This sermon is part of the sermon series "Four Best Places to Live". See series.
Have you wondered what makes one person open to God and the next person closed? What makes Sally receptive, attentive, responsive to God's voice and presence, while Lisle, right next to her, is bored, apathetic, oblivious, couldn't see him or hear him if he stood face to face with her and shouted?
In Jesus' day, according to Luke, what spelled the difference was one thing. It was not upbringing or socio-economic class or educational attainment. In fact, as far as those were indicators at all, the least likely people were the most God-hungry, most God-attentive, and the seemingly best-positioned people were the most God-averse and God-obtuse. It was the down-and-outers, the lost and the loose, the bad and the nasty, who were pounding the sawdust trail to Jesus. The prim and the proper, the good and the decent, the pious and the religious, they just hid behind their newspapers and clucked their tongues, and wished it all would go away. In Jesus' day, who was open and who was closed to God hinged on this: who had John the Baptist gotten his hands on and doused in the Jordan. Not you? You were closed tight. You? You were wide open.
Now what does that mean, and how does that apply? We don't have John running around in his camel hair, eating his funny diet, shouting down caustic remarks, calling us a brood of vipers and telling us to get our sorry little butts down to the water. So what was the essence of John's ministry? Repentance. He called for repentance, which is the humility to see that what you have made of your life so far is not what God wanted you to make of it. You have to admit that. Repentance means you come to a full stop, turn around, and go full tilt in a fresh direction, this time not of your own choosing, ...
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