November 20, 2020
Matthew 3:7-10
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.
New International Version (NIV)
               You don’t have to advertise a fire.  The people went out to the Jordan river because they knew that God’s Spirit was speaking through the prophet John the Baptist.  He was not especially a “feel-good” preacher.  His message was relatively simple:  Repent and be baptized because God’s Kingdom has arrived.  John did not follow the “intro, body, conclusion” form of speech.    He offered no rhetorical flourish.  It was “turn or burn” preaching.  Are we surprised it worked?

                Even the religious folks came out to see John.  Though they didn’t start the parade, at least the Sadducees and Pharisees could get in front and pretend to lead.  John was having none of it.  He called them snakes.  This does not sound like a “seeker-sensitive” sermon.  Why wasn’t John just happy that they showed up?  He saw through the facade. 

                What did God really want to happen in this spiritual renewal of Israel?  He wanted people to get ready for his Son to be their King.  So he sent John to tell them to bring forth fruit of repentance.  What does that fruit resemble?  People were confessing their sins, but John called these religious leaders to reveal their repentance by changing their conduct.  John left no room for hypocrisy in his hearers. 

                Jesus will go on to say in the Sermon on the Mount that people know a tree by its fruit.  Good trees bear good fruit.  One pastor said, “We are not judges but we are fruit inspectors.”  Is there any evidence that we have turned from our sin?  God wants to forgive our sin, but he is not willing to haggle about it.  The fruit of repentance is transformation of the heart resulting in different thoughts, speech and actions.  People who don’t repent and receive God’s transforming forgiveness reject his power.  In case we are wondering, the best time to repent is right now.
Please join me in prayer:         
Father, consuming Fire, may your light reveal the truth about our intentions and our actions.  Show us ourselves in your word.  Show us our sin in your word.  Then show us our Savior in your word.  Consume us, God our consuming fire.  Burn out the dross and reveal the truth about who we are.  Make us grateful for your grace and gracious with others who need it.  Give us the grace to bear good fruit for your kingdom today.  May our lives reveal our love for you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 7:17-18
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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