"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." (Romans 12:1, MSG)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

#LukeActs2014 - Luke chapter 3

Writing this morning from a beautiful cabin in an area called the "Land of Living Water" in the mountains of North Carolina. Snow on the ground outside, fire burning inside. I could get used to this...

John the Baptist, Jesus, and baptism are on display in Luke chapter 3 and it's quite a passage. Coincidentally, a couple weeks ago I preached a sermon on Luke 3:1-22 in the 6:35 service titled "Baptisms of Life Change" as part of our January series "New Beginnings" and to mark the Baptism of The Lord. Here are some of my reflections.

John's purpose:
John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. (Luke 3:3 CEB, emphasis mine)
And so, John's baptism ministry was wildly successful. So much so that people began to show up for baptism because it was the "popular" thing to do. For those in the crowd seeking a free baptism (meaning baptism without their repentance), John had strong words.
“Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” (Luke 3:7-9 MSG, again...emphasis mine)
For some, these words had their desired effect, leading them to remorsefully ask, "Then what are we supposed to do?" Their answer, of course, began with what had been missing in the first place...repentance. For our lives to change, we need to turn away from all that separates us from becoming who God wants us to be. Only then can remorseful repentance lead to the realignment of our lives to God's kingdom life. 

It is this alignment with God's kingdom life that demonstrates the significance of Jesus' baptism. Jesus, whose life was blameless and knew no sin, did not need baptism in order to be cleansed. Rather, Jesus was showing us what it looks like to say, "Not my will, but Yours be done." By receiving baptism, Jesus was claiming God's kingdom life is far better than any other. And, in response, God made a claim of His own.
“You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.” (Luke 3:22 MSG)
My friends, to be chosen and marked by God's love is reason to rejoice. God loves each and every one of us and, in baptism, we are all sons and daughters!

Remorseful repentance.



And I'll add one more...


Remember your baptism and be thankful for what God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has done for us.

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