The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls


The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 3:1-11

Trinity III

I. The parallel texts are found at Mk. 1:2-8; Lk. 3:3-17; Jn. 1:19-27. Also, Is. 40 ought be read in its entirety. It prophesies the Baptist. Later prophesies of John are found at Malachi 3:1a and 4:5-6. Malachi 3:1b-5 speaks of the Messiah. Lk. 1:5-25 contains the announcement of Gabriel to Zacharias. Vss. 15-17 describe the Baptist's role. After John was born, Zacharias sang of the coming Messiah, Lk. 1:68-75 and then of the role of John in vss. 76-79.

2. The Baptist was a preacher, a herald. He told people what God said. He said: "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is here." Jesus said the same thing. See Mt. 4:17. The first of Luther's 95 theses reads: "When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said: 'Repent ye' He meant that the whole life of a Christian should be one of repentance." Well said.

3. The description of John in vs. 4 reminds us of the words "not a money-lover" at I Tim. 3:3. Read also I Tim. 6:6-10. John was content with very little. It takes very little in this life for the person who trusts the Lord.

4. Vs. 5 tells us that the people came in droves from everywhere in Palestine to hear John the Baptist. Vs. 6 tells us that they were being baptized as they were confessing their sins. Lk. 3:3 says of John: "He went to all the country around the Jordan (River) preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." I Jn. 1:9 reads, "If we confess our sins He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Confession of sins does not merit forgiveness but it is a necessary prerequisite for forgiveness of sins. An appetite does not feed us but it is a necessary prerequisite for eating.

5. Vss. 7-10 describe the impenitent sinners who came out to the Jordan. The Pharisees were self-righteous and felt that through their own power they could change from evil to good. Therefore, they felt no need for repentance. The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection of the dead and a judgment. They were known for their moral looseness. They, too, felt no need for repentance. John calls both of them "children of snakes." They were poisoned with sin and impenitence. They did not bring forth the fruits which Christian faith produces. Faith without works is dead. John said to them "Don't say 'We have Abraham as father.'" Read John 8:37-59. They thought that descent from Abraham was sufficient. But Jesus told them that not Abraham, but the devil, was their father. Abraham, of course, is the father of believers. See Rom. 4:11.12. But Abraham is not the father of impenitent Jews although they claim him as father. God can raise children to Abraham from stones. He can cause life where there is none. But these impenitent people cannot produce life. John says that the axe is already at the root of the tree. These dead trees, these dead people, are about to be cut off. Every dead, fruitless, person is about to be cut off and thrown into hell-fire.

6. In vs. 11 John is distinguishing between himself and Jesus. He is not distinguishing between two baptisms. Eph. 4:5 reads "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." In the Nicene Creed we confess: "I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." At Jn. 1:31 John says that Jesus appeared to Israel because John came baptizing with water. Jesus came to people through John's baptism. It forgave sins. But John baptized Jews only. At Jn. 3:25-30 when John's disciples complained that Jesus' disciples baptized more than did John's disciples, John said: "He must increase but I must decrease." He was only Jesus' forerunner. At Jn. 4:1-3 Jesus left Judea because His disciples were baptizing more people than were John's disciples. Jesus did not want people to consider, His baptism more valid than John's. The command at Mt. 28:19 is for all nations, Jews and Gentiles. Acts 19:5 does not say that people were baptized a second time. Read the whole passage. It is plain that their first baptism was not a valid one. Paul explained that John's baptism was a repentance baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.


The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 3:1-11

Trinity III

THEME: How The Baptist Worked In Israel

INTRODUCTION

The Baptist is a model for us. He needed little so far as clothing, shelter and food is concerned. He was a voice in the wilderness. So are we. He preached only what God says. So should we. He baptized for the forgiveness of sins. So should we. He forgave repentant sinners and refused to forgive impenitent sinners. So should we.

I. HOW HE DEALT WITH THE REPENTANT IN ISRAEL

II. HOW HE DEALT WITH THE IMPENITENT IN ISRAEL

John evidently refused to baptize the impenitent Israelites who plainly came only to make themselves look good. They were hypocrites.

CONCLUSION

John gives all glory to Jesus in vs. 11. He says that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Baptism, for Jesus' sake, gives us the Holy Spirit Who cleanses our heart from sin.


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