Matthew – Fulfilled
What really counts? Is it pretending to get along with everyone while scheming to be in control of them? Is it going to church as a testimony to the world that you belong to a noble group? Is it saying all the right and acceptable words while stabbing someone in the back later because they do not agree with you? Is it running over someone else so you can get ahead and get that raise in pay and position? Is it putting your family to one side so you can rise to the top of your game in business? What really counts?
What made the Billy Graham revivals so successful over the years? The team worked months in advance, getting other pastors in the area, to begin praying for their city. They trained pastors and leaders with ways and words to help people accept Christ when the call was made. They helped churches see that this was THEIR mission to their community to bring everyone they knew in their circles of life to this event so that the lost could be saved by Jesus Christ. Where did they get such a wise plan of action? God’s Word! Before Jesus’ ministry to seek and to save the lost, He sent John. Through John, hearts were made ready. Minds were provoked.
John’s message was simple. John lived a simple, uncomplicated life. He owed no one. He said what God told him to say. He was the advance man for Jesus. What counts in John’s mind was simply, “You must change your life from the inside out.” “God’s Kingdom (Jesus) is here.” No more pretending.
Matthew 3, The Message
1-2 While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
3 John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy:
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
4-6 John dressed in a camel-hair habit tied at the waist by a leather strap. He lived on a diet of locusts and wild field honey. People poured out of Jerusalem, Judea, and the Jordanian countryside to hear and see him in action. There at the Jordan River those who came to confess their sins were baptized into a changed life.
7-10 When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin! And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.
11-12 “I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
Something to think about…
–John’s message was simple and profoundly revolutionary for his time.
–John’s message stirred church leaders to the popular gathering, but they came for all the wrong reasons and John called them out.
–How does John’s message stir our hearts?
–Are we advance men and women proclaiming God’s message to lost people, getting the world ready for the second coming of Christ?
–Are we living changed lives, from the inside out, because of Christ’s saving grace?
–Are we living life knowing we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb sacrificed for our sin?
–Is it time to clean house, making a clean sweep of our own lives?
Dear Lord, Your Word stirs our hearts this morning. We involve ourselves in all the busyness of living that we put aside thinking about what really counts. Thank you for bringing us back to what is simple yet profound. Change my life, O Lord, I pray. Cleanse me of all the dark places that I have not swept in awhile. Thank you for redeeming my soul. In Jesus Name, Amen