(You can listen to this study on audio, and pause the audio to follow page links for important details, then, resume the audio when you are ready. Please note that I use page links in lieu of references and footnotes.)
Matthew 3:8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;”
WHAT DOES THIS SAY?
Verse 8 warns and instructs us on this one urgent matter: How you escape the coming wrath.
“Bear Fruit in keeping with repentance”:
Bear = (poieo, greek) Produce and demonstrate through your life actions,
Fruit = (karpos, greek) works, acts, deeds which appear in your progeny and posterity,
Keeping with = (axios, greek) having the weight, value or worth befitting and corresponding to your confession of faith in Christ, and which demonstrate
Repentance = (metanoeo, greek) a change of one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This is the “Gateway to Safety and Freedom”. I will almost guarantee you that most have never heard this verse taught or preached in any detail. Why is that?
Going forward in some church building, whispering or whimpering some ‘magic words’ which we call “the sinner’s prayer” is not going to save you. Oh, it might be a ‘first step’, but, until you “Bear Fruit in keeping with repentance”, you are not safe.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
Have you ever heard this before? “Please, bow your heads and close your eyes and repeat this prayer after me.
“I know that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I ask you to come into my heart. I promise to serve you to the best of my ability. Please save me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“For all who prayed this prayer, CONGRATULATIONS! You are NOW, a child of God!! (Congregational applause) Please pick up some literature after our service. It will tell you what to do next.”
It is called, “The Sinner’s Prayer”. But, is It Biblical? And, is it enough to save your soul and get you into heaven? The Sinners prayer – is it biblical?
Is it enough, to utter a scripted prayer, and expect a magical transformation of your life and a free pass to heaven?
Perhaps this little mimicked prayer, almost like an incantation, will get you thinking about salvation, but, the Bible seems to consider this a more serious matter and addresses it a bit differently.
The Bible and Jesus say there has to be a commitment to follow Jesus in His teachings and His commandments.
The facts are that neither Jesus nor His disciples ever used a “sinner’s prayer” to induce people to follow Jesus.
And, neither Jesus nor His disciples minced their words on this important matter. They just gave it straight and then you either dropped what you were doing, what you had been, and followed Him – or not.
So, what are you to do? Has Jesus changed His mind about how we are to follow Him and become a Christian?
Read what Pastor David Platt, former president of the SBC international mission board and currently the pastor-teacher at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, has to say on this matter – and read your Bible for further understanding. It might just help and save a few souls along the way.
“I am convinced that many people in the churches are simply missing the Life of Christ. And a lot of it has to do with what we have sold them as the Gospel. I.e., pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Jesus into your heart. Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament?” Davie Platt, sermon on The Sinner’s Prayer:
Additionally, and more importantly, the Bible tells us, in Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repentance, a necessary step for Salvation, refers to an emotional change, and to a change of choice and has reference to particulars for ones entire life. Repentance signifies only regret even amounting to remorse. In a Christian sense, repentance is a reversal of moral purpose, a change of attitude and behavior to the teaching of model of Jesus.
Another example of the seriousness of this matter is found in Philippians 2:12 which says,
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”
Being saved is not just a simple prayer, repeated at the urging or insistence of someone else. It requires a serious commitment to follow Jesus and to accept a radical change in our life. And, once prayed, it is someone’s responsibility to then disciple, walk with the person who is seeking salvation in discipleship.
Finally, and most importantly, Jesus told us at least a couple of things we are to BE and what we are to BE DOING while we wait for His return:
1. Matthew 10:7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Verse 8. “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
a) Verse 9. “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, Verse 10. or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
b) Verse 11. “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. Verse 12. “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. Verse 13. “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.
c) Verse 14. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Verse 15. “Truly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
2. Verse 18. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Verse 19. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
a) Verse 20. teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
WE THE CHURCH have been warned by Jesus
“Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Verse 22. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ Verse 23. “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
We, THE CHURCH, need to get to the Gospel Message and the Teachings of Jesus and make disciples in the likeness of Him. We have drifted far and are now at great risk.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THIS?
Your Brother and Friend,
The Next Teaching from Matthew 3:10, The Axe is Laid: A Prophetic Word
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