My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Monday, November 19, 2012
Who is being baptized?
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for
baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee
from the wrath to come?
(Matthew 3:7 NASB)
“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
(Matthew 3:8 NASB)
and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham
for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to
raise up children to Abraham.
(Matthew 3:9 NASB)
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every
tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(Matthew 3:10 NASB)
I was struck in my reading today that it was the Pharisees and
Sadducees who were coming out to see John the Baptist and to be baptized
by him. These were the religious leaders of the day and yet they were
coming and being baptized by John. Why would they do that? Was God
truly speaking to them and were they repentant in their hearts, or was
something else happening? Is it possible that these sticklers when it
came to the law heard about what was happening and and simply did not
want to be left out. Did they go for the wrong reasons and/or
motivations? Was it more about covering their bases? John could see
right through them and that's why he responded in the way he did.
Repentance was much more than just a public proclamation of faith,
instead it was also life-changing and the result was that this
individual would bear fruit. The warning is found there as well -- if
this is just about a public show of spirituality, beware, because the
axe is ready to cut down those who bear no fruit!
The message and the warning for us becomes quite clear. Our
Christian walk is one which must be genuine, and to be genuine means
that there will be fruit, otherwise we are no better than the Pharisees
and Sadducees. If there is anything about our Christian life that is
simply about show and impressing other people, then we have it all wrong
and God will reveal what we have done to the whole world. The axe is
already in his hand and he will cut us off if we are not genuine and we
do not bear fruit.
John was calling people to true repentance. We are all still called
to true repentance today, no matter who we are! We must examine
ourselves on a daily basis and repent for the wrong attitudes and
motivations that we may find our hearts. We must repent for ignoring
that needy person who really wanted our attention last week. We must
repent for not bearing the fruit that God has intended for us.
What does it mean for us to bear fruit? Since we are all a variety
of people (trees), we will all bear different fruit. If it all looked the same
it would be a strange world and/or church in which we live. However,
whatever God has created us to be, that is what we are, and that is the
kind of fruit we are to bear. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees were
unique trees from God who should have been bearing fruit. They should
have been the ones raising up the incredible Biblical scholars and Godly
church leaders who would deeply influence the world -- but they were
not -- they were not bearing fruit! And what did God have to do?
Because of the unfaithfulness of those who called themselves God's
people, and because those to whom God had intrusted the Law did not
raise up a new generation of spiritual leaders -- God had to go outside
of them. And God chose a rag-tag band of twelve individuals who, when
filled with the spirit, went out and bore fruit and changed the world.
Who is it that's being baptized -- and why? What are we doing at
church? Why are we there? The axe is already sharp, it's time for us
to really repent and be about God's business!
Lord, please help me to be your servant who is producing fruit for you and your kingdom. Amen.