` John 1 :6-8, 19-28
” The Parable of the Virgins ” *
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, Our King, Our Strength and Our Redeemer!
In the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit-
A WARM WELCOME TO ALL!
John 1:6-8, 19-28
John the last of the Old Testament prophets announces that the Messiah is at hand and he (that is John,) is not the one!
When statements are made and someone wants you to pay attention to them, it's a good idea to ask six questions.
They are - Who; What; When; Where; Why and How.
So Who is John talking about?
We know from the scriptures in verse 29 onwards that John was referring to Jesus. He's the object. He was the person who's sandals John felt he was not worthy even to untie! And yet, this is the same John of whom Jesus said, “No one born of woman up to that time, was greater than he!
Is that the kind of reverence and awe that we have for Jesus even though we might think that weu are the greatest thing since sliced bread? We all should! Yes, we should love Jesus and love the Father and be aware of their love for us, but never forget that they are God – we are not!
Now the question – What.
The pharisees were asking about the Messiah. That is the subject, and John makes it clear it's not him. John was a messenger announcing the coming of that Messiah. The Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Not all would realize this but the announcement must go out.
When Jesus left and sent Holy Spirit to live in us as our guide, He said, “Go into all the world and teach all things that I have commanded you”. We all today are the John's of this age!
In the parable of the talents Jesus called those who did nothing, but sat on their talents and did not advance the kingdom, “wicked servants”. Those who multiplied using the gifts He gave, Jesus called “Good and Faithful servants”. That 'What' question is a deep one. Are we doing 'What' Jesus wants us to do?
The next question is When.
This all took place just before Jesus was baptized. Then Jesus was told that He was God's “BELOVED” Son, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Did you notice that Jesus had not done any miracles but He was God's Beloved Son. And, with that knowledge when He was tempted by Satan, He WON!
In John 20:21 Jesus says that as the Father sent Him into the world, He is sending us!
WE are God's beloved. We have Holy Spirit in us like Jesus. If we “SEE” this we also will win!
Now for Where.
This took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordon where Jesus liked to hang out with His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
This tells me that we don't need a special location to be used by God in our calling. What we have to be is willing to follow God's agenda and not our own! There is an old saying, “God has never (apart from Jesus) had a perfect vessel to use; what He looks for is a surrendered vessel. If we will surrender to allowing God to use us we will achieve Great things and as with Jesus we will find favour with men and God. This does not mean that you will be liked by all men. Jesus wasn't, but he found favour with the ones who counted!
So will you!
And so to the question Why.
Why did John do what he did? God had a role for John to fulfill just as He does for every one of us. We just have to let Him be our guide.
There's an old saying, “If you woke up this morning and though of God then God is trying to tell you about His plan for your life”. “If you haven't thought of God but only about YOUR plans and desires, then God still has a plan for you but YOU have put it on the back burner”.
God works through His people. It's up to us whether He can work through us or not!”
This question is lower in importance in an informational sermon but is the most important question to ask in an instructional sermon. Has the speaker told you HOW?
So 'How' are we to act given the information that can be drawn out of these passages?
I would suggest that we should draw close to God so that He can draw even closer to us and we can share in His power and authority.
We should recognize that we can do nothing good without Jesus but realize that we are never without Jesus! He is always with us and will never forsake us. Trust Him.
We should realize that God has given us all things by His grace. As Titus 2:11 tells us “The grace of God has appeared training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Given this closeness to God we will, “preach the gospel”, “heal the sick”, “cleanse the lepers”, “raise the dead” and “cast out demons”.
We often think these gifts were meant for special people but remember that we are all disciples of Jesus and believers in the gospel. And Jesus said in Mark 16:16-18 Believers.... will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
That is just part of God's plan for us! We are going out to leaflet the area as part of preaching the gospel. All those who want a part in God's work speak to Rosanne, Marion, Rev'd Ken or 'myself' afterwards! And .....
“ May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God,and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever”.