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Changed and forgiven!
The stage was being set for the worst event in the history of mankind! Some of the main characters were already in place: Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea; Herod was king in Galilee; Annas and Caiaphas were in the high priestly family in Jerusalem.
These characters would soon have a part in falsely condemning and cruelly putting to death the perfect Son of God!
Let us find out what message God had for the world that was about to do this terrible thing.
"The word of the Lord came to John, son of Zechariah, in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan preaching." He announced that the Lord was about to come bringing "God's Salvation" for mankind!
You see, God was still showing to the wicked world His great kindness towards sinful people! He sent John "preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."
Crowds came to John wanting to be baptized. Perhaps some of them were thinking John was providing another sacrament that might help to save them from the judgment of God. They were in for a surprise!
"You brood of vipers", John said to them, "who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruits in keeping with repentance."
John was not going to baptize people whose lives had not first been changed by God. To wash bad fruit does not make it good! and to baptize sinners does not make them one bit better before God!
John compared those who wanted to continue in their sinful ways to condemned trees! "Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the FIRE", he warned them.
Don't you be one of those many people who think that because they have been baptized they will be alright! Remember what God has said! Those whose lives continue to produce the "bad fruit" of evil thoughts, words and actions will be thrown into the fire of Hell!
But John's message about God's offer of Salvation was clear; and it is still the same for today: "Repent!" Repent means "change your mind." Do YOU want YOUR life to be changed from one that produces sinful "fruits" to one that will be pleasing and acceptable to God? If you do, it is NOT baptism that you need, it is repentance and forgiveness of sins!
This can only be had through that Saviour John was announcing - the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".
Only Jesus, who died for your sins, is able to take away YOUR sin. He is alive today and is ready to save you just now - but only if you want Him to and you ask Him to!
"You must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."
Only then will your life begin to "produce fruits in keeping with repentance". Only then will you be ready to be baptized.
Jesus meant for you to be baptized in the name of God as a public testimony that you have already been changed and forgiven by trusting and obeying Him.
Read about this message of kindness from God to our wicked world in Luke's Gospel chapter 3, verses 1-14.
Don't miss next week's message as we continue to browse through Luke's Gospel in the Holy Bible.
To read more of Luke's account of the life of Jesus turn to the Gospel of Luke in the Holy Bible.
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In order to browse another message from Luke's Gospel check out the review index.
Bible quotations from N.I.V.
1 Luke 3:1-2. 2 Luke 3:4-6. 3 Luke 3:3. see Acts 19:4. 4 Luke 3:7-8. 5 Luke 3:9. 6 Matthew 25:41. Revelation 21:8. 7 John 1:29. Acts 5:31-32. 8 Acts 20:21. 26:20. 9 Mark 16:15-16.