This is John’s testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you? ” He did not refuse to answer, but he declared: “I am not the Messiah.” “What then? ” they asked him. “Are you Elijah? ” “I am not,” he said. “Are you the Prophet? ” “No,” he answered. “Who are you, then? ” they asked. “We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself? ” He said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord, — just as Isaiah the prophet said.” vs19-23
The Lord’s prophet, John the Baptist, was nothing. He knew himself as nothing and gave all glory to Jesus Christ, which is what we’ll do, if we know God. The Bible says, “I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have first place among them, does not receive us (3 John 9).” This is not the attitude of gospel preachers, though it must be beaten out of us. We must be like John the Baptist, recognizing that all grace and salvation are of the Lord.
We don’t have the blessing because we’re smart or strong, and we can’t keep it by our strength, therefore the Lord is glorified from the heart, sincerely, in everyone that He looks upon approvingly. You’ll be nothing in the kingdom, so long as you’re something, and you’ll be truly helpful and at peace, when you are nothing and Christ is all. Take the attitude of John the Baptist as your example, and don’t be satisfied with ministry without heart.
Only God can get our hearts right! The Psalmist said, “Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people (Ps 84:10).” He’s saying, “I choose God over this world”, and this is not natural strength! This is a new heart renewed by grace, made to see the Son of God is worthy. This is DELIVERANCE from the power of sin and the yoke of corruption. It is DEATH to self, as we seek no glory or fame. It is DEVOTION to Jesus Christ, as we now live for His glory with all that He gives us. This is not the “touch not, taste not” holiness of false religion; it is sincere love working from a purified heart, giving God glory by being thankful and temperate. This is sweetness and peace. He says, “Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of Armies (Ps 84:12)!” He’s experiencing the joy God gives to believers who see Christ is everything and willingly serve Him wherever He sends us.
Brothers, we are not in control of our lives! We are messengers, voices from heaven, sent by God to proclaim Jesus Christ. We know His mercy, so we’re motivated to good works, not to make a name or to cleanse our guilt, but because we’re free from our horrible debt and the slavemaster of sin! We are doing what we do because God’s joy is our strength.
A couple of ladies will assist at the Serenity House in Oakland, where I’ve preached the gospel for a year. They’ll come weekly to minister Christ, and I delight in teary eyed joy at two things: One, these ladies will hear the gospel and be mentored. Two, the ladies who minister will be ministered unto! They are fulfilling their calling and purpose in life, which is to take the things that they know and the comfort that God gives, and give it to others patiently and truthfully – in sovereign grace and love to people, in holiness and true gentleness! This is the gospel that delights our soul.
Brethren, be a nobody, and you’ll be what God’s called you to be, which is far better – “a voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord”, so sinners can meet God.