And happy New Year to all of you. I hope that you are, I guess what’s today’s date? We’re the third, the second. Okay. So you’re two days into the New year. Hopefully you haven’t broken your new traditions yet or your resolutions yet. You have, like, 100 and 360 something days to go. So good luck on the journey. Keep going, keep pushing, keep fighting. Something I’ve learned over the course. And this is not part of the lesson, really. But over the course of my life, is that let’s see if this works.
Yes. Is that consistency trumps intensity? Consistency is more important than intensity. And certainly this is true for everything. If you want to lose weight, if you want to, thank you, if you want to lose weight, if you want to learn to save better or do better spiritually, consistency is always going to be better than just doing things for a short period of time. Really, really strong. If you go to the gym and you decide that you want to get really buff and you go and you decide to lift bench 300 pounds number one, it’s unlikely that you will survive.
But if you do survive, it’s unlikely that you will gain any weight or rather that you will gain any strength. What would be better is if you took a small portion of that lifting and you did it over the course of a lot of time and you just learned to do better, to grow better because it takes consistency, not intensity, really to change. This is true for everything. You want to be a better parent, a better child, a better teacher, leader, spouse, investor. You want to be a better in anything.
It’s going to require you to be consistent. You’ve got to keep working, you’ve got to keep going. You gotta keep reading. If you want to be a better spiritually, you got to keep praying. If you miss a day, that’s okay. Just try not to miss two. Put your hand back on the plow and get back to work. But you know this and I know this. It is hard to be consistent, isn’t it? All of us have a tendency to revert to kind of a haphazard way of living an inconsistent lifestyle.
And I know this and you know this that doesn’t work as well as just being consistent. And so I know some of you and maybe those of you who are watching online have made a commitment this year to be better spiritually. Maybe you want to just be closer to God. You want to have a better prayer life, a better reading life. You want to come out to Church. I want to encourage you. Be consistent. Be consistent at Church, come week after week or turn on a line week after week.
Don’t miss. Be consistent in your community group or your small group. Be a part of it. Be a staple in the community. Be consistent in reading. Be consistent in prayer, and at the end, you’ll see, I almost guarantee it that you’ll have dividends in your faith. And I know I said a lot of that didn’t have to do with our lesson, but it does lead us into what we’re going to be talking about today. See, today here in the Broward Church, we’re beginning a journey that’s going to require us to be consistent.
Typically, our series are between four and six weeks. We think that’s kind of the sweet spot with our ADHD world. You do about six weeks or something, and then you want to switch to something else. So we do that. We do a little felt need here a little Bible study here, and then we switch to an Old Testament book, and then we switch to something else. And we do that for all year round. And you never know what’s coming next at you. And we kind of like that.
But we’re not doing that for the next couple of years in the Broward Church. Instead, for the next two or three years, we’re going to begin a journey through the Ministry of Jesus. Yes, you heard me right. We’re replacing a six week series with a 127 week series. That’s what I have so far. And that’s only one sermon for the Sermon on the Mount. My guess is that this series is going to go longer than I think it’s going to go. But Amen we’re going to break it up.
We’re going to take some breaks as we need to. But we are going to be consistent. And the reason we’re spending so much time on this particular subject and spending so much time in the Gospels themselves is because in this Church, we believe that our highest calling, our highest calling in life, is to be disciples of Jesus. And if you believe that, let me hear you say Amen. By the way, Amen is a Hebrew word. That means certainly or truth, or I agree. And because COVID is hit and we have less people coming to Church, I’m going to need a little more Amen and come ons. This is a dialogue more than a monologue. We have Alana degree back there who’s going to teach us how to say Amen. She’s really loud, but it’s awesome. We need some of that. Alana, Amen. Amen. There you go. All right. So again, we believe our highest calling in life, your highest calling in life is to be a disciple of Jesus. To be a disciple of Jesus. And being a disciple means that we learn to live with Jesus, that we practice His presence when we’re driving in the car with Christ.
Wake up in the morning with Christ. Whatever we’re doing throughout our day, that we’re with Jesus, that we learn to be like him. We respond like him. We act like him. We have the peace that he has and the love that he gave and the compassion that he showed. And that we do as Jesus did, which means His practices. We imitate them because we believe that those practices produce life that ultimately will lead to life to the full. To be a disciple means to learn in the context of our lives, to follow our teacher, to ask ourselves the question year after year, moment after moment, every day in and day out.
