August 5, 2009
Luke 3:1-18  Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,  as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth;  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"  Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."  So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?"  He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."  Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"  And he said to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you."  Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."  Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,  John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."  And with many other exhortations he preached to the people.