John the Baptist versus Preachers of Today
By Barbara Henderson
What was so special about John the Baptist?
He was without jealousy – his ministry shrunk in order that the ministry of Jesus might grow.
He was humble – knowing that Jesus was the greatest
He was without compromise – he could have increased his own ministry, but he was not like the reeds of the Jordan River, bent which ever way the wind blew. He had one message – and he stuck to it. His message was repent from your sin – or do a one-eighty. Turn from your sin and go in the opposite direction of your sin.
He was able to deny himself such things as personal comforts and fancy food in order to achieve his goal which was pointing the way to Jesus. John had self control.
John was driven by truth, not outcome. He did not measure his success by numbers. We don’t know that he measured his success at all. He just told the truth without compromise.
What is so special about the preachers of today?
Do you see jealousy in them?
Do you see humility in them?
Are they willing to compromise their message according to the whims of the world?
Are they able to deny themselves anything?
Do they preach the truth or bend scripture to a message that will increase their own prestige?
Can it be that the many many (not all) of the preachers of today are only special in their ability to lie with a straight face?
Is there a solution to such charlatans in pulpits and on television today? Honestly, we can never get rid of them entirely. But there are few things that every believer can do.
First, don’t be fooled by them yourselves. That comes by knowing what the Bible actually says. When a false teacher speaks lies, you will be able to recognize them if you have applied yourself to diligent Bible study. You do have to be willing to hear what the Bible says, whether it fits into what you would like it to say at the moment.
The Bible is the standard by which a church lives. Methods to encourage church growth cannot be deemed acceptable through worldly means. For instance a full offering plate and a growing Sunday school do not necessarily mean the church is preaching the Gospel. It just means the church is growing. The question is, ‘Is the church adding true sheep that follow our Good Shepherd; OR, is the church filling itself with goats that have not chosen Jesus Christ as their leader? In repentance of sin and turning from sin, a new pattern of living will be set.
Second, be willing to open your mouth to speak out against error and outright lies coming from church leadership. Don’t go looking for a fight. Just be willing to defend the truth with scripture when error is preached.
Third, be willing to leave a worldly church and look for a church that stands entirely on the Bible. If you look for a church based on church size, location, growth, or social programs, you are asking for trouble. You must seek a church that stands entirely on the truth of the Bible, and that will not compromise regardless of how they are perceived by the world.
This leaves out a number of churches, if not most churches. It seems that every believer is called to make a decision. We must decide whether to live a life pattered after John the Baptist or the popular so called preachers of the world today.
Christians need to purpose in their hearts to:
Live without jealousy to others. If God chooses to lift up someone above us for His glory, then we must be content. If a family member, church, or business prospers above is, then jealousy is still not permissible.
Make humility a way of life. Not one of us has anything we didn’t get from God. Neither does anyone else. I think in his humility John the Baptist was also meek. In his meekness he understood that while he couldn’t really accomplish anything on his own, that he could do all things through Christ. We can understand the same things.
Don’t compromise the truth. Whether we prosper or suffer, the truth is still the truth. Our job is to speak the truth.
Be content with what you have. It doesn’t mean you won’t have more or different things on another day. But, don’t miss today’s blessings through fretting about what you don’t have today.
There is one other thing to consider. It would have been unthinkable here in the United States not that long ago, but I suppose we better consider what happened to John the Baptist. He got his head chopped off and served up on a plate. Telling the truth without compromise didn’t get him an earthly reward. It may not get us an earthly reward either.