Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”
7 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”
So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow?
Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods?
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Going to be talking to smore ning about John the Baptizer from Luke chapter 3 verses one through 717 and I titled the message what shall we do so we know that just a little bit of pre a little holiday here that John preached a message of repentance so after the people would go out and hear and would repent and believe in him confess their sins confession was the main topic this morning Zab school when they would confess their sins or repent them believe on the Lord that the one to come then the question What shall we do what shall we do so let’s work look to the word of the Lord loops after 31 through 17 again now in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar ponchos pilot being governor of Judea Herod being Ted talk Tetra are of Galilee his brother Philip 10 char of you Turia in the region of track a night it’s not looked up the pronunciation a lot he’s worse than I wrote it out and way that I could speak say it because a lot of them don’t sound like they look and lie same eous Tetra are of Abilene e y. and Es and Caius The fought to for the fives were high priest the Word of God came to John the son exact arise in the wilderness and he went into all the region around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophets say the voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord make his path straight. Every valley shall be fit shall be filled in every mountain and Hill brought low the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth in all flesh so shall see the salvation of God then he said to the multitude that came out to be baptized by him brood of vipers who warn you to flee from the wrath to come therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance and do not begin to say to yourselves we have Abraham as our Father for us say to you that God is able to raise a children to Abraham from these stones I’m going to pause for a moment he’s telling the religious people or the anyone they’re listening don’t say to you Well we have Abraham we’re good with God because we are descendants of Abraham my friends we can’t say because I’m a member of this church or that church because my great great great great grandparents when here in everyone in between and here I am to we can say because I am a babe or have we can’t say because I am of this church then I am good that I am Ok with God It has to be personal each in every one of us so don’t say we have Abraham of our as our father you need to repent of your senses what he was telling them and even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire for the people who ask him say what shall we do then he answered and said to them he who has 2 tunics that him give to him who has none he who has food let him do likewise. Then the tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him Teacher What shall we do and he said to them collect no more than what is appointed for you likewise the soldiers ask him saying What shall we do so he said to them do not intimidate anyone or qs falsely and be content with your wages now as a people were in expectation and all responded in their hearts about John are all reasoned in their hearts about John whether he was the Christ or not John answered saying to all I indeed baptize you with water but one mightier than I is coming who sandal strap I am not worthy to lose he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire his winnowing fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire may God at His blessings to the hearing in the reading of His Holy Word that a spray. Gracious Heavenly Father again we come before you with hearts that are open open to the words you have force we thank you Father for your written word we thank you for the words you spoke through John the Baptizer while the God that you was faithful to prepare the way for your son father up pray that we would all respond as those that come out to hear John with repentant hearts while there may your spirit move among us may your spirit not only be an ISP place father but in our nation while that your spirit would move across this nation to bring us to a place of repentance father like the people in John’s day father may your spirit just before faithful to be with each and every day Father show us any failings that we might have any faults that we might have father that we may repent of them nor did we too might repent and be baptized if we have not bother I just pray that you would just speak clearly to your people today that your servant be faithful to your words today in Jesus’ name amen. As we looked at the book of Luke we know that Luke was very meticulous in his writings giving great attention to details Luke was meticulous in his record of the births the births and the lives of Jesus and John their entrance into to into humanity was marked by an end Jilek proclamation both of them we know the angel appeared to Zachariah John’s father why was in the temple appeared to Mary and Joseph divine intervention in John the take Asli recorded these sayings friends we know the salvation only comes through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior but we also know that John definitely was a put it was a pivotal figure in God’s salvation plan. Very pivotal pit of beautiful Yeah pivotal I cannot talk this morning he was the forerunner to Christ the one to prepare the way for the Messiah it is John who introduces a new dispensation a dispensation is an organization of a nation we know that God attempted to organize the nation of Israel to be the nation to be faithful to His commandments to follow his laws in the statutes to show their neighbors the goodness of God to show that God is merciful unkind but as I have said so many times they failed miserably they truly failed miserably which caused God to repeatedly discipline them to dispensation of time of the law was where John stood he had the law on this side and then that dispensation of grace John stands right in the middle if you will preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah because we know that the Messiah was sure in that dispensation of grace so there John stands you know I believe that the way our passage