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Many of Us are Blessed…
In Luke 3 we see John the Baptist preaching to the crowds who have come out to see him and to receive his baptism of water. He gives them a real sharp and pointed sermon about their sins and their need to change their ways. His is a hard message. He does not mince his words, or soften them in any way. He warns them in very powerful terms, “Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (verse 9) He is speaking of them. They (and we) are the trees. In proper fear of the Lord, the people ask him, “What then should we do?” (verse 10) What John the Baptist says to the people then he says to us as well. He gives real, practical, direct advice on the kinds of attitudes we should have and the kinds of things we should do for one another. These are not airy, idealistic ideas either. They are real, active, positive actions that we can and should be taking, in order to “bear good fruit” with our lives. They indicate that life is not “all about me.” Rather, it is about exactly the opposite. It is about how we see and treat all others in this life. He says to them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do the same.” (verse 11) With words like these and those he gives to the tax collectors and the soldiers, John truly is preparing the way for the Messiah, who will live this way, and who will tell us with his life, his self-sacrificing death and his resurrection, to do…