A woman in my Bible study group recently went on a trip to China. In preparation for her journey, her tour guide cautioned the Westerners not to talk about religion, Christianity or Jesus at all, for any reason. To do so at the wrong time or to the wrong person would have serious consequences. They weren’t even able to bring a Bible into the country for their own use.
My friend enjoyed the fabulous sights of the country each day, while being careful to obey the advice of her tour guide. Near the end of her trip, however, an employee at the hotel where they were staying approached her and said, “I can tell you that you are a Christian. I see the light in you.”
Her behavior had given her away.
When John the Baptist came preparing the way for Jesus, he taught a nation of religious people how to truly love the God that gave their culture its identity.
John taught two basic principles: repentance of the heart (as shown through baptism) and to, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).” John taught that true repentance would naturally prove itself in our lives by positive changes in our behavior. Repentance and fruit go hand-in-hand.
What would that spiritual fruit look like practically? John gave two examples. Share with those in need out of the abundance that God has given you (vs. 11) and treat people fairly (vs. 13 and 14).
According to the Hollman Bible Commentary, “Gaining God’s forgiveness requires more than carrying out another religious ritual. Forgiveness means changing your way of living, producing new fruit in your life. Repentance is not a one-time performance. Repentance is a continuing way of life—a life totally different from the one that required repentance in the first place.”
This kind of living not only pleases God, but it stands out in a world so full of darkness that it begs for the light of Christ. The fruit of our repentance will open doors for us to share with others the good news about Jesus.
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Reading Plan–Week Ten
Day One–Luke 2
Day Two–Luke 3
Day Three–Luke 4
Day Four–Luke 5
Day Five–Luke 6