Bearing The Fruit Of Repentance

John the Baptist began to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry in Luke 3:1-20.  Luke says that John was preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3, NIV).  What does repentance entail?  John said this to those who came out to him:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.​ – Luke 3:8 (NIV)​

In other words, don’t just give lip service to repentance.  True repentance bears fruit.  The people who came to him asked what they should do.  John told them what the fruit of repentance looks like.
  • To those in the crowd, he said to be generous to the poor (Luke 3:11)
  • To the tax collectors, he told them to be honest and quit cheating (Luke 3:13)
  • To the soldiers among them, he told them to stop oppressing those around them (Luke 3:14)

It is one thing to say, “I want to repent of my sinful ways” and another thing to actually bear the fruit of repentance.  God’s forgiveness requires our bearing the fruit of repentance.  When we put our faith and trust in Jesus by believing, repentance, public confession and baptism, we are forgiven of our many sins.  But the evidence has to be there.  Evidence of life transformation that comes by the power of the Holy Spirit.  There has to be a change.  We have to bear fruit.  Jesus will judge us by our fruit.  Fruitful grain will be harvested and the unfruitful chaff will be burned. 

His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

​ – Luke 3:17 (NIV)​

Luke 3:1-20

New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.


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