began with all of that detailed list of those hard to pronounce names of who the Caesar was and who the governors were in this area and that region is a way of showing Israel that once again they’re under the rule of another nation because again they failed to walk in God’s ways once again being ruled that old organization that old dispensation again has failed not because God failed then and gave them a full old plan not fringe God did not give them a flawed plan they just failed in following God’s plan. God gave them a perfect plan but it was time my friends for God to do a new thing it was time for the Messiah to come to set up a spiritual kingdom that dissipation a spiritual distance. This impatient dispensation Caricom up hers morning it is good news this. You know not because God failed but it’s time for a new thing John was the man that God chose to prepare the way for the Messiah to come in Luke 115 to 17 it’s said of John for he will be great in the sight of the Lord and He shall drink neither wine nor strong drink he will also be filled with the Holy Spirt even from his mother’s womb and he will turn many of the children of Israel to their Lord their God and He will also go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just it to make ready a people prepared for the Lord speaking very highly of John and that which he’s going to do you know a few weeks ago or a couple weeks ago I spoke of Samson remember that one of the judges my friend Sampson was called of God from the womb right got the angel spoke to his mother he shall be a Nazarite shall never drink wine matter of fact Mom you’re not even a drink why he shall never touch anything dead what had he do following that remember not very well did I mean he was a mess that’s what the title What a mess what a mess he made of things touch that dead carcass a good honey out of it now pretty sure he had wine he was not faithful to follow the valve that was given him John on the other hand. He lived a life that was as a stair as his message he was an ascetic one who practiced severe self-discipline and absence from all forms of indulgence he lived out in the wilderness he didn’t have the confort in the luxuries of a nice warm home because they didn’t have air conditioning back then I was going to say Cool home in the summer time but his clothes was made of camel hair I have never rubbed up against a camel but I have a feeling that our polyester and Cotton is a whole lot more comfortable than a camel hair I don’t think it was very comfortable his sustenance my friend you’re going to love this most of these probably know it was locusts and wild honey Nono wild honey I know if you eat the honeycomb all the nutrients that we need are in there it will sustain us if we need it so I could go for the honeycomb but then locusts You know I think most Americans will probably cringe at the thought the beating locus Wooden I don’t know you know what to do you pluck the wings off I don’t know however in many African Middle Eastern and Asian countries locusts are considered a delicacy and eaten in abundance you when I say they can have them. But they say that they are an excellent source of protein in Curry and contain a variety of fatty acids and minerals so apparently they are good for you but again you can have them you know John’s public ministry ended nearly 400 years of prophetic silence. He was that boy spoken of by Isaiah the voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way the Lord make straight in a desert a highway for I got for our God 400 years now here’s John preparing prepare the way his message and ministry marked the culmination of the law and the prophets in the beginning of God’s Kingdom His spiritual kingdom he truly was a transitional figure one thing we know for certain if you’ve read anything on John the Baptist’s he was not a tickler of their ear he was not the kind of preacher that was worried about pleasing the crowd he told it like it was he was not afraid to confront the hypocrisy of the religious establishment at that time one verse said you brood of vipers who warned you to flee from the wrath to come but I believe the most important point for passage is that John preached a message that was not his own but the message that God had given him faithful and true to what God had given him the Word of God came to John it was not his word the word of God came to John God gave it to him and he preached it in the wilderness his message was consistent with the message of Jesus and all the prophets who came before his message was a message of baptism of repentance my friends baptism is more than just a tradition it’s more than a symbolic juster that we do bilking one’s head under the water is more than just reading. You might say well then what does it mean it means that the person that is baptize actually turns from their old sinful ways. It turns to God’s ways asking for forgiveness of their sins submitting to the Lord submitting to the help of the Holy Spirit in their lives to live in a in a way that is pleasing to God the result of a baptism of repentance should be an observable change in one’s attitude and behavior we should notice it if we’re not noticing that maybe there wasn’t a change a true baptism result in a change you know most Christians can probably recall I Tom in their lives before they repented of their sins before they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ where they experience that tugging of their hearts by the Holy Spirit it may have been a paying of conviction in your heart after you did something that was wrong in the spirit that tug revealed to you hey that was wrong it was sinful You know you should have done that it’s that moral conviction it may have been a memory from something you were taught as a child whenever your parents or your grandparents took you to church and you learned that you heard that when you was little but you got away you got away from the church you got away from the Lord but now those memories are coming back that might be the tug I learned when I was a child that this was wrong maybe my behavior is not where needs to be John 644 and 45 says no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drawls him no one my friends no one can come to the father unless the Spirit drawls him and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets and they show all be taught by God Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me