Mathew 3:1-2, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. “‘
John was such a preacher that he gave only two options to his hearers ‘Turn or Burn’. He did not put any of them in comfort zone where they could enjoy the pleasures of sin. He was the voice in the wilderness, a voice of God. He was sent to prepare the way for the Lord. Ministers go ahead and prepares the way for the king. But rather than preparing any road, John was preparing the hearts of the people for the Lord. God was preparing through John but before that, God prepared John. This is the very act of God and He always does it. Jonah was prepared and then he was sent to Nineveh to prepare. John was the son of a righteous priest and according to custom, John should have ministered in the temple as a priest. But he refused the customary priesthood and wore the purpose of God in his life. Though his parents had told him about the prophecy from God about him, he required a direct revelation from God to yield to the purpose. In some point of life, John received this revelation. Though he knew Jesus as his cousin, the revelation of God opened his spiritual eyes and that’s why he said ‘the one coming after me is more powerful than me, whose sandal I am not worthy to carry’. John might have not received complete knowledge about Christ, but whatever he received was right enough to yield his heart to the purpose of God. Amen.
The King was born but not in the way Jews expected. They expected a political king who would overthrow the kingdom of this world, but the King was born to seek and save the lost. Jesus came as a lowly servant to the world, not to overthrow the Roman kingdom, but to finish the works of devil. Even Satan thought that Jesus came to take back the kingdom of the world but He had come to save the people from the hands of devil. How did John prepare the way for the Lord? By preaching the very heart of God. Repentance was not the only message of John, though it was the beginning. He also preached about the fruit that followed repentance, the blessing of the Spirit that gives birth to spiritual man and the blessed hope of eternity (wheat in the barn). John was such a genuine preacher who not only preached the blessing following a repentant heart, but also said about the outcomes of unrepentant heart. He said that those who do not repent remains under the wrath of God. …that they are cut and thrown into the fire. He gave only two options : repent and turn to God or disobey and burn.
Hearing John’s message, many tax collectors and soldiers came to him for baptism by confessing their sins to God. John was preaching in the fullness of Holy Spirit’s power and conviction. The Spirit convicted the heart of hearers which turned them to God, but there were some spiritual leaders who did not repent, because they found themselves more righteous and considered themselves as descendants of Abraham as per tradition. John challenged them to produce fruit keeping with repentance, because producing children for Abraham was not God’s aim. Instead, He wanted them to be partakers of the kingdom of God. God can raise children for Abraham from stones. There was one rich man who never repented in his life. So, he found himself in the hell. But we see a chief of Tax collector who was also the child of Abraham as per tradition, but he found place in heaven. Its because he gave his house to Jesus. Jesus not only came to his house, but also into his heart. That’s why he gave up the wealth of this world and received heavenly possession. The wrath of God remains in us if we do not repent. We cannot produce fruit for God, neither can we stand before God. We are under condemnation, but those who repent receives many folds of blessings, which no eyes have seen, no ear has heard and which no one has ever thought in his heart. John was given very little revelation about Christ but that was enough for him. Though he did not do any miracles, he revealed mainly two things about Jesus in Mathew 3. He said that the one coming after him is more Powerful because He would baptize with Holy Spirit and Fire. Baptism means immersion. So baptism in Holy Spirit means to immerse one in Holy Spirit. John could immerse people only into the water, but Jesus immerses people in the Holy Spirit. As water cleanses the body, likewise Holy Spirit renews our spirit which not only gives birth to spiritual man, but also empowers us to be more than conquerors. People were convicted by the Holy Spirit and they came to John for baptism of repentance. So now if the Spirit of God is convicting you through this message, then come to Jesus because He will immerse you in Holy Spirit. Holding on to your tradition will not bring fruit to your life. Hold onto God, because without His Spirit, you cannot bear fruit to God. Some scribes and Pharisees brought one woman to Jesus who was caught in adultery, but when Jesus opened his mouth and spoke the Word, the Holy Spirit started convicting each one of them from older to younger. But they did not yield their heart to the conviction of Spirit and words of Jesus. That’s why they all ran from Jesus. Their self righteousness, spiritual pride and tradition did not allow them to submit to God. But the woman had nothing to say about herself. That’s why she stood and accepted her sins which turned blessings to her. What is holding you back from repentance? The moment the prodigal son came into his senses about his father and his house, he repented. Repentance means coming to senses, coming home. Those who do not repent is still under God’s wrath. He is under condemnation . But there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and those who do not walk according to flesh, but according to the Spirit. The prophesy of John was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of Jesus came upon each of the 120 disciples and filled them. They started speaking about the wondrous work of God. The manifestation of Holy Spirit empowered them to speak boldly about Christ and they all were fruitful to God.
Secondly, John spoke about Jesus that He will baptize with fire. Now this fire is not Holy Spirit as per my view, because just after that, he said ‘ Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.‘ Jesus will burn or immerse those who have not repented into unquenchable fire. God appointed Jesus to judge the world. What a wonderful revelation he got about the savior. Note the verse, His hand, His floor and His wheat. We know that the wheat are those who are born of God. That’s why it says ‘ His wheat’. The fan of Judgment is in his hand and He will judge the righteous and non-righteous. He will thoroughly purge his floor by separating the godly and the ungodly, and after purging, He will gather his wheat into the barn but the chaff who are ungodly, disobedient and who drink sin as water, will be burnt in fire which will never quench. Turn from idols and to God, because God wants to fill you by His Spirit so that our barrenness will turn to fruitfulness. At the end, He knows how to separate his wheat from the chaff and gather the wheat to barn and chaff to fire. Do you want to be his wheat? Then come to Jesus Christ. Confessing your sins by knowing that you are nothing but a wretched sinner in the eyes of God. He will wash all your sins if you go to Him today and by His word you will have a new life renewed by the Holy Spirit. You have only two options Turn or Burn…choice is yours.
May God bless you