Explore The Bible Study: Prepared

7:27 PM

In the waking hours of Christmas day (2020), six Metropolitan Nashville Police officers acted quickly to save people in the downtown area of Nashville because of a bomb warning coming from a parked RV. They jumped into action despite the danger to themselves, going down the street and door-to-door warning everyone of the danger. Despite dozens of buildings and infrastructures being destroyed, all residents were saved. One must ask, what would have happened had people ignored the warnings or if the officers had not been concerned about warning everyone? Fortunately they acted and people responded. This week's Explore the Bible study: Prepared will focus on another type of warning and how we should respond.

In Luke 3:1-3 we are told that John the Baptist issued a warning to repent. This took place during the “fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea” and while “Herod was tetrarch of Galilee.” It was also the time when Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests.

This was not the greatest of times. Tiberius was considered a scourge to the Roman people. Judea was entirely under Roman governors, one being Pontius Pilate. Judea was a tribute to Rome which meant the people of Judea had no life of their own. Herod Antipas, one of three sons of Herod the Great, was tetrarch or ruler over the region of Galilee. Luke mentions two high priests, a situation which presented its own set of problems. Annas most likely had been high priest but had been replaced by his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Most likely, Annas still wielded a lot of power and influence with the Roman government and was still a prominent leader within the Sanhedrim.

It is during this time in history that God sent John to proclaim a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” and to introduce the world to the coming Messiah – Jesus Christ.  His pulpit was unique, his dress was certainly not cool, his eating habits were different, and his message was pointed and direct. Yet the crowds flocked to see what this prophetic preacher had to say. One might think that all this popularity would go to John’s head, but it didn’t.  He was called to prepare a people for receiving Christ and then he would blend back into the landscape as people turned to Christ for their salvation. 

A study of Luke 3:7-18 will challenge you in two ways: (1) Has authentic repentance taken place in your life? (2) Are you concerned enough for those without Christ to warn them of the impending danger of not having received Christ as their Savior?

If you are leading this study with a group, challenge them to respond in one of two ways.
Some should examine their hearts to determine if they have truly repented and turned to Christ. What differences or “fruit” can they observe in their life as a result of receiving Christ? If there isn’t any fruit, if their life doesn’t demonstrate an ongoing transformation of their heart, if they believe that baptism or church membership is what saved them, then they might want to consider whether they have truly received Christ.

Many who will be studying this passage will probably profess Christ and can confidently, yet humbly, say they have truly repented and turned to Christ. For them, the challenge is to not only heed John’s message but to imitate his passion for sharing the gospel, which Luke 3:18 describes as “good news," and it is. It’s not a message of hate but a message of hope for those who will repent and turn to Christ.

Saving, Not Losing People

Chief John Drake of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department described the actions of the police officers during the Christmas Day Bombing this way: "Immediately they didn't think about their own lives, they didn't think about protecting themselves, they thought about the citizens." Chief John Drake said, "They went about knocking on doors and had they not made their efforts, we'd be talking about the tragedy of people and lives lost." Watch more about these officers actions.

We, too, are called to make sure no one is lost to sin! We are to abandon any fear, personal pride, or security in order to share and show others the good news of Jesus! It we don’t warn them of impending judgement, we face the tragedy of knowing we didn’t do everything possible to save the lives of those who are lost.

DOWNLOADABLE STUDY HELPS

The Bible study helps have been modified in order to provide opportunities for both online and face-to-face teaching venues. Ideas in boxes will be provided for engaging groups more when meeting in person. The boxed items could also be modified and used for online discussion as well. 

Download Word Version                  Download PDF Version

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