Luke- Week 6- Day 4

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?  (11)  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.  (12)  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  (13)  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.  (14)  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Luke 3:10-14 

Explanation:
In these themes of John’s preaching we find out that our own personal sin must be dealt with through repentance. We have learned that God’s judgement for sin will be on all who not repent. We have learned that neither religious ritual or birth can substitute for true repentance and faith in Christ.

Upon hearing these themes there was a response from those listening in the form of a question. Verse 10 records it well. “What shall we do then?” What does genuine repentance look like? John quickly answers this question with yet another one of the themes of his private counsel. His private counsel and public preaching had the same message. What should they do? They should live in accordance with repentant hearts!

Notice that the fruit of repentance dealt with areas of temptation that came to each area of these people’s lives.

And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?  (11)  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Luke 3:10-11

Those who are rich tend to think that everything that they have is for their consumption. To the rich he said, “Repentant people are generous.”

(12)  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  (13)  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

Luke 3:12-13

Those who were tax collectors enriched themselves by gouging people with extra taxes and pocketing the money. They were known to be people who swindled others out of money. To the tax collector he said “Repentant people have integrity.”

(14)  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Luke 3:14

Soldiers had both physical strenght and training and the power of the Roman government behind them. They could use this position of power to hurt people and leverage circumstances for what they wanted. To the soldier he said “Repentant people are just, honest and content.”

Application:
Every person finds themselves in a circumstance that affords them some temptation to rely on something other than repentance and faith in Christ for salvation. We all have temptations specific to our situation that will cause us to stray. There really are fruits in keeping with repentance. James said it this way:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  (15)  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  (16)  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  (17)  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (18)  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:14-18

Genuine faith and genuine repentance also produces good works. Good works do not produce salvation. Salvation will be justified by the works that God produces in us.

Response:
Are there genuine fruits of faith and repentance in your life?

Recognize our sin. Luke- Week 6- Day 1

Recognition of Personal Sin.  vs.4-6

As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  (5)  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;  (6)  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.  Luke 3:4-6 

Explanation:

John’s preaching and teaching are described here.  This is not a recording of one message that he taught.  This is a sampling of the themes of the message of John.  You can see in verse 4 that Luke helps us to understand that Isaiah predicted the coming, the message, and the mission of John the Baptist, this voice in the wilderness.

What was that message and mission?  John was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah.  How were the people to prepare?  The answer is repentance!  It is described here starting in verse 4-6.  For repentance to happen there must be a recognition and a turning from personal sin.

Like a king sending people ahead to make the journey easier for him travel, John was coming to do the same thing in the hearts of the people to ready them for Jesus. 

There are topographical metaphors to speak to matters of the inner person.  The crooked path is made strait.  Preparing people’s hearts means straightening out what is crooked in them.  The valley shall be filled.  The low and base things of the heart are brought up.  The mountain shall be brought low.  The high and prideful things of the heart must be brought low.  John said “he must increase and I must decrease.  The rough ways shall be made smooth.  Anything in the way of God coming and working in the heart, or any sin that is loved and keeps people from turning to Christ must be abandoned.

Application:

There is no salvation without a recognition of personal sin and repentance.  If the heart is not prepared to acknowledge and turn from sin then they are not ready to accept Christ as their Savior.  What did Jesus came to save us from?  He came to save us from our sin and its’ consequences.  Sin is the obstacle to heaven.  It is the obstacle to a right relationship with God.  It is also the obstacle to repentance.  Often, people do not want to repent because they love their sin.  We can make church as “cool” as we can, and I’m certainly not voting that we strive to be irrelevant.  But no matter how “cool” you make things, if you preach the Gospel it will be rejected by some people, because to preach the Gospel you must preach repentance of sin.

Is there a sin keeping you from believing in Christ? Is there a sin keeping you from fellowship with Christ?

Repentance is the answer.  Turning from your sin to Christ by faith is the answer.

Response:

Is there a sin you need to repent of today?

Repentance Demonstrated (Part 2)- Isaiah- Week 6- Day 5

Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 31:8-9

Explanation:
Repentance reveals our trust in God. God always comes through on His promises. Here Isaiah foretells of the protection God would provide. Assyria would be defeated, but not by a mean or mighty man. This may seem impossible to those in that day because of the military strength of the children of Israel. From a human perspective it would have been impossible, but we know that Assyria would fall at the hand of the Lord.

Isaiah 37:36-37 describes what many believe to be the fulfillment of this prophecy:

Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

Isaiah 37:36-37

It is also described similarly in 2 Kings 19:35-36:

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

2 Kings 19:35-36

The “he” in verse 9 continues to refer to Assyria.

And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 31:9

Assyria will leave because of fear, and the leaders of Assyria will be afraid of the ensign or the battle flag of the Almighty God.

Application:
God can be trusted! When we follow Him in obedience and repentance, it is good for us. We can experience His protection. This does not mean that no bad thing will ever happen to us. What it does mean is that those that are in Christ Jesus need not worry about ultimate, eternal danger. Repentance and faith in Christ will always lead to eternal protection. When we repent and put our trust in Christ we can be assured of our salvation.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:9-13

Response:
Is there something you need to repent of today? Put your trust in Christ!

Repentance Demonstrated- Isaiah- Week 6- Day 4

Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.

Isaiah 31:6-7

Explanation:
In this text God is calling for His people to repent. Repentance is a turning from a direction away from God back towards Him. The “children of Israel have deeply revolted.” It was time to come back.
How did they demonstrate their repentance? They would demonstrate it in two ways.
First, there was the prediction that they would turn back to God. This is often the image of what repentance looks like. Israel has revolted against God. They had turned away from Him towards idolatry and all the immorality that accompanied it. It was time to turn back to God.
The second way they demonstrated their repentance was quite visible. They would “cast away” their idols. It is impossible to walk toward God and idolatry at the same time. Turning to God meant turning away from their idols. Notice that the idols were costly. They were made of silver and gold. They were hand crafted. Getting rid of the idols was costly, but necessary for repentance.

Application:
Repentance is always the right answer to our sin. Turning back to God almost always includes getting rid of some kind of an idol. Our idols may not always be hand-crafted implements of silver and gold. Nonetheless our idols can be just a costly, not only in what we pay for them, but in the time and energy we put into them, and how they keep us off track spiritually.

Response:
What idols do you have? What are they costing you? What would repentance look like if you repented today?