Rest assured, your faithful preaching receives its “praise not from man, but from God”
John the Baptist was a pointer; he was sent by God to send sinners to God.
The Pointer, Not the Point
What is the function of a signpost? They are designed not to be the point, but to point to the point. They declare to you the purpose, the objective of why they exist; it is literally written on them why they are planted on the side of the road. Now some of us have pictures with signposts, or have even seen some that we smiled at or liked — but we don’t go to the Grand Canyon to merely take a picture with the sign and then turn around.
The best pointer ever born of man was John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). He was a perfect example of what the pastor is called to be: the pointer, not the point. John was a ‘messenger’ who was sent to ‘prepare the way before [the Lord]’ (Malachi 3:1). He ‘came preaching’ (Matthew 3:1) in order ‘to make ready for the Lord a people prepared’ (Luke 1:17). John the Baptist was a pointer; he was sent by God to send sinners to God. John was the server, not the Savior; he is the messenger, but the Message.
Let us look to the Scriptures, and consider.
God’s Traveling Preachers
One of my favorite texts that I have penned to my heart is Psalm 19. Many of us are familiar with the opening words of David, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Among the many uses of the Hebrew word translated here as ‘proclaim’, it can be found in Job 1:15, 16, 17, and 19 as “to tell.”
It is never the amount or exercising of our faith, but the object of our faith.
(Listen to the sermon audio here)
Read John 14:1-14.
Take the truth of what is better
Featured at For the Church (ftc.co)
The Empty Deceit of Sin
Believer, the delicacies of sin are widely displayed and lifted up for all to indulge upon. From movies to Netflix Originals to commercials to Facebook posts, everywhere we look there are vices set like bear traps — covered up and entrapping in their grip. Like in the life of Samson, sin comes at us like a lion ‘roaring’ (v.5) that we can tear as easy as ‘one tears a young goat’ (Judges 14:6). Then, we pass by the ‘carcass of the lion’ again to see that honey has developed (14:9) and we stop to taste the sweetness of decay, death, and the sinfulness of sin.
This is fight of the Christian life: subduing what once subdued us
Featured at For the Church (ftc.co)
The triune God rules supremely and perfectly as the happy God (cf. 1 Timothy 1:11). During his creation, everything that exists was created by him and exists by and for his will (Revelation 4:11). And all of creation was created and declared good by him (Genesis 1:31; 1 Timothy 4:4).
By his sovereign decree, the creation exists to serve one purpose: God. Psalm 119:91 says in reference to the sun and the earth, “By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.” Created things exist to serve God, and if God’s chief end is, as John Piper says, to glorify God and to enjoy himself forever (cf. Isaiah 48:9-11) then all created things exist for God.
Reconciliation required propitiation.
The Offense of the Cross
One of Billy Graham’s most well-recognized sermons was in 1958 called The Offense of the Cross. In it, he explains that the cross of Jesus Christ is offensive because of the need for it declares our standing before God. The cross shouts like the voice of roaring waters to a deaf world, “you have sinned against the Most High God of the universe and you face his infinite judgement and deserve his fierce wrath.”
John 12:31, “Now is the judgement of the world,” and that is the first message that the cross shows us: we are in grave danger as we stand as enemies of the cross and of God (cf. Romans 5:10, 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21).
But something profound about the cross of Jesus Christ and the masterful plan of God the Father is this: the forgiving of sinners causes fear of God.