John the Baptist addressed the crowds that came to be baptized by him. However, when he saw the religious leaders and the onlookers, he realized that they may have had ulterior motives. So in a plea to help them understand that he was not promoting a ‘spectator sport’, but rather a lifestyle change, he told them what their lives should look like if they truly want to demonstrate a committed stand for Jesus. This is still very applicable today, so let us meditate on this for a few moments.
DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-06-22
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BY: Ed Algreen
SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 3:7-9
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)
BIBLE TEXT: John the Baptist: You bunch of venomous snakes! Who told you that you could escape God’s coming wrath? 8 Don’t just talk of turning to God; you’d better bear the authentic fruit of a changed life. Don’t take pride in your religious heritage, saying, “We have Abraham for our father!” Listen—God could turn these rocks into children of Abraham! 9 God wants you to bear fruit! If you don’t produce good fruit, then you’ll be chopped down like a fruitless tree and made into firewood. God’s ax is taking aim and ready to swing!
APPLICATION: Have you ever been in a store, or at work, or at the mall, and found yourself near enough to overhear an individual tearing another employee apart verbally? Then, as you drew near enough to the heated conversation, you saw that it was someone from your church? I know, church attendees are human, and they could still become agitated, frustrated, unhappy and upset over certain circumstances just like everyone else, right? So why then do you suppose that John addressed this problem, and why would God have instilled this in the heart of Dr. Luke to present this as part of the Gospel? I believe it all goes back to a phrase that became very popular some years ago ‘what would Jesus do’ (WWJD). For circumstances will present itself as a test so the world could see what we are made of. In this teaching today, we could see that Luke used a similar tactic to that of Jesus, where he demonstrated a truth to the religious leaders through a parable. He likened their lives to that of a tree that bears fruit. For a farmer will cut down a tree that bears no fruit, so that the fruit bearing trees might flourish. But how would this apply to people, you might ask. I believe that you would be upset if a child for whom you paid years and years of tuition fees to gain their medical degree, finished school, and did nothing more than hang around the house without a desire to work in his/her profession. They may have a medical degree, but if they refuse to work in that profession and keep up with their trade, are they really a doctor? The same example holds true when looking at a married person who refuses to sleep at home, take care of their spouse, and continue to flirt with everyone walking into a nightclub. So what about one who felt a nudge from the Master, and surrenders their life to the lordship of Jesus Christ? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit then resides inside that individual and leads them in a life dedicated to God’s commands, His teachings, His example as told in the Bible, and they will therefore operate in accordance with God’s will, and His direction for their life. When all of this is in place and the individual decides to ignore the Holy Spirit’s leadership and do his/her own thing, how do you think God must feel? Don’t you know that these Pharisee Leaders showed up for no other reason but to trap John, poke fun of his teaching and baptism, and retain the allegiance of their people? Don’t you think that John was probably spot on with his accusation of them being a brood of vipers? Friends, I believe that our take away today is that we must be true to what we claim as our life’s influencer. If this is Jesus Christ, then others will see ‘fruit’ in our actions, our priorities, our words of encouragement, our prayers, the books we read, the places we frequent, and the results of all these things will impact our outlook on life and the love we show towards others. At the time of conversion to our new Master, we will learn to stay in tune with Him through reading His Word; communicating with Him through conversation (prayer); and through a solid commitment to honor Him through our words and actions. If there is no lifestyle change, can we truly prove to Jesus and to our family and friends that there has been a change in our lives? These new changes are displayed as proof, or ‘fruit’, of our lifestyle change. In our new relationship with Jesus Christ, we have chosen to imitate Him! When this happens, the world will know that we are authentic in our Christianity, and John sensed that this was not the case with the Pharisees. If God is your Lord, your Savior, and your Master my friend, seek His help and He will also be your Guide and your Deliverer in every circumstance of life! And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that you and God can’t do!
PRAYER: Precious Lord, please touch Your children today and help us to never take for granted all that You did so that we might have life everlasting. Oh, that we may take our commitment seriously to give you FULL control of our lives, and that we may be obedient in every way to Your Word – Your Book of Instructions for the Christian. As we follow You, I believe that our lives will reflect the very image of Jesus – fruit (evidence) that the world will see, know and appreciate in our lifestyle change. But we need You to do this in our lives Lord, for in and of ourselves we are helpless in overcoming the evil that’s all around us. I know You can, and I believe You will, so I thank You in advance dear Jesus. Be glorified today because of Your committed children being obedient to You, Your Word and the Holy Spirit. AMEN!