Crowds of people were coming to be baptized by John. He would say to them, "You poisonous snakes! Who showed you how to flee from God's coming anger?
Do those things that prove that you have turned to God and have changed the way you think and act. Don't say, 'Abraham is our ancestor.' I guarantee that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.
The ax is now ready to cut the roots of the trees. Any tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire."
The crowds asked him, "What should we do?"
He answered them, "Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who doesn't have any. Whoever has food should share it too."
Some tax collectors came to be baptized. They asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?"
He told them, "Don't collect more money than you are ordered to collect."
Some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He told them, "Be satisfied with your pay, and never use threats or blackmail to get money from anyone."
People's hopes were rising as they all wondered whether John was the Messiah.
John replied to all of them, "I baptize you with water. But the one who is more powerful than I is coming. I am not worthy to untie his sandal straps. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn the husks in a fire that can never be put out."