Some pastors will baptize you the day you walk the isle in surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some will come for baptism even though the pastor may never have witnessed their day of salvation. I believe that you will find it interesting how John handled this subject while at the Jordan River. Meditate with me on the important teaching John shared with the Pharisees and Sadducees, as this may still apply in our churches today.
DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-01-12
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BY: Ed Algreen
SCRIPTURE FROM: Matthew 3:5-9
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)
BIBLE TEXT: 5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 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? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 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.
APPLICATION: Ever noticed how some will dye their hair blue, if they see a friend or two doing the same thing, and getting attention over the strange practice? Ever noticed at an altar call in your church how challenging it is to get the first person to respond to the gospel message, and how much easier it is after the first person makes the walk down to the altar? We don’t want to be the first to make a move, but we are quick to follow the flow by our friends. People from the neighboring towns came to hear for themselves what all this ‘wild man’, John, was preaching about. His message touched their heart, so they confessed their sin and was ready to be baptized. This is still pretty customary in churches today, especially during revival or evangelistic services. But what would your church, or your pastor, do if at the baptismal service a number of people showed up for baptism who had never visited your church before? I believe we all can agree that at such special services, many might get in the spirit of what is occurring, and they may want to be baptized also. John recognized that the Pharisees and Sadducees who showed up and wanted to be baptized, felt like they were already good enough on their own reconnaissance and at least as good as the persons there who may have received forgiveness of their sin that day. However, John addressed this by drawing their attention to the change that occurs in a believer’s life. I believe John’s teaching on this is well worth our time to reflect on. Think about it – if we are a child of the King, then we will look like; sound like; and act like the King. It would be highly hypercritical of us to say that we are a child of the King yet continue to behave like our old sinful selves. Who are we trying to fool? I also appreciate that John included the piece for his audience not to feel ‘saved’ because of them being from the seed of Abraham. You see, when we have grown up in the church, or if we happen to be a child of the pastor, deacon or elder, we may try to fool the world into thinking that because of our heritage, we too are saved. Notice what John taught here: we are each to approach the throne of God individually. Nothing done, said, or practiced by our ancestors could cleanse us of our sin and make us right with God. It is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that we are saved. That’s the sole purpose in God sending His Son, and He will have it no other way. We cannot slither our way into heaven through any other means. Be encouraged today Brothers and Sisters. We may not be a son or daughter of any earthly king or queen, but as a son of the Most Hight God – King Jesus, we are born again and ready to meet our Savior whenever He calls us home to glory. We are never too bad, or never too much of a pretender for God to accept us. Repent of your sins and ask God to become alive in You so that your words, actions and witness will be all about your heavenly Master.
BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus can save the hardened criminal or even the one who feels like they’ve always been ‘good enough’ according to the word’s standards. He came to seek and save ALL that are lost. That includes you, me, our neighbor or the drunk down the road.
PRAYER: Father God, we are reminded that there is nothing we can do of our own selves to save ourselves from our sins and ready ourselves for the portals of Heaven. John was very blunt about this with the Pharisees and Sadducees, and he may have even found reason to preach at some of our churches today. Yes, we must be saved through the righteous sacrifice of Jesus alone. But our life will always reflect who takes center place in our lives. May that always be you, and you alone dear God. As the world see Jesus in us, they might become convinced of the power of the One who sacrificed His life for the remission of our sins. Please forgive us for trying to play the fool before You, like we so often try to get away with before our fellow man. You are the one, and the only one, that we must be honest before. Please deal in our hearts and our lives so that we may have an honest relationship with You, and the one who will naturally display to the world who controls every fiber of our being. We love You Lord and we want You to be evident in all that we are. AMEN!