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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

The Preaching of John on Repentance



THE ROAD THAT JOHN BUILT

Luke 3:2-6
Charles e Whisnant, Pastor/Lumberjack/ Teacher/Historian
 

Rivers of Joy Baptist Church, February 10, 2013
Now today we come to the man who is going to announce the Messiah to the world.  And Luke as an historian is going to give us some great facts.  You know God is a God of purpose.  History is on purpose.  God has a plan and He is working out that plan in precision. God is the writer of history.  History is unfolding  step by step.  And as we have stated the purpose of history and its human population is the salvation of sinners. As we have said, God brought into existence this creation, this universal, this population of people for the express purpose that He might redeem sinners.  And recorded history of the Bible is primarily His Story, it is the story of redemption.
Last time  we talked about historical setting of this prophecy than the geographical seating of this prophecy: where John lived. We learned about John’s lifestyle and culture stands with the current society at the time.
The there is the theological setting.  Luke 3:3 

“When  John came he came preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
This is the theology that every true preacher preaches.  It is the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. That is the message that God brings as good news into a world that is cursed by sin and dammed to eternity punishment.
John preached this message to the people of Israel. You would have thought that would not be the right message. But it was.  John didn’t say “You know people you are doing so well in your faith in God, you don’t need to repent you just need to increase a little in your faith.”  You are keeping the law, you are keeping the  Sabbath, you do the sacrifices,  you are serious about doing a lot of the rules.  Just kind of knock it up a few notches.
So the theology of very true preacher and was John’s is forgiveness comes from God to those who truly repent. 
Now there are three elements in that statement:  Forgiveness of sin, repentance and baptism.
We are transported back in John’s day, and in Israel and caught up in this religion they had.  First you were trained to believe that if you do ceremonies and you do the sacrifices and you do what you’re thought to do is right and you make great effort to keep the law of God, and you are in the Temple each Sabbath, and you don’t take trips to another city and you don’t carry your burden, you keep the law and all the Jewish traditions as much as you can, and you believe that will get you into the kingdom of God.
So John preached forgiveness, and we read that “all Judea and Jerusalem went out to hear about it.” They must have felt  this matter of sin, because they were always having to offer sacrifices over and over again and again.    And all these laws to many of them were a burden to carry.   And they would go and offer up these sacrifices to show God that they did recognized their sin and they recognized the price and the cost of their sin was death.  So they lived with ideas of sin and punishment and sacrifice.
Some had read or heard read Jeremiah 31. They knew the only way that they could ever receive the Abrahamic Covenant promise and Davidic Covenant promise would be through the New Covenant salvation.  Jeremiah 31:31 “I’ll make a New Covenant,”  vs. 34 , "I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more."  And that was what their heart longed for.  The sacrifices seemed so weary and endless.   
So then when were they going to experience that Jeremiah was talking about?   Ezekiel 16:60-63 "I will remember My covenant with you, the days of your youth I will establish an everlasting covenant with you..." And then in verse 63 He says, "When I have forgiven you for all that you have done." So they knew that there was forgiveness out there.
But how to get it? How to get it?
So here comes John and he’s preaching forgiveness and that is really the only message of hope to a people under such enormous heaviness.
And they knew God was a very forgive God.   Micah 7 "Who is a God like Thee who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?"
There's no God like You who forgives sin. They would have known the cry of David in Psalm 32, the cry of David in Psalm 51 that God would forgive him and wash him and make him clean.
 They would have remembered Psalm I think it's 103:12 where God says I'll remove your transgressions as far as the east is from the west. They knew God was a forgiving God.
So the Day of Atonement was a picture that God forgives sin and sends it completely out of His presence. They would have understood that.  They realized that God as a forgiving God by nature. A great attribute that we have been studying on Sunday in our Adult Bible Class in 2012-13
They (many) understood that there was forgivenss in atonement as indicated by what’s called the scape goat. The goat that takes away the sin to indicate that God removes it forever from his presence.
Zacharias knew this Luke 1:77  , "To give His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins." That is the only way people are saved. That's the only possible way to have a right relationship to God or to get into heaven by the forgiveness of sin
And when they heard that was the message of John the people just flowed out to hear this sermon by John.
So know what brings about “forgiveness?”  That is the question.  Its in Luke 3:3 “REPENTANCE.”