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Friday, September 30, 2016

Children of Abraham (Matthew 3:7-9)

"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our Father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham."

Who are the children of Abraham?
The Pharisees and Sadducees believed their righteousness came from their heritage. The more clearly they could trace their genealogy to Abraham the more righteous they believed themselves to be. John preached a message of repentance to the most religious people of Israel. While they could see easily that fishermen, tax-collectors and other sinners have need for repentance they were blind to their own standing before God. In their minds they had nothing of which to repent--they were the most religious among the people.

John preached his strongest message to those who needed it the most but they couldn't hear his message due to their own self-righteousness. While they were indeed biological descendants of Abraham, they were spiritual descendants of "the wicked one." Abraham understood that salvation came by placing personal faith in God's promise of a coming one who would save His people from their sins. Paul confirmed this truth,
"Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed" (Galatians 3:7-8). Abraham simply believed God and God accounted it unto him as righteousness. His faith in God did not leave him in sin but lifted him by redemption.
The wonder of the Gospel is that He saves guilty sinners. Morally good people don't see their need for salvation, therefore, they are condemned and lost in their moral self-righteousness. Only children of faith are spiritual children of Abraham.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Matthew 2; Luke 2:41-52; Mark 1:1-8; Matthew 3:1-12; Luke 3:1-20; John 1:1-28

Matthew 2
  • What does Lord do to meet the traveling needs of Mary and Joseph? What does this tell you about how God works?
  • What events does God use to fulfill His prophesies about Jesus? What does this tell you about God?
Luke 2
  • Why are the children of Israel supposed to celebrate the Feast of Passover every year?
Mark 1:1-8
  • How does the beginning of Mark's gospel differ from that of Matthew and Luke?
  • What is the focus of John the Baptist's message?
Matthew 3:1-12
  • How does John the Baptist respond to the Pharisee's curiosity?
  • How does he describe the one who is to come?
Luke 3
  • What do the Pharisees rely on for salvation?
  • How does John define repentance?
  • What makes the people wonder if John is the Christ?
  • Why does John rebuke Herod? What does this tell you about John?
John 1
  • How does the beginning of John's gospel differ from Mark's and Luke's?
  • What contrast does the Apostle John make between John the Baptist and Jesus?
  • How does John describe Jesus' entry into the world?
  • Why does the Word become flesh?
  • How does John distinguish between the coming of Moses and the coming of Jesus?
  • How does John respond to the questions asked by the priests and Levites regarding his identity?
  • Upon what does John base his authority?
Turning truth into prayer
The Lord only justifies guilty sinners. Thank Him for providing a way for guilty sinners to experience the forgiveness of sins.