January 3

Matthew 3


John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus. He was a prophet, meaning he was in the office of a prophet. Since the Holy Spirit has been poured in Acts 2, it is possible for the Holy Spirit to speak through any Christian through words of prophecy as He decides to move. However, prophesying doesn’t make one a prophet, or in the office of a prophet. 


A prophet carries a spiritual authority with an anointing to carry out the proclamation of God’s message for that time in history. John was sent to prepare the hearts of the Jews for their Messiah, so they would receive Him when He came. No other prophet had spoken messages to the Jews for 400 years. John’s message was one that caused His people to remember the past prophecies, to bridge generations, giving up to Israel under Roman rule. John’s message tilled the soil of hardened hearts, calling for surrender. When men and women were water baptized, it signified this surrender, a washing away of self and rising with an allegiance to their King.


John prophesied that the Messiah would also baptize, but not with water. The Messiah would baptize with fire. Water washes, but fire ignites. Jesus told His followers that when the Holy Spirit came, they would be submerged with the power and boldness of the Spirit of God. Yes! It is available today, not only for the Jew, but for all who surrender their lives to be used of God!


Not only will the fire of God baptize the Christian, but this prophecy also mentions the fire of God that will consume men and women in the end times. 


Jesus insisted on being water baptized as well. Why? Jesus is our example of a man who laid His life down. He surrendered Himself, knowing He would one day sacrifice His life for all mankind (Philippians 2). As He made this outward expression of His inward heart, God confirmed His Son by opening heaven, speaking over the Christ, confirming His identity in a supernatural way, saying, “THIS IS MY UNIQUE SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.” God also had His Spirit fall from heaven onto Jesus. The Holy Spirit did not come in the form of a dove, but His decent upon Christ was like the way a dove would move. What an incredible moment this was, the Trinity in action – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!


Genesis 7-9


The 120 years was the time of God’s patience for man’s wickedness before He sent the flood judgment. It is not referring to the amount of time it took Noah to build the ark. It is not a Scriptural promise that mankind should live to be 120 years old (see Psalm 90:10). 


Jesus refers to the wickedness among humans at the time of the great flood when he taught on the end times in Matthew 24:37-38. In that reference, Jesus describes people who lived their everyday lives, unaware that judgment was coming. They were also unaware of how great their sin was, oblivious to how wrong they were. If you are seeing an acceleration of blatant and severe rebellion to God’s ways, that could be a sign of the times we are living in. When trouble comes, do they turn to God in repentance and call out in prayer? If not, that could be a sign of the times we are living in. 


Noah had a ministry to try to turn people around for what was right, but they wouldn’t turn. Was it Noah’s fault that the world didn’t see their sin? Was it Noah’s fault that people didn’t repent? No. Was it Noah’s fault that judgment came? No. Noah did his part. God saved Noah, putting responsibility on the people for making their own choices. 


In our church, we continually speak truth of God’s holiness from the pulpit and in private, along with hope for salvation and healing. There have been many times people have bowed their head in tears of repentance when they found arms of mercy and forgiveness. We also have called out “church sin” like self-righteousness and religious pride. However, there are times when people have refused the receive the message of repentance that we bring. We’re doing our part. We let the Holy Spirit do His part. We allow people to make their own choices. 


After the flood, God makes a covenant with creation, never to destroy every living thing like He did in the flood. A sacrifice is made and blood is shed for the atoning of sin. In 8:21 God says, “although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” God knows what He is dealing with when it comes to the sin nature of human beings, and yet, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God knows that after we receive a new nature, we’re still far from perfect, yet Christ continues to intercede for us at the righthand of God. We can be confident of this: He will never leave us or forsake us. If we sin and repent 490 times a day, He will forgive us. We should not take advantage of His love, but we should never doubt that His mercy exceeds the mercy we can imagine. 


In 9:1 God tells Noah and his family to do what God also told Adam and Eve to do, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” Like with Adam, God gives every living creature under Noah’s authority. God permits Noah and his family to eat meat, only not with its blood, or its life. 


The rainbow was the sign of God’s promise between Him and the earth. God knew then that the earth would fill up with people. He knew then that there would continue to be murder, war, crime, rapes, abuse, addictions, sexual sins, and all the dysfunction that comes from sin. God knew that climate of Earth had changed, and there would now be hurricanes and storms, earthquakes, famines, and fires. He knew there would be sickness, deformities, and miscarriages. God also knew He would send His Son as a Savior. He set an appointed time for His return. 


At the end of chapter nine, we read where Noah, known as a preacher of righteousness, became drunk. Drunkenness is a sin. It causes a person to shut down their mind and lose inhibitions for behavior. Drunkenness disrupts decision making and rational thought. It can cause numbness, weakness, and even temporary paralysis. It can even cause blackouts. Many people are irresponsible when drunk, and the consequences can be severe. A large percentage of people in prison say they were either drunk or high when committing their crime. Many are sexually active, however, if sober, they would not have made that choice. In addition, when a mind is compromised from drunkenness, It is possible for evil spirits to enter into the body or cause a person to behave in a way they wouldn’t if they were sober. Alcohol also has a tremendous addictive quality for many, meaning it controls them and keeps them in bondage. When the Bible teaches us not to become drunk, it is the protection and mercy of God talking. 


That being said, in 9:24, we read that when Noah “came to,” he realized what was done to him. Ham had dishonored his father, and more than likely it was a sexual act (Leviticus 20:17 seeing nakedness was a sexual act). This is the family with which God was restarting the population. If you think your family was dysfunctional, take a look at some of these Bible families. Ham’s descendants were the Canaanites, the people that the children of Israel would overcome and take their land. God is merciful, and He uses imperfect people; however, we are not to be deceived. Sin destroys lives. The good news is that Christ came to overcome sin and help us to live in freedom through our surrender to Him. 


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