What would my teacher do if he were me? Your teacher is Jesus. What would Jesus do if he had the job I have? What would you do if he had the family I have? How would he react to my children? How would he care for his spouse if he had a spouse, which he didn’t obviously. How would he live if he had the talents I have and the shortcomings I have and the opportunities I have? What would he do if he were me? We believe in the concept of mentorship here in this Church. That there is someone that we should be in submission to. And for all of us, that’s Jesus Christ of Nazareth and this type of devotion, this type of true discipleship is going to require consistency.
You’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning and be like Jesus if you don’t put in the work every single opportunity you have to strive to be like Christ. It’s going to require you to wake up every day with your heart and your mind set on being with Christ and being like Christ and doing as Christ did. So to illustrate the idea that this requires consistency again, we’re going to start this journey and be consistent. And we’re going to look through again because we value as our highest calling in life being disciples, we’re going to look at everything Jesus did. Everything, everything Jesus taught.
We’re going to look at every interaction that Jesus had with another person. We’re going to look at every word of every sermon that he preached. And then we’re going to take the time to just comb through the Gospels and make sure we’ve hit every point of his life. We’re going to learn from Him. We’re going to sit at his feet and it’s going to be my job and the job of the other communicators to help bring the life of Christ into our everyday lives. Are you ready for this journey?
It’s going to be exciting. So what I want to do to start it off is in a second, we’re going to go to Matthew chapter three. You don’t have to turn there yet, because what I’d like to ask you to do before we get there is just to join me in prayer. And I would love for God to just bless our journey. I know it’s going to be a long time, but just to bless our time, looking at these passages of scriptures. And so what I’d like you to do is if you’re physically able, I’d like you to join me on your knees and we’re going to pray on our knees together so that God would honor or rather, God would give us just bless the opportunity that we have to walk through the Scripture.
So if you’re watching online, grab a pillow, put under your knees. If you’re here in person, you can get on your knees too. I’m going to join you on your knees as well. Let’s pray. Father, we come before you on our knees because this is a position of submission. God, we understand that you are above us and that we are below you. Lord, as the Scriptures say, your thoughts are not our thoughts, and your ways are not our ways. We need a divine being, a force that is above us to teach us how to live. God so many times on our own we have set forth to figure out life, and it has gone terribly wrong. And so we know that with you, we have an opportunity to learn, to learn, to be better parents, to learn to be better husbands, to learn to be better employees, to learn to be better human beings. Father, we believe that the teaching that your son gave us that if we follow Him, he will give us life to the full. We believe that we see that and it has been affirmed in our living when we lived it out.
God, so we ask you today that you will open our hearts and you will open our minds so that we will understand the scriptures that you have given us. God, I pray that we will understand all the passages that they’ll be clear to us. Lord, that we’ll have a sense of who you are that will grow in our knowledge of you. But more than anything, God will grow in our love for Jesus Christ. Let this time be something that radically changes and alters the trajectory of our lives.
We honor you. We praise you. We give you glory for all that you do. It’s in Jesus name we pray. Amen. All right. Matthew chapter Three Matthew Three As I said in a moment, we’re going to get there and we’re going to be reading the baptism of Jesus. And the reason we’re starting there and not at His birth is because the baptism of Jesus is the beginning of the Ministry of Jesus. Jesus was born and then, as you know, or as you might remember, he lived in Obscurity for about 30 years.
We don’t have very much in the way of writings about the early parts of his life, except for this one passage that talks about his early childhood. We’ll actually look at that a little bit later, but we don’t have much in the way of information. And so instead we’re going to really focus on the Ministry of Jesus and the Ministry of Jesus begins right here, matthew chapter Three verse One. Today it will be a reflection of the awesomeness of Christ, of His focus, of his willingness to be sacrificial.
And then we’ll have a discussion just really practical about how to start well. All of us are starting things in the New Year, and I think this story will help us just to get a grip on how to start something and be really successful in it. And so as you’re turning there to Master chapter Three I know. I said it nine times. I want to introduce you to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus is the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Holy Spirit.
