“But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:7-10 NLT
When we’ve been in church for a while we have a tendency to drift toward spiritual apathy. We are not moved to do much and we become passive. Being a follower of Christ is not a spectator sport. Faith without works is dead. Instead we should be active in our faith walk.
When John the Baptist came on the scene he came to shake things up. He didn’t fit the status quo. He wore camel skin, lived in the desert, ate locusts and wild honey. He was anti-establishment. His whole message was, “repent of your sins and be baptized, the Kingdom of heaven is near.” With this simple message hundreds of new people were coming to be baptized!
The old religious guard came to spectate. Anytime there is a fresh move of God religious people like to come to investigate. John was not having any of that! He said, “you snakes! Who warned you of God’s wrath?” In other words why did y’all come down here to meddle?
He told them they were going to have to do something to be a part of this new move of God and so do we.
- Repent of your sins and show the fruit of repentance. We need to take inventory of our lives and see where we have missed the mark in following God’s commandment. Once we identify where we’ve fallen short with God we have to make corrections and start living our lives in alignment with God’s word. We have to show fruit of our repentance. Being sorry ain’t going to cut it. We have to show God something different in how we live out our lives.
- Don’t think that you are irreplaceable. John the Baptist told the Pharisees to stop having a spirit of entitlement. Just because they had been leaders a long time didn’t mean that God couldn’t create new leaders. Whenever we get in the way of God’s new move he can create new people.
- Every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. He said, “The ax is laid at the root.” This let’s me know that God is not playing. Anybody or anything that is no longer fruitful has got to go! We have to check our fruit. Are we being fruitful for God or messy with God? Are you bringing something to the table or just taking from the table? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? If it’s not bearing fruit it’s got to go. Hold onto what’s good and let go of what no longer serves you.
Search me. If you find anything in me that is unproductive or rebellious please bring it to my attention so that I can make corrections. I don’t want anything in my life to cause me to be cutoff from you. It’s not worth it. This year I want to be more fruitful and more productive than last year. I don’t want to come to church to watch everybody else get it. I’m ready to work and worship. Here I am Lord, send me. Use me until you use me up!
In Jesus’ Name,