Summary: Exposition of Luke 3:1-22
A Change That Will Do You Good
Many years ago the coach for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team was a man named Earl Weaver. He was famous for his reaction to what he considered a bad call. He would angrily charge over to the umpire and shout, “Are you gonna get any better, or is this it?”
Do you ever ask yourself this question? “Am I ever gonna get any better, or is this it?”
It’s a question many people struggle with at the beginning of a new year. It’s the season when some of us resolve to become better people. We resolve to quit smoking or drinking, lose weight, get on a budget, spend more time with the family, make better grades, attend church more often, read your Bible more, pray and witness, along with lots of other things you ought to have been doing all year. There are usually those moments when we realize we need some changes that will do us good. Deep inside we long to change, and yet at the same time, most of us have a built-in resistance to real changes.
A man came home one day and saw a plaque his wife put on the kitchen wall."Prayer changes things!" Later, the wife notices the plaque missing. She confronts her husband, “Don’t you like prayer?" He answers, "Of course I like prayer, but I don’t like change!"
Mark Twain once remarked that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. To a large extent this is true. But I believe it’s also true that almost everybody would admit there is always room for improvement. Everybody wants to become a better person, but we aren’t really sure how or even if that’s possible. How can you and I experience a change that will do us good?
I think the one place we need to start is with one single word: repentance. Before any and every lasting change in your life, there must be repentance. Before a revival becomes real, there must be repentance. Before you and I will ever become the people God created us to be, there must be repentance. Repentance is the key that unlocks the door to the changes that will do you and I the most good. I want to offer you some help in this area from God’s Word found in Luke 3:1-22.
PRAYER- Lord Jesus, our hearts struggle between a deep desire to change and a stubborn fear of change. Would you please intervene this morning and help us pursure the changes you want in us today? Will you speak to us by Your Word and Your Spirit and help us not just learn about repentance this morning—help us practice repentance. In Jesus Name.
Why is it so important that we change in the first place? Doesn’t God love us just like we are? Why should we spend all that time and effort making changes? Well, the first reason I see in vs. 1-6 is God calls us to make changes that will do you good.
Every one of the 4 Gospels in the Bible begins not with the ministry of Jesus, but with the ministry of John the Baptist. Why? Why not just plunge right in to Jesus’ life and ministry?
Maybe it’s because John is such an interesting character. Matthew’s Gospel records John is a loner, living out in the desert, dressing in camel’s hair clothes, munching on Honey Bunches of Locusts. I’ve always had an image of John as a wild-eyed, weird looking, shouting prophet. I imagine little kids who see him running to their mommies scared of this fiery preacher.
But Luke tells us this strange man is God’s man---a messenger to whom vs. 2 says the word of God came to… Vs. 4-6 say John is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the forerunner of the Messiah, the prophet who will prepare the world for Messiah’s arrival.
What is John’s message? Vs. 3 makes it plain: And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,…
Mt 3:1-2 1In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
Repent! This was John’s message. But what does it mean to repent? The Greek word Luke originally used here is μετάνοια = a change of mind or purpose always for the better. John preaches a baptism of μετάνοια, that is, he baptized people as a sign that they had truly turned away from sin to God. Through John God called for everybody to repent.
But John was not the last preacher to call for repentance.
Mt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.