I want to extend beyond all net may also be taught from God by God in Galatians 115 through 18 in this is the Apostle Paul he says but when it please God you separated me from my mother’s womb again a man who was separated from his mother’s womb and called me through His grace to reveal his son in me that I might preach him among the Gentiles I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood that means he did not go to man I did not confer with flesh and blood I didn’t go to be taught by man as what he say and nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me but I went to Arabia and returned again to Damascus then after 3 years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and remain with him 15 days my friends he was taught by God the Holy Spirit taught Paul the things he needed for his ministry to the Gentiles John was faithful the Word of God came to John why he was out in the wilderness he got his message from John from from the Lord and his message got the attention with the people that he was speaking to didn’t you know the people in the early church ask the same question it many today would ask after they repent of their sins and believe in Jesus now what now what what shall we do Ok I have sought forgiveness of my sins now what what can I do how do I live this life that you’ve just brought me into what shall we do how do we avoid the things we shouldn’t do John gives very practical instructions. He answered and said to them he has 2 tunics the tunic is a coat but his color code Ok he who has 2 coats let him give 21 to the one who has none he who has food let him do likewise that’s the most basic principles of living a Christian life my friends if you have 2 coats and you see a person who does not have a coat and it’s cold outside give him a coat help him to stay warm if you use a person that is hungry does not have food and you have food in your cupboards or you have the ability to go get food and provide for them my friends do it give it to them you know I found all kinds of little short quotes I’m giving the 1st one says God judges what we give but what we keep Is that not true let’s use the code example you’ve got 20 coats hanging in that calls as matter of fact you’ve got a clause that doesn’t need for coats you like coat your coat person and you see a person out on the street that doesn’t have a coat and you go to your coat cause it your beautiful coat cause it but you pick out your least favorite coat one of your least favorite coats and you take it give to that person is God pleased with your generosity Probably not because you still have 19 that you like the best God judges what we give buy what we keep How are we doing this one’s a little different the trouble with that too many people are spending money they don’t yet or they haven’t yet earned for things they don’t need to impress people they don’t really like and that a good one I mean is true yeah I just wonder how in foreign debt we are right. Dubey a Criswell tells of an ambitious young man who told his pastor that he had promised God that he would Todd only as income they prayed for God to bless his career and at the time he was making $40.00 a week entire $4.00 I mean that’s not a lot of income must have been a long time ago right but in a few years his income increased He was really blessed he was tie the 5 $100.00 a week do the math that Maisie’s the math person how much was he making $5000.00 a week tithing $500.00 he called on his pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise it was too costly Now the pastor replied I do not see how you can be released from your promise but we can ask God to reduce your income so be a lot easier for a top 4 dollars next to tax collectors ask John what shall we do what shall we do let’s look for a moment at the tax burden in ancient Judea under Roman rule the Jews of Jesus’ day paid a religious tax to Jewish authorities for the maintenance of attempt maintenance of the temple they had to pay this they wonder temple to be maintained it wanted to look good they had to pay religious tax but they also paid a tax to the Roman government a tax that was often collected by harsh methods the Roman tax included both direct income tax and custom duties the duties were paid to one traded goods while merchants also paid tolls to use roads and bridges to enter towns the cumulative weight of these taxes discourage economic initiative. Think about that we are taxed to the point what good does it do for us to go into business because we’re going to pay most of the tax our leaders listening to right let’s don’t tax people to death it’s not they want have no negative to boot to build businesses to be able to pay taxes they were discouraged it is believed that they paid it least 30 to 40 percent maybe even higher How were the taxes collected the Roman taxes were collected by class of independent contractors who were usually Jews who worked in close association with the Romans the tax collectors paid a fixed sum for the right to collect So you had a little town if you want to be my tax collector room would say here is how much tax I want from this city anything above that is yours can you see how they could abuse that tremendously abuse that they would inflate the taxes they would assess the goods that they would be carrying in for trade they might open up a carton of scarves and maybe this month I assess these at $4.00 apiece you come back next month I assess these at $20.00 apiece Well that’s not fair last month it was 4 well that’s what it is this month and there was no method to appeal that they had to pay it or else is it any wonder that tax collectors were despised by the Jews because many were using their station to get rich but what advice did John give the tax collectors collect no more than what is a point to you collect the percentage that is appointed be truthful very interesting Lee He didn’t tell them to quit their jobs. That’s a simple job you have to quit No it was a necessary job they needed the taxes my friends who were loves to pay taxes I didn’t think I’d seen hands go up but here knows that it’s a necessity right we like the roads we travel on well someone wants a good but we like the roads we travel one we have schools for our children we have a lot of things that are provided by these taxes we pay but we don’t love them but they are necessity they were necessity he didn’t say quit your job but he’s