Summary: Repentance is the confession of sin followed by a lifestyle change that honors God!
“WHO WARNED YOU?”
MATTHEW 3: 1-12
MAY 20, 2001
INTRODUCTION: Several years ago the Peanuts comic strip had Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football. Lucy would hold the ball for Charlie’s placekicking and then Charlie would kick the ball. But every time Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie, he would approach the ball and kick with all his might. At the precise moment of the point of no return, Lucy would pick up the ball and Charlie would kick and his momentum unchecked by the ball, which was not there to kick, would cause him to fall flat on his back. This strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown would not kick the ball. Lucy begged him to kick the ball. But Charlie Brown said, "Every time I try to kick the ball you remove it and I fall on my back." They went back and forth for the longest time and finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, "Charlie Brown I have been so terrible to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I have played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the error of my ways! I’ve seen the hurt look in your eyes when I’ve deceived you. I’ve been wrong, so wrong. Won’t you give a poor penitent girl another chance?" Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded to her, "Of course, I’ll give you another chance." He stepped back as she held the ball, and he ran. At the last moment, Lucy picked up the ball and Charlie Brown fell flat on his back. Lucy’s last words were, "Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!" Are you going to change your ways as of today?
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Today, our text speaks of the call to repentance as the formation of all Christian teaching. John the Baptist came preaching and his preaching focused on one idea or understanding: Repentance. This morning, we are going to dig into this proclamation to determine what repentance is all about that we too might truly comprehend the gospel.
THESIS SENTENCE: Repentance is the confession of sin followed by a lifestyle change that honors God!
JOHN THE BAPTIZER TAKES US THROUGH THREE MOVEMENTS CONCERING THIS UNDERSTANDING OF REPENTANCE. THE FIRST MOVEMENT IS…
I. THE PREACHING OF REPENTANCE (VV. 1-4)
A. JOHN LIKES IT LIKE IT WAS IN THE OLD DAYS!
1. John came like a prophet of old, “Elijah” if you will. He even quotes the prophet Isaiah “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
2. He came “Preaching”/ threatening like the prophets of old, proclaiming Divine judgment and summoned all to “Repent” and amend their ways! 3. Do you remember Jonah preaching to Nineveh: “On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: ‘Forty days and Nineveh will be overturned (Jonah 3:4).’”
4. John had the message of old, “REPENT!” He came to turn people back to the true and living God!
B. JOHN LIKES IT LIKE IT WILL BE IN A NEW DAY!
1. Unlike the prophets of old, John offered a sacrament of repentance, “Baptism.” There is no reference in the OT of a once for all baptism. But John seems to be proclaiming: “To repent and be baptized is to be sealed into God new Reign!”
2. He also states a “New Reign” has arrived. It is the Reign of the Kingdom of Heaven!
3. It may even appear that John would stand in opposition to the message Jesus would come proclaiming. It might appear surprising that all four Gospel proceed Jesus ministry with that of John and that this is affirmed in the book of Acts, chapter 10 verses 36-37, “You know the word which he sent to Israel… beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached.”
4. John’s preaching did not stand in opposition to the soon ministry of Jesus. It heralds it in! He was the forerunner as Isaiah prophesied! He was preparing the way!!
THE SECOND MOVEMENT OF THIS UNDERSTANDING OF REPENTANCE IS…
II. THE ACCEPTANCE OF REPENTANCE (VV. 4-6)
A. THE MULTITUDES COME
1. John did not follow the church growth mentality. It wasn’t concerned with his location of preaching. He could have been a “First” Baptist in uptown Jerusalem, but he chose to be the “Last” Baptist in the Desert of Judea.
2. Location didn’t seem to matter to the crowd, either. Verse 5 tells us that “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.” 3. You don’t cover this much territory without gaining a “Multitude.” 4. What makes the Multitude come? Do you remember Jesus asking the crowd about John, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a Prophet…. I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist;… (Matthew 11: 7-11).”