Week 14 | Sections 22, 23

Along the River JordanThis week we wrap up the first phase of Jesus’ life and ministry.  We want to stress to you the importance of our spiritual foundations and the faith experiences we are provided in life (as well as those we provide our children, friends and new church members).

These iconic experiences are like spiritual cairns or thresholds in the believers life which later serve as touch points that allow us to express our faith and relate with others. Of course, it redemption calls for surrender; and those who continually seek God shall find him and be blessed by his grace, mercy, and power.


Scripture Passages:

Section 22

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees1 coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers,2 who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?3¯4  Therefore produce fruit5 worthy of repentance! Don’t think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham6 for our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 “Even now the ax7 lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
Luke 3:7-14
7 He said therefore to the multitudes8 who went out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore produce fruits worthy of repentance, and don’t begin to say among yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father;’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.” 10 The multitudes asked him, “What then must we do?” 11 He answered them, “He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what must we do?” 13 He said to them, “Collect no more than that which is appointed to you.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, saying, “What about us? What must we do?” He said to them, “Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages.”

Section 23

Matt 3:11-12
11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

 

12 His winnowing fork9 is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.”

Mark 1:7-8
7 He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen.10 8 I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.”11
Luke 3:15-18
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he was the Christ, 16 John answered them all, “I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire, 17 whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”12 18 Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.

Group Dialog:

  1. What stirs up conflict within you and among your family, friends and neighbors? What do you do to mediate these conflicts?
  2. How has your life changed as the fruit of the Holy Spirit has become more prevalent throughout your life?
  3. Begin a conversation about eternal life (heaven and hell) and that of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
  4. What does it take to produce good fruit? How do you go about doing that?

Learning Objectives:

grace, repentance, transformation, conflict, law, baptism, salvation, humility, fruit of the spirit


Study Notes:

  1. This is the first mention of the Pharisees and Sadducees in our chronological study. Within Judaism they hold both religious authority and some degree of political authority. While many scholars consider the teaching of the Sadducees to be more secular it is perhaps easier to understand that they were more concrete and pragmatic, rather than sacramental and supernatural. However both groups taught from the OT Scriptures, the Sadducees focused their teaching on the Pentateuch. In this manner they considered themselves to be the “conservatives” even though the Pharisees had more laws (oral). Both groups began around the time of the destruction of the second temple. This article provides more information about the Scribes, Pharisees, Sanhedrin, and Sadducees.
  2. We see Jesus stating the same about a year and a half from now (see week 52). Perhaps John called them vipers because they seek to trap people, and they teach law, which brings death.
  3. He gave no invitation to them and no appeal for them to reason (Isa 1:18). He just called it as he saw it. This is not to suggest this is correct. John escalated the conflict quickly. He could have begun with the question about fruit and listened, and then confront them further if they were unrepentant. 
  4. If they had been sincere, they could have answered that they were warned by the Scriptures themselves. Perhaps this is why John cut to the chase. (among many passages would be Jer 7:2-7; 26:13)
  5. Read John 15:1-8; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:9; 2 Cor 7:10-11
  6. Gal 3:27-29
  7. Read John 15:2
  8. Probably thousands
  9. Mal 4:1
  10. Humility. Read Eph 3:8; 1Pet 5:5
  11. Acts 13:24-25
  12. Read Mal 3:1-3