“…Who art thou?…I am not the Christ.” (John 1)
In the above text it is John the Baptist being asked his identity. Religious leaders had been dispatched to John’s church where he preached and baptized. John was a “Rock Star” as the world calls someone that is wildly popular and has the attention of all classes of people. John was the mega-church preacher of his time…the only difference is he spoke pure, unadulterated truth and cared not who he offended for if the truth offends the proper subject, it is a good thing and it is not to be spared nor are the right subjects. It is a wicked and evil spirited minister that causes the proud to feel good while beating up on those that should be built up and encouraged.
This holy man had no over-top to be concerned with. There were no utility bills or out-reach funds needed or building funds to beg for. This preacher had the world as his church, word of mouth spread and advertised the power and authority this man preached with and from. This is the type of preacher many a young preacher dreamed of being but the world, the flesh, the devil, the man-centeredness of the church, deacons, bills, church-growth, comments, and time has worn him down. Not this preacher, not John.
The religious leaders came to see this un- man-taught prophet of God, they came to see what all the talk was about, they came to him, he did not go to them. They came to see who and what this preacher was. They feared he might be the Christ…can you imagine that Reader? These religious men feared the coming of the promised Christ…does that seem odd to you?
Before you answer that allow me to meddle in your business with my shepherd’s rod, let me look underneath your wool. This may get a bit uncomortable…. Are you expecting Christ’s return? Do you long for His return? Do you, Reader, long for His descent? Do you love the thought of His return? Do you ever consider His promise to return? Or do want Him to hold off, “a while” so you can see you children or grand-children grow up? Do you want Him to wait until you see your children marry or have a “full life?”
Reader, we are to await Him and His return. The crown of life is offered to them that look for His great and grand return from our homeland. Dear God, Reader, and for your own sake, Look for Christ, think upon this great and blessed Hope of all ages, “do not be conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds.” If you hope not in His return…not for reward or escape, but for Him Alone…to “see Him as He is”….if this is not your soul’s blessed Hope, Reader, repent and beseech God to give you a hope and a desire for His Son. Reader, if your child(ren) are more excited about the fatman from the north pole than you are about the God-Man from the true North….you have a great problem and a great disease called worldliness and your symptom is, backsliding. Reader, Do not take backsliding lightly; backsliding is the gate to the broad way that leads to destruction and to apostacy and to drawing away from God and God has no pleasure in those that draw away from Him. God has great pleasure in and for those that “draw near” to Him, and as David said, “It is good for me to draw near unto [T]hee.”
I have put my rod away… back to our focus.
These religious leaders came to see John and they were hopeing he was not the promised prophet, the promised Messiah. They addressed him with the obvious question, ” Who art thou?” and John knew their intents and motivations and answered, “I am not the Christ.” John continued and began to scourge these leaders, calling them vipers. John knew a minister of (s)atan in the guise of a minister of God when he saw one as do all Christ-ians with a sound and a discerning spiritual mind.
Can you spot the false ministers? The false ministers use the Scriptures very little, they may read a passage or two (2) and then begin to speak their own words and not the Word(s) of God. These false ministers have little to say about Christ and what they do say is wrong. The false ministers love the words and pronouns, “I” and “Me” These false minister’s will either flatter “their” flock or beat them depending on the camp or denomination. These false minister usually focus on “building” a church or a kingdom unto themselves and in their unholy and vain likeness. They want a younger audience and not so much to older saints. The older saints will die off, retire and move away or may discern the minister’s intentions. The last thing these minister’s want is to deal with a real saint or person of God.
Reader, What is the greatest compliment you have ever received? Consider the compliment the religious leaders gave John without wanting too. They thought he may be the Christ, the prophet promised to Moses so very long ago. What a compliment!!!
Today, I asked a women to read the back of a toy package. I thought the message to the young children, the toy was meant for, was off base and very violent. The older lady agreed. After putting the toy back, I said to her, “By the way, I asked you the question because i could sense Christ on you.” The women turned around, looked at me, her right hand went to her heart and she said with emotion and affection, “That is the greatest compliment I could be given.” I wished God’s blessings to be upon her and she returned that hope and I departed.