Placed in Mary’s womb. God with us, Emmanuel, meaning that at his birth God became man. He became man in the form of a baby. And he grew up and lived perfectly so that he would be a model for us as to how to live and also would become a worthy atoning sacrifice for sinners like you and me. Along this journey, you and I will be introduced to Jesus of Nazareth, maybe all over again. And what we will discover is that there has never been anyone like him.
You’ll see that he is the master of everything. Not only that, but he’s the servant of the hungry crowds. He’s the doctor to the sick. He’s the Minister for the sinful. He’s the master of the demons and even Satan himself. He is the ruler of nature, stopping the storm in its tracks. He’s the enemy of the religious leaders who are too prideful to admit their own inequities. He’s also the enemy of the clever theologians who try to confound him. He’s the King. He’s the King of the Roman Empire.
He’s also the King of the puppet King of Judah. He is totally and utterly self controlled. We’ll see this time in and time out as he struggles, especially during his passion on the Mount of Olives, fighting sweat, blood and tears. And then he comes forth triumphant from it, doing the will of his father. He is self control to get slapped and spat on and hit in the face. And he was without retaliation victorious. He demonstrated his father’s will by being hung on a cross and receiving the full Fury of his father’s wrath.
In the chaos and the anger and the frustration and the calamity of the crowds, jesus hangs on the tree and is calm. Even having the compassion to say, Father, forgive them. They do not understand what he is doing, what they are doing. He’s the master of his own heart. He’s the master of his own mind and of his tongue. No one has ever lived like him. The Bible says in Colossians chapter One that everything was made for him and by him and through him. He said some amazing things in the time of his life.
He said, I am the way I am the truth. I am the life and catch this. No one can come to the Father, but by me. Jesus makes a claim there that he is the only way to God the only way to heaven. He says he is the Son of God. He says he has the power to forgive sins on Earth. He says that whoever confesses him before man, he will confess before his heavenly Father. He said, Whoever loses his life for the sake of the gospel will not fail to receive hundreds of times.
And if you lose your life for his sake, you will save your life. He made some amazing statements about who he was. He said, I am the light of the world, the bread of life, and that he was the resurrection and the life. These are the claims that Jesus made, and they’re not ambiguous. They are authoritative. Jesus was God in the form of man and see if God were man, you would imagine where you might expect him to have a miraculous entrance into the world. And he did born of the Holy Spirit and born of a Virgin.
If God became a man, you would expect that he would be sinless. They would have a Holy life. And he did. No one could find fault with him. Even Satan himself tested him and he was not willing to do the things that Satan told him to do. He was Holy, undefiled, separated from sinners. He was without sin.
If God became man, you would expect that his words would be the clearest, truest and purest, most authoritative words ever spoken. And they were.
If God became man, you would expect that he would have marvelous powers, healing the sick, raising the dead, and at the end of his life, even raising himself from the grave.
If God became man, you would expect him to have universal and permanent influence on the course of the entire world. And he does.
If God became man, you would expect that he would accomplish his purpose and he did. And you would expect that death could not keep hold of him and it did not. And see it would be, I would say the understatement of the year to say that the man who we’re studying in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the man who we’re studying is worth your time. So I’m just telling you, as we dive in, give the man Jesus Christ your full attention. Let him teach you how to live. Let him teach you how to respond in difficult times.
Let them teach you how to love. Let them teach you how to be human. So many people right now are looking for a guru somewhere. They’re looking for whatever the guy named something v. Gary vee or whatever to teach them how to live. And certainly people mentorship is great. But there has never been a person who has lived better than Jesus Christ. Give him your attention and let him teach you how to live. Are you with me? Amen. Okay. Finally, Matthew three, Matthew three, verse one. In those days, this is about 30 years after the birth of Christ.
John the Baptist who is the forerunner of Jesus, we’re not going to spend a lot of time talking about him, but he is the man that ushered in the Kingdom before Jesus came. He came preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, Repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near. Verse five people went out from him from Jerusalem, and all Judea, Jerusalem is the Southern part of Israel. Judea is the Northern part and all over the region of the Jordan, and they came to him confessing their sins.
They were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Verse 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you and you come to me. Jesus replied, Let it be so now. It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented. Verse 16. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water, and at that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a Dove and alighting on him and a voice from heaven saying, this is my son whom I love with him.
