READ: Matthew 3:1-17
THINK: If you've already accepted Jesus as the Forgiver of your sins and Leader of your life, how much have you grown since that time in a spiritual sense? It's not a matter of how much more you know about God's Word or the church. It's not even a matter of how involved you are in ministry. Are you continuing to grow in deeper your personal relationship with Jesus, and does your life reflect that on a daily basis?
RESPOND: What does it mean to repent, and how does that relate to a person's relationship with God? (See 3:2 note.) What does it mean to 'produce fruit” in a spiritual sense? (See 3:8 note.) What difference does your faith in Jesus make in your everyday life? How can others tell that you are a follower of Jesus? How are His principles and power evident in your character and actions? Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees? (See 3:7 note and chart on Jewish Sects, p. 1306.) What does it mean that Jesus 'will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”? (See 3:11 note.) Why was Jesus baptized (See 3:13 note.) What was the significance of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus? (See 3:16 note.) What do the events surrounding Jesus' baptism reveal about the character and uniqueness of God? (See 3:17 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you not only understand His Word but to apply it to your life daily. If you are aware of any way in which your beliefs and behavior don't match or that you are not obeying something God has told you, ask Jesus to forgive you and to help you make a definite change.
ACT: Go through the day with a strong awareness of how your faith in Jesus should affect your attitudes, speech and actions. Make a conscious and determined effort to obey God in ways that you may have typically overlooked or neglected (i.e., in your interaction with family members or showing kindness to those who don't seem to like you). Also, if you have not yet been baptized in water since surrendering your life to Christ, talk to your pastor about doing so as a means of following Jesus example and identifying with Him.
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