January 06, 2022 Cindy Goding

Even the bad guys...

Even the bad guys...

By Cindy Goding

Does anyone else think the sermon series on Matthew is great? Mark Barnes did a fantastic job this past week highlighting John the Baptist. I loved his thoughts on repentance- biblical repentance. I don’t have the entire definition written down but he said, “biblical repentance is not about emotions but about SURRENDER. It is a COMPLETE transformation of the mind, convictions, and actions”. 

In the story, we are introduced to the Pharisees and Sadducees, two groups of men who were part of the religious sect of Judaism. They had come to the baptisms to probably scope out John. To see what he was proclaiming and making sure it “aligned” with their own ideals, and to probably to try and find fault. Now most of the time we tend to write off these groups of men, because we know the end of the story. We see how the enemy distorts their ideas and thoughts, how they plot to capture and kill Jesus, how they don’t even recognize the signs that the Messiah has come (even though they, of ALL people, should’ve recognized him), how they question, judge, and imprison many of the disciples and early members of the church. Because we know the end of the story, it’s really easy to write them off. 

When we were reading through the passage on Sunday, something stood out to me that I hadn’t noticed before. It says, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abrahan” -Matthew 3:7-9

Did you catch it? I’ve always read the first part and skipped the rest because I know that the story, they DID act like vipers, period, done, right? NO! John not only warns them, but encourages and even gives them opportunity to REPENT! It says BEAR FRUIT! Meaning, do it now! You can still have the chance to be a part of God’s kingdom! That shows me a couple things-

First, God pursues EVERYONE! There is not one person that he does not want part of his kingdom. Even those that we think are “too far gone”, he still pursues their hearts. So continue to pray for those who have turned away, the Holy Spirit moves in mighty ways. 

Second, bearing fruit means taking action! It isn’t in the past tense, it is in the present tense. So this applies to us too. We are asked to continue bearing fruit! Once we have a complete transformation of mind and convictions, we have to follow that up with a complete change of actions! That means we have to repent and surrender, our pride, our self-sufficiency, our sin. How do we continue to bear good fruit? By staying connected to the vine. Jesus is the vine that nourishes and gives life, everlasting, eternal life. Jesus is the vine that provides hope even in the darkest of storms. Jesus is the vine.