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The text for this lesson is Matthew 3:1–12

Key Point

  • As John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, so our pastors point us to this same Jesus, who grants us forgiveness, life, and salvation.
  • Law: Sin hardens my heart against God, and I try to earn my salvation.
  • Gospel: God’s Word works in my hardened heart, causing me to repent and believe in the Savior.

Discussion Points

  1. When you hear your pastor say, “Repent!” what do you think about? What does it mean to repent?
  2. Read Matthew 3:1–6. How does Matthew introduce John the Baptist? What message does John preach? How does Matthew connect John to Old Testament prophets?
  3. How did people receive the preaching and ministry of John? What is the relationship here between repentance, John’s Baptism, and the confession of sins?
  4. Read Matthew 3:7–10. Who are the Pharisees and Sadducees? Why does John call them a “brood of vipers”? What does John mean when he says, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance”? What does John mean by the picture of the axe laid at the root of the trees?
  5. Read Matthew 3:11–12. Here, John speaks of the difference between his Baptism and Jesus’ Baptism. What is that difference, in this context? What other image does John use to show that God looks for repentance and faith? To what event does it refer?
  6. Since Matthew 3:11 refers to Jesus’ Baptism on the Last Day, what then is the connection with our Christian Sacrament of Baptism? How does Christian Baptism prepare us for Jesus’ Baptism on the Last Day? See Mark 16:16.
  7. How can you receive your pastor’s message in the same way as those who received John the Baptist’s message?

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