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Lesson # Matthew 3:9-12
Study Material - Matthew 3:9-12
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves,' We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 'And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 'As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 'And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.'
Abraham is referred to again in Matthew, but with a slightly different twist. God raised up Abraham. God raised up Adam and everyone else for that matter. Boasting that your ancestor is the source of greatness is nonsense. It is a rejection of God who originated the source, not boasting. So the whole argument that the arrogant people put forth, was even contradictory in itself. To boast that one is a Jew is nonsense also. Even the Arabs call Abraham their father, and there is quite a difference of opinion between the two groups. Then there is the rest of us lowly gentiles. Obviously we count for nothing when it comes to earthly status. I guess we are just heathens of sorts.
Anyway, John sets them straight. God can raise up descendants of Abraham from the stones lying on the ground. And rocks are nothing. So ancestry is nothing. So anyone boasting of ancestry be it from royalty, or a certain family line, or from old money, or from culture, or color, or geographical area. All of these are empty arguments as far as God is concerned. None of these contribute to salvation or to ones eternal status.
Judgment is already set. Judgment was set in eternity past. Nothing you can do will change the results of your negative attitude, short of changing your attitude. The final result is eternal condemnation if one rejects Christ. Nothing you can do will change Gods policy. You will either be saved or not. There is no third choice. We cannot side track Gods plan. We cannot invent our own plan for eternity and heaven. We cannot pretend to be good and get Gods approval. God is interested in only one act and that was Christ's act on the Cross which is accepted. God is interested in only one attitude after salvation and that attitude is pursuit of spiritual growth in the proper way. Again we cannot invent our own method of growing up spiritually. We have to be in fellowship, a non-emotional state, and study His word, keep an open mind and grow up. Actually God does all the work in this as well.
John makes it clear that the rituals of baptism do not save. It is faith which accomplishes salvation, not a washing of water, not a do good attitude, not attending a church on holidays, not a counting of beads, not a holding of a cross to your chest, not a series of hale Mary's, not helping of little old ladies across the street, no deed or action will save you. Only believing in Jesus Christ. Period.
Christ brings a better baptism, the baptism of the Holy Sprit which comes on us all at the moment of salvation. We do not feel it nor generally do we know of it at the time. This baptism brings the indwelling of not only the Holy Spirit, but also the indwelling of the other two members of the trinity as well. This baptism brings Gods guarantee of eternal life, and life in heaven with Him forever. And this is certainly better than getting wet. Getting wet accomplishes nothing unless of course you happen to need a bath. Then those around you will appreciate your baptism probably more than you. They might even encourage you to do it more often!! If you get the drift of what I mean. Still no salvation comes from water baptism. Salvation comes only from faith in Christ. Baptism certainly is useful in teaching the mechanics and the identifications we have when we express our faith in Christ. The water represents the world and our inseparable ties to it. The dipping into the water represents our death and burial. The rising out of the water represents our resurrection, and all this represents our identification with Christ in His work on the Cross, His burial, and His resurrection.
None of us are worthy of handling Christ's sandals. We are the dust of this earth, worthless dust. Yet there are those people who think themselves higher than everyone else. They think themselves comparable to God and seek a hearing with God on the same level. Yet no human is capable of that. Our mental capacity is infinitely inferior to God. But mans arrogance seems to launch mans opinion about himself and distorts the truth, fooling mankind, blinding mankind. Our sin natures are extremely powerful and this is the point of this lesson. Attitude is everything. It can make you or break you. We are our own worst enemy.
Christ has His winnowing fork and the date is set for His clearing of the floor with the good grain which He keeps, and the discarding of the worthless parts, which go into eternal condemnation. There is no unlimited time frame for man to perfect himself, to come to the knowledge of God or to be one with the universe. God has a plan and that plan is unfolding before our eyes. Our individual life spans will not see the entire plan, but we should not be too concerned with what will happen in history. We need to concern ourselves with our own spiritual status, and get with a program of spiritual growth.
John taught the certainty of Gods plan, and the certainty of the repercussions of our attitude to it. Positive - we profit. Negative - we lose big time. The choice is so simple, but we seem to make it so complicated.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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