Summary: This is a sermon about "YOUR" ministry and how "YOU" play a role in God's plan.

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Text: Mark 1:2-11

Mark 1:2-11 shows us about three ministries, how God works with ministers. First, God had a plan. I don't say 'God has a plan', because God had it planned long ago. God has a big plan and a bunch of smaller plans. We see here, for example, that Isaiah described God's plan for John's ministry and Jesus' ministry seven hundred years in advance. The third minister, well ... we'll get to him in a few minutes and talk about God's plan for him.

John didn't just fall into his ministry. God prepared the way. Luke tells us that an angel told Zechariah that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.

God also made John's listeners receptive to his message -- baptism of repentance. Let's face it - with a lot of people, telling them "You need to repent" is like recommending root canal for their soul. You know you need it, but "can't we put it off just a little while? It's not hurting that bad." Then you bite into something you should not have bit into and suddenly it hurts real badly! When that happens, what do you say? ... "Oh my God, oh my God, oh God, oh God, oh God! Oh, Jesus! God, that hurts! Oh God, oh God, oh God!"

I never heard anybody call for Harry or Tom or Fred. Not even that third minister [calls for them]. I wonder why?

"Dentistry" on your spirit can be pretty painful -- sometimes there's just no easy way to do it. We all want that "quick fix". Folks are always looking for a "sin epidural". Some people look for spiritual Novocain in a bottle, some in a needle, or a crack pipe or jumping from bed to bed. If you got something rotten, something has to come out. If you got a rotten tooth, putting junk in it ain't gonna fix it! If you got a rotten life, putting junk in it .... Hello? (Relationships, Marriages, Jobs, Churches, Pastors)

Some folk think they can use a "junk Jesus" for a quick fix. When they bite into some sin that hurts, they want to run to the spiritual doctor, get a temporary filling, and run right back out and do what they were doing before! Somebody say Amen? Can’t you hear them right now? "Just give me a big shot O' Jesus and I'll be on my way! Put it on my tab." (Can’t even pay for the big short O’ Jesus; isn’t that just like us?)

Jesus is not a flu shot! Repentance means to intentionally turn away from wrong and intentionally turn toward righteousness! That's what John was preaching!

The Jews of the time were church folk. Oh, they knew that Gentiles needed to be baptized, but they were God's chosen people. They even had it better than church folk today. You see, to be church folk today, you gotta show up at least two or three times a month. But the Jewish church folk John was preaching to ... they could just kill a lamb once a year, and they thought that was enough!

God prepared the way for John, giving him the Holy Spirit and his listener’s receptive hearts. But John was a preparation, too. John was a preparation for Jesus. And, of course, Jesus is the preparation for the third minister.

But let's look at what John did. A lot of folks today, their idea of Christianity is "What stuff is God gonna give me?"

John's idea of "creature comforts" was ... eating bugs. The Bible says he ate locusts. We think that's gross, but apparently it kept him well-fed. John didn't wear a Rolex. Sure, he wore custom-made suits, but ... they were camel's hair!

John accepted his ministry obediently, on God's term. He didn't say "God, let's make a deal!" It wasn't "God, why don't we do it my way?"

John didn't take the glory for himself. He did his ministry in a Christ-like manner -- with boldness and meekness and humility. He told it like it was -- "You people need to repent! You think you're part of God's 'in' crowd. You wanna be God's roadie! 'Oh, yeah, hey -- I'm with the band. Yeah, me and God ... yeah, we're real tight. Hey, the Big Guy don't make a move without talking to me first!" John said "Hey, I'm just doing what God said to do. I'm not the guy. The real guy is coming after me." John knew he was the warm- up act. He was just the announcer -- he didn't try to be the star.

John had the Holy Ghost. You know the saying "When things get tough, the tough get going?" When things got tough, the Spirit in John just stood and told Herod "If it's wrong, it's wrong."

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