The Christian living site of Pastor Jim Piper, Jr.

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July 27, 2017 :: Jim Piper, Jr.

just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    and he will prepare your way.[a]
He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
    Clear the road for him!’[b]

This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.

John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with[c] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

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Many don't often realize that Jesus came not only to deliver but also to judge. We like the idea that Jesus saves but many struggle thinking he is judge. But this is still good news. We all know the world needs help. It's gone crazy and it's been that way for a long time. We need a Savior, yes of course but how can one save us from this mess without also being a judge? Hasn't he made a judgment that we need to be saved? That's good news!

John's message has not expired. He says "Prepare!" Have you prepared yourself to meet the Lord, the creator of all things? He has invested value in your life and all investors inspect the return on their investments. 

Here's a side note: was John's simple dress and diet (read verse six again above) a symbolic reminder to us that our need for clothes and the cravings for unnatural foods is a reflection of the fall of mankind? I don't know but the thought struck me.

John was in a great place wasn't he? He was a man on a mission. He had a clear purpose in life and that gave him the courage and focus to be whom God needed... and frankly, we still need men like him... on a mission to do good.

But before we turn the page of this Gospel introduction, how can we ignore the activity around this person named the Holy Spirit? First, John introduces us to the Lord [Jesus the Messiah] and then he says Jesus will introduce us to the Holy Spirit in a fantastic way - we who believe and see our need for a Savior will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit!

Among many other attributes of repentance [changing our minds and agreeing with God], come these: the Holy Spirit causes us to see ourselves correctly and implants the seed of humility. Only the truly great are humble, and only the humble are truly great. Further, our change of mind makes forgiveness possible and baptism [an inward reality and an outward expression] is a form of that confession or change of mind. This is when we are introduced to the beauty of death [death to sin] and new life in this person... Jesus Christ. Much more to learn about Jesus...

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