I am well pleased. There are some striking majestic things about this text. All of this that we just read has been anticipated for thousands of years. You might remember that from the beginning of time, after men and women first sin, God had set in motion a plan to redeem the world, that there would be a man who would come, who would come as the seed of Eve, who would strike the Serpent’s head, who would come to redeem the world, that Jesus prophesied about thousands of years before this moment.
And then every little snapshot in the Old Testament shows that a man would be coming, who would inaugurate God’s Kingdom, who would save the world, and who would usher in heaven on Earth. This was what was being expected forever. And what’s amazing about this text and I love so much about this, but in Matthew three, verse three, we just read the words, but it says, Then Jesus came from Galilee. This is the first time Jesus appears on the public stage. Up until this point, it was all preparatory.
The gospel writers have been commenting on the various elements of the beginning of Jesus’life his birth. As I mentioned that little portion about his youth, the forerunner, John the Baptist. But now, after Matthew three, verse 13, Jesus is the most important character. I mean, he’s the most important character before that too. But he is the most important character for the rest of the Bible. He takes prominent stage everything for the rest of the Scriptures is written about this man. This then is like his Coronation. The King comes out of 30 years of seclusion, 30 years of obscurity, 30 years of being hidden away from the quiet seclusion of Nazareth.
Here is in the terms of Lord of the Rings, the crowning of the King. And I want us to look at three elements of this Coronation. First is baptism. Then we’re going to talk about the Spirit, and then we’re going to talk a little bit about God’s words, and then I’ll bring it back. And hopefully we can learn something super practical. But let’s talk a little bit about this baptism because it’s quite remarkable. Do you notice that the word he used here is came? This word may seem pretty typical.
Someone comes, but in the connotation of this text and also in the original language, it actually means to bring something in. John Brush is telling me after the first service that it could mean the birth of someone. It’s like they step on stage. This is the same word used when John the Baptist comes on stage. And I think also when Pontius Pilate comes on stage, it’s like the announcing of someone special. Then Jesus is announced and he’s announced from Galilee. This may seem insignificant, but can I show you something really quickly?
It’ll be cool. Well, you don’t really have a choice, but I’m going to show it to you anyway. Isaiah chapter Nine, Nevertheless, this is a prophecy of Jesus. This is way before Jesus is born. This is way before his baptism. This is a prophecy. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who are in distress. In the past, he humbled the land of Zebulin and the land of Naphthali. But in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations by the way of the sea beyond the Jordan.
There is a prophecy about Jesus that starts off with the line God is going to honor through Galilee. Then look what it says. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. This is about Jesus. On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has gone. Later on it talks about the fact that he will be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father. But it all begins by God saying, hey, I have some good news that will come out of Galilee. Matthew’s goal for writing the Gospels was to prove to his readers that Jesus was the coming King prophesied about in the Old Testament.
And here as he enters the stage, there is no coincidence. This is not a coincidence that Matthew would write that Jesus comes from Galilee because the Jews who read this knowing Isaiah chapter nine would have to pause and think, Is this the light dawning in the darkness? Is this the one who was prophesied about? Is this the one whose government will be on his shoulders, that he will be called the wonderful Counselor, mighty God Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And immediately the readers of Matthew would have recognized that Jesus is saying, hey, this one was coming from Galilee, he is mighty God. Pretty amazing. Right? So Jesus comes from Galilee. And where does he go? Well, we have a little map for you here that hopefully will be helpful. This is a map of Jerusalem. And more specifically, this is exactly where Jesus is. Isn’t that so cool? Shane made this. This thing’s awesome. Okay, I said exactly. But I’m wrong. We actually don’t know whereabouts Jesus is, but we know he’s probably in the Southern portion of the Jordan River. So John the Baptist is preaching somewhere in this general vicinity, and John the Baptist is preaching and Jesus travels as much as 60 miles to get here, 60 miles to get here.
