Because we have Jesus, we often completely overlook the message of John the Baptist. Yet, his message is powerful and full of the work of God. In Luke 3, he proclaims "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (v3), but how often do we really read those words?
Sure, the witness and message of Jesus is greater than John's, but if the Dong people only heard the message of John, they would be so much closer to the truth.
John is calling people to join this baptism, a public show of their repentance. And repentance is the first step of admitting who we really are before God, and accepting his authority over our lives.
Many came to receive this baptism, but it was becoming somewhat popular to do so. John realized there was nothing special about the water, the baptism, or even who baptized. The important part of the process is what is going on in the hearts of the people. What is their relationship to God?
"Bear fruits in keeping with repentance," he says (v8). If they have truly repented, they will change the way they go about daily life. And in verses ten through fourteen, he provides specific examples of this change of action in practice.
Right now, the Dong rely on what they have been told, what has been passed down through the generations, just like those who said they had Abraham as their father (v8). Pray that the Dong will look at the true condition of their own hearts before God and not just go through the motions of religion or spirituality as it is passed down. Pray that they will see their position before God, repent, and "bear fruits in keeping with repentance."