3:1-12 | Fruits Worthy of Repentance

3:1-12 | Fruits Worthy of Repentance - Morgan Bradley

Before Jesus came John | 3:1-6

John made a big splash on the scene before Jesus

  1. Israel was in expectation of a forerunner before the Messiah would come

    1. Deut. 18:18 | A new prophet like Moses was expected

    2. Mal. 4:5 | Many believed Elijah would drop down from heaven like he was taken up

  2. John was the spitting image of a prophet

    1. 2 Kings 1:8 | Dressed  as Elijah

    2. Zechariah 13:4 | Dressed as a prophet

    3. Not to mention his miraculous birth


A Time of Anticipation

Jews were very expectant of a Messiah figure during these days

  1. To hear the kingdom of heaven is at hand is exciting

    1. All sorts of OT passages are ringing in their ears

    2. The reign of David's heir will truly begin

    3. The exile has ended and we are about to take over

  2. Matthew directs us immediately to Isaiah 40

    1. This is what John is preparing Israel and us for

    2. Many Israelites completely missed Jesus because they were unprepared for what the Messiah would be

    3. If we don't understand this we risk missing out on seeing Jesus as the Messiah God intended


Isaiah 40:1-11

  1. Everything leading up to Isaiah 40 has been judgement

    1. Upon Israel and Judah

    2. Upon the nations

  2. Chapter 40 does a complete 180

    1. Now we're talking about comfort

    2. Easy access to God

    3. God coming to shepherd his flock

  3. Matthew wants us to have this in mind as we see Jesus

    1. He is the comfort

    2. He gives us direct access to God

    3. He is our mighty shepherd


How to Prepare


  1. Johns prophetic message: Repent!

    1. Literally change your mind because of the guilt you should be feeling

    2. More than just an intellectual changing, but a radical reinvention of self

    3. Do this because the kingdom of heaven is just outside the door

  2. And so the people confess their sins and are baptized | 5-6

    1. They are acknowledging what needs changing in their lives

    2. They are coming to have those sins cleansed


  1. Our minds are not compatible with Gods kingdom

    1. His thoughts are above ours | Isa. 55:8

    2. We need to have the mind of Jesus | Philippians 2:5

  2. No one can come to God without changing their thoughts and lives

    1. When we are confronted by the gospel we are confronted by a transformative process

    2. It is foolish to tell unbelievers they won't have to change much

    3. We all have sins needing to be washed away


The Pharisees and Sadducees Arrive | 3:7

  1. The Pharisees

    1. Common people with an extreme dedication to the law

    2. Israel was destroyed by disobedience, so we will never do that again!

    3. Over time began to honor traditions over the actual law

    4. They lost focus on what the law truly was

  2. The Sadducees

    1. Generally upper class

    2. Denied the oral law and traditions of Pharisees

    3. Denied the afterlife

    4. Did not get along with the Pharisees

  3. Neither got along with John

    1. John accuses them

    2. Called a brood of vipers!

    3. Sarcastically asks who warned them to come out?

John's Condemnation | 3:8-10

  1. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance | OR | Worthy of repentance

    1. Our actions must align with our changed mind

    2. Repentance is more than just saying sorry about what we did

    3. A true apology stops the hurtful action from occurring again

  2. Every unfruitful tree is cut down | 10

    1. Repentance without action is nothing

    2. We are going to be recognized by our fruits and actions | Matt. 7:15-20

  3. They trusted in their ancestry as righteousness

    1. As children of Abraham they were special and privileged

    2. Many saw Abraham's righteousness as a spiritual inheritance

    3. Saw no need for repentance. We're already saved because of who fathered us!

    4. Paul condemns this thinking | Romans 3:9-18


  1. Our repentance must be our own

    1. The Pharisees and Sadducees thought they were covered by Abraham

    2. We think we’re covered by all sorts of things

      1. Preacher

      2. Congregation

      3. Nationality

      4. Parents

    3. That is presumptuous

    4. Nothing but faith in Jesus is going to get us into heaven

  2. We must live out our repentance

    1. We can't steal a bike and pray for forgiveness

    2. Romans 6:1-4 | We're done with that life!

  3. What happens when we don't live out that repentance

    1. Hell is described as an eternal lake of fire in revelation

    2. That's what happens when we cheapen God's grace

    3. Our conduct must be in keeping with Jesus


Crying Out in the Wilderness

John Preparing the Way

  1. John teases what's coming in 11-12

    1. Someone mightier

    2. Someone who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire

  2. Holy Spirit baptism

    1. We have the benefit of looking back on the story

    2. We see this happening in Acts 2 and 10

  3. Fire baptism

    1. Judgment on the unrepentant

    2. Destruction of Jerusalem

  4. A separation of God's true children from the rest of the world