REAL CHANGE

16 July 2013

TRUE CHANGE

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: LUKE 3:1-20

*Luke 3*

New Living Translation (NLT)

*John the Baptist Prepares the Way*

*3 *It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman
emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was
ruler*[**a*

*]* over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler*[**b*

*]* over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. *2
*Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from
God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness.
*3 *Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan
River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had
repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. *4 *Isaiah
had spoken of John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!

Clear the road for him!

*5 *

The valleys will be filled,

and the mountains and hills made level.

The curves will be straightened,

and the rough places made smooth.

*6 *

And then all people will see

the salvation sent from God.’”*[**c*

*]*

*7 *When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of
snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? *8 *Prove by the
way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are
descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can
create children of Abraham from these very stones. *9 *Even now the ax
of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees.
Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down
and thrown into the fire.”

*10 *The crowds asked, “What should we do?”

*11 *John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If
you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

*12 *Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked,
“Teacher, what should we do?”

*13 *He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government
requires.”

*14 *“What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And
be content with your pay.”

*15 *Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were
eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. *16 *John answered
their questions by saying, “I baptize you with*[**d*

*]* water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so
much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the
straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and
with fire.*[**e*

*]* *17 *He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his
winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering
the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending
fire.” *18 *John used many such warnings as he announced the Good
News to the people.

*19 *John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of
Galilee,*[**f*

*]* for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other
wrongs he had done. *20 *So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin
to his many others.

___________________________________________

It seems like the early ‘Christ followers’, of which John was one
– a messenger, in fact, of the coming Messiah, faced the same problem
as we do in the church age today: people professing to be Christ
followers but not living up to their claims. John says in verse 8:
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and
turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we
are descendants of Abraham.”

We hear of that all the time today. People who think they are
“safe” (by safety they mean an eternity in heaven and not hell)
because they prayed a prayer, or were born into a Christian family, or
lived a good life.

The awesome thing is that Jesus, the Messiah that John was speaking
of, did not come so that we could be ‘safe’. Jesus did not only
come to get us into heaven. He came to get heaven into us. His way of
life. His truth. His love. His compassion. His Kingdom.

Being a Christ follower is not about being ‘safe’. It is about
being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. When that happens, they
way we act doesn’t stay the same.

A CALL TO ACTION

Has your lifestyle and the way you live truly changed since you gave
your life to Jesus? Giving our lives to Jesus means surrendering our
own earthly desire in order to pursue what His will is for our lives.
Seldom do our own earthly desires and His will align – so there is a
difference required in the way we live life. If your life has not
changed, maybe it’s time to /truly/ give your life over to Jesus;
time to surrender the way you live life to Him.

A PRAYER TO PRAY

Lord please reveal to me the things in my life that I need to
surrender to you in order to be more like you and life a life that
shows I belong to you. Help me to make the changes I need to make.
Forgive me for the sin I have held onto for so long. Please cleanse me
and help me to live wholly for you. Amen.

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