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Fruits Meet for Repentance
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance (Matthew 3:8)
The agenda of the heart is crucial for the getting of forgiveness at repentance. Were words, or thoughts, pure or impure, all that necessitated forgiveness, no one would be lost. Repentance is much more than words or intentions, John the Baptist declared. Thus, his plea to the crowd was: “ 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” (Matthew 3:8 (KJV)
This message by the Baptist destroys a theology that says salvation is gained easily.
Christians perpetuate an error that eternal life is to be had for speaking a few
words: “Jesus, I’m a sinner. Forgive me. Save me by the blood you shed on a cross.
I believe you are the Son of God. Amen.
Those words cover the basic sinner’s prayer. But, is it sufficient or is more required to, in one sense, “seal the deal.”
Martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer (see below) talked about “cheap grace” in his book, The Cost of Discipleship. “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
The Baptist would say, I believe, the sinner’s prayer is an excellent start, but it’s not the whole deal. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” What are you bringing to this sacred meeting that authenticates your desire for a new relationship with God through Christ? Can you identify these “fruits meet for repentance?”
This is a masterful stroke by the Baptist, who sliced through the show of sincere
repentance and genuine contriteness of heart. Where’s the proof of a changed heart?
That is tough love? Self-
John would have none of that game playing. He confronted those who came, and demanded they bring some evidence, some discernable proof, that they are truly sorry for their sins and see in Jesus the only solution to their sinfulness and heart desires.
Thus the question is, “What are these ‘fruits’?” There are many possibilities, but I suggest but a few.
Contriteness of heart? Do I show evidence of a real change in my very being? Am I more caring of people? Do I hear the vulgarities that come out of my mouth? Have I a sense that I do things harmful to my body – the holy temple of God? Is there a desire, a hunger to worship and praise God? Is there a new understanding that my friends and our activities together don’t glorify God? Do I show love in my thoughts, actions toward others and desires for doing good? You can add many, many more.
Contrary to the common claim that salvation is free, restoration to right relationship with God comes at great cost. First, the payment was the life of a man, Jesus, whose death on the cross paid for you and me to have a choice: Accept salvation (forgiveness of sin) or reject it.
Rejection can be final and eternal and requires no action, or declaration, about anything. Accepting God’s offer is a costly beginning – costly in that it redefines those values one once followed without thought. This is what The Baptist is insisting that one demonstrate how repentance is making a difference in his or her life! Without fruit that reveals the change, a person perhaps is only shopping for the cheapest deal possible to get to heaven.
Do you cry to God for healing
Of a sin-
You want Jesus forgiving
So you gain eternal living?
Deliverance After Defeat
Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come
only after we have been forced to our knees. God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering
our strength and wiping out our resistance. -
God Breaks Us His Way
God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers he uses to crush us with.
If God would only use his own fingers and make us broken bread and poured out wine
in a special way! But when he uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances
to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object.
Brokenness A Step to Revival
Brokenness is not revival; it is a vital and indispensable step toward it. -
Nothing Required for Something
God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing
out of him. -
God Is A Specialist
God is a Specialist at making something useful and beautiful out of something broken
and confused. -
God Buys Us Back
God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness
of life. -
We’re Nourishment for Others
God will make us broken bread and poured out wine to feed and nourish others. -
God’s Amazing Math
He can give us a crop in one year that will make up for ten. -
Spiritual Surgery Most Painful
How does God take a Christian who lives one-
Christ Can Enter Only Through Broken Heart
How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in? -
l3:4; Eze 43:2; Mt 17:5.
In Teens’ Values
Half of Protestant youth pastors consider technology and social media the defining factor of this latest generation, but a by Barna Group sheds new light on striking social and demographic trends: Teenagers in Gen Z (born between 1999 and 2015) are at least twice as likely as American adults to identify as LGBT or as atheist.
While the latest reported only 4.1 percent of Americans—and 7.3 percent of millennials—identify as LGBT, Barna found that 12 percent of Gen Z teens described their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual, with 7 percent identifying as bisexual.This generation is more sensitive to LGBT issues overall, with 37 percent saying their gender and sexuality is “very important” to their sense of self, compared to 28 percent of their Gen X parents.
Additionally, about a third of teens know someone who is transgender, and the majority (69%) say it’s acceptable to be born one gender and to feel like another.
Though teens exploring sexual identity have long been a part American churches and youth groups, they haven’t always been this open about their identity and willing to address it so transparently.
“It is a new challenge for student ministry leaders, because there is more discussion in the public square regarding LGBT issues,” Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry for LifeWay Christian Resources, told CT.
“In the past, it was possible for difficult issues like this to be brushed aside or go unaddressed entirely. But that approach cripples the purpose of student ministry,” he said. “Now, student ministry leaders are forced to teach what the Bible says on these issues, as well as equip teenagers to respond biblically.”
Among Gen Z members between 13 and 18 years old, 13 percent consider themselves atheists, compared to just 6 percent of adults overall.
Meanwhile, 59 percent of Gen Z identifies as Christian, compared to 68 percent of adults. Only 1 in 11 teens is considered by Barna to be an “engaged Christian,” a category the research organization uses for those whose beliefs and practices are shaped by their faith (i.e., not “Christian in name only”).
(Originally reported in Christianity Today.)
Help me, Lord. The world is spinning around and around and around. You are the only hope, the last chance for making it stop.
Your Word (Heb. 13:8) offers hope -
Empower me to grab onto that reassurance.
I need stability, Lord. Distractions constantly rob me of time with you. Run, rush, hurry, go here, go there. There seems to be no relief. Am I doomed to be enslaved to time, doctor appointments, this and that personal obligations? How can I again enjoy the simple pleasures of living? Am I too old; is age a permanent handicap to being hassled about time?
I am not alone. My children are too busy living to enjoy life. No time to talk on the phone. Days come and go, and again no contact. Why, Lord? Please tell me why. Please help us change!
The people in the world are tethered to this maddening spin. The U.S. government
goes from one crises to another. This side blames the other side, all blame the President.
Terrible, mean things are said. Respect seems to be a threatened fact of life.
Is there a possibility of getting back what we’ve lost, or has the world become
so contaminated with self-
Our world is in disarray. Leaders of nations denigrate other leaders of nations, the world is threatened to be blown up by one man, terrorists launch death by dying themselves, economies are exposed for their weaknesses, food is produced to excess and wasted because of greed, millions starve and get sick from lack of pure water.
This is a reminder to myself, Lord. Already you weep because you know these and other human frailties, from beginning to their end. You tell us in your word we are what we are because of greed, pride, lust and, ultimately, rebellion against you.
Yes, Lord, I beg you to intervene. Do so even if we find your involvements inconvenient, disruptive to our lifestyles and contrary to our true desires.
Most of the time I am grateful you are constant. Forgive me in those times when I am not. Instruct me how to be humble and obedient, and seek for my own life that holy "sameness yesterday, today and forever" that you demonstrate. Then, perhaps, I will begin to understand and approach a bond with you that we both want.
Help me, Lord, because that help will teach me how better to glorify and honor Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen!