Lessons Of A Lifetime

A VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS
OR
A CRY OF COMFORT AND CONVICTION
SUNDAY AUGUST 19, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him [John the Baptist], ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ And John answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’ John said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,” as the prophet said.’”

“Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked John, saying, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ [Messiah], nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’ These things were done in Bethabara [area of Bethany] beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” John 1.19-28

Something To Consider:
John the Baptist was and had been for some time, the center of attention in the region. His preaching repentance was drawing a substantial following from the poorest of people to the most pious Pharisee. And yet John viewed himself as simply a voice crying in the wilderness, heralding the message to make straight the way of the Lord.

Are our lives living examples of voices crying out in the wilderness of this wayward world? Do our lives trumpet the biblical message of John the Baptist, “Make straight the way of the LORD?” If not, why not? As leaders in training, what are our voices crying out as we fast approach the second coming of Jesus Christ?

John the Baptist quoted from the book of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 40, of which Isaiah wrote these words of God; “Comfort, yes, comfort My people, says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” Has the warfare of Israel ended? No of course not! Of what generation was Isaiah writing? John the Baptist in quoting verse 3 of Isaiah 40 excluded “Prepare the way of the LORD,” but included, “Make straight the way of the LORD.”

In verse 4 of Isaiah 40 Isaiah declared, “The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.” Is that not what God accomplishes in the lives of those who have heard His voice crying in the wilderness, “Repent,” and have responded to His cry? John could have seen himself as many things. But he declared himself to be a voice, a single mouthpiece for Almighty God, crying out a message of comfort to the masses of mankind.

John’s message pointed people of every background, every culture, every race, and false belief known to man to the One true Messiah and Savior who was to come in order to give Himself as a ransom for humanity. We too, like John the Baptist have that same awesome privilege and responsibility of pointing people to Jesus who is mighty and who is coming again! What will we do with this awesome end time opportunity?

Something Else To Consider:
Our 21st century opportunity is unique as was John the Baptist’s. And yet, they are different in that John was given the opportunity to make straight the way of the Lord’s first coming as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We have the great honor and end time opportunity to be a part of preparing the way of the Lord’s second coming to establish the millennial kingdom and to open the gateway to eternity. What will our end time message be? Will it be a false non-truth message that brings much guilt and shame when Christ returns, or a message that reflects the truth of the Word of God?

John the Baptist, like Isaiah, came preaching repentance which often brought about conviction. God equated this with a cry of comfort. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever as is the Word of God. Why then should it surprise us to think of God still preparing leaders and leaders in training to be voices crying in the wilderness this same message as did John; “Make straight the way of the LORD.” According to God this is a cry of comfort! And this cry of comfort can and will be used by God and His Holy Spirit to bring conviction when and where needed, and all from a cry of comfort!

Something More To Consider:
Will we be willing to become 21st century John the Baptists and Isaiahs of old in sounding the end time alarm and cry in the wilderness of this lost and doomed to destruction world? Will we accept the challenge of preparing the way of the Lord’s soon second coming? Will we be willing to break with tradition and the false narrative of unscriptural teaching that will cause billions of individuals to become offended when they see with their own eyes the Antichrist entering the yet to be built Jerusalem temple and falsely proclaim himself to be God?

Be forewarned, there are those who are teaching that this abomination of desolation has already occurred. Some proclaim this to have happened the moment Catholic popes began to be seated on their thrones with a golden statue of angelic cherubim on the left and on the right. These same so-called bible experts use the words of Jesus in Matthew 24.15 as their false proof text, as Jesus declared of an end time event; “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)…”

But what is it exactly that Jesus wants us to understand about this end time event? The main emphasis Jesus was attempting to illustrate as the abomination of desolation that Daniel the prophet spoke about was that it was an end time event. In the book of Daniel the angel Gabriel informed Daniel that the visions and predictions Daniel was receiving were for the end times. Gabriel mentioned three times specifically and alluded to end times one other time stating that these events Daniel was to write about in his prophecy included the abomination of desolation that Jesus would in the future mention in Matthew 24.15 also as an end time event.

The Catholic church wrongfully, but none the less claims Peter to have been the first pope with every other pope following in Peter’s footsteps. But can the days of Jesus and Peter truly be considered the end times? There is another something to consider concerning the false teaching of the abomination of desolation being popes sitting between cherubim, as if in the holy place. It would mean Jesus did not know in advance the atrocities the Catholic church would commit in the name of religion down through the centuries. It would mean Jesus did not know of the sexual scandals and inappropriate priestly behavior that was to be covered up for decades if not centuries by the popes of the Catholic church.

And for those of us who believe Jesus to have been and to still be omniscient, we cannot swallow the untruth that Jesus was speaking of the papacy of Rome when He warned us of the end time event to be known as the abomination of desolation. How could Jesus speak of the thrones of the popes of being the holy place with all unrighteousness in its ugly history? Do not be deceived!

A Few Final Words:
The bottom line is will we become a part of the few voices crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord?” And a great part of that preparation process is repentance if we have been a part of propagating a false message of end time events contrary to the Word of God. When the Lord returns in all His glory and stands victorious over the enemy of our souls, will we look back in retrospect and realize we have been a part of the strong delusion that has enveloped the world in and through a false so-called Christian institutionalized church system.

And if that is the case what will we do at that moment? What will we be able to do at that moment in time? Or will it be too late to right the wrong that has been done in teaching doctrines of demons instead of the sacred and holy Scriptures and especially the biblical teachings of Jesus? If the one-time church of the Lord Jesus Christ is deceived by God’s allowing a great end time delusion, it will be according to the Word of God, because they rather believed the lie than to believe the written and preserved Word of God.

How shameful if that is to be the actual state of affairs when Jesus returns! Jesus declared concerning the end time state of the church as He spoke of the Son of Man’s second coming, “Will He [Jesus] really find faith on the earth?”   

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, teach us to concentrate on crying in the wilderness of this world a cry of comfort and truth from Your Word. In Him Always, Amen!

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