Summary: Have you ever thought about the entire life story of John the Baptist?
CROSS TRAINING: A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
MATTHEW 3: 1-12 (7-10)
MARCH 6, 2005
THE PAIN OF HEALING: Now you don¡¦t have to raise your hands, but I want to ask you some questions this morning. How many of you have been to a physician/Doctor in the last 6 months? Was it a pleasant trip? Did any one here have to get a shot? How about some high-powered invasive test? Did anyone get some really nasty medicine to take? Why did you go to the physician? Why did you endure the prescribed test, treatment or medicine? Did you hope you would get better? Is there ever a time when the cure was worth the pain it caused?
Have any of you taken extra classes, besides the ones that are mandatory education? Is learning new information sometimes difficult? Is taking a test fun stuff? Is cramming for a final something you would put down as one of your most favorite memories? Why did you take the class? Why did you go after that degree? Did you hope it would open a new door of understanding, possibly a new job or better pay? Is there ever a time that learning/ or getting a degree is worth the pain it caused?
Has anyone here ever remodeled a house or restored an old car? Was it hard work? Did it cost more than you wanted to spend? Did it take longer than the time you wanted to invest? Why did you remodel that house or restore that old car? Did you hope that house would be more comfortable or resalable? Did you hope that Car would be the coolest around or worth more on the auction block? Is there ever a time the work is worth the cost and frustration it caused?
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text today really has a lot to do with the questions I have been asking. You see our text is all about making a lot of effort to get a lot in return. I think this is the story of lent. Sometimes, or should I say most of the time, anything worth having comes at a great cost.
WHERE WE BEGIN: Have you ever thought about the entire life story of John the Baptist? He was born to a couple late in their lives. His dad was a priest, so you could call him a PK, a Priest¡¦s Kid. I guess John was raised somewhat like my boys. Dad was always at the Temple and often John was probably dragged along there too. Dad had some wild tales to tell about seeing the Angel of the Lord, loosing his voice and being told exactly what to name his son: John.
Then we don¡¦t hear anything about his life until we read that he has received the word of the Lord in the desert and goes about preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). We are told that he was the one prophesied about in the book of Isaiah as the one to come and prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3).
When John first sees Jesus (John 1:29) he says of him, ¡§Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!¡¨ He then has the privilege of baptizing Jesus, though he protests to having to do so because he feels so unworthy (Matthew 3: 13-17).
We find out that John is a troublemaker: HE TELLS THE TRUTH: HE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS! He gets in trouble with the Religious crowd by calling them a brood of vipers (our text today). He gets in trouble with the power broker, the Main Man, Herod, by telling him that sin is sin and that He should not be with his brother Philip¡¦s wife. So Herod had him thrown in jail (Luke 3: 19-20).
At the end of the life of John we find him in prison and wondering if Jesus is really who HE says HE is (Matthew 11: 1-6). The final chapter of John¡¦s life is a grim picture of him being beheaded by Herod because of Herod¡¦s drunken lust (Matthew 14: 1-12).
WHERE WE ARE: When I was growing up in Candler, I can remember seeing a guy up in Canton preaching from a rock wall off the side of US 19/23. I remember thinking that he was so strange! When I was at Central/ SWU, Kim and I went to see a Christian Concert and some preaching students from Bob Jones University were standing in the median, in the middle of the road ( is that redundant?) preaching. Have you ever seen anything like that before? Have you ever seen a preacher preaching outside to anyone who would listen? Why on Earth would anyone do such a thing? What is so compelling that someone would open them-selves up to public ridicule just so they could preach?