Summary: We all need John the Baptist’s in our lives, who call us away from unGodly things to God and to His new life. This sermon explores who and what are John the Baptist’s in our lives today
God is calling us to life.
And often I think God has some strange ways of calling us to life.
In today’s Gospel reading we see that He uses John the Baptist one of the most famous characters of the bible.
To call me and you to a new life with Jesus.
Now when I think of life
I don’t automatically think of a burnt out field
a bare garden patch
or a dusty paddock
but these things help prepare for new life.
And likewise for many years when I
confessed my sins to God.
When I told God
I had stuffed up,
I haven’t listened to Him,
instead have I followed the ways of my heart, my friends, the media, other experts
it wasn’t always a good feeling.
In fact I felt liked I was being drained.
However some years ago I realised I was only being drained of things for a short time.
I realised the things that God was asking me to confess,
were the very things that were getting in the road of the relationship God wanted me to have with him.
They were the things preventing me from being fully part of God’s new life.
Gardening teaches us a lot about sin and the new life God calls us to.
At times sin can be like those old strangely weeds in a garden.
Or the stubborn rock.
They can continually affect your garden.
I have learnt if I don’t completely get out the weeds they will come back to haunt me later on.
And sin does the same.
Sins are difficult to deal with.
If I don’t allow God to completely work on my sin.
They prevent us from having the life God wants us to have.
In fact sins in our life encourage us to live in darkness,
away from God and away from others.
So like the burnt out field or bare garden patch.
Confessing our sins actually helps prepare the way for Jesus to be fully part of our lives.
Confessing our sins helps us see, work on and get rid of the things
that hinder our relationship with God and with other Christians.
So what sins are hindering your relationship with God?
What things are encouraging you not to listen to God, not to worship, not to read your bible, to do things differently from how God sees life.
And what sins are hindering your relationship with other Christians?
Consider what you have done
or what you should have done that you haven’t done.
In a few moments you will have the opportunity to bring them to God in prayer,
To tell God you are sorry for them.
To tell God that you need His forgiveness
and tell God you need his help to love Him and others and deal with your sins.
Without God we are destined to allowing sin to dominate our lives and determine how we relate to God and others.
And ultimately they prevent us from experiencing the life that God gives us as a gift.
So we need John the Baptists in our lives.
We need people and things calling us to repent.
To call us to turn to away from ungodly things and thinking.
To things and thinking that is consistent with God’s perspective on life.
Now John the Baptists are not overly attractive.
Listen to verse 6
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
Now parents if your daughters a character home like this, dressed in camel’s hair and said look I only eat locusts and wild honey.
What would you think?
We wouldn’t be overly impressed, would we?
We wouldn’t think that such a person is too attractive.
And likewise John the Baptists in our lives are not overly attractive.
None of us like having our faults highlighted.
So what are the John the Baptists in our lives
You could say the whole of scripture…
Everytime I read a scripture passage one of the number of questions I ask is
How is this passage highlighting that there is a problem between me and God and me and other Christians?
Such a question brings to the surface my sins, what I need to repent about and where I need God’s forgiveness and help.
Secondly in scripture we find another John the Baptist tool
In a number of places Jesus says the entire commandments of God are summed up in the saying
We are to love God and love others as ourselves.
So each night a question to ask yourself is how does my day measure up to loving God and loving others as myself?
A third John the Baptist tool is the Ten Commandments, and also helpful is the Small Catechism’s explanation as to what the bible says further about these commandments.