Summary: Rekindling Your Enthusiasm
The most descriptive image we get of God is found in Hebrews 12:29 "OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.”
For some of us the fire has burned out, and this verse tells us our God is a consuming fire, a fire that never burns out. And some need a touch of the fire that is burning in the heart of the Lord.
Mattew 3:7-12 John the Baptist preaches one of the most authoritative messages in the word of God. The entire message is in 5 verses. John is not a long-winded preacher; he is direct, pointed, he is a preacher that has something to say specifically. As we read his sermon, it’s filled with hope for the hopeless, faith for the discouraged, power for the powerless, and excitement for the apathetic. John lets us know at the very beginning regardless of past failures, disappointments, discouragement’s, the believer’s future can be bright. That’s the message I have for you this evening. As a believer your future can be bright. John informs us that failure can turn into success, defeat into victory, darkness into light, and ashes can turn into fire.
The first six verses of Matthew chapter three set the scene for the sermon that’s coming in verses 7-12. Verses 1-6 can be described in 6 words: MAN, MESSAGE, MOTIVE, MISSION, MANNER, and MINISTRY.
Verse 1 "In those days John the Baptist came” - MAN
Verse 1 "Preaching in the desert of Judea and saying "Repent,” - MESSAGE
Verse 1 “For the kingdom of heaven is near.” - MOTIVE
Verse 3 “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A Voice of one calling in the desert saying "Prepare the way for the Lord” - MISSION
Verse 4 "John’s clothes were mad of camel’s hair.“ -MANNER.
Verse 6 “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” - MINISTRY.
Johns preaching was simple, his message pointed, limited, direct. He didn’t preach a lot of theological things that were happening in the kingdom of God. But John had a single-minded purpose in the kind of communication to the people. His ministry was powerful, bold, with courage, and power and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. And the bible said this kind of ministry was so attractive to the people that they came from all over the region. Jerusalem, Judea, Jordan. Beginning with Verse 7, not everybody who came to hear the message of John came for the right reasons.
Verse 7 - "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Saducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”
This verse informs us that among the mass of humanity that came to hear John preach were the Pharisees and Saducees. Both were the religious leaders of the day. Theologically and philosophically both were on opposite sides. Opposed to each other. Totally divided and yet they were the religious leaders of the day. What kind of religion do you suppose they had? Not unity, but divisive.
Pharisees were self-righteous. The would sometimes pray "Oh Lord look at me, I’m fasted this week. So people would look at them and say, my a holy person you are. They were hypocritical. On the outside they had the look of holiness.
Saducees, whatever the Pharisees were they were not. Though the Pharisees were hypocritical they had some spiritual understanding. The Saducees had a particular religion or philosophy that didn’t let them believe in the after life or angels, or redemption or salvation. The only thing they believed in was the power of money. They were business owners of the day. When Jesus turned over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple, do you know who was in charge? The Saducees. They sold the sacrifices.
So John is baptizing in the River Jordan, preaching the message of repentance. He sees 2 major religious groups heading toward him. And the first words out of his mouth was you brood of vipers. You bunch of snakes. Brood meaning offspring. Son’s and daughters of Satan. You children of vipers. This was their spiritual condition and was why he came to them with such hard and harsh terms. The Pharisees and Saducees were the pastors of the day, the evangelists, priests, pastors. Instead of preaching a message of hope, encouragement, power and God’s love and holiness. They were preaching a message of defeat and despair.
Verse 8 - Paul introduces the subject of fruit. He says, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
I’m calling upon you to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Then he speaks to the mass of humanity who came to hear a message of hope. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Verse 9 - "And do not think you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”