As we continue going through the Gospel of Luke, I’ll go on talking about us as being the “John the Baptist Generation”. We should be calling God’s people to wake up and prepare for the second coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.
He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
The first thing we have to realize is that our message is a little bit different than his was. We have to remember that John the Baptist preached before the cross of Christ.
Therefore, in order to be forgiven, there had to be true repentance. That word means a total reversal of direction. I had to stop doing wrong before I could be forgiven. My forgiveness was based upon my ability to obey God.
Praise the Lord! We live after the cross. It’s no longer “turn around and be forgiven”. But now, by grace, it’s confess your sin to God and be forgiven.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
God knows that I have no ability to change my life. I cry out to Him in my weakness. I confess how I’ve missed the mark of His perfection. Then, I allow the Holy Spirit to do the purifying work in me.
I think that we miss this sometimes. Too many believers are living in the Old Covenant. They think that they have to change themselves in order to please God. That will never work.
When I come to God, He is faithful to forgive – remove – my sin. Then, it’s only by His power that I can truly change my lifestyle to conform to His image.
But, there’s another part of John’s message that we need to lay hold of. Remember, John was calling Israel, God’s people, to prepare for Messiah’s coming. That same message is needed today in the church.
As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him…’”
I hate the fact that I have to be the one who says this. But, compared to the early church, we live in a spiritual wilderness. We’re no longer excited about who God is. (I’m speaking overall, not about the few who are awake)
What seems to really get our attention is what God can do for us. We ignore what God wants to do through us. We no longer think in terms of bringing people to the knowledge of salvation. We want to fit into society.
We concern ourselves with so many side issues that it crowds out our devotion to Christ. Our fear of the social problems around us keeps us from worshiping together.
So many churches are places where we come together to hear great inspirational singing. We listen to a motivational talk. But, we leave unchanged and continue on our way oblivious to God’s plan for us.
It’s truly time for us to seek God’s presence. We must want Him to show up at our services. That’s what making straight paths for Him is all about.
The problem is that many churches don’t want the Holy Spirit to show up at their services. It would mess things up. He would really throw off their schedules. And He’d make them late for dinner.
In this generation, we truly need a manifestation of the presence of God in our meetings.
But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25
This is what we should be preparing ourselves for. This will bring in a harvest of souls. It’s what the world needs to see.
Question: What will it take for us to start truly seeking the presence of God?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi