Friday, December 18, 2009

Something Different

Luke 3:7 – 18
The Promise of something better

I. Prepare for the King of King!

A. John’s message in one word… “repent.”

Repentance – Sorrow for sin and forsaking of it. [Barnes]

“…repentance makes no satisfaction for sin, or atonement for it… there is no true evangelical repentance without views, or at least hopes of pardoning grace, and mercy… such who have the fullest view of the remission of their sins, have the clearest sense of sin, and have the most sorrow for it, and loath themselves on account of it, and are ashamed of it, and do most frankly confess it, and most thoroughly forsake it.” [Gill]

1. People react in all sorts of ways to the coming of the King.

a. Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious elite) were alarmed, disturbed, jealous, fearful… all natural reactions to an “outsider” with strong words and ideas.

b. The idea of repent is often softened. We prefer “faith, grace, and love.”

c. FACT: without “repent” there is no “forgiveness.”

2. Repent brings the individual to their most basic need… (two reactions)

a. RESISTANCE of the hearer to perceived condemnation.

b. CONVICTION of the soul to salvation.

3. Repent is necessary…

a. … because the human nature is “depraved” (helpless, “rotten to the core”)

b. … because unless we have a change in attitude behavior will never change and relationship with God will not change.

*****”If sorrow for sin is genuine with us, it will work a reformation immediately in our conduct. We shall not do the old hard-hearted things we were once guilty of.” [unknown]

B. REPENT requires action.

1. Baptism (symbol) and confession.

a. Agree with God in condemning our sin.

b. We become desperate for change and WANT to do something different.

2. “Produce fruit”

a. “Fruit” is the result of the root and plant, process of living.

b. “Fruit” is the excess energy/resources after all the planet has enough to live.

C. REPENT seeks results not reasons.

1. The question that can not be answered: “Why?”

a. Ask a guilt child, “Why did you do that?”

b. Answer: “I don’t know.”

c. Truthful: “I’m a sinful and selfish person who wants their own way. No matter who it hurts, including me.”

2. Repent means to deal honestly with the problem of sin and moves us forward to a solution.

D. REPENT means relationship not religion.

1. Religion is futile:

a. The Pharisees are good at religion.

1.) Venomous heart: “you brood of vipers.”

2.) Pride: false security that came from being Abraham’s descendents. (Calvin did not invent the concept of “eternal security.”)

b. NO family relationship, outward rite, relationship, or spirituality decides our state before God or gets us into heaven..

2. Religion is difficult:

a. “Easy” God can make children of Abraham out of rocks. (Rocks do not have a will to resist God.)

b. “Hard” God does not force the disobedient and stubborn.

c. But God can soften the hard heart, humble the proud spirit, direct circumstances.

d. God does invite, touch, warn, and wait!

3. Religion is severe:

a. “the axe is laid unto the root.”

1.) There is a severe sentence against disobedient and unfruitfulness.

2.) The greater the privilege and opportunity, the greater the responsibility and exposure to divine severity.

b. That’s what false religion does: when it replaces a real relationship with God.

To do:

1. Make a true estimate of yourself.

2. Make a true estimate of your position.

3. Make a true estimate of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. Ask yourself: What are you going to do about it?

Something Special

Luke 3:1 – 6
Something Special

(Ill.) A young boy named Roy was sick with the measles. His uncle came to cheer him up and told him the story of Pinocchio. The boy was so absorbed with the story, it's characters, and details that he forgot he was sick.

Laster the boy saw the Disney movie, “Pinocchio” and was disappointed. He explained, “It didn't seems as exciting as when Uncle Walt told it.”

******When God tells us the Christmas story, it comes alive.*****

I. Something happens to a person when God speaks to them.

A. Notice John's reaction:

1. He recognized who was speaking.

a. We often hear and see what we expect or want to hear and see.

b. The heart attitude interprets our experience.

2. He responded to who was speaking.

a. John when preaching, in other words, he changed what he was doing.

b. John felt the burden of a message to pass on.

B. Christmas requires a response.

1. God wants to forgive your sin.

a. God has taken th initiative in this process.

1.) John “the Baptist” prepared the way.

a.) He got people thinking about their sin/need for salvation.

b.) He pointed out “the Lamb of God.”

2.) Jesus came as a baby.

a.) Vulnerable... King Herod attempted to kill Jesus.

b.) Humble... nor born into wealth or privilage.

b. God invites us into a relationship with Him.

1.) This invitation is based on God's love for us.

a.) So we can learn to love God back.

b.) So we can learn to trust God.

2.) This invitation is based on God's initiative.

a.) So we can respond to God and participate in salvation.

b.) So we can experience the new birth and life.

(Ill.) When Diane was six years old, she came home from school and looked at here Dad. She asked, “Are you Walt Disney?” The dad chuckled and said, “you know I am.” She looked up set, “No, I mean are you THE Walt Disney?” Dad answered, “Yes, I guess I am, Why?” Diane asked, “Could I have your autograph?”

II. Something happens to a person when God interrupts life.

A. John became part of the promise.

1. God told us about John's role through the prophet Isaiah.

a. The prophecy is from Isaiah 40:3 – 5.

b. This is a prophecy of comfort and tenderness.

“Comfort, comfort my people,says your God. [2] Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.” [Isaiah 40:1 – 2]

c. This prophecy is about sins being paid for... by Jesus.

2. John's birth is as remarkable as his call.

a. An angel announced the birth to Zechariah (Luke 1:5 – 25)

b. Zechariah and Elizabeth were old.

c. Zechariah was unable to speak until John was born and named.

B. What happens when God interprets our lives?

1. When God speaks/takes the initiative choices MUST be made.

a. What about sin?

1.) Something that must be repented of...?

2.) Something that must be done differently...?

b. What about life?

1.) For John it meant a life mission to carry the message.

2.) When they encountered Jesus, the disciples were given a life mission.

2. When God speaks/takes the initiative do we even notice?

a. We get what we focus on.

b. We shift attention to where we focus.

1.) Some of us will not respond to God because we will not hear God.

2.) Response is a matter of the heart’s desire and mind’s perspective.

3. God’s desire is for us to have joy, peace, and His good will.

If you want to have the Christmas story come alive and want to hear God tell it to you… TO DO:

1. Let the story of Christmas sink down deep into your soul.

2. Let the real meaning of Christmas excite you and energize you.

3. Let the message of Christmas bubble from our lips in joy.