“Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”– Luke 3:7 (NKJV)
I am the furthest thing from a painter. My father tried to teach me this lost art of painting while in my youth and I hated every moment of it. Granted, he wasn’t asking me to be Pablo Picasso but there were times when the trim work around the door frames he had me paint sure looked like I was trying to create something neoclassical. This would frustrate my father and he would have me clean it up and try again…and again…and again. To this day you’d be better off calling a professional painter than to have me volunteer my services. Bottom-line, I’m an awful house painter.
One of the things that really bugs me about house painting is the prep work involved. Scrappers and sandpaper are the standard tools to handle this and I used them to massacre the most ornate molding around the windows and doors of the house that was being painted. Can you imagine if I took to my sermons or my Freedom Fighters with the same mentality I have with painting? Well, as much as I try to be careful with my Biblical scrapper and sandpaper there is one guy in the Bible who had no problem with telling it like it is, coulda cared less about the ornate molding folks try to decorate themselves with and he sounded a little like this…
“You brood of vipers! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and flourishing? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” (Luke 3:7-9)
How many of you today would stick around for the message if you were greeted with the exclamation, “YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!”? My guess, in this easily offended world we live in today, is not many. I’d stick around because that kinda opening makes my ears perk up but folks today don’t wanna hear a John the Baptist style of preaching. He was the 80-grit sandpaper of preachers and not exactly all that polite. But does “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight” really need to be socially acceptable? My guess, in this “Please Press Like and Share” world we live today, is no.
Unfortunately for some, the idea behind repentance doesn’t come with a Purdy XL Elite Dale Sash paint brush and a can of Sherwin-Williams High-Gloss Extra White Water-based Door and Trim Paint, however, I’m guilty of raising my hand and subscribing to the notion that all I needed was a fresh coat of paint to cover up the mess that I tried to call my life. Now don’t get me too wrong here, not every pulpit in America has a pastor with a paint brush at the ready either. Many of us who came to an understanding that we needed to make a change, raised our hands, received our own primer coating of paint and when the primer coat chipped away, we walked away. Sad, but true.
So, what goes wrong? Well, that’s a mighty fine question to ask when we start to discuss our place within a brood of vipers. Yeah, I get it, you’re a good person, a saint that occasionally sins. I say that stuff all day long too and yet when I parallel myself to Jesus Christ I can’t seem to get on the cross. Oh, I can carry it for a distance, probably could lay down on it for a spell, but to allow myself to be nailed to it becomes an entirely different thing. I’d do it myself but the challenge would come when driving in that last nail…and that’s my point. You can’t do Christianity alone, it goes against the essence of God was after in Genesis 1 and 2. So, whatd’ya do?
Well as for this Freedom Fighter we’re close to the end of it but as for a continued look into what makes repentance, repentance, take a look at Luke 3:1-22 and see how Jesus Christ comes through that brood of vipers to fulfil His role in God’s redemptive plan for us and ask yourself what must you do to be saved. You won’t need any sandpaper or a paint brush to find out. AMEN?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “The poor quality of Christian that grows out of our modern evangelistic meeting may be accounted for by the absence of real repentance accompanying the initial spiritual experience of the converts. And the absence of repentance is the result of an inadequate view of sin and sinfulness held by those who present themselves in the inquiry room.” – A.W. Tozer