INVESTIGATING THE CLAIMS OF JESUS--PART II
SERMON TITLE: FAITH THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
SERMON THEME: WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
INTRODUCTION: ACTIVE FAITH IS THE ONLY FAITH THAT COUNTS BECAUSE IT IS THE KIND OF FAITH THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
· INVESTIGATING JESUS IS HOW WE KNOW AND WHY WE FOLLOW HIM.
“I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
· IF YOUR LIFE WAS A COMMERCIAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE ADVERTISING?
GIFTS THAT SHOW US WHAT TO DO
I) JOHN GIVES US THE GIFT OF PREPARATION.
II KINGS 1:8
They replied, “He had a garment of hair[a] and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”
· IN DESCRIBING JOHN THE BAPTIST MATTHEW AND MARK COMPARE HIM TO ELIJAH.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
· LUKE COULD NOT TELL THE STORY WITHOUT REFERRING TO JOHN THE BAPTIST.
II) JOHN GIVES US THE GIFT OF TRUTH.
3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling
in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
· JOHN WAS SAYING TO THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE TO START LIVING OUT YOUR FAITH.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
· YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR EVIL WAYS FOR THE DAY OF RELIGIOUS TRADITION IS OVER.
III) JOHN GIVES US THE GIFT OF REPENTANCE.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
· JOHN WAS TRYING TO DISTURB PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR APATHY AND SELF-MADE RELIGION.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
· JOHN IS SEEKING TO REMIND US OF WHAT OUR LIVES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ADVERTISING.
IV) JOHN GIVES US THE GIFT OF HOPE.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
· IF YOU WANT MORE COMFORT THAN REQUIREMENTS THEN YOU WILL GET JOHN THE BAPTIST AND JESUS.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
· WHEN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH BECOMES INTERNALIZED YOU AND I BECOME CONSUMERS.
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
· DOING IS MESSY, DOING IS COSTLY, DOING IS LIFE-CHANGING, DOING IS JOYFUL.
CONCLUSION: JOHN WANTS YOU TO DO IN YOUR WORLD WHAT GOD IS ABOUT TO DO FOR THE WORLD.