Temple Baptist Church - 1-23-2011
A. As we enter this new year, I believe that God’s people understand the times in which we live. I am not necessarily talking about the wickedness, etc., but rather the “hour” in which we live. Preachers have been fervently preaching about the coming of the Lord for years and I am personally shocked that we are still here. We understand that God allotted 7 thousand years of time from the beginning until eternity begins. There were 4 thousand years until the coming of Jesus Christ which is 4 days in God’s time. There have been 2 thousand years since Jesus Christ which is 2 days in God’s time. There will be a 1 thousand year Kingdom Age which is 1 day in God’s time. That shows me that we are at the end of the 6th day and the Rapture is eminent.
B. There were 400 “silent years” from Malachi to Matthew leading up to the First Advent. There have been 400 “silent years” since the translation of the King James Bible leading up to the Second Advent. The Bible also says that Israel will “sleep” for 2 days or 2 thousand years and that God would raise them up to walk in His sight which is the Millennial Reign of Christ.
C. Malachi prophesied of the coming of the “spirit of Elijah” just prior to the First Advent and it was fulfilled in John the Baptist in these verses that we read this morning. I believe that there will also be such a “spirit” just prior to the Second Advent. God has always had His voice and it is being heard today.
D. I have several Old and New Testament heroes that stand out to me personally with John the Baptist being one of them. John was not acceptable in his day as far as his person.
1. John was not Charismatic – John did not miracles. He was a preacher, not a performer!
2. John was not Social – John lived in the wilderness. He ate locust and wild honey. He was a preacher and he was not popular!
3. John was not Elegant – John dressed in leather and camel’s hair. He was a preacher and a plain man!
4. John was not Popular – John did not compromise the message. He was a preacher, not a pleaser!
E. Not only is he a hero of mine, but he was highly regarded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 11:7-15 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
F. We live in a day of “plastics” but John was REAL! He was the “real deal” of that day and the Lord used him to prepare the way for our Lord Jesus Christ.
G. I believe that the “spirit of Elijah” is still evident in these last days just prior to the Second Advent. I want to be a part of that voice! I want you to be a part of that voice!
1. It Was The Voice! Not a voice but THE voice. There are a lot of voices clamoring for our attention in these last days.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
I have never seen as many “churches” springing up as we have today. There are little signs everywhere in front of home with the names of their ministries on them. Denominations galore can be found, especially here in the “Bible Belt.” Someone asked me one day, “How do I know which one is right?” We want to be God’s Voice, speaking from God’s Word. In order to be to be God’s Voice, you must have the right message and our message is right. We are the Voice of God in these last days.
2. It Was The Voice Of One! We are not the only ones who are “holding the ropes” in these last days.
1 Kings 19:14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (Elijah thought that he was the only one standing but the Lord had others. I do not know where they were when Elijah went to Mt. Carmel but they were where God wanted them.)
1 Kings 19:18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
I thank the Lord, this morning, that there are men of God who still stand in the “Old Paths.” These are men who, though they may be scattered around the world, still preach from the right Bible. They are God’s Voice and their Voice is ONE with ours.
3. It Was The Voice Of One Crying! It is to be a distinct cry. It is to be a loud cry. It is to be a persistent cry.
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
It is so easy to get discouraged in the way and, in so doing, our voices become quieter and less persistent. The numbers are not our business, they are God’s. Our work is to continuing to cry loudly in these last days. Someone will hear and heed! It is a cry of urgency; a cry of compassion; a cry of salvation. Cry aloud and lift up your voices.
4. It Was A Voice In The Wilderness! A wilderness is a dry place where there is little water. A wilderness is a non-productive place of little value.
Zechariah 7:8-14 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying, (9) Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: (10) And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. (11) But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. (12) Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. (13) Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: (14) But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
We live in a time when people refuse to hear the Word of the Lord. Their hearts have been hardened through sinfulness. So many people have become reprobate at early ages. This world has such a pull and Satan has blinded the minds of the people to the things of God.
5. It Was The Voice Of The Straight Way!
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Zechariah 7:11-13 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. (12) Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. (13) Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:
God’s way is a singular way; God’s way is a narrow way; God’s way is not the popular or easy way; but it is still God’s Way? It is God’s Way and the Only Way to Heaven!
Conclusion: There have been 400 Silent Years since 1611! Phariseeism is the rule of the day with salvation being of works and not of grace! We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth! We are the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”