At this time, he is coming alone. There are no crowds, though. In a couple of months he will be so flooded with people that it will be nearly impossible for him to go anywhere without being known. He’s at the very beginning of his Ministry. He has no disciples and really nobody knows who he is except for John the Baptist. So he steps out of obscurity out of Nazareth and he makes his first appearance. It’s amazing to me, as I thought about it, there’s so many lessons that we can learn just from that, just from that first line that Jesus came because what I learned about Jesus is that he was willing to wait for 30 years in a Carpenter shop in Nazareth, performing the simple duties of the home and the simple duties of the shop all the while knowing he was God incarnate and all the while knowing that there was a lost world to be saved, and all the while knowing that there was a world just waiting for him.
And he never, ever, ever was frustrated or impatient with the timing of his father. He patiently waited in unquestioning submission. That is not like me at all. I can barely wait five minutes for my food. The reason my microwaves were invented is because we have no patience. And yet the Son of God is willing to wait for 30 years, 30 years? I have a question. How long are you willing to wait before you lose patience with God’s timing? I once heard an old preacher say, the only thing worse than waiting on God is wishing that you had.
I love that. How long are you willing to just wait? But it’s been a long time and I’m trying to overcome. But how long are you willing just to patiently wait on the timing of God? The Son of God was willing to wait 30 years before he came on the scene and helped the world in the way he knew he only could. It’s pretty amazing. Anyway, the time has come. He comes out of the shadows of Judea and goes into the area of the Jordan River where John the Baptist is baptizing and he comes to be baptized by John.
Now at first, this was really shocking for me when I first studied out the Bible. And the reason it was so shocking is because do you remember why John the Baptist was baptizing people? Well. Verse one says that people were coming to confess their sins. And in verse two, it says he was asking people to repent of their sins, and repentance admits that you have sin. So John the Baptist was baptizing sinners. John the Baptist was baptizing people who admitted that they were sinners, who were confessing their sin, who wanted to repent of their sin so that they could go into the Kingdom of God.
And so it’s kind of interesting because John the Baptist is like this crazy man. You ever read about John the Baptist? You can read in like John. Chapter One talks a little bit about John the Baptist, but he wears goat, not goat, camel skin with camel hair all over his body. He lives in the wilderness. He eats crickets. I can imagine he doesn’t cut his hair ever. He’s someone that I’m nothing against being homeless, but he’s someone that might look like he’s homeless because he probably was, in fact, homeless.
And he lives out in the wilderness. And he’s screaming at people on the Jordan River. In Matthew, chapter three, in between the section that we read it says he’s yelling at the Pharisees, you brood of Vipers who warned you to flee from this coming wrath? He says, there’s one coming who has a winnowing fork, and he’s going to separate you and his fire can’t be quenched. He seems like a crazy person. He’s there screaming at the Jordan River, and people are being compelled by the spirit to come to him and be baptized.
And so he’s baptizing person after person after person after person. That’s amazing. Whoa. And they’re all sinners because he’s all telling them to repent. And so here’s the question. Why does Jesus come to be baptized with the baptism that is for sinners? In fact, it’s the same question that John had. What does he say? But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you. And do you come to me? I love this because the verb form here denotes a continuous attempted action.
It means that John kept on trying to deter him. There’s this long line of people. They’re at the banks of the Jordan River. Aqnd there’s these crowds that have amassed around John and John’s saying, Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is coming. Repent the Kingdom of heaven is coming. And so people are like, okay, sure. And so they’re in line. And John’s just taking them as dunking people. And then the next person online is Jesus Christ. And John, who might have been the only person who knew who he was, looks at him and goes, Nope, no chance I’m baptizing you. He says, no, no, no. Let me step out of this water and you baptize me. That would be better. No, I’m not going to do it. Again, it’s the verb form. He’s continued to try to persuade him that he shouldn’t be baptized. No, no, I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to do this because you’re not a sinner. You are the spotless Lamb of God. I am not going to baptize you. It made absolutely no sense to him.
My baptism is a baptism for sinners. You are the spotless Lamb of God. I am not going to baptize you. Here’s a question for you to think about. Then why does Jesus come to be baptized? If you know the answer for sure, you are smarter than any theologian I have read, because in my study for this passage, I found that this is a hotly debated topic amongst people who know the Bible Super well. But I want to give you some options, and then I want to give you the one that seems to be like the most people buy into this idea.
