Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Proof is How We Live ***

S. Matthew 3: 1 – 17

O: This is the story of John the Baptist. You can feel the passion of his spirit in this text. His desire to bring the message to the people is profound, and his belief of what his role is with respect to Jesus is also profound. Even Jesus has a role to play, and must do what “God requires.”

A: Even a simple man, dressed simply, eating minimally, enough to only survive, has an important role to play, and not just as a messenger of God’s word.

I’m sure you could feel the passion and intensity of John because the people talked about it and spread the word.

I think the most crucial part of this text is the following:

“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 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. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

The only proof is in the way we live our lives, not the boxes we have checked. You can call yourself a Christian, but if you do not live a good life, and not only live a good life, but produce good things with that life, only then are you safe. You can even be baptized, but if you continue to live life as you were before, then it is an empty baptism, merely an act on a stage before people and not before God.

God can create more children from stones. That’s how God made us in the beginning, from nearly nothing. All the building blocks were here, but they were not put together in this special way until God put them together. And, there are more building blocks of humanity all around us.

God could wipe us off the planet, as has been done countless times since the birth of Earth. How many times has the slate of Earth been wiped clean? It can be wiped clean again, and at any time. Now is the time to start producing good fruit. There is no better time.

So, you have repented your sins, you have been baptized, you call yourself a Christian, you still must produce good things. It’s the producing of good fruit that is crucial to the work of God. The reason he sent Jesus to Earth was to burn down the trees with unwholesome fruit, the same trees that led Adam and Eve out of Eden. That was the point of bringing Jesus here, to forgive us of our sins. The original sin can be washed from us, and what we do once we’re clean is even more crucial because it is a choice, a free choice.

John goes farther. Jesus will separate the wheat, discarding what isn’t good from that which is. You could be connected to good acts, and still not do good acts. This reminds me of going to church and not acting on any of it for the good of yourself or others. It’s not enough to check a box; you must be good and do good things.

Even Jesus must be washed of sin, as he was born with sin all around him.

It is part of the plan for us to be cleansed, so that it be easier to produce good fruit.

P: May I not only be good but do good things. May those good acts multiply.

The Next Scripture: Matthew 4: 1 - 25

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