Summary: This message is about the life-changing gift of salvation.
Get Ready for the Revolution
"In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ’A voice of one calling in the desert, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’ "John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit worthy of repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ’We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12)
"Get Ready For The Revolution."
Uh-Oh! Johnson’s going too far again! Now, he’s trying to cause a revolution. Watch yourself preacher! Well, first of all, we didn’t say "a" revolution, we said Get ready for "The" revolution. Secondly, no need to be alarmed because, the word revolution carries a stigma of negativity that is quite unfortunate. In other words, when we hear this word, we immediately begin to think of riots, wars, and other violent acts where innocent people are hurt and even killed.
Misunderstanding is a device that Satan uses to keep us contained. It is a device that Satan uses to keep us entrapped. It is a device that Satan uses to keep us slaves to sin. It is a device that Satan uses to keep us from getting to the root of all of our problems. US! Its right and proper for US to "Get Ready for The Revolution." Because you do know that Jesus is the Greatest Revolutionary ever known or ever will be known, don’t you? Before Him there were none after Him there shall be no more!
There are thousands, more like millions of stories, poems, songs, and declarations spoken or written about the word revolution. Consequently, countless numbers of profound quotes, made by great and "not-so-great" men and women, have been etched into the annals of history. Here are just a few that have stuck with me over the years:
American Patriot, Patrick Henry, speaking of a geographical revolution (in other words, they were fighting over land) said "Give me liberty or give me death!".
Black Nationalist, Malcolm X speaking of a social revolution (primary racial equality in these yet to be United States of America) said that he intended to get equality, "By Any Means Necessary!"
Great humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, also speaking on a social revolution, said "I have a dream… that one day all God’s children, black men and white men…"
James Brown, recorded a single entitled "King Heroin" back in the early 70’s, speaking on the revolution against drug addiction, he said, breaking the habit, "is a revolution of the mind, get your mind together…"
Gil Scott Herring said, "You will not to stay home brothers. You will not be able to turn on, tune in, and cop out because the revolution will not be televised brother". He was speaking of a political revolution.
Kirk Franklin, who revolutionized Gospel music, said that he was, "Sick and tired of brothers killing each other and tired daddies leaving babies with their mothers."
The President of the most powerful nation in the world - George W. Bush, said, "I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer…" (By Amy Goldstein and Mike Allen Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, January 30, 2002; Page A01). His "War on Terrorism" is a revolution.
But, in the text from which we preach, the revolution that John the Baptist has in mind is vastly different from all of the aforementioned revolutions. When John the Baptist screams, "REPENT!" He’s talking about THE Revolution. He is talking about the Spiritual Revolution!
He appears in the Gospel reading with eyes blazing, finger pointing at us, and thundering judgement. This John the Baptist is an uncomfortable reality. He shouts "REPENT!", startling us in the midst of our worship.