And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. – Mark 1:4
Did you notice the moon last night? Big. Beautiful. Full. What about back in April? There was a supermoon on April 6. It was a little brighter and a little bigger because it was closer than normal to the earth. One thing we can say about the moon is that, “it glorifies the sun”. Think about it… The moon gets it light from the sun. The moon is dependent on the sun to be seen or noticed the best. The moon declares the power of the sun. What we can see and observe (especially with the naked eye) can only be done so because of the sun. When we see the moon it is because the sun is shining on it.
John the Baptist was glorifying God. He was proclaiming God’s power and His promises. He was declaring the truth about God. His ministry was effective and meaningful because God was shining on him (anointing). He was speaking God’s words and pointing people to Jesus.
We have the same opportunity- speaking God’s words, talking about Who He is and What He’s done for us, and pointing people to Jesus. Let’s glorify God today!!
All through Scripture, God used men and women who were people of no worldly status to accomplish His work. Moses was a fugitive; King Saul was the least of his tribe; King David was a lowly shepherd boy; Esther was an orphan; and Daniel was a refugee slave. God chose each of these and more to serve Him and complete His plan.
John the Baptist had no rank or title…he said himself that he was not even worthy to untie the sandal thong on Jesus’ feet. Yet John, whose ministry only lasted maybe six months, was said to be greater than any before him, by Jesus himself. John was the very first to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He believed in Jesus and preached His coming before anyone else. He proclaimed the exclusive breaking news. God had a plan for his life!
What about you? What does God have planned for you? Is it some grand assignment to lead a nation or proclaim the coming of God’s judgment? Or, is it to touch one life for Christ? There are no small assignments in God’s plan. To be chosen by the God of all the Universe to play any role in His plan is huge. Even though we may be weak and small, His Holy Spirit will enable us to do greater things than John the Baptist!
Turns out that salvation, long the exclusive focus of evangelistic fervor, isn’t an end in itself. It’s crucial, but inaugural. The coming One will immerse all willing souls in God himself, active in the world. Immersion in a language – speaking it, singing it, writing it, conversing in it – will develop in you the habits of thinking which correspond to that language. When you live with God – speak to him, sing of him, think about him, develop a life with his people – you’ll develop the habits of being that emulate “God active in the world” – which is one way to think about the Holy Spirit. That baptism will lead you to an eternity of reigning with God – having say over resources and activity and initiatives that will lead to a continually flourishing life for humanity.
Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:1-8(day two) And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. Vs. 7
Professional baseball may be on hiatus, but I couldn’t help thinking of a type of pitcher that John the Baptist could relate well to. The Setup man. If you aren’t familiar with baseball there are eight position players and then the pitcher, but all teams carry specialists. Lefties, righties, knuckleballers, flame throwers, and then you have the roles they play. Most people are familiar with the starters and the closers, but the setup man is an often under-celebrated role. He won’t figure in to the win, he won’t get the save. His job is to take the team from the starter to the closer without giving up runs.
John knew this wasn’t his story to tell. His role in this grand tapestry was to prepare for the one who would redeem us all. John understood that fame and notoriety were completely unnecessary for this coming king. Repentance- this is what he preached. People heard, they were being prepared, and then came the Christ. Don’t downplay your part in this story. God has an assignment for you. It’s not to bring you glory, but to prepare for the continuing work of God.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Mark 1:1-8 in our New Summer Sermon Series: “Living in the Spirit” a study of the Holy Spirit.
“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
“You are the light of the world […]Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14a, 16
This prophecy of Daniel, perfected by Jesus, puts an enormous task on the people of God: to become the light. It is nothing of our own doing though. This prophecy becomes true when we willingly hand over our life into the hands of The Light and His Holy Spirit fills us. Our light is not produced by us but by an overflow of His glory in us. So how can this little light of mine shine into the darkest parts of the world? Light becomes brighter when it is surrounded by other lights. Let us shine a bright light in downtown San Antonio!
13 “As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” Daniel 12:13
What I find comforting in this encounter, is not only a reassurance of a secure future, but also God’s personal word for Daniel…for the now. Much of the time Daniel is caught up in sweeping visions of apocalyptic proportions, but not in verse 13.
As for you…
These three simple words remind us that we are not lost in the crowd of humanity’s history or future. God knows us, and even more, has a word for us that is relevant now. While God guides all of human history to its end and new beginning, he loves us still…personally. He knows. He cares. He loves. He redeems. He provides.
God is big, and He is small. He spoke the universe into existence, and He whispers to us.
Re:Verse passage – Daniel 12:1-13 (day five) “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”
Does the future frighten you? Pandemic? Economy? Return to “normalcy”?
Daniel is reminded of a delicate balance that helps bring perspective and hope. The balance between “the now” and “the future”. What he believes about life now and what he believes about the future are both important. Daniel is reminded that there is service, ministry, and mission to be accomplished now (today). He is also keenly aware that the future finally finds its end with the reign of the Lord and rest of the people. Perhaps our fears of the future would be eased somewhat if we looked far enough to see this picture of the very end.
The lesson Daniel learned in this balance helps us in the present and in the future.God does not forget. He remembers and reminds His children of His faithfulness for the future and His nearness and involvement in each human life in the present. One takeaway from the book of Daniel is that from the present moment till the end of time, God does not forget which means His children will not be lost in the shuffle (now and forever).
Blessings await those who persevere to the end…this is the message and promise that Daniel gives to his people. There will be very difficult times along the way, but the end result will be worth it. “Can’t we just skip the pain and difficulty and just move straight to the blessing! “ Our society in modern day has the same mindset…we do not want to go through heartache in order to arrive at blessing. We want immediate reward…’take out blessing’ that is available right now.
Somewhere along the way, God’s people have gotten the idea that if we are obedient to God and have enough faith, everything in our life will be positive. We will not experience any heartache or trials and we will always be prosperous and successful. This model does not fit with biblical teaching…Daniel’s vision tells us that just the opposite will be true. When hard times come though, we have God’s promise that blessing awaits those who persevere to the end. Hold tight…it will be worth it!