7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3)
When was last time you heard a sermon on this passage? At current churches I haven’t heard it for a long time. Maybe they preached it when I was on vacation.
The scenery is like this: John the Baptist is preaching repentance and baptizing people. What was happening is that many were coming to him to get baptized. But John shocked them and us. He offended them by calling “brood of vipers”. Was this the greatest prophet according to Jesus? Why Jesus could bring as example someone who offends people?
How bad were those people that John used that language?
He challenged their thoughts and offered a practical way how to see that they were not really repented. He brought the theme of fruits.
Today the christian media gives a lot of attention to some celebrities who make certain christian type comments or do some christian work. I’m glad everytime I hear those news. Really! I’m expecting that God is working on their hearts of people who are affecting thousands upon thousands of people with their movies or music. But on the other side I could see that their lifestyle doesn’t look different.
Is it wrong to check for fruits? Once a brother in a church criticized me after I was correcting him: “you can;t judge my heart”. It has been a great shield used by many-you don;t know my heart. I replied: “I’m so glad that I’m not called to judge your heart, it is the job of someone greater than me. I’m judging your fruit, which stinks. As a christian you are not suppose to do these things. These things I’m judging.”
That’s what John the Baptist told the crowds: don’t think that just by saying some nice “christian” words will make you pass the class. Repentance is followed by certain actions and attitudes. Does the message of this great prophet is relevant today? With what price? Can you proclaim it? YES, you must do it. It has been prophesied that many will preach tingling ears messages, but we don;t think that we are tingling ears preachers. We call ourselves preachers of grace. Amen, we must preach grace of God, but also faith, repentance and corresponding actions. Otherwise this generation and the future ones will have as food not real, original grain, but a modified seed which can;t produce real salvation.