Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: While Kevin Costner starred in a movie called DANCES WITH WOLVES, Steve Irwin was wrestling with crocodiles in real life. I’m sure WRESTLES WITH CROCODILES is his Indian name or at least needs to be. John the Baptist has his own crocodiles to wrestle.

Part 2 – Matthew 11:7-10 – WRESTLES WITH CROCODILES!

He was nicknamed “THE CROCODILE HUNTER”, and he was a unique man with a smile as wide as fun itself and Australian to the core. You couldn’t help but remember STEVE IRWIN! He and his wife Terri owned and operated Australia Zoo in a little place called Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Julie and I visited the zoo with our kids when they were young and watched the crocodiles being fed. It was the most amazing and dangerous show I had ever seen.

Steve was exuberance and enthusiasm itself with a broad Australian accent, khaki shorts, and the catchphrase “CRIKEY!” He was a great communicator who drew you in by his enthusiasm and dangerous abandon. He was a WILDLIFE WARRIOR. He died from the barb of a sting ray.

Kevin Costner apparently called him a fearless man who was BRAVE ENOUGH TO LET PEOPLE SEE HIM AS HE WAS. (CNN. 2006-09-20). I’d agree with that. While Kevin Costner starred in a movie called DANCES WITH WOLVES, Steve Irwin was wrestling with crocodiles in real life. I’m sure WRESTLES WITH CROCODILES is his Indian name or at least needs to be.

His wife Terri, thinks he had faith in God. I didn’t ever hear him speak about God but I liked the man. He seemed to be the genuine article. His personality and lifestyle made you pay attention.

In Matthew 3 I see another Steve Irwin kind of man, only more direct and real again because he paid attention to God. All of us have our crocodiles to wrestle and John considered the PHARISEES TO BE REPTILIAN. He pounced on them every opportunity he could. One time when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him he said. “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7)

He also wasn’t concerned with how he looked. He was a true WILDERNESS WARRIOR. He wore the khaki’s of his day. Matthew 3:4 (NLT) says “John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.” Rather than promoting himself, John the Baptist was BRAVE ENOUGH TO LET PEOPLE SEE JESUS FOR WHO HE WAS and his message has impacted the world. He was humble enough to say “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30 NLT)

In Matthew 11:7 Jesus begins speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist. He says “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?”

John was SOLID IN HIS FAITH. He was not some soft, wavering fool in the pulpit who preaches nice sermons to please the wretched wills and selfish desires of the power mongers in the Church.

He wasn’t the fancy METRO MAN preacher with expensive tastes in clothing to impress the business world and the fashion conscious.

He didn’t preach in some high steeple, few people St John the Baptist CATHEDRAL with reverse cycle, flow through air conditioning and a tourist shop in the corner selling trinkets for it’s upkeep. Or for that matter in an AUDITORIUM with all the latest sound technology and gadgets, and a light show to match.

He didn’t have a CHOIR and an entourage of SINGERS AND MUSICIANS to accompany him. As wonderful as all these things may be, John broke all the rules of Church growth.

Don’t get me wrong. Jesus went to a pretty fancy TEMPLE in Jerusalem and called it HIS FATHER’S HOUSE. He’s not concerned so much with the carpet and the sound system but with the HEARTS AND LIVES of the people who attended. He was incensed about the money changers who tried to turn the house of God into a den of thieves (John 2:16).

Our Church has a modern auditorium and sound system and band, singers, choir! That’s not the point! When it all comes down to it there must be the simplicity of the preaching of the GOSPEL AND LOVE FOR GOD’S WORD being actively applied in people’s lives.

I love Pastors who lead well and preach powerfully. I love Pastors who can BE THEMSELVES, not clones of some other famous preacher. I love it when I go home from Church changed because God has been speaking to me personally.

John just wanted to obey God and prepare the way for Jesus ministry. And he wasn’t afraid to ASK QUESTIONS. You’ve just got to love the guy. He’s the most down to earth preacher you’ll ever hear. He’ll convict you of your sin with his fiery old fashioned hellfire message so you will want to repent just to avoid the flames lapping up around you and the lashing of his tongue.

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