What if he said this?

“Brood of Vipers” …can you imagine being called that?

Imagine the preacher walking up to the podium, looking the congregation square in the eye and saying, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt 3:7-10)

How many emails would he get? How many would walk out? How many would look for a more seeker-friendly pastor to fill their itching ears with what they want to hear?

But that wasn’t the way of John the Baptist, the one to born be the “voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord” (Matt 3:4)

And MANY who heard the messages of repentance John the Baptist preached heeded his warnings and were baptized.

This was a baptism of repentance, an already common practice for Gentiles who wished to become Jews.

But for Jews to be baptized was radical.

It was an acknowledgment of their uncleanness as if to say they were as dirty as the “heathen Gentiles”.

It was not enough to say they were Jewish, (or Baptist, or Catholic, or from the South, or anything else 😉).

As John baptized them, in the baptism of repentance, they were in fact, acknowledging that they could not do it on their own.

John was helping them see their need for the Savior—the one whose sandal John said he was unworthy to loose and who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matt 3:11-12)

John preached hard, true words of warning.

For every person must stand before the Lord either as a believer or a nonbeliever (2 Cor 5:10, Rev 20:11-15).

And when we stand before Him, it will not be as a trial. It will be more as a sentencing hearing.

Those whose names are found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are forever free and will spend eternity in Heaven (Rev 21:27). Their sins have been paid for at the Cross by the blood of the Savior when they accepted His free gift of salvation and surrendered their life to follow Him.

But ONLY those whose names are written in the Lambs Book of Life (Rev 21:27) -the Bible says those who are not will suffer the penalty that day in the Lake of Fire.

The Lake of Fire.

It’s not a popular subject.
It’s not now.
It wasn’t then.

When John the Baptist spoke about it, his words of truth caused others to hate him and eventually led to his imprisonment and beheading.

But warning others of the certainty of Hell and telling them of the way of freedom is the most loving thing we can do.

Jesus spoke about Hell more than Heaven and we need to pay attention to that.

If all we ever hear from our pulpits and authors are “feel-good”, motivational, “you-focused” talks then they aren’t telling us all we need to know.

Following Jesus is so much more than our happiness in this life, it’s about life itself and where we will spend eternity. Heaven or Hell.

All of us will one day stand before the Lord… is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life? What about those you love? Have you ever talked to them about eternity? If we truly love them, how could we not?




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