HOW DID YOU SEE GOD THIS WEEK AS YOU FOLLOWED HIM?

WHAT DID GOD SAY IN HIS WORD?

Opening Question:

What comes to mind when you think about repentance?

The Israelites thought they could avoid judgment through their religious heritage. Let’s read what happened when John preached a baptism of repentance.

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "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 shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"

7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

10 And the crowds asked him, "What then shall we do?" 11 And he answered them, "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise." 12 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 you are authorized to do." 14 Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." 15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Reflect Together:

John calls people to prepare their hearts through true repentance that is evidenced by how they live. How does he respond to the crowd when they ask, “What should we do then?”

How would you compare the kind of baptism that John brought with the baptism that Jesus would bring?

WHAT DID GOD SAY TO ME THROUGH HIS WORD?

John’s instruction to the crowd can be summarized as to live generously, do business with integrity, and not to abuse power. Which of these areas do you want to grow in?

What kind of fruit do you want to produce that is in keeping with repentance?

WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT?

Jesus brings a way for humanity to be restored to God so that we may know life and flourishing. As a community, how can we seek the flourishing of all people?  As an individual, what ways can you seek the flourishing of others in your sphere of influence?

HOW CAN WE RESPOND IN PRAYER?

Pray that we can participate in God’s work of bringing flourishing and restoring all things.