We are still busy with the Matthews 3:8-10 and in the last messages, we looked at the background of Matthews 3:8-10. We talked about the genealogy of Jesus, Jesus birth, King Herod, Pharisees and Saduccees. We also talked about how John called the Pharisees and Saduccees offsprings of snakes, and asked them who warned them to flee from the wrath of God. We also did a word study. We looked at the words “bear”,”fruits”, “keeping” and “repentance” and after studying these words, we were able to see clearly what John the Baptist was saying to the Pharisees and the Saduccees. Form this study and also form studying the background and historical information together with some cross references, we came to a conclusion that John the Baptist was saying the following to Pharisees and Saduccees and this is also how they understood it:
If you claim to be religious and righteous, then you must produce good works or fruits that are visible and real, whose quality is of equal value, suitable and corresponding with your repentance (or their mind having been changed from being evil to being good).
To us today this is what John the Baptist is saying:
If you claim to be a Christian, if you claim to be saved, if you claim to have confessed with your mouth and believed in your heart that Jesus is Lord and Savior, then you must produce good works or fruits that are visible and real, whose quality is of equal value, suitable and corresponding with your repentance (or their mind having been changed from being evil to being good).
Now having looked at verse 8, let’s look at the remaining verse 9-10
Matthew 3:9-10 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
Knowing that the Pharisees and Saduccees used Abraham as an excuse for their unfruitful behaviour, John the Baptist told them that they must not even begin to say that they are Abraham’s children and that somehow excuses them from not producing good fruits or good works. John tells them that, the fact that you are Abraham’s children means nothing since God can raise up Abraham’s children from stones. Jews at the time in general were known to use Abraham as an excuse, and also used the fact that they are his children as somehow meaning that what ever they do, by virtue of being Abraham’s children, they have the right of passage in heaven. This is evident when one looks at verses like John 8:39, 8:33 and 8:53. In Rom 9:4-5 one can see why they had such a beleive. So, John the Baptist is telling them to stop making excuses and relying on Abraham, and start producing good fruits worthy of their repentance.
The question is, what excuses do you have right now as a Christian for not producing good fruits worthy of your salvation?
10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
In Matt 7:19, Jesus said that the tree that does not bear fruits is cut down. The same statement, Jesus is making in John 15:2. In Luke 13:6-9 is a parable about a man who had a fig tree which for three years, was not producing any fruits. The man decided to cut it down and the farm worker pleaded with him to spare it for one more year and this time he will dig around it and give it manure. In other words, he will give special attention to it, to see if it will not bear fruit. The man agreed not to cut it down and gave it one more year. This is clear to me that the farm worker is Jesus who is clearly interceding for us who are not bearing fruits and asking God, to give us one more chance.
Jesus has asked God to give us one more chance to produce good works or fruits that are visible and real, whose quality is of equal value, suitable and corresponding with your repentance (or their mind having been changed from being evil to being good). When God comes again, if we still don’t produce fruits, then clearly, we are not saved and we don’t have the Holy Spirit in us. For if we were saved and we had the Holy Spirit, we would produce good works. This is what Jesus says in John 15 that If we abide in him, we will be able to produce fruits. So, if you don’t or are unable to produce fruits or do good works, it can only mean that you are not abiding in Jesus and as John the Baptist is saying, the axe is already laid at the root of the tree that does not bear fruits in keeping with their repentance.
Take the opportunity that Jesus has given you, produce good works or fruits that are visible and real, whose quality is of equal value, suitable and corresponding with your repentance (or their mind having been changed from being evil to being good).