Summary: God calls on every person to be sorry for their sin and turn to the Lord Jesus by faith for salvation.


Proposition: God calls on every person to be sorry for their sin and turn to the Lord Jesus by faith for salvation.

Objective: My purpose is to challenge people to be willing to repent of all their sins and make things completely right with God.


Once there was a Scottish painter, named Jake, who was out to make a buck anyway he could. When the Presbyterian church needed repainting the members of the congregation offered Jake the job because while his bid was lower than the rest. So the painter bought paint for the job and set to work. When he got about three quarters of the job finished it became apparent that he wouldn’t have enough paint to finish. So he decided to thin his paint down so that it would go further. Well he got about half of the remainder done and concluded that he would have to thin what he had left just a little more so his paint would stretch to cover the whole church.

Unfortunately, that night a terrible storm came to the town and when the painter was awakened by the crash of thunder he realized the thinned paint wouldn’t stick to walls of the church. Well then Jake panicked and realized that he has betrayed the trust put in him by his neighbors and that he will be shamed in front of everyone. As soon as the next day has dawned, he rushed out of the house to the church and sees all of the thinned paint covering the lawn in front of the church. Faced with humiliation and possible ruin of his business, he does what is only natural and falls down on his knees in the cemetery and prays: "God, please forgive me and help me to see the error of my ways." And from the thunder, a mighty Voice spoke, "Repaint, you thinner! Repaint, and thin no more!"

One of the initial steps in realizing redemption brought by Jesus Christ is repentance. All the Gospels make it clear that the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, was to prepare the way for that of Jesus. Both men began their ministries after they reached maturity. John’s call was, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). What does it mean to repent? What is repentance all about? B.H. Carroll observed, “No matter how much one may desire to repent, not how often he may resolve to repent, unless he actually repents he is lost, because God has made repentance a prerequisite to eternal life.” John was preparing people for being a part of God’s kingdom. Luke mentioned John’s itinerant ministry in the region around the Jordan River whereas Matthew described it as in the wilderness of Judea (Matt. 3:1). The thing that characterized John’s ministry in the minds of his contemporaries was his baptism.

I. DEFINITE APPEARANCE (vvs. 1-2) “The word of God came to John”—400 years of silence. The mere appearance of John in the desert was a call to repentance. John bridged the gap between the OT & NT. As in 2:1 Luke opened this account by tying the opening events of Jesus’ ministry to contemporary history.

1. The point in time (vvs. 1-2a) “Now in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar”— This is when John came. Luke established the date of John’s ministry in a way that it could be verified by people in or out of Palestine. Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and step-brother of Philip the tetrarch, who was also a son of Herod the Great. Herod Antipas ruled Galilee as tetrarch from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. His step-brother Philip reigned until A.D. 34 over a region to the east and north of Galilee. Lysanias was governor of Abilene, further to the northeast. So Luke gives a Roman date (the known Roman ruler of their world, Caesar Tiberias), a regional date (Herod’s sons) and a Jewish date (when Annas and Caiaphas served as high priests in Jerusalem) so that the events he shared could be verified.

2. The prophet (v. 2b) “The word of God came to John”— The

good news of the Gospel (Acts 10:36) began with God’s word coming to John (Luke 3:2). This tells us who came. The message of God came to John the Baptist, a humble Jewish prophet. This is a divine call. This puts John in true prophetic succession. Luke seeks to portray John the Baptist as a God-sent prophet, who is filled with the Spirit from his birth (Luke 1:15). Now he fulfills his role as a prophet (1:76). He was the promised prophet of Isa 40:3, i.e., the one who was the voice calling “in the desert” (Luke 3:4). It had been 400 years since there had been a prophet in Israel calling the people to spiritual renewal and reform. Those who knew God and waited for the consolation of Israel must have despaired at times. But they knew that what they needed were not better politicians; they needed a word from God.

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