That’s Not How This Works

3rd week of advent

Luke 3:7-18

Are y’all ready for Christmas? We spend a whole lot of time preparing for Christmas, don’t we? We take our time trying to decide on the best gift for everyone on our list. Putting up decorations,  picking out recipes, shopping, wrapping, cooking…the list goes on and on.

How much time, though, do we spend on Advent? How much time do we spend on preparing for Jesus’ coming? Advent should be a season of prayer, fasting, and repentance, but most of us, me included, we spend more time on Christmas than we do Advent.

John the Baptist came out of the wilderness preaching the things people needed to hear to prepare their lives for Christ, and he didn’t mince words when he did.Gods Approval

John preached truth. He told the multitudes that came to be baptized what they were. They were vipers. Poisonous snakes who were infecting others with their venom. They were sick, and they were doomed, and they were dooming others. And here they were, wanting to be baptized.

John asked them who warned them to flee from the coming wrath. Apparently, they had come to hear John preach and be baptized, but John calls them a bunch of snakes. Why?

See, the thing is, they didn’t come because they had changed or even wanted to change. They came to be baptized because they were hedging their bets. They wanted to be baptized just in case the stuff they were hearing about the Messiah was true. They were willing to listen to John where they could be baptized, but they had no thought that they would have to change their lives.

John preached repentance. He went so far as to say that without repentance, their fruit was worthless. Our fruit must be consistent with our repentance. Matthew 7:16 tells us that we will be known by our fruit.

The thing is, you can fake fruit. I can’t tell the difference between the fruits of someone that has repented from someone who hasn’t. Can you?

Guess who can. I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

God can tell the difference.

We can do for others, take care of others, do works of charity, love others, and if we haven’t repented, no one can tell. We fit into the social group with the nice people. Repentance? We don’t need no stinking repentance!

John said no, that’s not the way this works. You must repent. You must turn from your sin before your good works can produce fruit that God accepts.

Sermon Audio