God.
 
We who understand should be like John the Baptist clearing the way for the Lord, as we are told in Luke 3:1-6.

1. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
 
2. in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.
 
3. And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;

Repentance is the first step we take in turning away from our former worldly ways and desiring to be changed into a peacemaking child of God; this is the first step in clearing the way for the Lord.

4. as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
'Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight. 

The ways of the world are crooked.
 
When we push away from the evil ways of the world, we are clearing the way for the Lord, and that way is straight.

5. 'Every ravine shall be filled up,
And every mountain and hill shall be brought low;
And the crooked shall become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
 
6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.' " 
NASB

ďAll flesh shall see the salvation of God,Ē must include the animals, for they, like us, are made of flesh.
 
This is clearing the way for the Lord and helping to free creation from its present corruption.
 
This is how we end the exploitation of animals.
 
This is how we bring true peace and good will to the world.
 
Letís now take a look at what Paul wrote as recorded in Philippians 1:3-11 and see how it fits into our discussion of clearing the way for the Lord.

3. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
 
4. always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
 
5. in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

Part of being a child of God is recognizing others who live in the heavenly will of God.

6. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

The ďHeĒ is the Holy Spirit, whom we have to be willing to receive and listen to, for He will help us in turning away from the worldly ways around us, and in clearing the way for the Lord.

7. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

Paul was imprisoned in Philippi because of his faith, and because evil people didnít want to hear the truth, which is still a problem to this day.

8. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
 
9. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
 
10. so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

This happens when we have learned to plow or shovel away, so to speak, the evil worldly ways around us that cause so much pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death.

11. having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
NASB

We believe the fruit of righteousness is the way of the true peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will, and do everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption.
 
This is clearing the way for the Lord, and we pray that we all are doing this.
 
Amen.

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