Today, at Emmaus Road Church, Pastor Beau Floyd preached “Making a Way to Jesus” from Matthew 3:1-12 and connected the text to us in five ways: (1) A Messenger and a Way, (2) Being Weird, (3) Baptism and Repentance, (4) False “Devotion”, and (5) The Coming One.
He began his message by asking us, “How do you prepare the way for people to meet Jesus?” And after reading Malachi 4 about the Elijah-like prophet to come, he introduced John the Baptist to us.
In discussing the true Kingdom of Heaven and explaining the poor examples of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Pastor Beau exhorted us to be messengers for the Kingdom of Heaven in our city. We are to live the lifestyle of true believers. We ought to have the fire of God burning in us which cannot be shrouded or snuffed out. We are the walking weirdos in the community and oftentimes even out-of-step from 84% of the American population (according to Barna) claiming some kind of cultural Christianity.
The question arises from study of this passage, “How is it that God’s people are in danger of God’s wrath?”
For those who are simply trusting in their church membership or Christian family heritage, Beau warned, “Don’t fool yourself.” Real discipleship involves genuine repentance which produces genuine fruit.
Here are some of my questions related to the text . . .
Observation (questions for the head)
- What is the big “R” that John the Baptist preached?
- Why does he tell you to repent?
- What did John wear? What did he eat?
- Where did John do the baptizing?
- What did Jesus call the Pharisees and Sadducees? Why?
- What were the Pharisees and Sadducees relying upon for their religious credentials? (v. 9)
- John the Baptist uses what farming illustration?
Interpretation (questions for the head and heart)
- Where is the wilderness of Judea?
- What does it mean to repent?
- Read Isaiah 40. How does Matthew apply this in verse 3?
- Is John’s type of baptism distinct from the baptisms to follow by Jesus’ disciples?
- What does baptism signify?
- Is water baptism a requirement for becoming a Christian?
- Which comes first? A change of outward behavior or a change in one’s heart?
- What is the “fruit in keeping with repentance?” (v. 8)
- What does it mean that “the axe is laid to the root of the trees”? (v. 10)
- What does it mean to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire”? (v. 11)
- Who are the wheat? The chaff?
Application (questions for the heart and hands)
- There is full cleansing and complete forgiveness in Jesus. What is it that you need to repent of? How is Jesus discipling you with your sinful tendencies?
- Have you been baptized? Do you remember that joyful day? Would you like to share a testimony of when and how you were baptized?
- Do you see spiritual fruit in your life? Could you express your thanks by providing an example of God’s grace working in your life?
- Are there others who you are discipling in the path of repentance and baptism? Who can we pray for?
- What or who are religious people depending upon in Idaho Falls apart from Jesus Christ? How do people boast about their own religious heritage?
- How might you be tempted to trust in your own religious credentials and pedigree?
- Who are we in comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Do you believe in the necessity of fleeing “the wrath to come”?
- Are you fearful of being the “chaff” which the Messiah will “burn with unquenchable fire”?
- How is God leading you in the work of advancing Christ’s Kingdom in Idaho Falls?