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February 3, 2021 7:05 am
Sometimes God chooses the weirdest personalities to accomplish his most important assignments that doesn't sound like a charitable thing to say but when it comes to John the Baptist would have to agree that this prophet of God was will odd John was a hermit who lived in the wilderness or camels will diet included locusts and wild honey plus John blatantly insulted his audience with the rash scolding against hypocrites. So what we make of this bizarre biblical figure today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll titles his message strange preacher strong proclamation and will begin with prayer, O Lord our God. Without Jesus we could do nothing of value.
Without him leading us. We cannot decide correctly. Our decisions will be awash in human opinion filled with our own ways in our own plans because we are so damnably selfish, so give us his mind to think his thoughts to walk his path live his life through the invasive work of the spirit who lives within your people. We pray that this will be a year when we realize more than ever that you alone are God, you alone are awesome.
You alone or in charge not only of the events of the affairs of this huge globe of international activity warfare struggle or strife in fighting and all the battles of the flesh but go on. You are in charge of our very lives. Nothing is thrown to the wind of circumstances. Nothing just happens convince us of that early on, lest we lose a day.
That insight to guidance to comfort us.
We haven't a clue what tomorrow will bring.
We couldn't even predict this evening or the afternoon that lies before us.
But you know it all, the end from the beginning.
You know our last breath. Just as you knew our first one you understand our thoughts long before we even have. You are intimately acquainted with all our ways search us over God and know our hearts written from us every tendency to hide from you and deliver us from the secret life that looks one way on the outside but is altogether different.
Within Jesus, from John's own example, the value of solitude silos without surrender within and bring us Lord with open hands and open hearts before you probably still have breath in our loans. There will be some this year who will make me a major moves from one geographical area to another of the piece as you need them. There there will be others who will step into an arena filled with surprises. Given the grace to be free of panic and the stability to accept whatever unfolds what ever unfolds as a part of your plan. I pray specifically father for this nation in which we live every every day. Moving further from your truth. Oh God intervene. We pray in some ways that we would look back on them and say only God could have turned the course of this country.
Only God could change the heart of these leaders only God could have brought to pass what we have witnessed give us the patience to wait on you the protection of our men and women in military who fight for our freedom, who stand firm, even against those who have no place for them in our lives encourage their families watch over their children without their parents right now. Continue to provide peace by your grace. Not because we deserve it because we in great humility. Ask for it. The Lord we have the joy of our occupation, we earn a living there. We make our salaries are hourly wage from that we give our gifts given to you in return. Find favor in our motive and understand Lord that it is our great delight to give more blessed to do that than to receive, and how much we have received through Jesus Christ we pray these things and for his sake alone.
Everyone said amen study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll sure to download searching the Scriptures. Studies going to insight world.or/study now, let's resume the message titled strange preacher strong proclamation how valuable authenticity is and if nothing else, John the baptizer was authentic. We had nothing to lose. You realize how little he cared what you thought of him in danger what you thought of what he was wearing or what he ate, or where he slept, or how we live. He had one Clear Channel members of the one who called him and listen to this.
Jesus said of him what he had said of no one else.
No greater person ever live John the Lord knew if I'm going to bring my son to this earth and prepare people for his arrival and his kind of ministry. I need to get their attention. Indeed he does is he selects the baptizer the words began chapter 3 in a rather innocuous manner. In those days life as usual. Pharisees still proud of their Pharisaism, Sadducees, and all their wealth and liberalism, still proud of their lifestyle.
All of those who live under the tutelage of rabbis who studied under them and with them imbibing all of that religious garb on what will it take to break through in those days it takes John the baptizer out of nowhere, out of the wilderness look at it in those days. John, the baptizer came to the Judean wilderness began preaching his message, Judean wilderness John was trained before the training began.
He was born into the home of a barren, otherwise barren mother whose name was Elizabeth, his conception was amazing.
The greatest thing that happened to Elizabeth. She finds from the words of the angels are going to have a child, and it is stress the most magnificent message she could hear when Zachariah the dad hears the message he doesn't believe it. You know what happens to him. The Lord shuts up his hearing and closes his tongue so that he can't speak or hear throughout the nine months waiting for the birth the owner that you can do is write back. When asked about the name of the boy.
He said he wrote name will be drawn.
John's life was marked by the stamp of Zacharias, but the words of Elizabeth John were older, we can tell you all of this abstinence is worth every bit of it because it keeps your eval before God.
