John spoke to the crowds coming to be baptized by him. He said, "You are like a nest of poisonous snakes! Who warned you to escape the coming of God's anger?
Produce fruit that shows you have turned away from your sins. And don't start saying to yourselves, 'Abraham is our father.' I tell you, God can raise up children for Abraham even from these stones.
The ax is already lying at the roots of the trees. All the trees that don't produce good fruit will be cut down. They will be thrown into the fire."
"Then what should we do?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "If you have extra clothes, you should share with those who have none. And if you have extra food, you should do the same."
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
"Don't collect any more than you are required to," John told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" John replied, "Don't force people to give you money. Don't bring false charges against people. Be happy with your pay."
The people were waiting. They were expecting something. They were all wondering in their hearts if John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But One who is more powerful than I am will come. I'm not good enough to untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
His pitchfork is in his hand to toss the straw away from his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his storeroom. But he will burn up the husks with fire that can't be put out."