The Man, the Message, the Method
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” —John 1:6-8
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 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.” —Matthew 3:1-3
The Lord has chosen preachers to be His voice here on earth. It is our job to proclaim to all we have the privilege to minister to the good news of the gospel. The entire purpose of ministry is to lead sinners to Christ and instruct believers in the doctrine of God’s Word.
In Those Days
In Matthew’s account of John the Baptist’s ministry, he states in Matthew 3:1, “In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” By use of the term, “In those days,” he was referring to the first advent of Christ. We could just as easily say, “in these days,” referring to the fact of the Lord’s second advent, His return, that is soon to come. We must not be blind to the signs of the times that we are living in.
John’s ministry was to Israel. Israel was religious but not spiritual. Israel was in bondage to Rome and in bondage to sin. The priesthood was so corrupt that it had been reduced to nothing more than a way to make money. The priests of John’s day claimed to be sticklers to the law, yet the Lord said of them in Matthew 23 that they were hypocrites, blind guides, fools, vipers, serpents, extortionists, and murderers. In Revelation 3:17, the Lord tells us the condition of the church today: “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
John 1:6 says, “There was a man sent from God.” He was called by God, anointed by God, and ordained by God. The call to minister is holy, and that call does not come from man or the church but is the domain of God exclusively. His ministry was to “prepare the way of the Lord.” The preacher’s job is to constantly prepare his congregants to be ready to meet the Lord.
John’s message was direct and to the point: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” In this statement, John identified Christ with the cross. To be a man sent by God, the message must be Christ and Him crucified. John 1:7 says, “The same came for a witness,” which speaks of the mission of the Baptist. The word witness means that John not only proclaimed the truth of his message, but also the power of that truth. His ministry was in the wilderness which testified through its barrenness Israel’s spiritual condition.
Repent For The Kingdom Of God Is At Hand
The message was the call of repentance to Israel and the same message must be preached today. The depth of revival we can have today is predicated on the depth of our repentance.
Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord
The way of the Lord is a return to the Bible. The Word of God contains everything we need for life and godliness. Jeremiah 6:16 says: “Thus saith the LORD, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.” The Lord has a fixed path that we are to walk and to walk outside that “way” will only lead to ruin. The way of the Lord is the way of holiness and righteousness.
Make His Paths Straight
The path the Lord has prepared is straight, not crooked. It is a straight path that leads one to the throne of God. Satan, through false apostles, seeks to take the straight path and bend it to fit their false teachings, creating a false path, a false way. Only a proper understanding of the Bible and proper fellowship with the Lord can keep us upon the straight path.
John’s method of communication of his message was preaching. The word preaching as used in Matthew 3:1 is the Greek word kerusso, and it means “to herald as a public crier; to announce publicly.” This, coupled with the phrase, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” denotes a strong, forceful, passionate delivery. There was a sense of urgency to John’s preaching, and there was no thought on John’s part as to being fearful that the people would not accept his message. He was going to forcefully deliver that which the Lord had given to him without fear or favor.
The church today needs preachers—men and women who will herald the message of Christ—who will preach with passion, compassion, and conviction that stirs the heart of the hearers.
This is God’s way—the man, the message, and the method.
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