Matthew 3:1-12 / The Necessity of Repentance (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on November 21, 2012


This message was delivered at East Side Baptist Church on the morning of November 18, 2012. This message deals with necessity of repentance, and the importance of the message of repentance. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

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Matthew 3:1-12 / The Necessity of Repentance

The appearance of John was an important detail, because it explains why he was readily accepted.

The camel hair garment seemed to be characteristic of a prophet.

Zechariah 13:4

This was the way Elijah dressed.

2 Kings 1:8

Because John was recognized as a prophet, he drew a crowd.

The Word of God that he preached was changing lives.

However; just as all true prophets of God, his message was not always well received.

Prophets may no longer exist, but the Word of God still brings controversy.

vv.2, 7-12:
This message of urgent repentance should be our message today.

In fact, the message of repentance wasn’t John’s message, it was Jesus’

Matthew 4:17

Mark 1:15

Luke 13:3

But instead of Jesus’ message, the message of mainstream Christianity is compromise, which is manifest in a quest for relevance and unrestrained inclusion.

If we mention sin we might drive people away, so Instead we ignore it, we coddle people and tell them everything will be alright if they just believe.

The sad truth is that we are doing people and God an injustice by having that attitude.

The only way to ignore repentance, is to ignore sin.

Ignoring sin doesn’t make it any more palatable.

Ignoring sin doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Ignoring sin doesn’t make it go away.

Ignoring sin won’t lead to repentance, and People can never have a fulfilling relationship with God without repentance.

If we refuse to repent, we can never be close to God.

James 4:8-10

Repentance first requires genuine sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10

For that, sin has to be addressed.

The goal of addressing sin should never be to make a public spectacle, or to shame people.

The goal should always be repentance, and a renewed relationship with Christ.

However, sin must be addressed, and we shouldn’t be scared to do so. Nor do we have to be perfect in order to do so.

Jesus never told us to ignore sin until we are perfect, we simply need to recognize our own sin, so that we will approach the situation with the proper humility.

We are God’s representatives, so when we are indifferent to sin, we portray God as being indifferent to sin.

This is a terrible misrepresentation of a just, righteous, and Holy God!

This lack of a message of repentance led to the empty religion of the Pharisees and the Saducees.

Like so many people today, they were just trying to take out fire insurance.

They thought that if they simply went through the motions, that they would be saved.

They were so tied to “religion” and the law, that they thought their works were the key to salvation. Yet, their hearts remained hard and unbelieving.

“Brood of vipers!” John was, in effect, comparing them to Satan – that old serpent, the devil. The snake in the garden of Eden.

Even Jesus made the same comparison.

John 8:44

They may have kept the law as well as anyone could, they may have known Scripture inside and out, but it didn’t matter, they lacked faith.

Hebrews 11:6

It doesn’t matter how many good things you do, or how holy you appear, without faith you are an agent of satan. Harsh but true! Maybe you know someone like that.

They were trying to impose their faithless religion on the body of Christ, and that can’t be allowed.

John had harsh words for these people, and neither should we be tolerant when they try to slip into our congregation.

They couldn’t fool John, we should be learned enough that they can’t fool us, and they certainly don’t fool Jesus.

Their hearts were proven by their walk.

John wanted to see proof of their repentance.

James 2:18

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works. ” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Make no mistake, a changed life will always be evident!

Their family lineage meant nothing, God could create more of them in an instant.

These people were trying to corrupt the true church, but God will not have His body corrupted. He has at all times kept a remnant, and continues to do so.

Those who fraudulently claim to be heirs to His throne will be judged harshly!

Baptism does not save, it is a symbol of repentance and a new birth.

John is making it clear that his baptism isn’t a means to salvation.

Even if he were to baptize them, it would be meaningless at the judgment.

The real baptism is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Though many unbelievers will try to hide among the shelter of Christians, Jesus can tell the wheat from the chaff, and He will separate them.

No matter how well they imitate Christians, they will not be able to fool Jesus.

Matthew 7:21-23

To be separated from Jesus, is to be in Hell. There is no alternative.

The grace of God is a beautiful thing, but sin must be addressed for grace to be able to work.

Romans 5:20

Where sin is ignored and repentance is unknown, grace will not have an opportunity to work.

None of us, no matter how perfect we look sitting here in church, is without the need for repentance.

From what do you need to repent this morning?