Summary: Using John the Baptist as a model, this sermon challenges us to become serious about making a meaningful difference in our neighborhood and community.


MARK 1:1-11

There is an old gospel song we used to sing some of you may know it. I’m running for my life, I’m running for my life, I’m running for my life. ---If anybody asks you what’s the matter with me, just tell them I’m saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost filled, and fire baptized and tell them I’m running, I’m running, I’m running for my life. Call it simple if you want but there is seriousness, an awareness that life is about more than fun and games that is conveyed to us in a song like that. There is however, something that has always bothered me about that song. Why would somebody have to ask what’s the matter with somebody who is serious about their soul salvation? It’s because when we are serious about who we are in God and who God is in us it will make you look strange to some people. It may even make you look strange to some people who you would think would understand because they are in church, and my sisters and my brothers it may even make you unpopular with some people.

Last week we had an absolutely awesome Family and Friends Day which was a great time to celebrate, and fellowship, play. Since nobody brought the pinochle cards the pastor found himself once again at the spades table. For the record ---- the pastor won. But when we look back at the week I think that we can say what I used to always hear in the church when I was growing up --- a good time was had by all. Christians ought to be able to have fun. Christians ought to be able to laugh and have a good time. There are few things worse than a sour puss Christian.

However, as we turn towards the Fall of the year we do understand that God has called us to serious and important work. The Bible says that John the Baptist was a serious person. Most of us would not have cared much to be around him. ---He didn’t like to play cards or drink beer. ---He didn’t like to laugh and joke and play around with people. ---- He was not a social butterfly. Nor was he a charmer or somebody who would make us feel comfortable to be around. Some of us believe that we are supposed to be comfortable all the time. We believe that the church is supposed to make us feel comfortable all the time. I personally would rather belong to a church where I can feel uncomfortable sometimes. Because when I am uncomfortable that will cause me make a change in my life. Haven’t you ever noticed that? If you sit down in a chair or sofa and it is real comfortable, you meant to get up and do some work, meant to get up and go get something, but it was just so comfortable. Sometimes I sit down somewhere and I get so comfortable that it’s just over.

We used to have a chair in the house in New Orleans in the living room and if you sat down in it was over. I saw that chair take many victims, on more than one occasion. I would get so comfortable in the chair that I would just sleep in the chair. It got so bad that one day my daughter told somebody at church, my daddy sleeps in the living room. They thought my wife was getting ready to put me out. It is dangerous when the church gets comfortable, with things that hinder us from becoming who we are in God. In the name of making people comfortable we get comfortable with all forms of sexual impurity, including homosexuality, adultery, and fornication. It may not be popular to say it but it is the truth. We become comfortable with lying, gossiping, and stealing the Lord’s money by not tithing. ---It may not be popular to say it but it is the truth. Isn’t it a tragedy when we as the people of God become comfortable with being lazy and irresponsible? Give me a church where I can be uncomfortable sometimes. Give me a church where my ears don’t just get tickled but my toes get stepped on sometimes. -----Give me a church where I don’t just hear everything I want to hear, but where I hear some of the things that I need to hear. I DON’T MIND IF YOU MAKE ME SHOUT, BUT I NEED YOU TO MAKE ME THINK ABOUT MY LIFE AND MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND MY CHRISTIAN WALK AND THE DESTINATION OF MY SOUL. Because when I am uncomfortable that’s when I will do something to change my situation.

John the Baptist did not have an inflated sense of who he was or how important he was in the kingdom of God. He was not one of these people who believed that if he stopped working, if he stopped giving, if he stopped coming to church, that the whole operation, the whole enterprise and activity in God’s house would somehow come to a grinding halt.

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