John comes preaching from Isaiah. We are in Luke Chapter 3. This servant of GOD comes preaching The Word of GOD. This can be so very easily overlooked and neglected and ignored in the church. There is an enemy of God who does not want us to preach and teach and share the Word of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit. There may be people who might have trouble with that concept too, but we know where that comes from. John does not come with his own message - or with nice thoughts - or fine ideas. John goes to the Jordan River - to the lowest point - to do a new thing - BAPTISE. Let's be clear about what this word means. It means to soak - saturate - steep - dip - dunk - plunge. If we had called him John the plunger we could have avoided much theological confusion and error. Why the River Jordan? This is where The People of God first entered into The Promised Land, and this is how we now come into the Promises of God, and start afresh. Never mind what you have had - never mind what you have been - and what you have received from God - start again, if you still have to sort out your start point. John's work was to get the road straight and smooth, and to demolish the high obstacles, and fill in the holes which could trip you up. He is like a bulldozer, and of course a bulldozer needs oil and John was filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit from birth. John is a lonely voice in a dry desert. That is what life is like until Jesus Christ comes. John comes where it is dry - barren - dangerous - crooked. His message to the people is basically, come back and start afresh. As he preached his word cut people to the heart. He was more concerned about truth than holding onto the crowds, yet crowds travelled to hear this man. He did not go to them. John did not choose his ministry. He convicted people of sin. There was even a committee sent down from Jerusalem to investigate what was going on in the desert and in the water. What is what John said and what John preached. That is always crucial and vital. What is the content of the message? We must not be overly concerned with the method of presentation, although that has its place. What really matters is the content. Are there not significant lessons to be learned when we see how Almighty God launches a new and fresh work? It can be through a man called Abraham and through his sons, Isaac and Jacob. It can be through someone like Moses or King David. It can be through that event in an outhouse in Bethlehem when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born, and shepherds visited. It can be through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Temple grounds in Jerusalem, with all the apparent controversy that may have caused over the years and perhaps particularly over these past fifty years. It can be through Peter visiting the home of Centurion Cornelius following some remarkable answers to prayer and visions. Have you ever thought of how radical that was? Jews and Gentiles are worshipping and praying and fellowshipping together! This Gospel has been radical and challenging from the outset, going on to deal with every area of life, offering forgiveness and healing and reconciliation. It can be through five men waiting before God in worship and prayer, as we have it in Acts Chapter 13, and God moves and speaks, and a whole new phase of mission is thrust across the world. Do you not feel excitement when you realize that you have been called by Almighty God to become involved to some degree in this astounding work of grace and ministry of love? Let the excitement be demonstrated in service and faithfulness.
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