You want to be a clean vessel that announces the coming Messiah on the heels of John's life came the one who would transform the world.
His name is Jesus before he steps on the scene. John is in the wilderness. There is a sprig of vegetation. It is rock and gravel. It is unbearably hot during the day, cool at night, on occasion, the rain will wash through but for the most part it's barren. There was his place of training.
The howling winds of the wilderness were heard by John throughout his growing up years. I think his mother dead by now will go there he learns the harsh demands of an existing there he dismisses all human opinion. He lives long enough to become completely unimpressed with others opinion whether it be for Hamburg or against him. You're my enemy. That's your problem not mine.
You know, like a message you gotta deal with it is not my message.
It's God's message and I'm here to prepare you for one who will set the record straight and cut through all the veneer of your religious life. In fact, you will notice that 700 years before John is conceived a profit motive him. Imagine that verse three. The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, his voice shouting in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord's coming clear the room for him.
Where is that go back to Isaiah chapter 40 turn Isaiah chapter 40 we taught you with some time ago the value of correlation. Here's a perfect example. You see the verse quoted in Oz in Matthew three, but you don't see it from Isaiah's.
Until you go back to Isaiah chapter 40 now all build up to it. If you love music. If you love the classics you appreciate the the ultimate writing of George Frederick Handel Messiah as he introduces that piece of music vocally. He begins with the Tanner recitative comfort income for nearby people said your God, is that from verse one comfort comfort my people, says your God speak you comfortably to Jerusalem Saturdays are gone and her sins are pardoned, there is hope in the future. All of this is a part of the Tanner Arianna the recitative turns to an Arianna is the beautiful music that flows out of the pin of Isaiah did when you get to the fifth verse, it is then the glory of the Lord will be revealed at the first chorus of Handel's Messiah.
The choir stands in verse forthwith, and the glory of the glory of the Lord shall be revealed love music have herded 100 times, especially during the Christmas season I love Messiah. It's it's come it comes directly from the Scripture. Now back to the subject. Look at the reference to John and this is 700 years before John was conceived look verse three. Listen if the voice of someone shouting clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord make a straight highway through the wandering through the wasteland for our God fill in the valleys and level the mountains and hills straighten the curds and smooth out the rough places in the glory of the Lord shall be revealed do that John do that you know what's fascinating is to put yourself in the sandals of Zacharias, the dad and to watch him as he unrolled the scroll of Isaiah get this and says look here, the care John that you that you amazing isn't it.
It is said by someone who wrote of that day that when Alexander the great saw himself portrayed in the prophecy of Daniel. He dropped to his knees, amazed that he would liberty would be a hint of his sweeping across Greece and across the world as a dictator when you see yourself in the Scriptures something happens that puts a permanent chill at your back. John never lost the chill when you realize Isaiah wrote of him seven centuries before he ever existed. It gave strength to his voice took away all resistance, all reluctance all the tendency to compromise this message back to Matthew three, his voice shouting in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord. John comes on the scene suddenly Alexander McLaren one of the great expositors of the late 19th and early 20th century, wrote this John leaped as it were, into the arena full-grown and full armed. Did he ever. The people weren't ready for John present the words of another expositor who writes this, everything about John the baptizer was unique and amazing. His primary place of ministry like his primary place of training was the wilderness of Judea by the world standard and procedures. The coming of a king or a great person of any sort is a proclaimed and prepare is as pre-proclaimed and prepared for is with great expanse and pomp and fanfare.
Even the announcer dresses in the best suits stays at the best hotels and contact the best people make preparations for the monarch to visit only the best places but that was not God's plan for heralding his son John, the baptizer was born of obscure parents dressed strangely, even for his day and carried out his ministry, mostly in the out-of-the-way and unattractive place in the wilderness today when you have a gift, and people notice it. They want to promote you.
They want you to to get an agent they want to put it on television and they want to make sure everybody knows you're there people in the common fill arenas to hear you jotted nothing of that he preached, for he was trained in the wilderness, and interestingly, the word got out that there was this preacher out of the wilderness wearing camel's hair and a leather belt with a strange diet, but his message is like no other message we've ever heard.
What is his proclamation that was some strong verse two.
Repair and turn to God.
