Introduction: Apparently John’s restoration movement was very popular. People were coming to him just to be like others. He called them snakes. He said, “If you want to be part of this movement, I need to see some change.” Key word: see. I believe we have over emphasized baptism as a reaction to the teaching of other churches. That has made us under emphasize repentance. Without repentance there can be no salvation.
I. Produce fruit in keeping with repentance vs. 8
A. ποιέω: to do, to perform, to practice, to make.
1. Occurs 568 times
2. To do or perform (highly generic for almost any type of activity), to do, to act, to carry out, to accomplish, to perform, doing, performance.
B. καρπός: any fruit part of plants, including grain as well as pulpy fruit, fruit.
1. Harvest, crop
2. A figurative extension of fruit, deed, activity
C. ἄξιος: pertaining to being fitting or proper in corresponding to what should be expected. proper, properly, fitting, worthy of, correspond to.
1. Weigh in a balance or scale
2. This adjective is related etymologically to words for weighing and denotes that which brings up the other end of the scales. In the narrower sense of the word it means equivalent, worthy, appropriate; in a broader sense it indicates the relationship of two quantities. Revelation 5:12
3. Occurs 47 times in NT
4. Corresponding to, congruous, consistent with
D. μετάνοια: to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness, to repent, to change one’s way, repentance.
II. John’s examples vs. 10-14
A. The crowd in general
1. The man with two tunics should share with him who has none (tunic could refer to under or outer garment)
2. The same with food
B. Tax collectors
1. Extort - to obtain something by pressure or intimidation; cheat
2. This was not only common, but expected from all tax collectors
1. Don’t extort money
2. Don’t accuse people falsely
3. Be content with your pay
III. Excuses vs. 8b
A. We have Abraham as our father
B. I grew up in a good Christian home and have always lived as a good man
C. I’m not perfect, but I’m not a criminal
IV. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down vs. 9
A. In context this is talking about Israel
1. God’s ax was ready to chop Israel down, and he did
2. This is a metaphor for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple
B. Being sorry for sin is the negative side of repentance; doing good is the positive side
C. Being sorry for sins and being baptized is not enough to save. If we don’t produce good fruit (deeds) to demonstrate repentance, then the ax will get us
Conclusion: Doing good works will never save us because we can never do enough. Only by God’s grace and mercy are we saved. But if you don’t love God enough to demonstrate your repentance, how can you expect Him to give you grace? The ax is leaning against your tree!
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:511). New York: United Bible societies.
Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:113). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.