Growing Godly to Love Others (Luke 3:1-21)

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On December 31st, a car containing 1 adult and 3 children lost control on an icy road, causing it to plunge upside down into the Logan River near Logan, Utah.  The children were trapped upside down as the water poured in.  As many as 10 passers-by stopped to help the family.  After shooting out the windows, cutting seat belts, and reviving a young boy, the labors of these gracious heroes proved successful.  Although some were airlifted to a local hospital, the entire family survived this horrifying accident.  “Emotions started taking over when he started to breathe. Everybody started to cheer. Lots of tears and clapping,” said the father of a 4-year-old. He continued, “Those men in the river just even now blow my mind. Look at these gentlemen, these men in this river in the middle of winter…said simply, there was a mission to be accomplished [and they did it].” [1]

–          Imagine if you were a parent of children in a trapped upside down car, assumed left to die. Would you want someone to stop what they were doing and help?

–          Imagine if you were a passerby. Would you stop to offer help and perhaps save lives?

The sad reality is that these circumstances happen everyday with Christians who pass by others without offering help and hope. Not specifically of a turned car but when Christians choose not to speak up about the dangers of an eternal hell and the life saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we live in a world full of individuals and families who are drowning in sin. And instead of becoming life-savers we stay spectators.

EXAMINE  Review: All About Jesus series but with micro-series “We Are: Growing Godly Generations”. Today we start Luke 3.

Luke continues being a good historical writer. He references the reigns of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate and other civil and religious leaders. The timing would have been around A.D. 28-30. The point is Luke’s Gospel gives numerous historical references and precise details to authenticate the truth of the events involving Jesus’ life.
2 principles for gospel living:

We are to growing to love God with sincerity (Luke 3:1-9)
Approximately a dozen+ years passed since the last passage and Luke says that “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah”. The child who was born to older parents has now become a man who receives God’s word and preaches it to others. His message is a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John is telling people to turn away from selfishness and sin and turn toward trusting God to provide forgiveness as they follow His ways.
Here is the point as last message: All of life revolves around how you view Jesus. Do you see & savor, trust and treasure Jesus? Have you bought the American Politically Correct view that a casual belief in a God is good luck (for health, wealth and happiness); but by all means do not give God the name Jesus and worship Him as Lord; – Savior maybe, but not Lord?
John’s message, along with the entire Bible, was “bear fruits in keeping with repentance… do not say ‘We have Abraham as our father’” (3:8). In other words, God is not in the business of playing religious games. You cannot live and worship God based on someone else’s merit – your parents, your pastor or even your pew attendance. You must personally trust God in a sincere and personal relationship. And that must be lived out in a daily basis. Someone quipped, “your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” Right on! Either Jesus is Lord of all or not at all.

ð      Have you personally and definitively repented of sin, inviting Jesus to be Savior from sin & Lord of life?

ð      Have you followed that with public profession of such faith in baptism and church membership?

  • Baptism[2] and church membership are not saving (grace-meriting) acts but they are key external indicators of a person’s faith and spiritual growth.

ð      Are you bearing good fruit in your Christian life and spiritual growth?

ð      Do you consistently: Read God’s Word, Repent of Sin, Pray, Praise God…

  • African tribe became Christians and they would make walking paths to pray. If your walking path filled with grass & brush the village would know you were slack in prayer. Is there brush growing up in your spiritual life?

ð      When is the last time you shared your faith? How are you serving Jesus?
There is no such thing as incognito or spectator Christianity.

We are to growing godly to love others (Luke 3:10, ff).
As John preached, the crowds were convicted and began to ask questions. The language suggests a continual action of questioning. Responding, questioning, ruminating, struggling with and interacting are signs that you are taking someone’s words seriously. This crowd wanted to believe and do right. This is the proper understanding of faith and sincerely loving God. The rest of this passage provides us ways we are to live out and love others.

James 2:17-19 “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder… faith is completed by works… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

By sharing material needs (3:10-11).
John told the crowds to share clothing and food to those who had none. Having compassion for the misfortunate and poor have always been on the heart of God. 

–          Feb 5 will be “SOUPER BOWL SUNDAY”. Collect non-perishables for ODB & SPAN

–          SPBC Benevolence helped several families with rent, electric, food and so forth. Also was generous to Sisler & Palmer families during funeral services. We continue with your generosity…

–          “SENT 2012” will be a way to reach and share globally

By serving as good citizens (3:12-14)
John responds to the questions from tax collectors and soldiers (civil workers). The response is interesting because John does not tell them to quit their jobs and do church work. No, in fact he tells them to do their jobs with greater purpose; integrity & contentment. So, there is no distinction between secular & sacred; laity & clergy. God wants all of his people on mission in their sphere of influence.

J.D. Greear in an article titled, “What Makes Business Christian?” says,
Missions today seems almost tailored to a similar business emphasis. It is not enough, if ever it was, to create teams composed of full-time missionaries. Secular skills are needed to give Christians access to countries that would otherwise swiftly reject their presence.  The countries most in need of a gospel presence—those in the so-called “10-40 window”—are devastated by poverty and joblessness. These places need both the words of the gospel and the tangible reflection of God’s love that businesses can provide… God is interested in how Christians do their work, and He wants to be involved in it. Your work can make an eternal difference in the lives of those you work with, those you work for, and those you serve through your job. Allow the transformation of the gospel to change the way you look at and do your work. You were redeemed by grace—now live out that grace in the context of your job. You may never look at work the same way again.”

ð      How are/can you intersecting your job with God’s mission of making disciples?

  • Evangelism does not have to happen inside the church. In fact, it should happen outside it!
  • This also does not equate to having prayer or Bible studies at work. It means, working with excellence (“as unto the Lord”) and with a gospel-engaging lifestyle to display, declare and defend the message of Christianity.

By showing a humble & holy, Christ exalting life (3:15, ff).
John’s teaching and life was so powerfully impacting that they began to wonder if he was the Christ – God’s Messiah. John humbly redirected attention from himself to Jesus. As John 3:30 says, “He must increase, I must decrease.”  His life stood as a constant arrow pointing in the direction of God and not his own fame.

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We Are: Growing Godly [Generations] to Love God, Love Others and Lead Generations


[2] Baptism in the NT is not to be isolated from repentance and faith. See: Acts 2:38, 8:12-13, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:31-33, 18:8, 19:4-5, 22:16

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