"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Infusion Bible eStudies are downloadable small group studies that can be read online, printed, or emailed. Each study includes a leader guide and a study guide and is suitable for a one-hour group Bible study.
Listen...to the words of the Scripture, and in them discover God's message for you today.
Look...at a brief verbal snapshot from the scrapbook of contemporary life and discover its connection both to you and to the Scripture passage.
Live...inside the Scripture to discover its context and message; then allow the Scripture to come alive in you and cause you to live out your faith in new and more-effective ways.
Read an excerpt from this study below.
Some people are easy to love all the time, and some are easy to love some of the time. Some people, however, are difficult to love any time. The thing is, we Christians are not called to love provisionally or occasionally or selectively. We are simply called to love.
To complicate matters still more, Christian love is a discerning love. Some people seem to have little moral taste, so they are not troubled by the conduct of those who gain their fortunes wickedly or whose conduct is crude and cheap. Others do not expect much of themselves, so they do not expect much of others. Christians, however, being called to perfection, expect a great deal of themselves. When one demands so much of oneself, there are both conscious and unconscious tendencies to expect more from others.
All of which is to say that we Christians have been called to a task that seems difficult, if not impossible. Shall we conclude that it is just too much for us? Or shall we rationalize it by deciding that God never really intended us to love perfectly, so we should simply aim to be as good as we can? Can we really be expected to love as extravagantly as the New Testament seems to require?