April 22: Jesus Christ - A Coming King, Matthew 3:1-12
All the gospels speak of John the Baptist being sent by God to prepare the way for the announcement of the coming king, Jesus Christ. John’s role was prophesied years prior through the prophet Isaiah as a means of grace to prepare the people to receive and rejoice in the promised Messiah sent by God to initiate salvation. John is the forerunner calling people to embrace the new king and new age and he is preparing them to receive this king so that they would not be judged. John’s ministry was one of preaching repentance as the means to preparing oneself for the kingdom that was now at hand. John was calling both the non-religious and the religious to repent and be baptized in order to avoid the wrath of God. The message of repentance is more than the changing of one’s mind, but involves sorrow over sin and turning of the life so that one’s actions are radically altered, now living in light of the rule of a new king. Consider your own life and whether or not you are walking in repentance or change of life that reflects the new kingdom Christ has established.
Charles Spurgeon: "Mark you, in proportion as the modern theology is preached the vice of this generation increases. To a great degree I attribute the looseness of the age to the laxity of the doctrine preached by its teachers. From the pulpit they have taught the people that sin is a trifle. From the pulpit these traitors to God and to His Christ have taught the people that there is no hell to be feared. A little, little hell, perhaps, there may be; but just punishment for sin is made nothing of. The precious atoning sacrifice of Christ has been derided and misrepresented by those who were pledged to preach it. They have given the people the name of the gospel, but the gospel itself has evaporated in their hands. From hundreds of pulpits the gospel is as clean gone as the dodo from its old haunts; and still the preachers take the position and name of Christ's ministers."
J. Gresham Machen: "The consciousness of sin was formerly the starting-point of all preaching, but today it is gone."
Charles Spurgeon: "How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane – such as occurs, sometimes, in the tropics – to wait in terrible apprehension until the wind shall rush forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks form their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling places of man! And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have as yet fallen, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. As yet the floodwaters are dammed up by mercy, but the floodgates shall soon be opened: the thunderbolts of God are still in His storehouse, but lo! The tempest hastens, and how awful shall that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury! Where, where, where O sinner, will you hide your head, or to what place will you flee? O sinner, will you hide your head, or to what place will you flee? O that the hand of mercy may now lead you to Christ! He is freely set before you in the gospel: His riven side is the rock of shelter. You know you need Him; believe in Him throw yourself upon Him, and then the fury shall be passed over forever."
How do the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures encourage a person to trust in God’s faithfulness? How do all these fulfillments add to your own faith in the truth and power of God’s word in your life today?
Give word to the comfort (or concern) you find in the greater role that Jesus will play as articulated in vv. 11-12. These verses are a word both of hope and judgment.
How does this general call for repentance and baptism unite us in regards to our fellowship in Christ?
Do you think that the church at large has migrated in the right or wrong direction in regards to silence on the matter of preaching repentance? Why or why not?
How ought the reality of judgment move us toward greater sacrifice in regards to evangelism? Give an example.
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