I’m going to give you some options. One option is, why would Jesus need to be baptized or why did Jesus come to be baptized? Some people say it was an initiation of him being the high priest. If you read numbers chapter four, you see that the high priests were initiated by a washing before they became high priest, and it was a symbol of them being cleansed, so they needed to be cleansed before they became high priest. And so some think that’s exactly what Jesus is doing here.
He’s just symbolically being washed so he can enter kind of the temple of the world and be the high priest. Now that makes some sense. The problem is that, as you might remember, this isn’t a ceremonial washing. This is a baptism for sinners. So here’s an option two. Maybe Jesus was just trying to elevate the position of John and say, I’ll be baptized by you as a moment of Association. I am like you. And if I’m like you, then the crowds will know that you’re a good guy.
The problem with that theory is that at that point, no one knew who Jesus was. John the Baptist was more popular than Jesus. So it’s not until about John chapter four, that Jesus becomes more popular than John the Baptist. So it seems like that really doesn’t make much sense. So let me give you what I think is the reason that I believe makes sense and other people have affirmed this in my thinking. Rather than getting baptized as an attempted Association with John or ritual of cleansing, it’s more likely that he got baptized for two reasons.
The first was as a symbol of his death. John chapter Three Sorry, Romans Six tells us that the baptism of Jesus is like participating in death and resurrection. So Jesus could be from the very beginning just saying, hey, I’m going to die and I’m going to raise from the tomb. That’s certainly a possibility. And the next point, I think, is critical, he’s getting baptized not to have a connection with John the Baptist, but to associate with sinners. He’s going, hey, I am willing to be like you and to do as you do to teach you how to live life.
We know that this is such an important element of Jesus’s life because in Isaiah 53, the Bible says that he will be numbered with the transgressors, that people will look at him like a common man. And this is exactly what the Pharisees do later on. Right? They look at him and say, Why does your disciple or why does Jesus eat with tax collectors and sinners? Why is he willing to associate with those people? And what we see is from the very beginning, Jesus was willing to do what the rest of the crowds were doing.
He wanted to be with the people who sin had destroyed, be with the people who had broken hearts, be with the people so that he could teach them how to live their lives. I would say that the primary reason for which God came was to identify with sinners in every way and here from the onset of his Ministry he’s showing us exactly how to do it. Now again, all of this is speculation. It’s good food for thought. You can study it out. If you have other ideas, you could send me an email.
Enjoy that. That’s fun. The Bible doesn’t say any of that, but what it does is it gives us some clues, rather, it doesn’t give us a clue why. But it does tell us something that convinced John. And so I want to read you the passage. It’s a vague explanation of why you need to be baptized. This is verse 15. Jesus replied, Remember John’s like, no, Jesus replied, Let it be so now. By the way, these are the first recorded words of Jesus other than his time in his youth as his youth, his first time as an adult speaking, let it be so now. Let me get baptized. It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented. What I love about John the Baptist is that John didn’t need a fullblown explanation. All he needed was for Jesus to say, this is the right thing for us to do. And then John obeyed. He has something that is critical. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus simple obedience. If you want to be a disciple, you got to learn to obey, got to learn to obey and to learn to obey when God says to do something, you just do it. John the Baptist was fighting and fighting and fighting and fighting and fighting and fighting and fighting. And then Jesus said, we need to do it. It’s right for us to do. And John said, all right, that’s good enough for me. And so here’s a question for you first. How is your simple obedience? Do you have the obedience of a small child, or do you have the obedience of kind of a toddler and I know exactly what that’s like, because I have three kids.
This is Cadence Grace. She’s my four year old. This is Ezra. He is two, and this is our brand new baby. He is a month old. His name is Baby Silas. Baby Silas. Yes. There is a big difference between her obedience and his obedience. My four year old is an amazing little girl, but she’s at the age where everything needs to be explained to her. She does not want to obey anything without a fullblown explanation of why she needs to do what I’m asking her to do.
And this is just the nature of small children of, like, toddlers. But little babies don’t make decisions for themselves. They live in the authority of their parents. And when they grow up, they begin to think that they know everything in the whole world. And it’s true. My daughter believes she knows why everything happens. I’m like, she’s like, Poppy, why is the grass green? And I’m like, well, and I start explaining. She says no, because God made it. Okay. Sure. Yeah, that’s exactly. That’s true. But whatever, no matter what I say, she knows a better answer to what I have to say.
