John the Baptist: Not the Prophet We Want, But the Prophet We Need, Part 1 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 53 / Day 420 since Jan. 1, 2016)
TEXT: Matthew 3:1-4:
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
After preaching the Gospel every day for 367 days straight throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, I am preaching the Gospel every day throughout the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. If you think a new president being in office is the only thing needed to save America and ‘make America great again’, you are woefully deceived. The church must follow through and “keep the main thing the main thing: and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to ‘pray without ceasing’ for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders.” So, we encourage you to pray for the new president, but not to get caught up in the political happenings like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord. And that is what this campaign is all about.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 53, day 420 since Jan. 1, 2016.
John R.W. Stott said, “Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. Thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.”
John the Baptist was an oddity in his day. While he preached a strict message of righteous living in the vein of the Old Testament prophets, he was not fully accepted by the religious Jewish establishment. And while he became a popular attraction among the common people, he did not fit the image of the charismatic, political prophet that they expected. John, standing as a bridge between the Old Testament and the New, occupied a space all his own. And his unique placement in Scripture carries a message that is pertinent to us today, particularly as it pertains to how the people of God ought to interact with the culture.
First, John’s placement in the wilderness positions him as an outsider. All four Gospels mention that John the Baptist preached “in the wilderness.” The wilderness was often a place of residence for religious sects that did not fall under the spiritual guidance of the Jewish establishment. It was also a place for those zealots who harbored thoughts of rebellion against the Roman government. So, the wilderness is symbolic of resistance against the powers that be. John’s ministry was not sanctioned by the religious establishment, and they would have frowned on him baptizing people. The Roman government, fearing an uprising, would also be concerned about any person who consistently drew large crowds. And, as we see in the Gospels, both the religious leaders and representatives of the secular Roman government paid John visits as he was baptizing. But, in the wilderness, John could, for the most part, draw crowds and baptize without being hindered.
In our last message, we learned that repentance goes along with entering the kingdom of heaven. Another thing that often goes along with entrance into the kingdom of heaven is alienation from the world. Those who belong to God’s kingdom no longer belong to the world, and they will often be treated as enemies of the world. John the Baptist experienced this. Craig S. Keener writes that, “Although true prophets could function within society under godly governments, in evil times it was mainly corrupt prophets who remained in royal courts as God’s true messengers were forced into exile. Most Jewish people in the first century practiced their religion seriously; but the religious establishment could not accommodate a prophet like John whose lifestyle dramatically challenged the status quo. A prophet with a message and values like John’s might not feel very welcome in many contemporary Western churches either. (Imagine, for example, a prophet overturning our Communion table, demanding how we can claim to partake of Christ’s body while attending a racially segregated church or ignoring the needs of the poor. In most churches we would throw him out on his ear.)”
As harsh as it may seem, we need prophets like John the Baptist today — prophets who are not afraid to stand at odds with the world. Only the true message of the Gospel — a Gospel that quite often says, “Come out from among them and be ye separate” — can save the world. John Johns wrote:
Come, kingdom of our God,
Sweet reign of light and love!
Shed peace and hope and joy abroad,
And wisdom from above.
O’er all our spirits first
Extend thy healing reign;
There raise and quench the sacred thirst,
That never pains again.
Come, kingdom of our God,
And make the broad earth thine!
Stretch over all her lands the rod
That flowers with grace divine.
Soon may all tribes be blest
With fruit from life’s glad tree;
And in its shade like brothers rest,
Children of one family.
Entering the kingdom of Heaven will require you to leave the kingdom of this world. If you are ready to do that, allow me to share with you how you can receive Jesus Christ as your Savior:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.