This woman considered her spirituality and the sense of Christ being about her person to be the greatest compliment she could receive. This compliment was greater than a compliment upon her look, her adornment, her mind, her anything else. We have had persons approach us and tell us they knew we were a preacher. We have had sooo many persons approach us in stores thinking we were a manager…a shepherd, I’ve had a man come up to me and yell in my face because there were not enough check out lanes open. They sense something about my person….
Reader, I am not boasting or glorying in myself, God forbid. I am simply stating truth…to state a truth is not arrogance, as Sherlock Holmes would say, “The logician is not concerned with false modesty but states things as they are.” For a Christ-ian to bear witness to the gift God has bestowed upon them is not boastful, but an accurate accounting of truth; of how things are. For a person with a good singing voice to acknowledge it and acknowledge God for it is not boastful or arrogant, it is how it is. To play modest is not humble but it is an affront to God, the Gifter. Sometimes arrogance and humility can be confused….we have an article on this subject on our site. False humility is a species of pride and it is an affront and a denial of God. As we confess our sin and sins before God, let us confess our gifts and our Gifter before men without shame or embarrassment!!! We are the new and better Creation of God, live it, love it, lead with it….we are all a “little Jesus” and that is what God intends, deny it not.
Again, Reader, we ask you, what is the greatest compliment you could receive? Recently, I told my much loved cousin, my cousin on my mother’s side, Cindy, that, I think she has become the glue that holds and will hold my Mom’s side of the family together. She is the one who alerts family members to news concerning other (AKA, Who just died, it’s sad that it takes a death to bring families together…no one is guilty but everyone is guilty) family members. If there is to be a get together it will usually be at her house.
My Grandmother or Big Momma held this position before she departed “to be with Christ which is far better.” When I said this to my cousin, she responded (on FaceBook), “I take that as a huge compliment.” She knew what I was saying, I was likening her to Big Momma. For a Christ-ian, and my cousin Cindy is a Christ-ian, to receive a compliment on their Christ-likeness is the greatest thing in the world.
At my daughter’s school, at the end of the year, awards are presented. The awards are for sports, for academics and school-ery things like that. However there is another award that is presented and that award is the “Christ-ian Character” award. To me, as a parent and a preacher, that is the gold metal. My daughters, all three (3) have received this metal on multiple occasions. This is a compliment of Christ-likeness. Being young kids they may not see the meaning in that award, but I certainly do. God certainly does.
Reader, It is a Scriptural doctrine that all believers are predestined to become like Christ when He returns. This is the doctrine of the Christ-ian’s glorification or the glorified body, a body like His resurrected Body (Romans 8; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 3; 1 John 3; and Philippians 3). We are promised a glorified body, a body like Christ’s resurrected Body…this is prophecied, promised and predestinated. However, it is here and now that God is transforming us into Christ’s likeness, in terms of our thoughts, feelings, will, and action. It is true that God, “which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Christ will return and the presence of sin and our penchance for and to sin sins will be purged.
When our pilgrimage of salvation began God saved us from the penalty and terror of sin, He saved us from the demanding power of sin…I know we still commit sins but the SIN issue has been taken care of. We commit sins but we sin less and less as we grow and grow. He saved us from pleasuring in lust and the fleshly pleasures of sin. Again, I know we still commit sins and they are pleasurable, hence our commiting them, but we pleasure not in that pleasure, “Lord, I believe, help [T]hou my unbelief,”…we would be rid of sin if we could. we would be perfectly Holy in practice if we could and that is the difference salvation makes in us who are in Christ and that is the difference between us and those that are reprobate concerning the faith.
Reader, we have much, very much, soooooo much to be expecting, Let us be looking to the East and let us be lovingly and longingly, “Watch[ing] and pray[ing],” for the sky to rip and tear like paper and to “Look upon His Face, the One Who saved [us] by His grace.”