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

Part XI: Christianity's Certification Through Its Addressing SIN En Route To Divine Blessing
(Luke 3:15-22)
  1. Introduction
    1. A significant focus for many people is the idea that God is compassionate and ready to bless all men. However, we many in errant Liberal theology circles push the lovingkindness of God and not the Gospel.
    2. Responding to this error, fundamentalists have come out strong to address the lostness of man without Christ, that not all men are brothers because of the issue of sin!
    3. There is thus the tendency to emphasize either the kindness of the Father or the unworthiness of men, tendencies that, when left unchecked, lead either to license or legalism.
    4. One of the great certifications of the Biblical Christian faith is how it treats both concepts as follows:
  2. Christianity's Certification Through Its Addressing SIN En Route To Divine Blessing, Luke 3:15-22.
    1. Luke's Gospel sets for evidences for the certification of the Christian faith, that it is truly of God, Lk. 1:4.
    2. In doing so, Luke records the credible way the grassroots origins of Christianity dealt both with man's dreadfully lost condition and with God's great compassion:
      1. When John, the Messianic Forerunner, came preaching of repentance, many began to wonder if John was the Messiah who would usher in the times of refreshing, the Messianic Kingdom, Luke 3:15.
      2. However, in addressing this subject, God used John to reveal that as a prerequisite to Messiah's blessed appearance, the issue of man's SIN had to be addressed, Luke 3:16-20:
        1. John answered the people that he only baptized with water, but that the Messiah who was coming would have a greater baptism, one with the Holy Spirit, Luke 3:16b.
        2. However, that coming baptism was marked by an address of man's sin: (a) the Messiah who would usher in this spiritual baptism was sinless, unlike John who admitted that he did not have the righteousness to qualify to serve Messiah as His slave by unlatching the lace of His sandal, v. 16b; (b) the Messiah, pe rfect in uprightness, would judge with fire, a consuming judgment of God, v. 16c. (c) In fact, His judgment would thoroughly deal with sin and sinners so that the saved would be blessed but the lost would suffer the eternal flames of Hell fire, Luke 3:17-1 8.
        3. John's sermons on addressing SIN were applied with incredibly influential results: (a) John's preaching on addressing sin before the coming of Messiah addressed many other practical needs, Luke 3:18. (b) Even the leaders like Herod Antipas were under scrutiny, and this king was blamed for stealing his brother, Philip's wife, Heroditus away as his own, Luke 3:19. (c) For this preaching, wicked Herod imprisoned John, a sign of intense sin that John was addressing, Luke 3:20.
      3. Nevertheless, when Jesus arrived, the substitutionary atonement of the CROSS was pictured in His being baptized by John so that God's lovingkindness as displayed in the Messianic Kingdom could come on those whose account of sin was covered before God, Luke 3:21-22:
        1. The people were baptized by John to signal their repentance from sin, Luke 3:2b-3.
        2. When Jesus came to be baptized, John at first balked, knowing that Jesus was sinless, Mtt. 3:13-14.
        3. However, Jesus told John to baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness, Mtt. 3:15a, and John complied.
        4. Thus, Jesus was identified with Israel's SIN in the baptism, and the results were full of grace to man: (a) While Jesus prayed during His baptism, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit from the Father descended on Him in the form of a dove, Luke 3:21-22a. (b) Noah used the dove as a test bird to tell when the waters of God's judgment were dried up on the earth (Gen. 8:8-12). (c) Accordingly, here the Holy Spirit signified that in Christ, God's lovingkindness could be displayed toward those identified with Him, for Jesus fully qualified to satiate the Father's wrath against man's sin so that man could be reconciled to a holy God! (d) Also, the Father's testimony of His being well pleased with the Son further testifies to the peace awaiting those who find forgiveness of sin in Christ!
Lesson: The certifying mark of the Christian Gospel is its COMBINING BOTH themes of SIN with God's LOVE through the substitionary sacrifice of Messiah, Jesus. Thus, the mark of a true religious body is its capacity to address (1) SIN followed by ( 2) the HOPE of BLESSING available (3) in Christ at the CROSS! Any departure from pushing these themes in this order, and in this way, leads to error!