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Luke 3

“He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’”  Luke 3:7-8a

You gotta love John the Baptist. He is my kind of guy. He stood out from the crowd (literally living in the wilderness), never sugar-coated the gospel of Jesus and could never be accused of tip-toeing around a subject. With John, you knew where you stood and what he thought, no qualms about it. We see proof of this in Luke 3. Imagine with me…crowds are lining up down by the river to be baptized. It is a beautiful serene scene as people are entering the water to partake in the act of baptism, when John looks up and says, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you of the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’”

In today’s language it may have sounded something like this, “Hey! All you guys standing there waiting to be baptized, what is your reason for going this? Is it because you know you have been influenced by Satan and are afraid of what is going to happen when the Messiah comes? Don’t do this out of obligation. A true-life change is shown by what you do, a.k.a. the fruit that you bear. And don’t even tell me that just because you are Jewish the rules don’t apply to you.”

We may be tempted to say, “Whoa, hold on John. Isn’t that a little harsh?” But isn’t this the same exact message we need to hear today? We need to be careful not to go through the motions of repentance because we are afraid of the consequences they would bring if we were found out. We need to seek repentance because we are truly sorry and don’t want to do it anymore. Baptism is an outward sign of repentance. We are giving up and dying to our old ways, symbolically burying them under the water to be resurrected, again symbolically, with Christ in our new life with Him as we come up from the water.

John is telling the crowd and us, “Don’t go through the expected Christian motions just to return to your sinful ways. Live differently now. That way others can see that you are truly changed.” This new way of living is found verses 11-14 because all of the examples given by John go against our natural, fleshly ways of day to day life. If you identify yourself with Christ, as a true follower, than you should look different in comparison to everyone around you. No, maybe not physically but in the way that you interact with your fellow man. How do you treat your family, your spouse, and children? How about your employees or co-workers? Are your actions different or the same when you are around “church folks” versus out with your buddies. Remember the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Live your life in a way that everyone around you knows that you truly belong to Christ and that you obey the orders that He has given you in His combat manual, the Bible. Not because of fear or what you think you are supposed to do but because He has truly, radically changed your life. I guarantee more people will be drawn to you and ask, “What makes you different?” They will see the proof and fruit of righteousness in your life. Then you will be privileged to introduce them to your Leader and Commander, Jesus.