The Return of John the Baptist

Posted: May 24, 2024

“During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:2-9

He walks into the church parking lot. It’s Sunday morning, just minutes before the service starts, the strategic moment when many arrive. Most modern believers don’t want social contact with others at church; the unspoken rule is to get in quickly before the service starts and make a quick exit after it’s over.

His clothes don’t fit well; his hair is wild, greasy. He looks and smells like a homeless man. His instructions were to spend a week, alone, in a wilderness setting, praying to prepare himself for this assignment, deliver the message, and walk away.

He stands there, surveying the scene before him. It is a large church, with a big building and a large parking lot. People are passing him by quickly, doing whatever they can to avoid making eye contact. This culture of everyone running at full speed and avoiding others is nothing like the clusters of tight-knit communities of his past. He doesn’t care what they think of him; whether they listen is up to them. He notices several people pointing their devices at him, probably to record what they think will be a freak show. As people continue rushing by him, his words pierce the air with force and authority.

“Ichabod! The glory is departed! You have watched as your churches have become corrupt with sin. Your sexual depravity exceeds that of Sodom and Gomorrah, yet you refuse to face it. Open shame belongs to you, your churches, your leaders, your schools, your families! You do not mourn or weep over this evil because your hearts are hard and you are blinded by pride and arrogance.”

As he speaks, a crowd rapidly forms. Some are in shock; his words cut deep. Never have they heard someone speak like this. His eyes blaze with what can only be described as holy fire.

“You have lost your youth. They have watched you love the world and give God your leftovers. They have seen your apathy, your bondage, your love of comfort, money, and pleasure. You have failed them. Many have walked away from our Father and are on their way to an eternity in torment, yet you do nothing. You do not weep, nor do you cry out to God for mercy.

There is blood on your hands. Many in your flocks are playing with sin; some, if they died tomorrow, would be in hell for all eternity. You have not warned them, nor have you confronted the sin in your midst as Elijah did when he faced the nation of Israel and its leaders, alone. You have God’s word, but you’re afraid of all of His counsel. You fear man more than you fear God. You are cowards who are sending people into hell who Jesus was killed for with your passive, lukewarm hearts.

Our brother Paul warned you several times that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God! Have you likewise warned your people, pleading with them to turn from their sin and seek His face?

Your churches are not houses of prayer! Many of your people are afraid to pray; they know nothing of the power of prayer thus they live defeated lives. Most of your followers will not spend a day alone with the one they call Lord, yet they will spend hours on their pleasures. How will you stand before God in the day of judgement?

Your culture of isolation is killing you, yet you allow your people to go on, day after day, wandering in and out of your churches, lonely, easy prey for Satan. You are not devoted to fellowship just as you are not devoted to prayer. Your people are dying, and you will not change. You are deceived; you read and hear our Father’s words but you refuse to obey Him.”

A large crowd has gathered. Word has gotten to the sanctuary and now they’re coming outside to listen to this stranger. A few are starting to weep. Some look angry, hard. Most are still in shock, barely able to move.

“The evil Assyrians of Jonah’s day, who had no Bible, no Jesus, no churches, no pastors, nothing, will be in Heaven before many of you. They cried out to God for mercy in heaven-rending prayer while breaking and humbling their hearts and turning from sin, and they received mercy! You are too proud, too lukewarm, too stuck in your religious traditions to do such things. If you would but turn your churches into houses of prayer while confessing your sins and ministering to each other, you would experience our Father’s presence in power!

You love the world. You are rich and think you need nothing. You talk about revival and repentance, but you will not cry out to God and face the evil of your sin and pride. You judge others for their sin but are blind to your own. Many of you are hypocrites.

What is the fruit of your life? Our Father demands fruit from His followers. As I warned you before and warn you now, every tree that does not bear fruit will be thrown into the fire. Our Father is kind, patient, and not willing that any should spend eternity apart from Him, but don’t take His mercy as a sign that he approves of a lukewarm heart!

You say that salvation is free, but you will not count the cost and surrender your life to the one you call Lord. You run from suffering instead of embracing it as Jesus did when He allowed Himself to be murdered. You are soft, comfortable, dead. You sing songs like “I surrender all” but they are just words. You are the god and master of your life.

I beg you, reconcile your relationship with God, before it is too late! You don’t know how long you have to live! Jesus knocks on the door of the heart, but there is a last knock. A time will come when there will be no more chances for restoration.

Forget about what others do or say. Many are blind travelers on the wide road to eternal destruction. When you stand in eternity, you will give account to God alone, without family members or friends. Run after God as hard as you have sought your pleasures and treasures. Do you love Him with all of your heart?

Many will end up in hell because they worshipped ministry and did not know God. The Lord Jesus warned us of this. He told a parable of how furious the Father was when people were too busy with their lives to come and feast with Him.
He must be your first love.

Ask the Lord to break up the hard places of your heart. Invite Him to have His way with you, no matter the cost, sacrifice, or pain required. Surrender! Make the changes in your life that you already know He wants you to. Confess your sins to others. Prayer is your lifeblood. Pour your life out to Him as a love offering. Jesus gave everything up until His last breath. Should we not do the same?
Do not waste your life on the pleasures, sin, and lies of this world!

I’m leaving now. You put your leaders up on pedestals; I want nothing to do with that. No prophet sent from God cares of such things as titles or feeding on the worship of men. Pedestals are for those who love it when others worship them. Stay away from such people. Their pride will destroy them and corrupt you.”

John the Baptist then turned around, and walked away.