Before Christ enters your life, it is all about you— You live to do what you will.
Then, after Jesus reveals himself to you and says, “Come, Follow Me.”, it’s all about Him and and the benefit of others— You live to do only Gods will.
So, in these perilous times of confusion, it is vital that the ones who are called by God to preach, do so in absolute surrender to The Lord’s instruction— because in much of what holds itself up as Christianity today, self-preservation prevails over self-denial, and this is the spirit which has indwelt the body of many so-called churches.
Focused on numbers rather than souls, entrepreneurial preachers “go down to Egypt” seeking guidance from the business minds of the world.
The pastor is the face of the company— they take polls, conduct marketing research; they create an ad campaign around their “cool” name and catchy slogans in order to draw in their target audience.
This is diametrically opposed to the one ordained, not of man, but by God to prepare the way for Jesus Christ.
Leonard Ravenhill once said, “You never have to advertise a fire.” This is true, because John The Baptist had no advertising, no agent, no sponsorship, no social media presence or marketing strategy, yet people came from all over to see this wild man in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance.
As word spread and the religious elite took notice, they came to see what this uneducated man was all about.
He had not been taught in the synagogues, he had no certificate, no degree, no man had ordained him to preach. So they hey asked him, “Who are you?” In other words, “What is your brand; what is your vision for yourself?”
For most, this would have been the break they had hoped for. At that moment the professional preacher would have presented their resume, their PowerPoint presentation would be all ready to go as they laid out their plans, and their agenda, for their church.
Visions of book deals and promotional tours would have been dancing in their heads, hoping against hope for Oprah’s people to call offering to do a feature for Super Soul Sunday.
But not John.
“I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
He had no plans for himself, no agenda; only to clear the way for Jesus and prepare the people to receive Him.
Then, as the crowds left John to follow Jesus and his star was losing its shine in the eyes of people, we are told: “They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
John replied to them, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ …He must become greater; I must become less.”
I must become less?
The professional preacher would never say that.
That attitude leads to bankruptcy in the business of American Christianity.
When your followers, rather, your customers move on to the competition, you do what you can to get them back— you reinvent yourself.
But not John.
Jesus would later say, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist…”
He was obedient and selfless up until the very end when Herod had him beheaded.
So, Pastors, teachers, elders, deacon, evangelists, and anyone who has put the gospel trumpet to their lips, I ask you:
Is it all about “you”, or is it all about Jesus?
Are “you” front and center; are “you” being promoted, or is Christ?
Are you speaking your opinions, telling people what they want to hear to keep them entertained and coming back each week, or are you speaking only the words and the will of God— no matter what the cost?
Even as I write this, I must ask myself:
Why am I writing it?
Is it to get followers or “likes”?
Is it to impress someone, or is it to glorify Christ and lead others to HIM?
Whether they listen or they don’t, we are to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only way of salvation, and perseverance toward holiness in the power of the Spirit.
Seek no name for yourself— simply clear the way for Christ.
As the late preacher, George Whitfield once said, “Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ is glorified…Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.”
Remember: Jesus plus nothing equals everything.
Remove yourself from the equation.
“He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30
Repent Believe Persevere