Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: His sartorial selections were strange. A tunic made of camel’s hair? His culinary choices were equally outlandish. Who eats locusts and wild honey? And, yet, as odd as John the Baptist was, it wasn’t his style and flair that caused the most drama, it was the content of his message. A Kingdom, he announced, has invaded the earth, and at its throne is a devastating and righteous King. The world, he warned, better take notice.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
- Why does Jesus speak so incredibly highly of John the Baptist (see Luke 7:28)?
- Is the Kingdom of God present or future? Explain you answer.
- How do confession and repentance relate to one another? What are some examples of times when you have practiced this spiritual rhythm of confession and repentance?
- What is “fruit in keeping with repentance” (verse 8)?
- What does it mean to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (verse 11)?
- As great as John the Baptist was, Jesus is far greater. What does Jesus provide that John could only point to?
- “What we know about Jesus is so unlike what we know about anyone else that we are forced to ask, as people evidently did at the time: ‘who, then is this? Who does he think he is, and who is he in fact?’” – N.T. Wright
- Read Matthew 3:1-12
- Future concrete realm
Present dynamic rule (of God)
- “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, [Jesus] answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” – Luke 17:20-21
- “Fulfilled but not yet fully consummated” – George Elden Ladd
- 01. In Jesus, God showcases his power over all of creation and demonstrates the invasion of his kingdom on the earth.
- “Unless this moment comes first, a change in action can work the opposite of repentance. The Old Adam who must be righteous and will never accept blame (Gen. 3:12) is alive and well in believers. The idea that we will better people next week, next month, is far more [pleasing] to talk about our ongoing sin.” – Ethan Richardson
- 02. The coming of God’s reign demands a complete turning from everything we once were.
- Read Matthew 3:7-9
- “John is not inviting people pile up good works; he is looking for a change in the orientation of the whole of life.” – Leon Morris
- Read Matthew 3:11-12
- “John’s water baptism relates to repentance; but the one whose way he is preparing will administer a Spirt-fire baptism that will purify and refine.” – Don Carson
- 03. Jesus is greater than John because Jesus alone can purify and make new.