Views from the Pew – 1.12.22

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What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon, “The Fruits of Genuine Repentance”?

Q1: What happens before the revelation of the glory of God?

Q2: How is John more than a prophet?

Q3: What was John’s message to the crowd?

Q4: What happens to trees that don’t bear fruit?

Q5: What does the crowd ask John?

Q6: Who produces repentance?

Sermon Summary & Answers

Isaiah said the glory of the Lord will be revealed, so this Sunday, we focused our attention on something that proceeds the revelation of the glory of God, the salvation of the Lord captured in prophecy. Something has to happen before Luke 3:6. Before the revelation, change happens. A voice arrives and commands change. Dramatic change as illustrated in Isaiah, things being moved, crushed, and lifted up before the manifestation of the glory of God. This man also proceeds that as there will be a voice.

In Luke 7:24-25, Jesus provides us with John’s bibliography and asks what did you go to the wilderness to see. What did you expect, a prophet? Yes, John is a prophet, and he is more than a prophet. He is the one written about; the messenger that will go before and prepare the way. Jesus said of those born of women, there is no one greater than John. This is the man on the scene.

What did you expect? What kind of man would be doing the preparation before the salvation of the Lord? Regardless of what we expect, this is what we get: Luke 3:7, who warned you, you brood of vipers?! All of Judea had been going to listen to John. Imagine a friend asks you to go with, and your first introduction to John, he says welcome, snakes! What would you think? Imagine Pastor Steve addressing us that way, who warned you, you gang of poisonous snakes? You’d think someone would have told John to be nice and chill with the name-calling especially now that John has a great following and to not offend anyone. Now we know from interactions with John that sensitive and nice aren’t his specialty. John is a straight shooter and tells them straight up they are a bunch of vipers, the offspring of serpents, and their father is Satan. That’s his introduction to the crowds. John is a strange man, in a strange place, with a strong message.

John’s work by the order of the prophets and by the events, is a preparatory work. He is sandpaper not paint! This is the necessary work, he’s not gonna slap some paint on it!”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Does John even know what he is doing? Yes. In Luke 3:2, we are told the word of God came to him. John’s purpose emboldened him. John wasn’t preaching for the crowd, he was preaching for one. He was preaching so he would be found faithful in the eyes of God. John was deliberately harsh, but he is only telling them the truth about who they are. John’s message simply was you belong to the devil, this is who you really are. Mind you, the Jews had been taught who they are, and John says they are wrong. They’re snakes, and that is the truth about his audience.

Speaking of the audience, everybody was there. Ordinary people, roman soldiers, pharisees, but they are all just a bunch of snakes. It would be easy for the audience to say who does this guy think he is? He don’t know me. Interestingly, Jesus in John 8:23-24 and John 8:41 and John 8:44 speaks about the crowd in the same way and shares the truth about who they are, but they don’t want to hear it. But that is who they are and who we are.

Back to Luke, this is what we must do. We must bear fruit in keeping with repentance. We can’t say Abraham is our father, Luke 3:9, because the ax is at the root. Trees without fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.John is letting them know they are in real trouble, the swing is coming, Judgement is coming because of who you are. Then Luke 3:10, the crowd says what do we do? The crowd came to John fleeing the wrath of God, and John says that is not the path, you have to turn around, and go a different direction. Even with all their religious laws, they are feeling guilt for their sins. Guilt is a good thing in the heart and mind of sinners who need to feel guilt for their sin. That leads to repentance. The crowd says tell us what to do then, John. John preaches a baptism of repentance and says you must repent. Is that all? Yes. Okay, what is that? John said you came here running from God, turn around, and run back to God. That’s repentance.

Have you ever repented? Did you ever change your mind about yourself, your life, and your sin and think I’m not going this way anymore? If you’re like most Christians, they say I repented when I got saved, but the Christian life is a life of repentance because our lives are lived out in this fallen flesh. We repent each Sunday for example, and walk out of church different than we walked in. That is John’s message. John points to practical things to help his audience understand what he means when he says in Luke 3:8 they must bear fruit. Luke 3:11, he tells them to show mercy and give what they have to others that are without. That is what repentance looks like. If God hasn’t changed you in those little areas, He hasn’t changed you. The tax collectors said what about us, what do we do? John said only collect what you’re ordered to. Be fair. Be honest. Christians deal in honesty, fairness, love, and grace, not in self. The roman soldiers asked what should we do. John said don’t abuse your authority, have honor, be content, don’t be greedy, etc.

John is sent to carve the path for Jesus and share the truth: you’re snakes but have hope, God is at work in you. That is the only reason you came out here. God is working to produce repentance in you. That is what is happening here. John’s hope was that God was at work, so he called out fruits and if God was working they would manifest. This is John’s preparatory work. Jews must own their sin, change, and he tells them, you’ve been selfish, stop it. You were thieves, stop stealing. You were abusing your authority, stop it. John said God is asking for you to change and show some fruits. How can John expect change? There is only one way. He believes God is doing it. The fuel that produces repentance and drives change is God’s grace. If you haven’t repented, you’re a snake and will be thrown into the fire.

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  1. Change.
  2. He prepares the way for the Messiah.
  3. John is telling them the truth about who they are.
  4. They’re cut down and thrown into the fire.
  5. What do we do?
  6. God