Summary: “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” He is talking to Pharisees and Sadducees, who were very religious but also very distant from God. Many of us here this morning could easily claim to be very religious, but if we are. . . .
Do You Have The Fruit Of Repentance In Your Life?
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Verse 8 of our passage gives us the command to “bear fruits worthy of repentance.”
The obvious and immediate question that comes to mind is, “What are the fruits of repentance?”
Fortunately for us, our passage points us to four of the fruits of repentance.
Repentance, of course, is an essential starting point of the Christian journey.
We begin our walk with God by admitting that we need Jesus’ sacrifice and expressing our sorrow for the sin in our life.
If we’ve had a genuine moment of repentance, we should necessarily see the fruits of repentance in our lives.
As we study these fruits, keep in mind the harsh words of John the Baptist in v. 7, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
He is talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were very religious but also very distant from God.
Many of us here this morning could easily claim to be very religious, but if we are not bearing the fruits of repentance, we too are very distant from God.
There Are Four Fruits Of Repentance This Passage Points Us Toward:
1. Verse 9 says, “And do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”
Here we are reminded not to rely on our family history.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were quick to point out their Jewish family history as a proof of their closeness to God.
They were very proud of the fact that Abraham was their ancestor.
Today we see similar displays as you ask people if they’re a Christian and they respond: “Oh, my family is all Methodists” or “Sure, my parents were Baptists.”
Our parents or our family cannot believe for us; we each must choose to believe for ourselves.
This leads us to the first fruit of repentance, which is humility.
When we rely on our family history like the Pharisees and Sadducees, we may claim a relationship with God, without the need to personally come to a moment of repentance.
This creates a feeling of pride, rather than the humility that should characterize our relationship with God.
That feeling of pride leads to statements like this:
“My family has been in this church since 1964.”
“My father helped to build that education wing.”
“My mother led the women’s circle for probably twenty years.”
We see a similar phenomenon when people try to claim closeness to God that is not based in grace.
The person, who believes their work for the church, or their Sunday morning attendance, or their large financial contribution is what is maintaining their link to God, will be led to a pride in their works.
When we begin at the point of repentance - bowing and admitting that we cannot earn our way into heaven, acknowledging our sin and questionable motives, speaking out for our need for Jesus’ blood, asking for God to forgive us - there is a humility that comes into our hearts that cannot come in any other way.
We are sinners and yet God has forgiven us anyway - that is a humbling place to be, because you have received what you did not deserve.
Is your relationship with God characterized by humility, or are you lacking the fruit of repentance?
2. The second fruit of repentance is found in the first part of Verse 10, which says, “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.”
Often in our lives we feel that the sins we commit are individually small enough for us to excuse them.
We haven’t committed an axe-murder or gone on a shooting spree.
Our sins are nothing major - we can get around to them on another day.
But this verse points us to a second fruit of repentance: urgency.