Summary: Deacon Ordination Message drawn from the life of John the Baptist.
THE MAN GOD USES
- John 1:6, 19-23; 3:22-36
I would like you to think this morning, about what a great time this was. More than 4000 years before this date, there in the Garden of Eden, God had promised the coming of One Who would crush the serpent’s head with His heal. Thousands of years had passed since that prophecy, and the Messiah had not come.
But now, in the fullness of time, only 30 years before, God had sent His Son, Jesus Christ to come as man’s Messiah. For 30 years Jesus had been growing in obscurity. Now finally, Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God, the Promised One, the Messiah, was about to begin His 3-year earthly ministry. And how did God decide to announce the arrival of His Son? How did God, in His infinite and infallible wisdom, decide to launch the work of His Son? He sent a man! There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
Many, wanting to start a new campaign, would advertise. They would post flyers. They would send a herald through the streets, but not God. God used none of those methods. He didn’t send angels dragging banners behind them. He didn’t send chariots, writing their flaming messages across the sky. God sent a man. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. God sent a man.
When God wanted to prepare the way for His people in Egypt, He sent Joseph, a man. When God wanted to deliver His people and carry them to the Promised Land, He sent a man. When God wanted the walls restored in Jerusalem and for worship to be reestablished, He sent a man, and when God wanted to announce the arrival of His Son Jesus Christ, He sent a man.
God forgive us. While we spend time looking for better programs, God is looking for better people. “While men look for better methods, God looks for better men” (E. M. Bounds).
There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
As we think of deacons, and those being ordained this morning, I believe we can see in the life of John, the Herald of Jesus Christ, several characteristics that must be in place in the man God uses.
I. THE MAN GOD USES IS A MAN ON FIRE FOR GOD
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” Preaching. The word translated there as preaching means “to herald, to trumpet, to proclaim, to preach.” It is a word filled with passion. You see my friends; John was on fire for Jesus. There was passion; there was fire in his words and in his heart. He was on fire for Jesus.
Many of you remember the movie from several years ago about the Titanic. Let me ask you, “What was the difference between the water that floated that ship, and the ice berg that sunk it?” The only difference was the temperature. Warm or hot water would float the ship, and water too cold would sink it. (W. A. Criswell, in his sermon The God-sent Man).
What the church doesn’t need today is more lukewarm, Mama-called, half-hearted, half-committed, fair-weather, when it’s convenient, only-on-Sunday, Christians; without enough power of God in them to blow a fly off a fruit bowl. Our nation is filled with compromising, Christ-denying, chameleon-Christians; who are no longer serving as salt and light.
The man God uses will be so on fire for God that he is able to say with the apostles, “I am unable to stop speaking about what I have seen and heard.”
Let me ask you, “Will you be that man?”
The man God uses is a man on fire for God.
II. THE MAN GOD USES IS A MAN WHO PAYS A PRICE
When asked who he was, John says, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness.”
John spent most of his adult life in the wilderness. Matthew chapter 3 tells us that he ate bugs and wore camel-hair clothes. We read in Luke’s Gospel that John never drank alcohol. In other words, John lived differently than others around him. God said, “I’m going to use you, now this is how I want you to live.”
Gentlemen, if you are going to be used by God in a great way, it’s going to cost you something. You may never have to eat bugs. You may never have to wear camel-hide clothes or live in the wilderness, but it’s going to cost you something.
It’s going to cost you turning the other cheek, when you want to give back what you’ve just gotten. It’s going to cost you apologizing to someone you’ve wronged or hurt, when your pride tells you no. It may cost you some money, when you turn down some overtime because you have other commitments. It may cost you some friends, when you are unwilling to tell or listen to the jokes others enjoy; or when you forgo a golf invitation for prayer meeting.