Signpost your Saviour

I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23 ESV)

The legacy of John the Baptist lives on to this very day. Let’s take a look at his mountain-top ministry, when he was at his spiritual summit, to see what makes him stand out from the crowd. Turn with me to John 3:22-36. Before you read on reflect on the passage. Now, it’s obvious that John the Baptist’s Kingdom-ministry was at its peak. In verse 23 (NIV) it reads that “people were constantly coming to be baptised.” Things were looking good for John. His ministry was really getting off the ground. But then things took a turn and there was a switch-over between John and Jesus. The focus started to shift off John and onto Jesus as He began to baptise.

Bible-bones

Read over this passage and write around it.  What can you learn from John the Baptist? And how can you apply it to your life?

Jesus and his followers went into the area of Judea, where he stayed with his followers and baptized people. John was also baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were going there to be baptized. (This was before John was put into prison.) Some of John’s followers had an argument with a Jew about religious washing. So they came to John and said, “Teacher, remember the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you spoke about so much? He is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John answered, “A man can get only what God gives him. You yourselves heard me say, ‘I am not the Christ, but I am the one sent to prepare the way for him. ‘The bride belongs only to the bridegroom. But the friend who helps the bridegroom stands by and listens to him. He is thrilled that he gets to hear the bridegroom’s voice. In the same way, I am really happy. He must become greater, and I must become less important.” (John 3:22-30 NCV)

If I was John the Baptist my self-esteem would have taken a serious nose-dive as his ministry began to wane in light of Jesus’. John’s response was not what I would have expected. I could have understood if he threw a fit, but he didn’t.  Instead John the Baptist acknowledged that “I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of Him” (John 3:28 NIV). He happily stood back to let Jesus take centre-stage.  Can we say the same?  When we stand off-side do we mind that the attention isn’t on us anymore?  Or do we become bitter because of it?

This is what John the Baptist had to say about his ministry dying out to Jesus’, “that joy is mine, and it is now complete” (John 3:29 NIV). John was more than happy to live in His Saviour’s shadow, unlike some. If you read on in John 3 you probably aren’t surprised to see that John’s disciples got jealous of Jesus. The same thing happens today. We have our eyes on ourselves when we should really have our eyes glued to God.  It’s so easy to do; we have to watch ourselves with this one.  Make sure that your focus stays on Jesus.  We can’t argue with John 3:31 (NCV), “The One who comes from above is greater than all” so why can’t we accept this truth too? “He must become greater, and I must become less important” (John 3:30 NCV). If we accept that He is above all, we must apply this practice.

This is where John got it spot on. He realised that he couldn’t steal centre-stage; it wasn’t his place. We have to come to the place of acceptance as we let Jesus pull into pole position.  He has to be at the centre of our lives or else we’ll become unbalanced.  Earlier on in the gospel of John the Jews in Jerusalem asked him if he was the Messiah. Listen closely, “He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely” that he was a servant rather than the Sovereign (John 1:20 NIV). He went on to sum up himself, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’ ” (John 1:23 NIV). I too want to be a signpost. I want to signpost the Second Coming! There’s only One Way- Jesus, and we have to signpost Him whenever we can so that others can see their Salvation.

Ask yourself?

Do you have your eyes on yourself? Or are your eyes glued to God? Just like John we too have been sent on ahead of Him, we’ve been sent ahead of the Second Coming. It’s time we signposted our Saviour for all to see!

Heart-cry…

Lord Jesus, when my friends and family look at me, may they see You!

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Spiritual CVs

Read Revelation 3:14-21, the letter to the luke-warm Church.  I know reading Revelation is hard-going but stick with it.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if you don’t read the Word for yourself you will stunt your spiritual growth.

Luke-warm love makes God gag. The Church of Laodicea is a perfect example of this.  Here’s the jist of it, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16 NKJV). Just incase it hasn’t sunk in here it is in the Message, “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking… You’re not cold; you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit” (Revelation 3:15-17). Here’s how to get yourself out of this pickle. Pick the winning side and stick with it. Love for God should be absolute; it was never intended to be anything less.

Ask yourself?

Is your love luke-warm?  Open your Bible and allow it to open your eyes if you’ve turned cold. Write down what God expects of us as Christians.  When you’ve done that, write down what you are as a Christian.  Do you measure up?  In what ways are you lacking?  I know it hurts but it has to be done. We should be on fire for God, the words stone-cold and Christian shouldn’t go together!

Listen up, if you ‘love’ God with half a heart, don’t be surprised if He doesn’t own up to knowing you on Judgement Day. It may be hard hearing but it may be what you have to repent of. In Matthew 7 Jesus spells out salvation, before going on to talk about fruitless false prophets. Here’s what comes next, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV). Did you catch that? If there isn’t any fruit to your faith and your love is luke-warm you have some serious confessing to do. Jesus doesn’t stop there. This is what He has to say to the lukewarm, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23 NKJV). These are the last words I could wish on anyone.  When you meet Jesus face-to-face, will these be the last words you ever hear?

The thing is, these people who Jesus was targeting looked like they loved God. On the outside they appeared to be faultless; on the inside they were flawed. On the outside they acted like they were on fire for God, but on the inside they were anything but. Their problem was that they had ‘spiritual CVs’ that appeared to be perfect. I have to be careful with this; I have the most Christian CV I have ever come across.  Even though I can rhyme off a crazy amount of service that I’ve been involved in, I have to make sure it isn’t a substitute.  I have to take care that my inner-self matches up with my service.  Can you relate to this?

Let’s have another look at Matthew 7:22 (NKJV) and see if we can spot any ‘accomplishments‘, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” Casting out evil spirits, praying for miracles and prophesying all have their place, but if you’re without God you’re really going against Him. Be warned, although obeying His commands, fasting, and praying in public are a follow-on from a real relationship with Jesus, they aren’t a substitute.

Think upon these things…

If there isn’t any fruit to your faith you’ve got some serious confessing to do.  Why don’t you spend some time in prayer confessing your sins?  Or if you’d rather write God a letter of apology go for it.

Heart-cry…

Lord, if my love is ever luke-warm wake me up to it, I want to be on fire for You!  Show me my sins, show me if my service isn’t what it should be…

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