And it’s annoying. Pray for us. But she’s amazing. But every action needs to be explained at her age. But at his age, whatever mom and dad do or make him do, he does. I think in a lot of ways, spiritual maturity looks like the opposite of physical maturity. Whereas the child grows and becomes someone different. In spiritual maturity, you should become more and more like a child in the arms of your God. Hey, God wants you to share your faith with your neighbors. Okay? I don’t need to know why I don’t need to have a long explanation.
God wants me to love His word and to read it daily. Okay. Yeah, I’ll do that. Yeah. God wants me to spend time with the poor and the hurting. Okay, well, why do I have to that’s the response of a four year old five year old. Why do I have to? The response down here is I’ll just you take me wherever you go. I have no say of my life. Spiritual maturity looks so much more like this than it does like this. Jesus actually said, right, unless you humble out and become like a little child? That’s exactly what I believe jesus was teaching that. We’ll talk about that another day. So let’s go on. That’s the baptism of Jesus. He gets baptized. There’s this simple obedience by John the Baptist. They baptize him. And then it says, as he was being baptized as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened. How amazing. Everyone looks up. What is happening, what is happening. And then the Spirit of God begins to fly down from the recently opened heavens.
And it lands on Jesus. And it looks like a bird. A Dove. And in that moment the Bible says that Jesus is anointed. Anointed means that you’re set apart for a task, set apart for a task. Jesus was anointed. But what was he anointed for? You get a cue when you figure out that the Spirit comes as a Dove. By the way, this is just something, a factoid for you. This is the only time in the Bible the Holy Spirit is referenced as a Dove. I know now everyone thinks of the Holy Spirit as a Dove, but that’s because of this one moment.
So you might think why a Dove? Well, it has to do with anointing and a Dove. I have a good guess for why it’s a Dove. Just follow with me. Do you know what a Jewish person in the first century, on the shores of the Jordan River would have seen in their minds eye when they saw a Dove? Sacrifice. Sacrifice. Because a Dove was the most common sacrificed animal for sin, a Bull, if you were rich, a goat, if you were like upper middle class. But a Dove was for the every man, the common folk.
It was the cheapest thing that you could buy to sacrifice for sin. And here in a marvelous, I believe, wonderful way, the Spirit of God descends in the form that would make people think of Jesus being anointed as a sacrifice for them. So the Spirit anoints him for his kingly service. And it comes in the form of the type of service that he will have. He will be the King of sacrifice. He will be the servant to the point of death. And the Dove. The Dove tells us the type of life that Jesus will live.
The Dove is a reminder of the necessity of the one to be sacrificed for sin. Here is the Dove. Here is the lamb. Jesus is called later on. Here’s the one that will bear the common folk sin the people who are the poorest and the humblest. He will be sacrificed. And the symbol of what he’s supposed to do is now resting on him, commissioned for death, appointed to be a sacrifice. The Dove comes and rests on him and everyone looks and sees and goes. This is the man who is the light from Galilee who brings good news.
But he’s also some type of kingly sacrificial person. And then God speaks, can you imagine what that might have been like? This is my son, whom I love. With him, I am well pleased. This is my son whom I love. This is ripped right out of Psalm chapter two. He is well pleased, and he is delighted in him. These are all past tense words. In other words, as God examined Jesus life from his birth to this point, he found nothing wrong with him. Spotless perfect without blemish a worthy King.
And in this moment he’s inaugurated with a baptism with a anointing by the Holy spirit, and with the words of God. And he has chosen to be King. But his throne will be a cross. He’s chosen to be King, but he’s commissioned to sacrifice his life for sinners who will not love him, who will be the cause of his sacrifice. And from there, the Ministry of Jesus begins. What a great introduction to God’s Ministry right?q and over the next few months, we’re going to see as this moment kind of slingshots Jesus into every part of his Ministry.
We’re going to see him identify with sinners like he did in his baptism. We’re going to see him anointed for sacrifice like he does in his life. And we’re going to see him crushed by the will of his father at the very end of his life. And I love this passage, but I want to make just a really, really practical appeal to you. And this is not related necessarily to this text, but it’s something I pulled out of this text that I was thinking about as we started the new year.
