John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."John was speaking to the Jewish people: God's people chosen to reveal Christ to the world. It is interesting that John doesn't tell them to go out baptizing others for the forgiveness of their sins - which is what he is doing (v 3). But he very strongly instructs them to "produce fruit."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked. John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay." ~ Luke 3:7-14
There is a lot in these few verse but here's a bit of what I got excited about:
Being a child of God...
- is up to God (v8 God can raise up children out of stones if he wants)
- is an active role, not a seat or position (v8 being able to say "I'm a child of God" is not the point)
- indicates that we produce fruit or get out of the way (v9 trees w/o fruit will be cut down and burned up)
- is a natural part of everyday living (vv10-14 crowd - share basic necessities of life; tax collectors - be fair, not greedy in your work; soldiers - don't use your position inappropriately, be honest, be content with your pay)
So, what should we do to reveal Christ to the world?
What are you doing to prepare the way for the Lord to draw people to himself? What paths are you helping to straighten? What valley in another person's life can you fill in?
As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'" ~ Luke 3:4-6I think baptizing and discipling those who don't yet know Christ will follow naturally when we, as children of God, follow John's advice.