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Matthew 3:4-6

God's Ministry

4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

Leaders must learn to serve; great men must learn humility. John the Baptist was the promised prophet who came in the spirit of Elijah. Dressed in the garment of the prophets (2 Kings 1:8), he must have presented the image of a truly humble man. Even his diet betrayed the simple lifestyle of a godly man. And people flocked to him from everywhere.

There have been many "preachers" who have come dressed in the very best designer clothing, dining in the finest restaurants, driving the nicest cars, and flashing expensive jewelry. They, too, may have attracted large crowds and were the envy of many. But it is not God's way to use such men in the ministry. The fruits produced by such charlatans are always bad. They preach what the masses want to hear, take their money, and privately laugh at them. Many of their followers go away from these ministries disappointed, deceived, and bitter.

If we are tempted to copy or to follow those self-serving preachers, we need only to look at the ministry of John the Baptist. There was no flash in his ministry, nor did he have a gimmick to pull in the crowds. Unlike many modern preachers, he did not spend time developing a marketing strategy. Instead, his ministry was out in the middle of nowhere, and his message of repentance is one that men generally do not like to hear, but the people came.

Calling a Jew to be baptized must have been like calling him a heathen. Baptism was reserved for Gentiles who had become believers and wanted to be received into the congregation of Israel. They were considered to be spiritually unclean and in need of a ceremonial cleansing. Yet, here was this humble man telling Jews that they needed to be baptized, but the people came.

The people came and confessed their sins. They were people who had always prided themselves in their own righteousness. Lives were being changed. They came, because God brought them to John's ministry. They came, because John preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. They came, because this was God's ministry.

Every Christian has been given a ministry (Ephesians 2:10). How we conduct that ministry is very important. Our message must be the pure word of God presented in a clear and easy to understand manner. God must be the one who brings us together with our audience, having prepared them with the desire to hear and accept the gospel. We are not expected to rely on our own clever devices, not expected to entertain, not required to have great stage shows with special lighting and video effects.

The ministry of the Apostle Paul is another fine example for us to follow. He said, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) Paul did not try to entice people to listen to him or to receive Christ. Instead, He preached the word and trusted in God for the results.

Before The Throne:

Pray for God to intervene in your ministry. Ask Him to draw His people to you with hearts that have been prepared to receive the gospel. Ask Him to provoke a response from your audience. Pray that He would keep you humble and use you for the good of His kingdom. Be bold in your proclamation of the gospel.

For Further Study:

** his raiment. Matt 11:8; 2Kgs 1:8; Zech 13:4; Mal 4:5; Mark 1:6; Luke 1:17; Rev 11:3; * and his. Matt 11:18; Lev 11:22; ** wild. Deut 32:13; 1Sam 14:25-27;

(v.5) ** Matt 4:25; Matt 11:7-12; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:7; Luke 16:16; John 3:23; John 5:35;

(v.6) ** were. Ezek 36:25; Mark 1:8-9; Luke 3:16; John 1:25-28, 31-33; John 3:23-25; Acts 1:5; Acts 2:38-41; Acts 10:36-38; Acts 11:16; Acts 19:4-5, 18; 1Cor 10:2; Col 2:12; Titus 3:5-6; Heb 6:2; Heb 9:10; 1Pe 3:21; ** confessing. Lev 16:21; Lev 26:40; Num 5:7; Josh 7:19; Job 33:27-28; Ps 32:5; Prov 28:13; Dan 9:4; Mark 1:5; Luke 15:18-21; Acts 2:38; Acts 19:18; Acts 22:16; Jas 5:16; 1Jo 1:9;


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