It’s been a rough week. It’s tough to make sense of all the mudslinging going on right now.
Here is a link to the sermon this blogpost is based on.
So, I think it’s important that we pull back and regroup. Let’s look at what’s in the Word.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 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.”
- Matthew 3:7-10
This is John the Baptist talking. He sees two groups coming towards him. The Pharisees and Sadducees. We’ve heard about them, but who are they and what’s the difference? The Pharisees claimed Mosaic authority for their interpretation of the Jewish Laws. The Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon.
Two groups that represented the people. Each group claimed to know what was best. Does this sound familiar? But, John is calling it like he sees it. He calls them out. Accusing them of keeping up appearances for appearances sake. He says they were there to be seen by the people. A show of sorts, but not that they wanted to repent or even thought they had done anything wrong! They were legalistic, not righteous as they saw themselves.
So how do we know if we are producing fruit? Real repentance will show itself in the fruits. Not just talking about it, but real repentance.
Repent – To do this we need to change the direction of our lives. We tend to want the wrong things; popularity, power, prestige, fame. These become idols that we move towards.
The beauty of the Gospel is that God is in charge! It doesn’t really matter who the president is. God is omnipotent. You think that God can be silenced? Do you want to hear the rocks praise him? That’s what would happen. God wills to save us into eternity. He wants us to live a life of abundance, but we can’t do that if we keep hanging on to the things that hold us back from true repentance. Get rid of the grudges you’ve been holding. Give forgiveness and ask for it as well.
Repentance is the quitting of doing something.
If we change our life, we’ll slide back into old habits if we don’t change things. You’ve got to change to get where you want to be. Let go and move toward God.
Vipers- slithering snakes. They had no intention of changing their ways. They had an agenda to keep up appearances. They didn’t care about God.
Fire- changes what was. Nothing that goes through fire keeps its original form. You can’t get to know God by seeing him from a distance. You’ve got to get close enough to feel the fire that refines you into the person he wants you to be. God’s fire burns with passion!
Passion doesn’t always flare up. We have to be in community with other Christians to keep the fire burning. Away from the fire we can’t burn. If you take a hot ember from the fire and place it by itself with nothing to fuel it, what happens? It will eventually go out. We need to be in community to reignite our fire.
So, where does all of this leave us?
- Remember we have been baptized into Christ.
- We die to self and live with Christ.
- We are the snow plows. (Reference to last weeks blog post)
- It starts with us. Our individual repentance.
- You’re either a disciple of Christ or you’re not. You can’t have it both ways.
- Christianty is in the world, but it starts with each of us.
- Remember the life saving power of Jesus Christ.
- The President is not the head of the Church.
- What we don’t condemn, we condone.
- Be a hammer. Build with it, don’t tear down.
- Pray, keeping your eyes on Christ.
- Character matters.
- We were baptized into Christ, not a political party.
I know it’s a lot to consider, but let’s keep proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Good News!