Matthew 3:1-12

Read Matthew 3:1-12

The main theme of John the Baptist’s preaching was “repent.” John called people to repent to prepare people for the coming of Jesus—who would grant forgiveness and the Holy Spirit to those who humbly repentant, but he would judge those who did not.

Repent means to do a 180-degree u-turn away from sin and toward God. When Jesus began his ministry he also preached repentance: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). 500 years ago, in 1517 a preacher named Martin Luther reminded the church, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Christians regularly repent of sins and trust Jesus to forgive us and help us mature as Christians.

Matthew 3:6 speaks of “confessing” sins. Have you ever confessed a sin to another Christian? Share your experience—how did you feel before and after confessing? Did confessing your sin help you embrace God’s forgiveness? Did confessing help you not return to committing that sin again?

If appropriate in your group, is there a sin that you need to confess right now? (If needed, read James 5:16 and 1 John 1:7-10.)

Matthew 3:8 talks about bearing “fruit in keeping with repentance.” The Holy Spirit works through our sincere repentance and faith to produce fruit—that is, real life change. What is one way the Holy Spirit changed you in 2017?

How is God calling you to repent and be transformed in 2018? Share from one of the following categories:

* Actions: What does God want you to do or to stop doing?

* Thoughts: What does God want you to think or know?

* Feelings: How does God want to change even your feelings to align with his?

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