A Message I Must Preach and CrossPoint Must Hear

I was in both the Old and New Testaments during my personal Bible study time this morning. Part of the scattered reading was due in large part to CrossPoint’s Daily Bible Reading Plan. Each day we read from a different book of the Bible. Although reading this way creates a different story line, this plan enables the reader to see how the entire Word of God is interconnected.

Speaking of its interconnectedness, how many of you noticed how this week’s reading from Hebrews and Numbers corresponded with one another? It is remarkable to see how Jesus became the once-for-all sacrifice (Hebrews 10) to the sacrificial system Moses instituted (Numbers 28-30). I do not know about any of you, but I am glad we now live under the Law of Grace and no longer under the Law of Works.

Now back to why I was all over the Bible this morning.

In the time I spent reading and studying God’s Word I wanted to chase a rabbit that had been running circles in my mind since late Monday evening. The rabbit I chased pertained to the preaching theme of John the Baptist. The central theme of John’s preaching was REPENTANCE.

The opening words of Luke 3:1-8 illustrates my point specifically:

3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

Let there be no doubt, John’s message was forceful and clear:

7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:7-9

Next, we read how John’s preaching of repentance was applied to his audience:

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
Luke 3:10-14

John’s message of repentance was reinforced by his total humility of service to Christ:

15 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Luke 3:15-20

Then Luke adds this commentary:

18 So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.
Luke 3:18

Although John’s message was strong, forceful and certainly direct, it was still considered “good news” because it was the message of Christ.

I find some people are offended by the Word of God. Some people think the Bible is only about the good things—beauty, reconciliation, life and forgiveness. Yes, the Bible does teach and preach about those things, but it also teaches and preaches about blood, depravity, death and repentance. And, if you study the entire Bible you realize you cannot have one without the other. Combined together – blood and beauty, depravity and reconciliation, death and life, repentance and forgiveness – really is the good news of Jesus Christ.

Finally, if there is any question what this kind of preaching cost the person who preaches it, note what is said in the last few sentences:

19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Luke 3:19-20

If there is a day where this kind of preaching is needed, it is today. Where are the preachers who call for repentance? Where are the men of God who are willing to stand up before a body of people to say, “Humble your selves before the Lord God in contrition”? The more I study God’s word, the more I read through God’s Bible, the more I am convinced there is only one response to a Holy, Just, Infinite God and that is in brokenness, humility and repentance.

Yet I also know this: repentance is not a popular message. Brokenness before God is not readily accepted. Few people get excited about contrition. Books about remorse, regret and compunction are not big sellers. Yet it is the message of the Bible and it must be proclaimed and explained.

CrossPoint, the message is clear: I must preach a message of repentance and belief and we must humble ourselves before the Lord God Almighty and trust in Him.


1 Response to “A Message I Must Preach and CrossPoint Must Hear”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    October 18, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    This is a powerful blog. I agree that far too many of us want the “Sunday” morning of Easter but we don’t want the “Good Friday.” After all, who wants to be beaten, slapped, spit upon, beaten, whipped until blood flows, rocks thrown at, mocked, laughed at, cursed, and yes killed. This is what my savior did for me and everyone in the World. I’m so proud to be part of the Crosspoint Family. He’s alive and well with power to heal and forgive us all for our collective sins. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. I thank you Pastor Ryan for the time and effort that you put into this blog. It really made my day.
    Mark Isley

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