SOAP – Through the Gospels
S – SCRIPTURE
Matthew 3:1,2;5-8 – In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Then Jerusalem & all Judea & all the region about the region were going out to him, & they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees & Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance…”
O – OBSERVATION
Repentance is a heart-level, life-transforming response; it is a change of heart & mind that leads to a change of direction & action. John called people to REPENT because the kingdom of heaven was at hand, & that fact changed everything. People from all over, convicted of their sin & challenged in their heart, submitted themselves to the declarative & symbolic act of water baptism as a sign of a changed heart & life – it was a visible sign of their desire to be prepared for the advent of the kingdom of God.
But repentance wasn’t (& isn’t) just about the act of being baptized; true repentance will bear fruit, will show evidence of that changed heart, mind, & life – the proof of repentance is seen in the days, weeks, & months that follow, as the new life springs up & reveals itself.
A – APPLICATION
John’s challenge to the religious leaders of his day, (& to us reading this 2000+ years later) is to persevere in repentance, & not merely go through the outward motions of a religious experience. To be fundamentally shifted from my road to Christ’s. To live life, make decisions, establish priorities, & invest oneself in a manner that is congruent with a life of repentance; to not grow weary at doing good, but to persevere through difficulty & opposition so we may see the work of the Holy Spirit, righteousness & life, established in us. (Galatians 6:7-10).
P – PRAYER
LORD – make me sensitive to Your Spirit – that I would be quick to repent, to turn, to change my mind to align with Yours. Make my heart simple & soft. And may the seeds of repentance & faith grow in my heart & mind, translated to action & a life that makes You famous.