Getting Ready for God #3:
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:1-2).
John said, “Repent, because the Kingdom of God is at hand!” John the Baptist was preaching the Jews—God’s special people who knew God, who had the covenant and the sacrifices. He was talking to God’s people, and He was calling them to repent. He said, “You’ve got a form of godliness, but you deny the power.” They were a religious people, but they didn’t know God. They weren’t honouring God with their lives. “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.” (Matthew 3:3). Before John the Baptist was born, there was a prophetic word that was given over his life that he would make ready a people prepared for the Lord. That’s my desire today, that we would see a people who are made ready and prepared for the coming of the Lord. We need to get ready. We need to be prepared. The religion of John the Baptist’s day had become decayed and corrupted—it was a far cry from what it had once been. The glory was gone; the presence of God was gone. They honoured God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. Another revival preacher, AW Tozer, said this, “Christians don’t tell lies—they go to church and sing them.” There is a contemporary worship song that says, “I would give anything, all my dreams and my desires, just to know you more, oh Lord.” Oh really? It’s easy to sing the words to that song, but when you sing them, do you really mean them? All my dreams, all my desires, all the things that I think are so important, if it would enable me to know you better, Lord, I would give them all up. Would we really?
We have so many things in our lives that have distracted us from seeking God, things that are so important to us. We say, “We’ll do anything or go anywhere, just don’t ask me to give up that!” Well guess what He probably wants you to give up? “But it’s just one thing Lord, and it’s not even sin!” But it’s an idol. It’s taken the place in the heart that only God deserves. So we need to prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. We’ve got it so crooked and so bent. In the church of Jesus Christ, we’ve brought in so much compromise, so much worldliness; we need to get it out. We need to seek the Lord. Do you want to know why we don’t have the power they had in the Book of Acts? Because we don’t have the purity that they had in the Bible. We don’t have the prayer they had in the Bible. We need to pray. We need to be pure. But we need the power of the Holy Spirit to do that. We can’t do it on our own, but with His help and His grace and His strength, we can.
Matthew continues to tell us about John the Baptist in Matthew three: “And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” (v.4-6). Notice that God was doing something here! John didn’t go knocking on people’s doors, he didn’t try to track down people and saying, “Please, won’t you come to church! Won’t you come to Jesus!” The people came to him. The people came out to the wilderness! God was doing something. And let me tell you something about this guy named John the Baptist. He didn’t have a worship team, he didn’t have a choir, and he didn’t have a big church sign. Yet they came, because God was there. God was getting ready to do something. Come, Lord Jesus! Visit your people today anew and afresh…
Pastor Chris Jordan