Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jesus' Advance Man

Just incase you missed this past Sunday night at Alive (Or would like to be reminded) here are my sermon notes and points from 9/30/12 called "Jesus' Advance Man" taken from Matthew chapter 3

Biblical Passage
Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Biblical Truth: (The Big IDEA!)
The prophet John the Baptist, a contemporary of Jesus, prepared people for Jesus’ ministry by calling them to repentance and pointing them toward Jesus as the Messiah.

Learning Goals:

Students will understand the importance of John’s prophetic ministry and his message of repentance and also determine their need to model before the world a life that is marked by repentance.

1) Accepting Christ necessitates our repentance (Matt. 3:1–6).

The Jews of John’s day tried to obey the Old Testament’s laws and regulations. By calling them to repentance, John was reprimanding them for their spiritually empty acts. The Pharisees and Sadducees performed acts of worship, but inwardly these works did not flow from a love for God. John indicated that baptism should outwardly demonstrate an inward change from one’s confession of sins and repentance (v. 6).

Christianity does not need to be something that we do out of habit like brushing our teeth or combing our hair. Christianity is not riddled with empty acts, nor can we be one of God’s people by virtue of our works. Repentance involves confessing one’s sinfulness to God and turning away from living a lifestyle of sinful actions and attitudes. This is necessary for becoming a Christian.

2) Our actions should reflect our repentance (Matt. 3:7–9).

The Pharisees and Sadducees were consumed with following the Old Testament laws, yet John told them to bear fruit that matched repentance because their external display of works did not stem from right hearts (v. 8). Although someone’s behavior does not save him or her, actions are indicators of one’s relationship with Christ.

When we repent before God, we are forever changed (2 Cor. 5:17). Our lifestyle (what we choose to do, to say, and to think) should reflect this change. People should be able to recognize us as Christians by our fruit (John 13:34–35). But like the Pharisees, we too can put on a good show without being changed on the inside. In addition, just as the Pharisees’ heritage could not save them, having a Christian family or going to church cannot save us.

3) God will bring judgment to people who do not repent (Matt. 3:7, 10–12).

John made three explicit references to judgment in this passage (vv. 7, 10, 12), clarifying that those who do not repent consequently face God’s wrath. John communicated that Jesus will judge between those people who have truly repented and those who merely pretend. The fruit of a person’s life demonstrates the condition of his or her heart, and the Holy Spirit gives further evidence of one’s repentance. Whoever does not have evidence of repentance is in danger of judgment and separation from God.

Jesus doesn’t need to follow a suspect or question a witness. He knows everything, and He executes perfect judgment for all who are guilty of not repenting. Like separating the wheat from the chaff (v. 12), He will separate the repentant from the unrepentant. His judgment for the unrepentant is eternal separation from Himself. When our bodies die, our spirits go to one of two places, and our decision on earth selects for us our eternal home.

The urgency of this message calls us to immediate action.

John’s urgent statements (vv. 2, 7, 10, 12) communicated that people did not have time to waste their lives. He called people to repent, and the motivating factor that he used to explain their need for repentance was the assurance of God’s judgment.

We can respond to John’s message in two ways. First, we can repent and turn to Christ if we have not done so already. Second, we can relay this message to others. Like John the Baptist, we must spend our lives on what counts eternally.

Life Group Questions:

What is the difference between someone simply changing his or her behavior and true repentance?

Why should we repent even if we’re not really a “bad” person? Better yet, why even repent when Jesus already died for those sins on the cross

How should repentance affect our lives? How does not repenting change our lives?

How does our repentance witness to others about Christ?

How do your words and actions differ from those who do not follow Christ?

In conclusion: God simply wants us to be tools in His hands to bring about the salvation of others. How bold are you in sharing Gods good news? (Like John the Baptist) and how has God used you to lead someone else to Christ?

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