John the Baptist: Preaching
“And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” ~Mark 1:4 NIV
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” ~Matthew 3:1-2 NIV
John’s preaching went like this: Repent! We are all sinners. Get baptised as an expression of your repentance. Now go and do good works–you are born again and through the fruit you bear, the way will be prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven. It was consistent, clear, focused, simple, disciplined and obedient.
John’s preaching was consistent with the messages of the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Michah, Malachi, etc.) and in all four gospels and his message clear: Prepare the way for the one who comes after me is far greater. Repentance is not a mere ritual or one time, outward action but a life-altering turning away from sin and toward God.
John’s mission was focused–he proclaimed baptism as a powerful symbolic action, an outward expression of repentance, a ritual declaration of a greater reality seeking cleansing and forgiveness and turning from one’s sins.
John’s preaching was simple. He preached repentance by water baptism which made a lot of sense to the people of the New Testament. The intimate association between water and cleansing was evident in the books of the law, especially Leviticus which is filled with references to washing as part of purification. John used this simple understanding to represent being forgiven for sins and by extension, repentance.
John’s preaching was disciplined. His willingness to call even Herod to repent, leading to his arrest, imprisonment, and execution. Even unto death, John remained obedient; continuing to call people to turn their hearts and their lives from sin unto God.
Today’s Training:. John was focused, clear, disciplined, obedient, and kept it simple. Kingdom men, God created you for a purpose. Fulfill His purpose for you with obedience. Be focused on His mission and your role in it. Be consistent and be clear. Keep it simple. The enemy does his best work when he can get us to over-complicate things.