The word repent, met an ILO in the Greek means to change the mind met around and not help from loose the mind to turn the mind around. John looked at his audience and he said you you who have been steeped in the religion of your day. You been keeping the legalistic rules of the Pharisees and Sadducees. You are so proud of your own accomplishment. Change your mind. Everything starts there like the mind, change your mind regarding the truth and move in a new direction regarding life itself. You been going in this direction on your life. I challenge you now to repent and turn in the other direction leave that lifestyle behind what he says the kingdom of heaven is near. Turn from your sinful ways and know that when you do your moving toward that kind of righteousness that will one day fill the earth.
Some of them believed those he baptized, look at this verse six when they confess their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River who knows how many by the time Jesus comes on the scene. He is quite a following, but you know what it never went to his head. John wasn't about increasing himself. In fact, his great words were he that's Jesus must increase. I must decrease.
It's all about him. He's the word I'm just a voice. He is the light on just the lamp. He is the living God on earth in human flesh.
I'm just a man. I'm not worthy. Having bent down to loosen the thongs of his sandal.
John never forgot that never lost that little servant heart so we baptize those who repented, but look at verse seven. Look at this when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to what why would they come out of curiosity I coming to look at this weird guy that's out there in the wilderness, and they gathered themselves together and they left Jerusalem or wherever they were probably brought some rabbis of the same old way of thinking, and they stood around to watch the baptisms and please observe his response to them. He did now then lifted his opening line. You brood of snakes is not called how to win friends and influence people quickly. That is not encouraging with a seeker friendly style but you know what it is.
It cuts through the garbage who would talk to us like that to realize that the Pharisees and Sadducees took delight in intimidating people you don't keep the rules you're out we shun you your ostracized and the rules were over 600 and number even though the commandments from God were only 10, but you see when you're a religionist you have to put people in your palm and control is no place for freedom in their lives in here they are standing in front of this strange wilderness preacher calling them snakes who warned you to flee God's coming wrath know about all you live in the desert, and afar will sweep its way through a little bit of vegetation in the desert. All the varmints are fleshed out the snakes and scorpions.
The rodents will all come out.
The thought of that when he saw the scribes and Pharisees and the Sadducees. Those who denied the supernatural was what they were said you see, I couldn't pass that on average the moment. Who are you to flee God's good coming wrath. Now he says it further proved, by the way you live that you have repented of your sins, and turned to God.
Don't just say to each other were safe, for we are descendents of Abraham to say that by the way I meant to mention earlier if you're hanging onto your ancestry as lost as the Pharisees and the granddaddy may have been a godly man and I hope he was your grandmother may have been a model of purity. Your and I can tell you II had grandparents very close to that.
Still human but very close to that note didn't mar anyone in my younger years, more than my maternal grandfather, but my relationship to Christ is not help because it hello Lundy and Ocampo text that's his life anymore than Abraham help these people with their spiritual lives. So quit hiding behind the shadow of Abraham. No one ever talked to them like that before thumbs under their suspenders. They brag about the fact that they were of their father Abraham and John has the audacity to say you not see because of that safe because you repent and turn to the living. This is insight for living were midway through a message about John the Baptist. Chuck Swindoll titled this study in Matthew chapter 3 strange preacher strong proclamation to learn more about this ministry. Visit us email@example.com in the first century. Matthew under the inspiration of God's Spirit recorded the story of Israel's king.
He starts with Jesus arrival in Bethlehem works through his earthly ministry all the way to the great commission in which he commanded us to make disciples around the world in order make the most of this brand-new teaching series from Chuck we are inviting you to add Swindoll's living insights commentary on Matthew to your personal collection.
The commentary comes into hardbound volumes and they're written in the style that's easy to understand and the format is simple to navigate Chuck's practical insight conversational style and humor bring the warmth and accessibility rarely found in commentaries and these are excellent reference books that belong in the library of anyone who was a student of the Bible to be pulling them off the shelf and looking up details for years to come. So to purchase Windows living insights commentary on Matthew go to insight.org/store or if you prefer you can call us if you're listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 insight for living ministries is a nonprofit organization fueled not by the purchase of commentaries but through the voluntary donations of grateful supporters and we're thankful for the loyal friends who come alongside us, with their generous donations.
Our friends and families are facing complicated cultural issues today in men and women all over North America had around the world looking to insight for living, for biblical clarity and direction help us continue. You can give a donation today when you call us listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 four. Give online insight.org many prefer giving to our convenient mobile app. Once again, you can give a donation by calling us listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888 or give firstname.lastname@example.org site for living in the preceding message strange preacher strong proclamation was copyrighted in 2015 and 2021 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. all rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited