John the Baptist Prepares the Way
Passage: Luke 3:1–3:9
Click here for the sermon discussion questions or see them listed below. We highly encourage you to listen, think, and talk about the sermon. These are questions you can reflect on by yourself, with your family, or with your small group.
- Luke starts his narrative about John’s ministry by listing the depraved rulers and religious leaders who appear almost like a “gallery of villains”. It’s in the midst of such oppressive leadership that Luke tells us “the Word of God came to John”. What should this tell us about the importance and priority of the Word of God in relation to the chaos in the world around us? What does this tell us about the fear and sense of hopelessness that we sometimes feel today as we witness our own leadership quagmire or experience some other personal crises?
- John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Explain how repentance is connected to forgiveness, and whether a man can truly be forgiven if he is unrepentant. Why do you think some people will never repent of their sin and turn to the Lord for forgiveness? Have you truly repented from your sins? How do you know? (this question is further explored in question #3)
- Explain how true repentance is more than just an intellectual understanding of one’s own sinfulness and a desire to change. In Luke 3:5, he quotes from Isaiah 40 to describe the radical change in the landscape that will occur in preparation for the coming Messiah. Do you think true repentance (turning from sin and placing one’s faith in Christ) should result in a radical life change? If so, what does this look like in a person’s life? What does it mean to bear fruit in keeping with repentance?
- Why would John use such harsh words - calling them a “brood of vipers” - when he addressed the crowds who have come to him in the wilderness? Do you think he hated these people or loved them? What do you think he understood about the spiritual climate of the society in which he lived and what insight do you think he had into the hearts of those whom he addressed? In our sermon we heard that “true repentance is not what comes out of your mouth, but what comes out of your life.” How is religiosity & ceremony different from repentance & faith?
- John refuted the religious man who was relying upon his heritage as a “child of Abraham” to ensure his right standing before God. In what ways do people, even within the church, rely upon other things to save them besides true repentance and faith? How should these people be addressed and why might this be a difficult thing to do? Why does Jesus’ work on the cross compel us to love people enough to do the difficult task of confronting people in their sin?