Today’s message of October 21, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
In Luke 3, there are three areas of importance about John the Baptist’s message: confession, repentance and forgiveness.
John’s message is not about you getting out of the danger of God’s wrath–it is more about your personal desire to change the way you are living.
God’s forgiveness is very powerful. It can transform you to a life that is willing to serve Jesus Christ.
The message of John was to prepare the mind and the heart for Jesus Christ by helping the people understand these three important elements:
- Confessing their sins. Job 28:11 Proverbs 28:13
- To change the mind, emotions and attitudes of the people.
- To know the forgiveness of God.
He dams up the streams from flowing so that he may bring to light what is hidden.
The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.
People today still need help with these three elements in life. True confession, repentance and forgiveness is revealed in the life of the person who trusts God in these areas.
These things show themselves in the right behavior.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.
He went out preaching (proclaiming) to people a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. At the time, this was a new thing. In the past, they did not go to the temple to deal with their sin. The sacrifice for sin was made on behalf of the people by the priest at the temple. Now, there was a personal accountability for their sin.
John was awakening the people as to what they needed to do.
With repentance, there is the understanding that a confession has to be made. Confession is acknowledging that you are doing something wrong.
People are learning a new way to deal with their sin. They were going to learn about preparing their lives for the Lord.
As you learn God’s Word, you learn how to live for God the Father, God the Son (your Teacher) and the Holy Spirit (with His guiding power).
As you learn, you are preparing for an interaction with God.
With what we know today, we know that God interacts with us in this area of confession, repentance and forgiveness.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your benefit, and you yourselves became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 3:4-6, a commentator expresses it in these ways:
- The valleys are representative of unbelief.
- The mountains represent our pridefulness. It is what brings people down.
- The crooked roads represent deceit, hypocrisy and untruthfulness
- The rough ways represent anger, strife, envy, hatred and unkind behavior.
Every obstruction in life has to be removed. Why? In order that mankind may see God’s salvation in your life (v. 6). 2 Corinthians 5:17
The people were coming from all directions to see John. Some of them came at a great distance. The people were likely Pharisees and Sadducees, but he was referring to them as a brood (a family of like-minded people who already believed that they were religious).
He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”
John says to “…produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8a).
Repentance is the understanding that you are wrong. By whose standard are you deemed wrong?
1 John 3:4
Everyone who commits sin practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
After hearing John share with the crowd, the people asked, “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:10)
That question also came from the tax collectors (v. 12) and the soldiers (v. 14), but Herod didn’t ask what he should do. He put John in prison because Herod didn’t like John telling him how he should live.
When you challenge a person as to how he should live under the authority of God, the person will either accept their wrongdoing or continue to live in their incorrect, sinful way.
Confession, repentance and redemption can be realized through God’s forgiveness.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.
To some, the message will be good news.
Then, along with many other exhortations, he proclaimed good news to the people.
John exhorted the people and preached good news. When God speaks to you, it is good news indeed.