Sermon Title:  Transformers

Summary:  The Lord will bring us salvation from wrath and judgment if we make
a path for him into our hearts which only can happen through fruit bearing
repentance.  We will be enabled to bear much fruit through the transforming
work of Christ through the Spirit.

Know:  We cannot rely on heritage or going through a ritual to be saved.  We
must be transformed through Christ in thought and actions.

Feel:  The desire and need to be truly transformed, and courage to openly
acknowledge areas of your life that need the most transformation

Do:  Evaluate the transformation in your daily thought, speech, and actions, and
identify the top areas that need improvement.  

Text:  Luke 3:1-20

Scripture Reading:  Rom 12:1-2

1.  Have you ever seen a toy Transformer?
	a.  Will be talking about transformation this morning
	b.  Given several images of transformation here
2.  Text:  Luke 3:1-20
	a.  v.18 - Luke says John preached the “good news”
	b.  May seem odd that there is so much about judgment here
	c.  The good news is that we can be saved
3.  How?

I.  Prepare a footpath (v.4-6)
	A.  What was purpose of John’s ministry?
		1.  To tell the people to prepare the “way/path” for the Lord
		2.  Making a hiway for him in the desert
	B.  Reminds me of our first travel through Missouri then Arkansas
		1.  Smooth to windy hills
			a.  Jeremy always got car sick in Arkansas
			b.  Terrain didn’t change, the road did
		2.  Lot of trouble to make road smooth in Missouri
			a.  Cut through mountains
			b.  Built high bridges
			c.  Was a smooth ride - Travel easy
		3.  I can only imagine what it like before the road
		4.  That is the imagery Isaiah gives us
	C.  They were preparing and waiting for the coming of the Lord
		1.  Messianic expectation was high in this period
		2.  Different people made different kinds of perparations
			a.  Some went out and lived monastic lives
			b.  Others revolted against unclean Gentiles polluting land
			c.  Others tried to keep law perfectly by making extras rules
		3.  John’s preaching implies that they still had yet to get ready
			a.  Maybe their means of getting ready wasn’t enough
			b.  John says they needed to prepare way for the Lord
			c.  Maybe they were rolling out wrong kind of red carpet
		4.  Maybe they missed what prepration was all about?
	D.  Do you have mountains and valleys between you and God?
		1.  What might that mountain or valley be?
			- Bad influence, music, hobby, job, friends, money, apathy
		2.  Maybe its time to transform the terrain of your heart
		3.  Make a way for the Lord to come in and save you
		4.  What will that take?

II.  Produce fruit (v. 7-9)
	A.  Text tells us of two things that would not work
		1.  Being scared
			a.  Compares them to snakes fleeing from a burning field
			b.  Question is not what are you fleeing from,
			      but who are you fleeing to?
			c.  May be afraid of Hell, or God’s wrath, that not enough
			d.  Even demons believe and shudder
		2.  Relying on background
			a.  Background:  Isa 51:1-2 - Look to rock, to Abraham
			b.  John says God can go get another rock
			c.  Doesn’t matter what background they come from
			d.  If from good respectable family that not save you
		3.  Will not work because they are not fruit bearing
	B.  We must bear fruit
		1.  In Greek, it is literally, “do” fruit
			a.  The word “do” appears several times here
			b.  What shall we “do?”
		2.  Fruit translates to action.  Examples: (v.10-14)
		3.  Some words to sum up ethical expectations
			a.  Righteousness
			b.  Kindness
			c.  Fairness
			d.  Mercy
	C.  What does fruit do for a tree/plant?
		1.  Identifies - Will know tree by its fruit
			- Do your actions identify you as a Christian?
		2.  Nourishes us - Full of vitamins, etc.
			a.  Do your actions nourish or build up?
			b.  If only produce leaves, can’t eat that
		3.  Reproduce/multiply - Most fruits have some sort of seed
			a.  Do your actions help multiply goodness?
			b.  Do you inspire others to change & follow God?
			c.  How a seed do this?  Seed must die
				- Scripture reading - We a living sacrifice - Rom 12:1
				- We die to self and follow Christ
				- Halfway commitment produces nothing
			d.  When bearing fruit, also sowing seed
	D.  It is not enough to simply exist
		1.  Trees that simply exist will be cut down - useless
		2.  God expects us to bear fruit
		3.  What kind of observable fruit are you bearing?
		4.  But, may think you are sickly tree, just can’t seem to produce...

III.  Be purified in Christ  (v.15-16)
	A.  Jesus immersion superior to John’s
		1. Many puzzled over immersion of Spirit and fire.  What is it?
		2.  Is Spirit for faithful and fire of hell for wicked?
			a. “Burning” in v. 9 & 17 are both about judgement
			b.  But not - “Baptize some with Spirit and others with fire”
		3.  Is baptism in the Spirit and fire about Acts 2?
			- No, John addresses the whole crowd, not just 12
		4.  Seems Spirit and fire for the same people
	B.  What relationship does Spirit have with fire?
		1.  Isa 4:5 - Wash away filth through spirit of burning
			- Fire coult be purifying, transforming refiners fire
		2.  Being purified is all about inner transformation
			a.  Could go through motions and receive John’s baptism
			b.  But if not transformed, its just a ritual
			c.  We need the Spirit in us
		3.  What is the Spirit’s role in this inner transformation?
			a.  (Titus 3:5) - Renews us
				- We are born again of both water and Spirit
			b.  (Rom 8:6-9, 13, 26) - Strengthens us
				- Without Spirit, not able to follow God
				- With Spirit, can put to death deeds of flesh
		4.  Jesus makes sickly trees well through the Spirit
			a.  Gives them ability to bear good fruit
			b.  If Spirit in us, we will “do” the fruit of the Spirit
	C.  By ourselves we were whithered and sickly
		1.  But we have been grafted into Christ
		2.  Jesus is the vine, we are the branches
		3.  If we abide in him, we can bear much fruit
	D.  Don’t ever say, “I just can’t do fruits of repentance”
		1.  You can, and you must
		2.  (v.17) - Image of both harvest and judgement

1.  Do you need to be transformed from chaff to wheat? (invitation)
2.  Maybe you are already wheat, but haven’t been acting like it
	a.  You can be all that God intends
	b.  Don’t say “I can’t do it”
		- You can, but it may not be easy - v.18-20
		- It comes with various difficulties
3  But you have the power through the Spirit to be transformed fruit bearing tree
	a.  Fruit to build up, nourish and inspire others
	b.  As a husband, wife, parent, child, mechanic, carpenter, manager, etc.
4. Make use of the power available to you today

Questions for Small Group Discussion