A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew
Matthew 3:7-10 NLT
1. JOHN CONFRONTED THE CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL CLASSES OF HIS DAY
John confronted the religious classes of his day. He confronted the individuals. He confronted the leaders and the communities they were draw from. [This included the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the Zealots, and other groups, He even confronted the military and their belief system.]
He denounced them!
- Who has the courage to do so today?
He called them poisonous snakes!
- We overlook the "poisonous" part of the epithet.
- We overlook the "snakes" implications.
- Jude 1:4 - "I say this because some ungodly people have ed into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." [This one example of the poisonous snakes of today. Many more exist in conservative/liberal, evangelical/mainstream, and fringe groups of today including the immorality in the military culture which we tacitly condone.]
He asked them who had warned them to flee the wrath of God!
- He questioned their motives.
- He questioned their sincerity.
- He pointed out their hypocrisy.
They were saying to each other, "We are safe from judgment because we are descendants of Abraham though Israel's history showed that such statements are a lie.
- How is this repeated in our day?
2. THE MARK OF THE RELIGIOUS CLASSES FALSE PRESENTATION OF THEMSELVES WAS THEIR LIVES
Their repentance was mere words.
- They didn't really think that much was wrong in their lives.
- Who is like that today?
Their's was a "plugging the holes" approach to John's baptism.
- It was negated by their failure to prove their claims by a change in their lives.
- There were taking on another faithless ritual as fire insurance and for public show.
- This is the problem with many so called conversions [salvation experiences] today - nothing has been converted.
We forget that God could create Christians from stones -- He does so every time a hard hearted religious person has a life that is converted.
3. THERE ARE NO "HEAD" CHRISTIANS
There are no "head" Christians. People who are Christians only because of what they mentally assent to. There are no Christians born Christian and no Christians who have been made Christian by their church's traditions.
The only Christians are the people whose changed lives witness to their conversion. There is no conversion except by conversion. "Turn from your sins and be converted."
"By their fruit you will know them." But we say, "By their testimony we know them." Both John and Jesus contradict us. "By their fruit you will know them." The testimony that counts is the fruit of the converted lives. Only this witnesses to the truth of a spoken testimony.
Whole theologies, like dead words on dead paper, ignore this truth. When it is spoken it is almost whispered because so many people have been beaten by a misapplication of the judgment passages.
- Who has the courage to preach "every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire"?
4. WHAT DOES GOOD FRUIT LOOK LIKE
It looks practical!
John gives some examples. (see Luke 3:1-19)
- If you have two shirts, give one to the poor.
- If you have food, share it with the hungry.
- Collect no more taxes that the government requires. [Don't line you pocket by asking more than is required and fair - read the life of John Woolman for an example of this.]
- Don't extort money or make false accusations. [This was said to military referring to their role as law enforcement in John's time.]
- Be content with your your pay.
Many more things could be added from the other teaching in the New Testament and yet more examples are given in the Old Testament. An inner change will bear these kinds of outward change regardless of your religious or "Christian" upbringing. It is a lie that says there was not much to be converted in my life because my parents raised me right or I was raised in the church.
It Is Time To Confront Ourselves
And The Religious Classes Of Our Day!
WHAT WILL YOU SAY?
Core values next exit by Aydindurdu via dreamstime.com