February 11th, 2013 | By admin
by Paul Holland
Repentance is something like lighting a match. You rid your heart and life of “chemicals” so that the light of Christ can burn in your heart and set your life on fire.
The Jews were looking for and anticipating the Kingdom to be established and Jesus was to rule over that kingdom – 1:32-33. But John the baptizer also had a very important role.
Every high ranking political official has a forerunner. For the Son of David, the forerunner was John the baptizer.
JOHN LIGHTS THE FIRE:
First, there is a “wrath to come” – verse 7. For the Jews, the wrath to come would be the destruction of Jerusalem. But a destruction of the world is also coming – 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
HOW DO YOU IGNITE THE KINGDOM LIFE?
How could the Jews get prepared for the coming Kingdom? John tells them in verse 8 – “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” Repentance is not simply changing your behavior. “Bearing fruit” refers to our behavior. Repentance is something which causes or leads to bearing fruit.
Repentance is the change of mind that leads to that change of behavior. True repentance, a godly repentance, begins with godly sorrow. Sorrow at having offended God, sorrow knowing that it was my sins – my sins – that put Christ on the cross. So, sorrow by itself is not repentance. Godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) which produces fruit as John calls it.
So the crowds who came out to John began asking him, “What shall we do?” That is, “What do we need to do, if we are sorrowful and want to repent?”
Verse 11 – Do good. Share with those in need. That is a theme that will run throughout the Gospel of Luke – it is in this book, for example, that Jesus gives us the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Verses 12-13 – Some tax collectors came to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, based on their repentance and asked John what they should do. Stop doing bad, John says. We remember that Zaccheus was a chief tax collector and his story is found in Luke 19:1-10.
Verse 14 – Finally, some soldiers have come to John and they, too, ask him what to do to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. It seems to me that we can sum up this command with be content. Are not many of the sins we commit a result of a lack of contentment with what God has given us?
These three things – do good, stop doing bad, and be content were, broadly speaking, what the Jews needed to do to prepare for the coming of the Kingdom.
Repentance begins in your mind as you realize that you have offended God’s holiness. It moves to your heart as you stop loving sin and start loving God. Repentance ends up with a changed life.
Ignite the Kingdom life – do good, stop doing bad, and be content.