Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part IX: Christianity's Validity By Way Of The Roots Of Its Message
(Luke 3:1-6)
  1. Introduction
    1. There is much frustration today about where to go for the truth. In government, we see a President who claims to be Southern Baptist, but who supports the killing of healthy babies as they proceed down their mother's birth canals. If we turn to conservatives for truth, we often find contrasts between beliefs and practices: in a local Gospel-preaching church, a Catholic priest was invited to fill the pulpit contrary to Gal. 1:8-9. Also, he concluded from the event that it was fine for him to deny salvation by faith alone in Christ as that Church had apparently condoned his beliefs on how one is saved by inviting him to speak there!
    2. In such times, where can we go, what can we do to obtain God's pure truth?
    3. Luke 3:1-14 is a study in the validity of the Christian faith by virtue of the roots of its message, and it holds a great lesson for the believer who is trying to hone in on God's true message:
  2. Christianity's Validity By Way Of The Roots Of Its Message, Luke 3:1-14.
    1. When the roots of the Christian faith were first historically introduced, the political and ecclesiastical powers that ruled Israel were in apostate, spiritual bankruptcy:
      1. Luke begins to reveal the first awakening of Christ's ministry with the baptism of John, Lk. 3:1 with 21.
      2. The political and ecclesiastical leaders who ruled the Palestine at the time are each named by Luke in the chapter, and as we review each one's character and deeds, we see horrible spiritual bankruptcy in them:
        1. John's ministry began in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, in A. D. 29, Ryr. St. Bib., KJV ftn, 3:1a. Tiberius Caesar was ruthless, domineering and licentious. He retired to the island of Capreae where, gaining a reputation of living in great lic ense, it was rumored that his partying had killed him. Accordingly, Caligula was put on Rome's throne in his place. When Tiberius discovered that fact, he returned to Rome and brutally retaliated to the extent that the men of Rome, seeking to rid themselves of him, smothered Tiberius to death, G. Campbell Morgan, Luke, p. 48.
        2. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, a noted wicked, insensitive man, Luke 3:1b.
        3. Herod the tetrarch ruled Galilee with his brother Philip ruling Ituraea. Recall that Philip's wife, Herodias whose daughter danced to please the lusts of Herod the tetrarch, her uncle was wooed away by Herod the tetrarch to be his wife, Mtt. 14:1-4 with Luke 3:1c. It was an immoral quagmire.
        4. These local rulers under Caesar, together with Lysanias who ruled Abilene were all vassals of Rome in dominance over God's people, Israel, Ibid. with Luke 3:1d.
        5. God's people had an embarrassing eyesore on their hands with their religious leaders: the High Priest, Annas had been deposed by secular authorities, and his son-in-law, Caiaphas was the figurehead in his place. However, Annas, a strong personality, still ruled influences matters so that one referred to the High Priest office by two names, Annas and Caiaphas, Lu. 3:2a, Ibid. Caiaphas was also a Sadducee, denying the full inspiration of Old Testament writings apart from the Pentateuch, the existence of angels or miracles, and felt that at death, the soul ceased to exist so that there was nothing left to resurrect! (Ibid., Z.P.E.B., s. v. "Caiaphas," by D. E. Hiebert; s. v. "Sadducees")
    2. In this state of apostasy in the city and international centers, God's audible word (rayma) came to John the Baptizer when he was separated from it all in the wilderness of Judaea, Luke 3:2b.
    3. His being in the wilderness like Elijah indicated that Israel was too corrupt a place for God's comfort, and we learn this fact from Christ's comments on the abode of John's figurehead, Elijah in Lk. 4:24, 25-29.
    4. God's words impressed themselves upon John (epi) so that it burned into his soul, consuming his spirit to where the message flowed out of him unrestrained, Luke 3:2 with Campbell, Ibid.
    5. That word, in full keeping with the revealed Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah, called for repentance in preparation for Messiah's remitting the sins of the nation as predicted, Luke 3:3, 4-6 with Isaiah 40:3-5 .
Lesson: To gain God's truth, like John the Baptizer, (a) get apart from the false ideologies of corrupt political and religious environments, (b) get with God in our own wilderness area where we can focus on Him in holiness, (c) open the written Word of God, and (d) wait in this state for His clear message to burn itself into our hearts! Then we can come forth with conviction with God's message like John.