So if you just bear with me for just a couple more minutes, I want to talk about them. This year, every year, typically at the new year, we start some sort of, hey, I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to exercise every day. I’m going to eat healthier. I’m going to read my Bible. I’m going to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Whatever it is that you’re going to do and all of those things we do them because we believe those of us who are Christians we believe that God’s will for this year is that our future would be different.
We would be changed people. So I want to just give you some advice. Something I see in this story that I think will really resonate. Two quick principles. If you want to be successful this year. And then I see in the story of Jesus that made his life totally successful. And it’s a practice that he had forever in every moment of his life. It’s this two elements, focus and sacrifice. Focus on the thing you know, God has called you to do. Focus, focus. From the onset of his Ministry, Jesus knew exactly why he had come, and he makes it clear in chapters later on that he would not sway from his mission at all. He was focused. And in your life, if you want to do well in anything, you got to be focused, pick the thing and stick to it. And the second thing, and it really relates to the first thing is sacrifice. Obviously, Jesus whole life was about sacrifice. But if you’re going to do anything special, anything successful in life, it’s going to require that you let go of some old things so that you could do the new things that God has placed in your life to do.
I’m reading a book. It’s a little selfhelp book. It’s been great. I don’t really typically read these types of books, but this one’s been really good. It’s called Atomic Habits. And in it there’s an interview between the author and a guy who’s the coach for some Olympic bodybuilders. And he asked the question. The author asked the question to this coach. He says, What’s the difference between the best athletes and everybody else? What do successful people do that everyone else doesn’t do? The guy answers with some generic things like luck and talent and all those things that you’re expecting to hear.
And then he said this at some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over again. In the book, I highlighted that for myself because it speaks to this right. If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do the simple things every single day. Do you want to do better spiritually? This year you got to read your Bible every single day, but you’re so bored because you’ve read Colossians before. Well, get over it and read Colossians again.
But I’ve already read through the Bible and I understand it. No, go back and read it again. At some point it’s going to come down to whether or not you can handle just you have the stick with itness to do what it takes. You want to do better spiritual this year? You got to pray every day, but I don’t have time. I work long hours. Yeah. Listen, you want to do better spiritually, you have to sacrifice something to pray every day. It’s very simple. If you want to do better spiritually, you have to sacrifice some things.
You got to focus. If you want to do better than anything, you have to sacrifice and you have to focus. I’m just saying you have to be okay with the rub of this is not so exciting anymore, because when you first become a Christian, reading your Bible every day and praying every day and sharing your faith and coming out to Church is like the most amazing thing ever. But if you’ve been doing this for 30, 40 years, at some point you’re like it’s not about whether or not you have the excitement.
It’s about whether or not you have the stick-with-itness the focus and the sacrifice to be able to stay faithful forever. So I want to encourage you whatever your plans are for this year, these two things are good, especially if it has to do with spirituality. You want to learn how to live a good life, follow the example of Jesus and the practices of Jesus of focus and sacrifice will really help. We’re going to end here and next week Satan temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.
Just imagine this. Jesus is pulled out of the water. Heaven is opened. The crowds see the Spirit descending on Christ. They’re amazed. People are perplexed. God’s word says, this is my son and whom I am well pleased. And then Jesus gets out of the water and wanders into the desert where he fasts and he’s tempted by Satan himself. I cannot wait for next week. Come back to service. You’re going to enjoy the lesson. And for now, we’ll just say a prayer for Communion. Father, we are just impressed by the character of your son, Lord, that he was willing to wait for 30 years in submission to his earthly Father and submission to his Heavenly Father.
You before he became who he was meant to be. God, I pray that you teach us how to be patient like that. God, I pray that you teach us how to obey like John the Baptist. I pray that you teach us how to be focused like Jesus and how to live a life of sacrifice like Christ. Lord, these are the things that we know we need in our everyday lives. God, I just also pray that you will allow us to be amazed by how beautiful and awesome the plan and the Ministry of your son is.
Teach us, dad, to be great servants. Teach us to be the men and women we’re supposed to be. Lord. As we eat the bread that represents your body and the juice that represents your blood. Let it be something that gives us a moment of remembrance. Of all the ways that Jesus was focused and all the ways that he sacrificed so we could have a chance to be close to you. We love you, Father. We praise you in Christ’s name. Amen.