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The Joy of Sharing God's Word (CC)

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12/16/2012 Zion Sermon Pastor Dave Sermon Text: LUKE 3:7-18 Let us rise for the reading of this morning's Sermon Text recorded for us in the Gospel of LUKE where we read from Chapter 3, beginning with Verse 7: 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? 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. 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." "WHAT SHOULD WE DO THEN?" THE CROWD ASKED. JOHN ANSWERED, "THE MAN WITH TWO TUNICS SHOULD SHARE WITH HIM WHO HAS NONE, AND THE ONE WHO HAS FOOD SHOULD DO THE SAME." TAX COLLECTORS ALSO CAME TO BE BAPTIZED. "TEACHER," THEY ASKED, "WHAT SHOULD WE DO?" "DON'T COLLECT ANY MORE THAN YOU ARE REQUIRED TO," HE TOLD THEM. 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." THE PEOPLE WERE WAITING EXPECTANTLY AND WERE ALL WONDERING IN THEIR HEARTS IF JOHN MIGHT POSSIBLY BE THE CHRIST. JOHN ANSWERED THEM ALL, "I BAPTIZE YOU WITH WATER. BUT ONE MORE POWERFUL THAN I WILL COME, THE THONGS OF WHOSE SANDALS I AM NOT WORTHY TO UNTIE. HE WILL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH FIRE. HIS WINNOWING FORK IS IN HIS HAND TO CLEAR HIS THRESHING FLOOR AND TO GATHER THE WHEAT INTO HIS BARN, BUT HE WILL BURN UP THE CHAFF WITH UNQUENCHABLE FIRE." AND WITH MANY OTHER WORDS JOHN EXHORTED THE PEOPLE AND PREACHED THE GOOD NEWS TO THEM. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: Glorious and gracious God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of each of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our only source of hope and comfort. Amen. [Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of [Zondervan Bible Publishers.] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: Those are words that you hear here almost every week. "Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." It's my greeting to you as we prepare to ponder over what God's Word has to say. It's a rather nice greeting. A little bit different than the one that John the Baptist used when those people came to him to be baptized, when he cried out to them, "YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!" ... [Verse 7] Must have gotten their attention. People who were of the Jewish race, of the Jewish faith, coming to John to hear what he had to speak ... hear what he had to say. Coming to him to be baptized to be greeted by him calling them a brood of vipers! Hitting them solidly in their hearts with the news that they really needed to hear. That they were not going to be saved just because they were children of Abraham. That they were descendants of the forefathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That did not make them special. That did not make them unique. That did not give them a free pass into God's Kingdom. Or, a free pass in to God being there to love and honor and cherish them. John made it pretty clear to them that God could take the stones that were around them and produce children for Abraham. Those people came to John full of self-righteousness; full of themselves thinking that they had done wonderful acts for God. That they were the ones who kept the Law and obeyed the Law and followed it to its very letter in every single aspect of their life. And yet when John presented them with the reality of their own sinful nature, they responded to him by saying: What should we do? What ... should we do? And John said: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Produce fruit of faith in your life. Show that you understand that righteousness does not come from within you. That because of your sinful nature you cannot save yourselves. It was GOD who was going to save these people! It was the Lord who was sending the Messiah into the world. John was there preparing people to receive Him. Pointing people to the One who who would come after him. The One whose sandals he was not even worthy to untie. But John had a message because that Savior was coming. And He was coming to take His own. To call His own to be with Him. To clear that threshing floor of everything that was chaff, and bring the good and the wheat to Himself. John had an urgency in the words that he spoke to those people. And we need to have that urgency in our ears of hearing today. None of us likes to HEAR that we're sinful. It grates on us. It bothers us. But it is the reality of our life. And if we are going to prepare to receive Christ, we must do so in repentance. And producing fruit in accord with that repentance. And what does repentance mean? Having sorrow and contrition over our sins. Admitting that we are sinful human beings that cannot save ourselves. That outside of faith in Jesus Christ, we are damned to hell and that is our eternity. But how wonderful it is that God has come to us with the grace and the knowledge that Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God, came to this world and provided our righteousness by living perfectly -- keeping God's command in every aspect. And then in the greatest turnaround of history, that perfect Holy Son of God took on Himself the punishment for the unholy creatures that God had made. He bore our punishment. And that punishment caused His death on the cross of Calvary. And when we talk about producing fruits of faith in accord with repentance, it reminds us it is that cross that gives us comfort. It is there that we find our strength. It is there that we have a reason for rejoicing that we are the redeemed children of God. And that when we come to God, confessing our sins, it is something that we mean. It is not just words that we say. It is not just our weekly bypassing God's offer and saying: "I'm sorry, God" and going on. Not thinking about what we're saying. And not doing the fruits of repentance for the forgiveness of sins that we have. It is more than realizing that we're sorry. It is understanding that there is no hope for us outside of Jesus Christ. It is in ONLY the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven. It is THERE that we find forgiveness. And then we take that forgiveness, and the strength that we have from that forgiveness, to continue to live in the grace of God. Showing people we understand what it means to be forgiven. That we not abuse the freedom that God has given us and go out and continue to do more sin. But that we live lives in accord with His Word. And we show those fruits of repentance. We show those fruits of repentance in the way we forgive others. The way we talk about forgiveness with someone else. That we realize it IS more than saying: I'm sorry. That we truly realize the hurt that we cause other people. And THAT does not make us feel good. And we are sorry for that and we want to amend that in our lives. And we convey that to people whom we have sinned against. And when people come to us with that, we forgive them in the way that Christ forgave us. Totally, freely, and completely from the heart. We had an interesting discussion about that in confirmation class a couple of weeks ago when one of the kids raised their hand and said: Well, it's kind of like an Etch-a-Sketch. That we come to God and write all of our sins on that Etch-a-Sketch and God takes it and shakes it and it all goes away. The sin is not there anymore. And I said: Well, that's a way of looking at it. And the student responded: I think next time I forgive someone I'm gonna grab them by their shoulders and shake them and say it's all gone. [Laughter] I said: Maybe not such a good plan, but in our minds to be able to do that in the way that we forgive each other. In the way that we then go out and live our lives. That we live in that forgiveness. That we live in the joy of the knowledge that Jesus Christ has saved us. Those people who came to John wanted to know how to do that in their lives. John says: If you have two tunics, give one to the person who has none. If you have ten shirts in your closet, go find five people who need a shirt. Share with what you have with those who don't. If you have food, there are people who do not. Share with them. In your businesses, don't cheat people. Be content with your pay. Wow! Those are big words! That we not extort people. That we treat people the way that God would treat them. And the way that we want God to treat us. And notice with each of those statements there is no: Unless they are this. Or: If this is the case. God's Word just says to us: Do this. Produce fruit. He's looking at us. As the trees that He has planted ... to produce fruit. To show that we understand and are in Him and are living in our faith. And it's a call we need to hear. It's a call that we need to apply to our lives. Because we are waiting for Christ to return. To come and find us to take us to be with Him. And it is our prayer for each of us that in our lives when He comes He will find us rooted in Him, grounded in faith, living trees of His righteousness that are producing fruit abundantly. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 31 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 67
Posted by: hischild on Dec 18, 2012

We listen to God's Word in Luke 3:7-18 and learn what to do while waiting for Jesus to return for us. www.ziontorrance.info

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