Worship Service 4 December 2016
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and LaVerne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
December 4, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Matthew 3:1-12
Hanging of the Greens


       Isaiah 11:1-20;

       Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19;

       Romans 15:4-13;

       Matthew 3:1-12


Matthew 3:1-12     New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”[a]This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”


Pastor's Summary of Romans 15:4-13

Paul has told his readers that "We who are strong" (v. 1) are to help the "weak" to come to terms with their consciences; we are to endure, pleasantly, their "failings"-thus building up the Christian community. Jesus is our great example.

Now Paul tells us the value of the Old Testament for us, "written in former days" (v. 4). When Jesus' suffering is seen as part of God's plan (which began with Abraham and other patriarchs) "the scriptures" take on a greater meaning: towards the "hope" of eternal life. Vv. 5-6 are a prayer for harmony in the community, so that it may reflect God's glory. In 14:1, Paul has written: "Welcome those who are weak in faith". In v. 7 he combines this with Jesus' command to "love one another as I have loved you". Why? "For the glory of God", the reason Jesus came to us. Jesus was a Jew and ministered to Jews ("a servant of the circumcised", v. 8) in order to demonstrated that the "Promise...to the patriarchs" are relaible ("confirm") and to open up God's promises to other cultural communities ("Gentiles", v. 9.) Paul's quotations in vv. 9-12-from Psalms, Deuteronomy and Isaiah-all show that others besides Jews were envisioned in God's plan. Paul ends by asking God, the one in whom all cultures center their "hope" (v. 13), to fill his readers with "joy", "peace" and "hope"-the key concepts in his quotations.