Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Will You Turn Around Before It's Too Late?

"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:1-2

What if you were driving down the road and saw a scraggly-dressed, homeless-looking guy standing on the side of the road yelling "turn around, there's danger at the bridge ahead!". You might be tempted think or say, "that's weird for a scraggly-dressed, homeless-looking guy to be yelling on the side of the road", and just ignore it and keep on going. Or you may wonder if he is right and perhaps at least slow your car down before you approached the bridge ahead. But you got there, and the bridge looked fine. So you crossed it. And then you thought for certain that guy was just crazy. And every day you passed by the same guy, saying the same thing, and yet you were still able to cross over the same bridge. As the days went on, you became more and more convinced that he really was just crazy.

That's pretty much how a lot of people felt about John the Baptist. He was a one-sermon preacher, and his message was always "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". He probably looked about like the guy standing on the side of the road in our story. The bible says that he lived in the wilderness, ate locust and wild honey (that means right out of the bee hive) and wore garments made of camel's hair and leather. Day after day he told every one he saw that they needed to repent, or turn around from the sinful life path they were on, because danger in the form of judgment was soon coming. But as the days passed, and nothing seemed to change in the lives of the people that heard him, most during his time just wrote him off as being crazy and ignored him.

Now back to our story. What if you knew that the seemingly homeless man yelling on the side of the road was actually a well-educated civil engineer, and he knew a lot about bridges; and what if you knew he had inspected that bridge, and though on the surface it looked fine, underneath its concrete supports were slowly crumbling, and the weight every car that passed over it was bringing it closer and closer to its destruction. And though it might be hours, or it might be days, or it might be years before it happened; but one day that bridge was going to fall. If you knew that, would you be the one to listen to his warning and turn around? I would. 

John the Baptist knew something about the bridges of life. People ignored him because of how he looked, when they should have been paying attention to what he said. He knew that the weight of the sin in this world is causing it to crumble. He didn't know whether it would take hours, days, years or centuries; but he knew sooner or later it was all going to end. And so out of love for God's people, he stood out there and took all the scornful looks, all the hurtful insults, and all the cold shoulders and warned people to turn around. Eventually he even lost his life, all because he wanted to help some to turn around. 

As I read God's word, I hear John's voice still crying out in the wilderness. Even though the world keeps on turning, I know that bridge is still crumbling. The Kingdom of Heaven is already at hand; God's authority is already here. And right now there is the chance to turn-around. If you are reading this, and you still haven't given your heart to Christ, will you turn around before it's too late?

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