Matthew 3 – Who Do You Think God Is?

Do you have a religious view of God or a relational view of God?

John the Baptist confronts the religious leaders.

Relationship begins with repentance – acknowledging we need God’s help.

God proclaims His love for Jesus at His baptism before He ever taught a message, healed someone, or even began His public ministry.

God has the same posture towards us!

God loves us, values us, considers us worthy of rescuing. We don’t have to do good things to make Him love us or stop doing bad things to keep an angry God from punishing us.

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Matthew 3 Video:

Matthew 3 Notes:

Who do you think God is?

In Matthew 3 we discover the cousin of Jesus who seems to be someone you wouldn’t want in your home but you’d be curious enough to go see out at the river. 

In this chapter we discover more about God’s character. 

1.Relationship over religion as seen in how John the Baptist, a messenger of God boldly rebukes the religious leaders.

2.Relationship begins with repentance. This means to make a 180 degrees turn. Acknowledge we need God’s help. We have free will to choose or reject a relationship with God in our life.

3. God loves us, values us, considers us worthy of rescuing. We don’t have to do good things to make Him love us or stop doing bad things to keep an angry God from punishing us.

Consider this: before Jesus ever taught one message or healed one person, His Heavenly Father loved Him and was pleased with Him.

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

That’s God’s posture towards us. He loves us. He is pleased with us. He is pursuing us for a relationship in spite of our sins, our mistakes, our evil choices. So when we surrender our lives to follow Him, it’s out of gratitude that we want to change, and He helps us! With His help, we can overcome our struggles and even become more like Jesus.

The difference between religion and the gospel is found in the difference between how you see God. 

The Gospel is the good news that God wants a relationship with us.

I cannot find who originally said this, so if you know, let me know in the comments, but I love this description:

Religion: “I messed up. Dad’s gonna kill me.”

Relationship: “I messed up. I need to call Dad.”

How do you see God in that scenario?

Timothy Keller, a pastor out of New York City and author of The Reason for God said it this way: 

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” 

– Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller also said: 

“The basic premise of religion– that if you live a good life, things will go well for you– is wrong. Jesus was the most morally upright person who ever lived, yet He had a life filled with the experience of poverty, rejection, injustice, and even torture.”

– Timothy Keller

I’m getting ahead of the story, I don’t want to spoil the ending!

How can we apply Matthew 3 to our lives?

  • Do you see God through a more religious lens or do you see God as relational?
  • Is there something you need to surrender to God – something from which to turn over to Him or to repent?
  • What else stood out to you?

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