Are we confessing our sins? Yes, I know our world doesn’t talk much about sins. But we sure do know how to commit sins. Just so we are clear, sins are what we do when we do whatever we want, without regard for God. Sins include harming ourselves or others with food, guns, or words. Sins include mistreating ourselves or others with what we watch, read, or act upon. Sins include not helping ourselves or others with how we spend our money and time. Sins include whatever separates us from each other and God.
What would it take for us to confess our sins? Would it take someone suddenly coming into our lives, telling us to turn from the wrath to come? Would it take someone telling us how to live after we have repented? Would it take someone telling us that there is one who is coming who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire?
That person has someone who suddenly comes into our lives, telling us how to live after we repent, and telling us of one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire has already been here on earth. After hearing this someone, people turned to God. The same message that this someone had is still worthwhile.
A. Here’s John the Baptist! (3:1-6)
1. Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near
2. John the Baptizer was sent to get Israel ready for the Lord
a. Repent – change one’s mental attitude, reversal, be converted
b. Our lives then reflect this repentance by the works we do (3:8)
3. He was not dressed to impress (3:4)
– That was real locust (bugs) (Leviticus 11:22)
4. People were flocking to John
5. They were baptized & confessing their sins (3:6)
a. Dipped, moistened, washed (a start over)
b. Agree fully that their ways were not God’s ways
c. Baptism is God’s gift to us (a grace) – not our dedication to him, but his to us
6. Are we confessing our sins? Are we turning away from our ways and turning to God? God wants to be with those whom he has created. Do we want to be with God? Then we discover our ways lead away from God. We have to turn to God. We repent. Even religious people can repent.
B. Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (3:7-10)
1. Bear fruit worthy of repentance
2. Even the religious leaders wanted to see what was going on! (3:7-10)
a. Have faith in the Lord & bear good fruit
b. It is not their genealogy which makes them children of God
3. We use today to repent, for God is looking for good fruit
4. The ax cuts down those trees which do not bear good fruit
5. Are we confessing our sins? Is our repentance bearing fruit in our lives? Then what is stopping us from repenting, confessing our sins, and bearing good fruit? We need to confess our sins. Why?
C. He will baptize you with water and the Holy Spirit! (3:11-12)
1. John the baptizer used water
2. The one coming after John will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire
3. The one coming after John will clear his threshing floor, chaff to be burned up and wheat to the granary
4. Are we confessing our sins? Jesus is the one who comes after John. Jesus helps us to turn from our sins and live a holy life. The Holy Spirit comes upon us and helps us to turn from temptations before they become sin. When we do sin, the Holy Spirit convicts us so we immediately confess the sin and make amends for the sin. The fire that Jesus baptizes us with burns through us, eradicating the sin nature in us, like a wildfire burning through an East Tennessee mountain valley.
Yes, it does look like we are still hearing the call to repent. The kingdom of heaven has come near. All, from the everyday person to the religious leaders, are to repent. Once we repent, we start living faithfully towards God. This faithfulness is evident by the good fruit we bear.
Since Jesus has come, the Holy Spirit and fire are being poured on those who repent. Confessing sins continues as we follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit works this out so we may be ready for the kingdom of heaven. Otherwise, we get thrown into the unquenchable fire.
Confessing sins is what is needed in America. We Americans need to repent. The kingdom of heaven has come near. For us to enter the kingdom of heaven, we bear good fruit as a result of our repentance. Are we ready to confess our sins and be made ready for the kingdom of heaven?