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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.

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But Pastor why are you playing, because I may not live in the neighborhood of the church but pastor I am living in the wilderness myself. When I leave church today Pastor I’m going home to a wilderness experience. I know I look like I have it all together pastor but when the sermon, communion, and benediction is over I’m going back to a place that is lonely and empty and cold, I’m going back to a wilderness experience. The Bible says that John went out into the wilderness and preached the unpopular truth and the Bible says a strange thing happened. It says in verse 5 all the land of Judea went out to him and were baptized in the Jordan River confessing their sins. We are living in some serious times. These are times of war and rumors of wars. There is spiritual wickedness in the highest of places, and people are tired of being fake. People are tired of having to tell you that everything is okay in their life. Sometimes they want to say no, I am not fine I’ve got hell going on all around me and I feel like it’s closing in. But will be fine, because I going to keep on walking with Jesus. It’s perilous times and people are looking around for what’s real. Not what’s popular, but what’s real. Not what is entertaining, but what’s real. Because they have found out that only a real relationship with Jesus can bring peace into troubled souls. Pastor, what did John know that made him so willing to embrace the unpopular truth?

He knew that he had a purpose. His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. You need to know today that you have a purpose for being here. It is no accident that has brought you to this place. God created, designed and made us for a specific reason, and purpose. Isn’t that what Paul tells us and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord for those who are the called according to his purpose? The challenge for us today as I have said on many occasions is to “find a need that breaks your heart and then break your backs to meet that need.” (Heart of a Great Pastor)

John also knew that he not only had to repent but he had to try to reform. He recognized his sin and his need to receive forgiveness. But he was also trying to live a changed life. We will not get it right all the time. But that does not mean we do not try. We will mess up and fall short along the way but for God’s sake try. The enemy will cause us to respond to some stuff in a way that we did not even think we were still capable of responding to in that way but we try.

Finally, John was serious, but he did not take himself so seriously that he didn’t realize it was not about him. John could have had the big head with all those people who came out to the wilderness to be baptized by him but he understood that it was about him. Do you know it will give you a new attitude at work when you are able to say it’s not about me? You can put up with some stuff better when you learn how to say it’s not about me. We can adjust to some things we normally would be unwilling to adjust to when we are able to say it’s not about me. I can be patient with some people who are really trying my patience when I begin to understand that it’s not about me.

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