Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
March 12, 2006
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 And the multitudes asked him, saying, What then must we do?
11 And he answered and said unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath food, let him do likewise.
- I. John's Instruction to the Baptized.
- A. Though "repentance" is not, fundamentally, about "what to do", all who are regenerated by God need instruction on what His will is regarding life with others.
- 1. "Repentance" has to do with bringing one's "snakiness" (you brood of vipers) to God for a real solution (to become a child of Abraham).
- 2. But, once a person is regenerated ("born from above"), the new life needs both definition and direction. The Spirit of God matures the Children of God by means of a clear understanding of the Will of God through the Word of God.
- B. It is the most natural thing in the world for a newly regenerated person to wonder how to go about becoming a mature saint; therefore, John "taught" those who professed to have received God's solution to their depravity.
- 1. The teaching was a response to the "interest" of the people: they "asked" John what God wanted them to do.
- a. This came on the heels of John's insistence that they "bring forth fruit".
- b. Their question was the first indication of "fruitfulness"...because interest in what is to be done is the first sign of new life.
- 2. The "general" teaching.
- a. The most "general" teaching was addressed to "the crowds". In the verses to come, there is a specific teaching for "publicans" and "soldiers".
- b. This "general" teaching was focused upon the development of the attitude of the Kingdom: being genuinely helpful.
- 1) It had two specific parts.
- a) One part was the "working garment" -- Online says it was the under garment that one wore for "work" (the "outer" garment would be laid aside when it was time to "work").
- b) One part was "food" -- Online reveals that the word indicates all kinds of "food", but occasionally refers to "meat" as a type of food.
- 2) This is exactly what the apostle Paul outlined in 1 Timothy 6 as the basis for contentment.
- c. This "general" teaching must not be twisted into a general concept of "communism".
- 1) Nowhere in Scripture is giving to the slothful countenanced. Paul pointedly demanded the principle that "only those who work should eat". He even levied this upon elderly widows as a matter of "pledge".
- 2) John's instruction assumed the interaction of the regenerated -- i.e., he did not intend to establish an "economy" for the "world", but he did intend to establish a "commitment" for the "community".
- 3) John's instruction was not "about" the "redistribution of wealth"; rather, it was "about" the provision of "basic need" (he did not command the "giving" of the "outer robe", which was often expensive, nor did he command the "giving" of the dainty foods and wine of the feasts -- his interest was not the redistribution of wealth, but the mutual care of brethren).