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What you have is a complete summary of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. John preaches to prepare the people for the Prince, the Prince would come, he would wash people in the Holy Ghost, then will come in judgment and fire.
Baptism of repentance (vss 7-9)
- The Pharisees and Sadducees came to John’s baptism, but before they could attempt to be baptized John calls them out.
- This is the first mention of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Bible. Acts 23:7-9
- Pharisees are the religious traditionalists. They were strict on the traditions that had been added to the scriptures as well as the law itself in some places. Their problem was not that they held to the law too hard, but that they added to the law and pretended their additions were also scripture.
- Sadducees were unbelievers. What you would call secular materialists. Philosophers, pragmatists, evolutionists. They didn’t add to the scriptures, they ignored most of the scriptures.
- They’re on opposite sides when it comes to their religions, but they’re on the same side when it comes to hating Bible preaching.
- Israel’s religious representatives were snakes
- The Pharisees and Sadducees were snakes according to God.
- Revelation 12:9 Snakes who are of their father the devil
- 1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
- John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
- They’re camouflage like snakes. They’re devils hiding behind religious garb.
- He’s not talking about their physical makeup. Everyone’s physical makeup is from a cursed bloodline. John is talking about their spiritual makeup.
- Trafficks in lies. Deceit is his commodity. They’re so far from God, they aren’t aware of the lies that consume them.
- 2 Corinthians 11:3
- Claim of the condemned
- This baptism has nothing to do with who your mom and dad are. This baptism is not about what family you were born into. This baptism is about whether or not you’re willing to obey God. This is where the baptism of repentance comes from.
- John says God can make children for Abraham out of rocks if He wants to. Remember Abraham and Sarah couldn’t have children and God gave them Isaac.
- But this is the religious claim of condemned people.
Bearing fruit is what matters (vs 10)
- In harvest only one thing matters
- Either bearing fruit or cursed (Hebrews 6:7-8)
- One thing matters in a harvest, whether or not this is a productive crop or not.
- No more watering will take place. No more cultivating. No more weeding. No more planting.
- The only thing that matters in a harvest is fruit.
- Every tree
- Trees are plural. Yes, God is dealing with the single tree/nation of Israel here, but it is clear that there are individuals in the nation of Israel that will be accepted by God while most are rejected.
- Mark 8:22-26 (Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.) Apparently that’s how God saw them too.
- God likens the Israelites to trees to illustrate the spirit they embody in regards to their end.
- Matthew 12:33
- Now, the parables illustrate the care God had taken with the nation of Israel and why it was harvest time in Israel.
- Matthew 13:3-9 – KOH describes how the Lord prepared Israel (to them were committed the oracles of God)
- Matthew 13:24-30 – KOH not only was good seed sown, but bad seed was also sown
- Matthew 21:33-41 – Now Israel was a nation that God invested in.
- John 4:34-38
- John 12:23-26
- John 15:1-8
Baptisms (vs 11)
- There are several baptisms. We have three mentioned here.
- John’s baptism that was a preparation for the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance was the requirement.
- Baptism of the Holy Ghost
- Acts 11:15-18
- Baptism of fire
- Matthew 13:36-43