WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 3, 2022
TOPIC: THE AXE OF GOD’S JUDGMENT
BY T. O. BANSO
“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” (Matthew 3:10 New King James Version).
Trees and forests are sometimes used in the Bible as a symbol of individuals, kingdoms, and nations on which God executed judgment (Ezekiel 31:3-18; Isaiah 10:18-19, 33-34). The trees and forests were cut down. In Matthew 3, John the Baptist spoke about the impending judgment of God because of unfruitfulness or failure to bear good fruit.
John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea asking the people to repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The people of Jerusalem, Judea, and the entire region around the Jordan went out to John and he baptized them in the Jordan as they confessed their sins (Matthew 3:1-2, 5-6).
Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees also went to him for baptism. John called them “brood of vipers” and asked them who warned them to flee from the wrath to come. He told them to bear fruits worthy of repentance and not say to themselves that Abraham was their father. He said that God was able to raise up children to Abraham from the stone (Matthew 3:7-9). Luke 3:7-8 also records this. Jesus also later made a similar reference to the scribes and Pharisees as “brood of vipers” and warned them, saying, “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:39 New King James Version).
In Matthew 3:10, John further told the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him for baptism, “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” (New King James Version). John didn’t mince words by telling these Pharisees and Sadducees of the impending judgment.
John said the axe of God’s judgment is laid to the root of the trees. He didn’t say it would be laid. He meant that the axe was already laid. It was ready to chop down or cut down the trees. The trees referred to the Jewish nation but, prophetically, they also referred to all sinners. The only thing that would stop the axe from cutting down the tree was for the tree to bear good fruit. This is also true today. “Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10b New King James Version).
John called the people to true repentance – repentance that would produce good deeds, not repentance by words of mouth alone. God does not want a barren tree or a tree that produces bad fruit. He wants a tree that will produce good fruit. Are you a fruitful tree? Do you produce good fruit? God does not lay His axe of judgment in vain.
Your deeds or fruits will reveal who you are. Any tree that does not produce good fruit will be hewn down and cast into the fire. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:16-19 New King James Version).
Being a nominal Christian will not save anyone from the axe and the fire. Everyone must be a true Christian whose deeds show that he is living a new life in Christ Jesus. Jesus continued, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:20-23 New King James Version).
Behold the axe is laid to the root of the trees! After a certain man who planted a fig tree in his vineyard and for three years found no fruit on it, he decided to cut it down instead of the tree using up the ground. He decided to lay the axe at the root of the tree. But the keeper of the vineyard begged the man for one year for him to dig around it and fertilize it, after which he could cut it down if it didn’t produce fruit (Luke 13:6-9).
A fruitless tree is a useless tree and it is only fit for nothing but being cut down and burnt. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6 New King James Version). This is everlasting fire, hellfire (Matthew 18:8, 9; 5:22; 25:41; Mark 9:47). The worm there does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Isaiah 66:24). It is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
How long has God been waiting for you to bear fruit? How many more years will you keep God waiting? Or how many more years do you think God will wait? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Don’t be a Christian in name only.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to abide in Jesus. I shall be fruitful in Jesus’ name. I shall bear good fruit and not be cut down and thrown into everlasting fire in Jesus’ name. I pray for true repentance of everyone with the axe of God’s judgment already laid to the root of the trees that will repent and bear fruit. Such people will surrender their lives to Jesus today and escape hellfire.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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