Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Scathing Good News of the Gospel

In Luke chapter 3, John the Baptist has begun to preach. He said things like this to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him:

"...You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father', for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire...

"I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I... will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

And this is how Luke characterizes such fiery preaching:

"So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people" (verse 18).

Only God makes such scathing indictments good news to sin-weary people. May all God's preachers faithfully preach thus.

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