The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 3:1-6

Advent 3

1. Read Isaiah 40 in its entirety, a beautiful passage of consolation for people of all ages. Also read Matthew 3:1- 3; Mark 1:1-3; John 1:23.

2. John the Baptist is the Advent person. "Advent" means "coming." John told people how they should prepare for Christ's coming.

3. The scepter had departed from Judah (Genesis 49:10). Shiloh was about to come. Tiberius was emperor in Rome. Pontius Pilate was ruling Judea, Herod Antipas Galilee, Philip Itouria, Lysanias Abilene. Annas and Caiphas were joint high priests. Deep corruption and cruelty in government and religion were common.

4. God's Word, his power, message and call came to the son of Zacharias. Verse 3 is the result of verse 2. John preached in the wilderness on both sides of the Jordan River. He preached a repentance baptism whose purpose was the forgiveness of sins. He preached and he baptized.

5. Cf. the words of the angel to Zacharias, Luke 1:14-17 and the words of Zacharias Luke 1:76-79. John brought forgiveness to sin-sick Israel. John brought light to Israel sitting in darkness. He brought joy and gladness. He reconciled fathers and sons. Cf. Isaiah 40:1-2. He comforted Israel. He pardoned their iniquity. He forgave their sins doubly.

6. In Luke 7:30 Jesus calls John's baptism the gracious plan of God. It was essentially the same as later baptism. Ephesians 4:4 speaks of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." That is reiterated in the Nicene Creed: "I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." John 1:31 clearly tells us that the water-baptism of John revealed Christ to Israel and through that baptism Jesus was baptizing Israel with the Holy Spirit. John 4:1-3 tells us that John and Jesus' disciples baptized side by side. John's baptism, a true means of grace, looked forward to the complete fulfillment of all by Christ and was for Israel only. Baptism after Pentecost looked back on the fulfillment and was for all nations. Perhaps instead of calling them Johannine and Christian baptism we ought refer to them as Old Covenant and New Covenant baptism, lest we give the impression that John's baptism was not Christian.

7. The word "as" at the beginning of verse 4 clearly shows that fulfillment corresponded exactly to prophecy.

8. The first line of the prophecy is found in all four Gospels. Verses 1-3 are found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke alone quotes verses 5-6. The first line introduces John: "This was the message of the crier in the wilderness:" Then follows what he cried.

9. "Prepare the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight" is explained by what follows. By the way, Luke changed "of our God" at the end of verse 4 to "His," meaning "Christ." How does one prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight? By filling every valley, by levelling every mountain and hill, by making the rough smooth and straightening the ways. This is picture language for preparing the highway for the coming of the king. But it means that people should repent. Only God can fill valleys. Only God can level mountains and hills. Only God can cause man to confess his sins. Only the goodness of God leads man to repentance, to confession of his sins. See Romans 2:4 and II Peter 3:9. God brought David to confession of sin. Only the goodness of God brings anyone to confess his sins.

10. Verse 6 is beautiful Gospel, the universal Gospel for all men. It is like John 1:29: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

Text from Luke 3:1-6

Advent 3

THEME: The Voice Cries In The Wilderness


We are coming closer to Christmas. John the Baptist prepares us for that. Just as he prepared Israel for Christ's coming, so he still prepares us. The first of Luther's ninety-five theses reads: "When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said `Repent ye' He meant that the whole life of the Christian should be one of repentance." And that's what John the Baptist preached too.




You are like grass and flowers, here today, gone tomorrow. But your sins are forgiven in Jesus' name. Amen.

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Mary Grady and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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