What kind of preacher was John the Baptist? Were His warnings heeded? Is there a consequence?
It is amazing to see the Words of John the Baptist, and then compare that with the average Christian preacher today.
But, what kind of preacher was John? The first words they have for him in Luke 3, tells us;
"You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God." (Verses 7 & 8)
John was all about REPENTANCE! He knew all about the culture of SIN! John was sent ahead of Christ to:
- Prepare the way.
- To make the Word known.
- To start planting the seeds of acknowledgment of sin in their lives followed by a confession to God of this sin.
- To ask for repentance from sin in their life and the salvation of their lives, through the remission of their sins via Christ.
That was not a pretty message. That was a harsh awakening, and was different than anything else being said at the time. It was a message that pierced the hearts of so many, that they did just that...they acknowledged, confessed, repented and were baptized.
He became so popular, he became so revered that many thought he was 'The guy', that he was the one sent to save the world. His harsh, convicting message of the condemnation of their sins, was such a truth to their ears, that he had a huge following, and many Jews came to be baptized and transformed.
How Would John Be Recieved Today?
Remember that term "FIre and Brimstone"?
That was John.
John did not mince words. He called it as it was. He was honest, unfiltered, and blunt. He was saying that day, hard things to hear, and things that Jesus, Paul and James would also later, but maybe a bit softer, say;
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Roman's 6:23)
But how would that style go over today? How many churches would stay filled, if they were led with a pastor that condemned their sins, right to their faces, as they were sitting in their in the sanctuary? How many people today want to go to a church where they are called out for their imperfections?
Today the largest church preaches prosperity. The largest congregations like to hear happy, happy, joy, joy. The messages of heaven, forgiveness, mercy, grace and love tickle those itchy ears and bring people, and their wallets, back to the church.
But...why would we need forgiveness, mercy or grace, and how do we get to Heaven?
So what does this mean for me today?
So what has this to do with me, you may ask. Simple. Today we need to be very careful about where you are taught the Word. We need to remember that the TRUTH some times is not very pretty, not full of prosperity or not very happy, happy, joy, joy. As Hebrews 4:12 states;
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
It doesn't matter what we think or believe. Our hearts and our heads are not any concern. The Word does not care. The Truth will cut through that crap, because it KNOWS, and it will immediately go and find it's mark...in the core of our souls.
That conviction, that confession, can cause great confusion. Because it is causes such discomfort, and our society does not like any kind of teaching that makes one feel uncomfortable.
So, is Fire and Brimstone Good Then?
That old time preaching, that fire and brimstone minister, that is offensive to the culture of today.
But so is Christ.
Christ talked about the fire and brimstone. He spoke about hell. He talked about sin. His very first sermon was on REPENTANCE (Mark 1:14-15). And why would we ever need repentance, unless we were sinners?
But that is backwards in today society. Most dont see themselves as sinners any longer, after they have said that they believe in a savior. They confess with their mouths that they believe in Jesus, so they are saved, and therefore all is good. It is finished. Say no more, but do tell me all about the good stuff I am going to get.
But that is not the whole truth. We are not saved just by confessing with our mouths. We must believe in our hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead for that to be fulfilled. And, that 'believe from our hearts' part, THAT is the critical component. For that means we know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead for the forgiveness OF OUR SINS!
All of our sins, not just the past, but today and what we WILL sin in the future.
We need to know the fire and brimstone, for that is the truth. When we know that truth, we can really sincerely and deeply appreciate the message of heaven and we can know His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. We can KNOW HIM.
Jesus even said; "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". John 8:32