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The Full Gospel Church

      Vol. II Number 48                                                                                                 December 13, 1998

The Prophet's Message

John the Baptist was a prophet of the Lord. He was given a message from the Lord. His message was not from his own learning or ability, but it was a message from God to a people who were not close to the Lord. They needed to repent and prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord. These words were written down in the scriptures hundreds of years before John the Baptist was born. These words were written down eons before the prophet spoke his first words. Isaiah the prophet provided the words of the one crying in the wilderness!

Isaiah 40:1-31
1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

The words that John spoke were written down long before he was ever born. He was sent to prepare the people for their king and redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. The message can be broken down as follows:

The Prophet's Message

John the Baptist was sent to a people that were devoid of spiritual knowledge. They were living under Roman rule and had adopted the ways of Rome. They had a form of godliness, but just as today they denied the power of God. Here John was sent to a people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord. He was sent to a people that heard that the Lord was to come, but didn't believe. John was sent to the wilderness to cry for the people to repent and forsake their wicked ways.

Like many in the world today, many of the people thought that John had gone over the deep end. They considered him a ``religious fanatic.'' Let's take a look at how the people in the New Testament viewed John:

John 1:6-8
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Matthew 3:1-17
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John 1:19-28
19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John was upsetting the order of things. The religious leaders were corrupt with the power of their office. They were a generation of vipers just like what is common today. Many use the Christian religion to line their pockets and become wealthy. They view anyone that takes the Bible seriously as a fanatic and zealot. John was sent to these people who were so impoverished in the soul that they had no moral compass. Isn't that like the leaders of the world today? They speak great flowing words, but are rotten and decayed within? They say that adultery is not a serious sin, they say that it is their own private business what they do in the bedroom, and now they have taken their wickedness to the highest office in the land. They believe that lying in court is perfectly OK as long as they can get away with it. These people have the same mind-set of the ones who came to John inquiring who he was and who sent him. John was a man who didn't look on them as great men of the world, but saw them as God sees them. He saw them as grass and flowers that bloom for a season, but withers away. He realized that the nations of the world are just a temporary vanity set up by wicked men. They have all bloomed for a season and have withered away. They have all followed the same course in history.

The Rise and Fall of Nations:

  1. Strong Leadership and Growth
  2. Plateau of World Prominence, growth slows down
  3. Complacency and lessening of morals
  4. Sin reigns supreme
  5. Decay
  6. Destruction

The United States has come to the place where sin reigns supreme. They have lost their moral compass as a nation. Churches are empty. Sin and debauchery is reigning supreme in the land. The people elect known sinners to the highest office in the land. They promote adultery and fornication. It is called free love. There are many who are living together in sin and debauchery. They have seared their conscience where they no longer see anything wrong with sin. They think that sin is is good and healthy for them. The United States has degenerated to the flesh-pots of the Roman Empire just before its fall.

John was sent to a nation that had adopted all of the wickedness of the world around them. They were corrupt from the king down to the lowest man in the street. This corruption even penetrated the Temple in Jerusalem. There was no more serious comprehension and study of the Scriptures, but the people were told just follow along with the ceremony. This is the same in the world today. As long as churches give the people what they want and desire, and forsake the preaching against sin, people will come. The church that holds to the standard, the people of the world will reject. People want to hear today that adultery is ``just a private and personal matter.'' They want to be assured that their sin and wickedness is OK. The church that tells them that their sin will send them to the lake of fire and eternal damnation in hell is not a church of the Lord. There are many churches today that have let down on their standards. They tell the people that to be good without telling them what sin is. People are not being told that adultery will reward you with the lake of fire. People are told that there are degrees of lies. They believe that it good and appropriate to tell ``white'' lies, but other lies are wrong. Who decides the difference? What is the differentiation between types of lies. The Bible tells us that all lies and liars are from the Devil. In God's eyes there is no difference. If you are in the habit of telling lies, then you are bound to the lake of fire.

With the world today seeking the pleasures of sin, there is only one way for redemption. That is to follow the same preaching that John the Baptist preached. You must repent and turn from your wicked ways and seek the Lord with all of your heart. Jesus is seeking those who will wait upon him and renew their strength.

Isaiah 40:31
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Won't you today repent of your sins and seek the Lord Jesus with your whole heart? Won't you allow the Lord to come into your life today and clean up the mess that you made of it? Jesus is calling those who want to be strong and renew their strength. Jesus is calling those who see the wickedness and want to change. Jesus is calling those who have believed the lies told them by society and found out that the lies are false. If you are tired of the world and the sin around you, come to the Lord today and make a new start in life. Start with yourself and the world will be a better place.

The Full Gospel Church

	3014 E Street
	Philadelphia, PA  19134
	Church Office Phone: (215) 634-3637
	Published by: Rev. LeRoy D. Cressy (215) 535-4037 
Sunday School . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10:30 AM
Sunday Morning Worship . . . . . . . . . . 12 NOON
Sunday Evening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6:30 PM
Wednesday Evening . . . . . . . . . . . . 7:30 PM
Last modified: Sat Dec 12 22:22:48 EST 1998