saying Be truthful Be honest be upright is that not good advice no matter what our occupation is be truthful be honest don’t steal from your employer be truthful when all you do the last group ask the soldiers what shall we do since John’s ministry was in Galilee the soldiers who came to him were most likely Jewish soldiers of Herod anthropos now it could have been surrounded soldiers but most likely it was a Jewish soldiers their primary responsibility would have been similar to that of a police officer today so don’t think of a soldier in the army think of a police officer but really it’s all the same be the same right do the same thing police officer today they would have been prepared to defend their city but John gave them clear instructions again do not intimidate anyone do not use your position of authority for a timid ation he’s telling them don’t use your position to invoke fear for a purpose of taking advantage of people a police officer or a soldier my friends is to be respected there are to be respected today but they need to do their jobs in a respectable manner also That’s what John’s telling them. I was talking with Ron’s morning when there’s a whole lot of talk about our police forces today isn’t there you think though think about this the millions of policemen the go to work every day and do the right thing but with today’s technology we can have one bad apple and makes them all look bad but jobs advice is good for them do not intimidate do not invoke fear for the purpose of taking advantage of people but again be truthful Be honest be upright be respectable do what is right in the sight of God be content with your wages do not try to extort more money than what you are paid be content do not bribe but the final point in John’s passage day you know do they not use a lot of agricultural terminology in the Bible from the beginning to the end they use a whole lot of agricultural terminology Isaiah 2824 says Does the ploughman keep plowing all day to so does he keep turning this or break in the clouds in Ruth to now bow as young woman you were with is he not our relative in fact he is willing barley tonight at the threshing floor and in Luke Chapter 8 our Lord uses some agricultural terminology and when a great multitude had gathered and had come to him from every city he spoke and spoke by parable a Sarah went out to say we see him as he sowed some fell by the wayside and it was trampled down and the birds of the air devoured it some fell on rocks and assume that sprang up it withered away because it lacked moisture and some fell among the thorns and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it but others fell good ground sprang up and yielded a crop a 100 fold. When he had said these things he cried he who has ears to hear let him hear you have a good crop produce fruit for the Kingdom of God The last verse in our passage in Luke 3 his winnowing fan is in his hand and he will have thoroughly clean out his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn but the chaff will be burned with unquenchable fire John’s message was to prepare the people to encourage them to repent to make their hearts ready my friends is not not the message the church has for the world today prepare your hearts prepare them for the Lord that has come that we can have life to urge them to open their hearts up to Jesus Christ you know it seems like no matter where I begin where I get my message from Old Testament or new it ends up with Jesus my friend that’s where it has to end because that’s the most important thing that our hearts are right with Jesus Christ that we have repented of our sins of we’ve heard that baptism of repentance that we are penned John warns them of the one the calm my friends he is the creator he has authority over that which he has created he will have his will and fork in his hands they would windowing fork in its simplest terms is a like a pitchfork they would take the the grain that has the were the the head of grain it has the grain and the chaff that is round it in the simplest form they would throw it up into the air and let the wind blow the Chaff away the chaff is much lighter then the head the grain the chaff would blow away the grain would fall back to the ground and be recovered so my friends in its simplest form believers are the grain. It Jesus Christ will gather up the grain into his barn but the chaff will be blown into the fire and it will be burned with unquenchable fire when Jesus Christ returns he had there will be that separation my friends there is no middle ground is there there is you’re either the chaff are you are the grain no middle ground you’re either for him or you are against him John’s message was very clear very easy to understand and this is very easy to understand you’re either for Jesus Christ if you are not for him that means you are against him the good news is we get to decide we get to decide if we’re going to enter into his barn I says he’s prepared a mansion but in this setting is using bar were gathered into his barn I want to be in his barn do you want to be in his Marne repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and He will be faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all all unrighteousness What then shall we do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do what is right be generous give he has blessed us generously we need to bless generously we will be judged by what we keep he wants us to give you know we are not to give all of our coats away then someone else doesn’t have to bless us right then we’ll be poor and destitute but be generous God has blessed each one of us and back up one more time and say we can’t say we have Abraham we can’t say Well my name’s on the membership rolls and such and such a church it’s a personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ one that has repented were forgive me come in be the Board of my life. Giving our lives on the him because they truly belong to him that we can be part of His eternal Kingdom that came in that God is ushered in with John the Baptizer prepared in a way Jesus brought in that spiritual kingdom the came of God is upon us it is here but my friends a message day is coming again and one is coming again and again he has that willing fork in his hand and once that day comes chances are done let’s make that decision today let’s make a decision for Christ today tomorrow may be too late Amen.