Putting God's Word into Practice…

Matthew 3

on January 3, 2012

John the Baptist had one job–to prepare people for the coming of the Lord!  He had one message–“Repent!”  Why is repentance the best message to prepare people for Jesus? 1. It humbles us to see our need for a Savior and causes us to admit that we are sinners. 2. Every person can answer the call to repent.  Sin is our great equalizer and repentance is available for everyone. 3.  Only Jesus Christ can hear, forgive, and heal.

It was amazing to me in verses 5-6 that people were going out to John in the wilderness to hear the message.  This seldom happens today.  We are so blinded to our need for repentance and there are so few workers calling people to repentance that the idea of people willingly going out into the wilderness to have their sins forgiven seems foreign.  It is difficult enough to get people to go to church.  When we moved to Heath to start a church 6 years ago, I think I probably invited over 100 people to try our church and not one of them ever showed up.  Oh there were lots of promises to make it out to a service, but no follow through.  Sometimes I drive down the main highway in town and look at the other drivers and weep–do they even know they are lost and blind?  Do they think about eternity?  Do they know they need a Savior?

In verse 8, John says to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”  What is the fruit of repentance?  Here are 3 fruits that I recognize in my own life after repentance, I’m sure there are more:  1.  Humility 2. Changed behavior 3. Gratitude for God’s grace.

At the end of the chapter, Jesus shows up among the people and gets baptized–notice He doesn’t confess any sin, because He is sinless!  God the Father speaks audibly recognizing publicly that Jesus is His Son.  “You are my joy!” I whisper that to my boys almost daily.  That’s what God says to His Son–“I’m pleased with you!”

In Matthew 1:21 it says Jesus came to save HIS people from their sins.  In Matthew 3:12 the same possessive pronoun is striking.  “HIS winnowing fork is in HIS hand, and HE will clear HIS threshing floor and gather HIS wheat into the barn, but THE chaff HE will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Jesus is the Ruler.  The whole earth is His.  He created us all, but some will belong to Him (wheat) and some will reject Him (chaff).  The former He will gather to Himself for eternal joy.  The latter will be cast away from Him for eternal punishment.  This is real–real choices, real consequences!  So I’m saying with John, “Repent!”  Turn to God in humility.  Confess your sins and let Jesus wash them away and make your life fruitful by putting His Spirit inside You.  He promises to give grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34)

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