Matthew 3.10 cont.
10 Now already the axe is set at the root of the trees; therefore, every tree not producing good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.
Jesus also used a similar illustration in John chapter 15, when He described Himself as the true Vine, and His Father as the Gardener. In saying that He is the TRUE vine He was making a distinction between Himself from Israel. He is the true seed of Abraham, because He was totally obedient to the Father. Israel, whilst still God’s vine, whom He delivered from bondage in Egypt, had become a vine that needed severe pruning. This was due to their disobedience.
Jesus went on to talk about throwing into the fire every branch that does not bear fruit, and pruning every branch that does bear fruit:
He takes away every branch in Me that is not producing fruit, and He prunes every one that is producing fruit, so that it will produce more fruit – John 15.2.
The message of John to his fellow Jews was that they needed to repent in order to avoid the judgement of God. Failure to repent and turn to God would mean that they would feel the impact of the axe of God in judgement.
The book of Proverbs tells us:
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death – Proverbs 16.25 (NLT).
This would have been true for the Jews of John’s day, and particularly the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Yet it is also true for everyone today. The whole world thinks that their way is right, but it will only lead to death, unless it is God’s way. Perhaps every political system firmly believes that their ways, their ideology, and their philosophy is the right way. Yet none of them can save a man’s soul.
Many people will devote themselves to a cause of doing what they earnestly believe is right, but the result will be death, unless they are in line with God’s way.
Therefore, each one of us needs to pray:
Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Make Your way plain for me to follow – Psalm 5.8 (NLT).
Amongst others, our enemy is our own inner self, which is opposed to the righteousness of Jesus.
Pray that God will put His axe to the root of our selfish ways, pruning us to be the producers of His fruit.