We were discussing the subject of what might be acceptable or unacceptable at this point in history, as it relates to evangelism. It was always debatable; but since our society has acquired “ better education” than our parents, the “you can’t tell me”, or “get with it and get up to date” has turned our thinking concerning the Holy Bible as unbecoming, out of date, no longer the final standard for Christianity. The theologians jumped into the fray years ago and offered thoughts contradicted by Scripture.
Try to imagine people going into the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’.”
To make things even more interesting, “In the desert, wearing clothes that were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance’.” (Matthew 3:1-8)
A stinging rebuke that probably excited the audience! John was saying what they thought and were now about to practice. In fact, he even said a little more in his stinging reproach: “His winnowing fork is in his hand and He will clear his threshing floor, gathering the wheat into his barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (v12) In effect he was saying, “baptize or burn”.
Please note, it was not being baptized that would produce their salvation, it involved: “Confessing their sins!”, then they were baptized. I remember vividly that as I read this Scripture, I realized that my childhood baptism was entirely represented by others, and that I needed to do publicly what my new birth in Christ represented. Shortly thereafter, I was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean. I was overjoyed knowing I had followed the Scriptures on my own volition.