Today’s Thoughts, Matthew 3:4-12

by Pastor Lee Hemen
February 25, 2007

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 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. 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. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
(Matthew 3:4-12)

John’s gaze fell on those who came to look at someone they had not seen before. Someone they had only heard about in their readings of the sacred writings and heard talked about in the synagogues and temple courts. Here was a prophet of God, boldly speaking the words of God… or was he? His continence, his manner of speech, and his clothing all suggested a roughness of the countryside and not the refined houses of learned men like themselves.

When John saw them he could not help himself, but he had to both accuse and ask, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” I wonder what the emergent church folk of today would think of such a one who demanded of them an accounting of their actions?

We live in a day and age whereby no one likes to think or say that anyone would not be loved, honored, or accepted by God. Yet this is patently a false doctrine. It has more to do with our convoluted notion of political correctness than doctrinal integrity. Do not confuse God’s love for the world as being His acceptance and forgiveness for its sins. It does not and it never has. It means He was willing out of grace and mercy to sacrifice His Son so His wrath would not fall on those who are chosen of Him: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 6:44)

We all love it when a storm moves through, leaving behind a renewed freshness and the sparkling dew on the grass, yet quite different is it when the dark storm clouds roll in, the winds pick up, and funnel clouds form. No fresh spring rains there, but the terrifying fear of an awful storm!

The wrath of God is coming and already rests on those who do not acknowledge His Son Jesus as Savior and Lord. While the Sadducees and Pharisees could reply that they came out of curiosity, we have no such excuse in our day. Accepting people where they are spiritually and leaving them there is tantamount to watching the eternal deaths and damnation of those around us and not caring. An appearance of spirituality never saved anyone. Our day has the gospel written for all to see. It must be clearly taught and preached. Who will warn them of the coming wrath?

NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.

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