The Fruit of True Repentance - Saturday October 25, 2014
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7
Why was John the Baptist so harsh with the Pharisees? After all, they came out to be baptized for their sins like so many other faithful men and women. John apparently missed the training on "How to Run a Seeker-friendly Service." Actually, John was a godly man whose discernment enabled him to see through the charade of these religious leaders. They were hypocrites who sought the approval of men; they craved the limelight because of their pride. They came out, not because they were sincerely repentant for their sins, but to be accepted by the masses, seeking glory from the people rather than from God.
John knew these wicked hearts and called them out: "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham." John knew the true test of repentance was good fruit: good deeds, acts of humility, and love. He also knew that being Abraham's offspring failed to get anyone into heaven. That required the new birth.
We are all capable of being hypocrites like the Pharisees. Even the apostle Peter was, and Paul had to correct him: "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face. . . . The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy" (Galatians 2:11,13). Lord, help us avoid hypocrisy with genuine repentance and only seek Your approval.
Stephen Scott Nelson
Atlanta House Churches
One-Year Reading Plan:
2 Timothy 4:1-22
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SCRIPTURE REFERENCB-ES: Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible B) The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are from the Holy, Bible, New International Version, copyright B) 1973, 1978, 1984 by InternaB-tional Bible Society; (NKJV) are from New King James Version B) 1982 by Thomas Nelson; (NLT) are from the New Living Translation, B) 1996, Tyndale House Publishers; (ESV) are from English Standard VersionB., B) 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers; (TM) are from The Message B) 1993 by NavPress Publishers.