Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
October 19, 2008
Lincolnton, N.C.

<476> Thesis: The first issue of John's "baptism" is the issue of what God attaches to it. Introduction: This morning we are going to step out on the bridge that connects Jesus' "John material" and Luke's decision to include the Pharisees and lawyers in his presentation. This "bridge" is the issue of John's baptism. We see that Luke 7:29-30 records the fact that "the people and the tax collectors" responded one way because they had been baptized by John and the fact that "the Pharisees and lawyers" responded another way because they had not submitted to the baptism of John. Thus, the issue of "being baptized" is brought to the fore of our attention by the text. It will be helpful to our understanding of this issue if we keep the larger picture in view. Luke wrote chapter seven in order to "bookcase" the most critical issues of that most critical of all issues: one's participation in the Kingdom of God. At the end of Jesus' presentation of the Kingdom of God, He made a distinction between the wise man and the fool on one basis: hearing and acting upon the words He had delivered regarding the true nature and methods of the Father's Kingdom. Since the distinction between foolishness and wisdom consists of "doing", there is no more important issue before man than the question of "how" to "do". Luke's answer is chapter seven. It begins with "faith" and ends with "love". These are the bookends. But, within those bookends there exists some key questions. Most fundamental to the "faith" issue is the question of its "legitimacy". Thus, we have both the record of the raising of the dead and the question of John: these answer the "legitimacy" issue. Then, having established the "legitimacy" issue and its necessary corollary, "faith", we have the mega-question: if legitimacy is established, why do "fools" exist? This is what Luke intended to address as he "bridged" into the rest of his presentation of the bookends. Fools exist, Luke argues, because the most basic of all issues is not what one "believes", but what one "loves". If a person "loves" a faulty "love", he/she will, ipso facto, "believe" improperly. And if a person believes improperly, there goes all hope of participation in the Kingdom of God. This brings us to the "bridge". The "wise" were those "baptized" by John. The "foolish" were those who "rejected God's purpose for themselves". The two are separated by "baptism". This morning we are going to look into the issues of "baptism" to see, first of all, why John baptized, and then to see the major issue that "rejection" brings to the fore.