Posted by Karah


List a few ways you have seen God at work in your life recently. Thank Him for pursuing you and moving in your life.

Read Matthew 3:1-12 in your Bible. John’s message was difficult. He boldly called people to repentance and stressed that those who didn’t follow Christ would face eternal judgment.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn. But the chaff He will burn up with fire that never goes out.” —Matthew 3:11-12

The Holy Spirit indwells those who believe and repent, making believers holy through inner transformation.

Jesus is the Savior, but also the Judge. Those who do not repent will face divine judgment.

Think through these questions:

After reading these verses, do you think it is possible for someone to be a Christian without anything about their lives or attitudes changing? Why or why not?

Repentance is more than saying you’re sorry. It involves recognizing you have lived in opposition to God, grieving over that, and expressing a desire to live according to God’s standard. Why is this important to understand? Explain.

Everyone has the same choice: follow Jesus or reject Him. If you reject Him, you will face the eternal consequences of our decision. What decision have you made? How do you know?

If you are a Christian, evaluate your life. How has God transformed not only your actions, but the attitudes and intentions of your heart? Thank Him for the ways He is continuing to transform you to the image of His Son.

For further study, read Matthew 7:15-20; 12:33; and 13:23.

Behind the Story

John’s words toward the religious leaders who came to listen might seem overly harsh. It wasn’t that John didn’t wish for all people to repent, but he knew a few things about these people:

  • Their attention was on worldly power. John’s attention was on Jesus.
  • They had no intention of repenting. As descendants of Abraham, these Jews thought they were guaranteed escape from God’s wrath.
  • Their actions didn’t match their claim to be God’s people. Jesus would preach repentance and baptism as a symbol of inward change, something these men weren’t concerned with.

The Point

Those who follow Jesus will be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Those who reject Him will face eternal judgment.

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