#842. The word of the Lord came to John - Luke 3:2-3 (23/6/23)
‘…The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Luke 3:2-3)
Main idea: The church is to be a prophet that speaks the gospel to the nations.
To watch this devotional, please go to:
John can be seen as a type of the church. John describes himself as the one who prepares the way for the bridegroom - for Jesus. Likewise, we prepare the way and seek to bring people to Jesus. We help people to become part of the bride of Christ and to love Jesus wholeheartedly. John was not the focus. We are not the focus. The church is not the focus. Jesus is the focus!
Like John, God wants to send us on mission. John was prepared to do hard things for the Good News. He lived in a hard place. He preached a difficult message. He was imprisoned and, ultimately, was martyred for his message. Preparing the way for Jesus can be dangerous!
Like John, the word of the Lord has come to us, calling us to go and take the gospel to others. Just as God commissioned John, He has also called and sent us, as The Great Commission makes clear:
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’ (Matthew 28:18-20)
John was told to go into the wilderness, preach, and baptise, and we are commanded to go into this world with the gospel and to disciple those who do respond so they can do likewise. Paul tells us about our identity as followers of Christ
‘We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 3:20-21)
We are told in Luke 3:18, 'with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.' This good news, the gospel, is that people should repent, turn from sin, and receive forgiveness of sins through Jesus. This is to be our message and the message of the church.
The church is to be a prophet that speaks the gospel to the nations.
Like John the Baptist, each of us, working in unison with the church, is to bring the gospel of repentance and forgiveness in Christ to our communities. In order to be effective at this, we need three things that are spoken of in Luke 1:14-16:
‘He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.’ (Luke 1:14-16)
Know God's joy - We are told about John that ‘he will be great in the sight of the Lord.’ Firstly, if we are to be prepared to go to difficult places with a challenging message, we need to know that God loves us and is pleased with our faithful response.
Be filled with the Spirit - We are told that ‘he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.’ Similarly, we need the empowering of the Spirit to be effective.
Know your mission - We are told, ‘He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.’ The church, and each of us, must remain faithful to our mission of bringing people back to God through Christ. Beware of 'mission creep' because God's assignment is hard and can be very unpopular.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Read Luke 3:1-38
What point is Luke trying to make in this passage?
What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?
What is promised in verses 1-6 and what should this produce in us?
How is repentance described in this passage and what does this teach us about what should happen in our lives when we are born again?
SIV - We are told that John's evangelistic ministry began as 'the word of the Lord came to [him]'. The word of the Lord has already come to us in the form of the gospel and The Great Commission. How can we become more radical like John?
SIV - What does this text tell us about our message?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?