How Can You Hear Without a Preacher?

We describe the Bible in two parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament. 

The Old Testament and the New Testament could be defined by two verses of scripture.

Hebrews chapter 1 verses 1&2

(Verse 1 - the old testament) 

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 

(Verse 2 - the new testament) 

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.

After the prophet Malachi, God seemed to become silent. This silence lasted for about 400 years. During this time, the gods of the pagans had proven to be worthless and the religion of certain sects, such as, the Pharisees, had become lifeless and burdensome. The only beacon of hope for the people of Israel was the promise of the Messiah who was to come. After 400 years the silence was suddenly broken – a voice began to cry out from the wilderness!

Matthew 3:1-3

Saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 

This voice was none other than John the Baptist who was to be a forerunner of the Messiah.

When we think of a wilderness, we picture a barren, dry, and lifeless land. Ironically, it was from the wilderness - a cry for life was heard. God broke the silence through a preacher named  John. He was sent to, "Make Ready the way of the Lord, make His path straight!

When I was lost without Christ, without God, and without hope in this world, my life seemed to be a wilderness. My soul was barren, dry, and lifeless, and God was silent in my life. However, when I heard the preaching of the gospel, the silence was broken!

John’s preaching was to turn the hearts of the children back to the hearts of their fathers. Over the course of time, the people of Israel had wandered away from and forsaken the God of their fathers; a new generation had risen in whom was no faith.

Now, after 400 years of complete silence, once again, God’s word pierced the ears of men. God's message was crystal clear and to the point: "Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The phrase "At hand" simply meant it was close to them. In fact, it was very present in its' king, Jesus Christ!

John came to prepare the hearts of the people for the arrival of their king. This preparation involved repentance; a turning away from sin and a turning toward God. Repentance involves seeking, hearing, listening, believing, and obeying!

“Repent and obey the Gospel”

                                                                        – Jesus Christ.

John’s message: Matthew 3:11-12 (NASB)

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

John spoke of, “He who is coming.” Immediately following the transgression of Adam when sin made its entrance into the world and death by sin, the coming of the Messiah was prophesied or foretold. Throughout the Old Testament the coming of the Christ is declared.

John made one thing clear; he was not the Christ. John said to his followers, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I.” No man has the power or authority to save another from sin; a parent cannot save their children nor children their parents; no king, no prince, no president nor head of state; no preacher nor spiritual leader has the power to deliver men from their sins. 

Man cannot save! Acts 4:12 

"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven 

that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

John preached, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

  • The power of the Holy Spirit produces a new birth! The Holy Spirit is God with us; living in us and working through us. By Him we become dead to sin and alive to Christ (Rom. 6:11).
  • The baptism of fire is the righteous judgment of God.

Each one will receive the power of His salvation or the fury of His judgment!

John warns us saying, “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Take note: it is His winnowing fork, His threshing floor, and His wheat. The chaff is not His; it is discarded and thrown into an “unquenchable fire.”

  • His Winnowing fork is the tool used to separate the righteous from the unrighteous.
  • His threshing floor is a place of judgment; a place for breaking and crushing.                                                          
  • Luke 20:18 "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
  • His wheat is the precious saints and children of God; Wheat is “His people” who have been saved from their sins (Mt. 1:21).
  • The chaff is the lost. They become “good for nothing” except to be cast out.
  • Psalm 1:4 The wicked are… like the chaff which the wind drives away.
  • The unquenchable fire is a place of eternal judgment; a place Jesus called Hell.

Mark 9:43(NASB)

"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.]

God has broken the silence

Matthew 13:15 (NLT) 

For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, 

and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ (Isa. 6:9-10)

The preaching of the gospel demands a decision.

Matthew 3:10 (NASB)

“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore, 

every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." 

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From the Pastor

 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path 

(Psalm 119:105)  

The Quest to Know God

March 15, 2017

(Acts 17:22-27) 

Man lives in a constant search for what will bring him contentment and fulfillment. To some degree, each person has an innate knowledge of a supreme power greater than himself. We look for what we can worship or set our affections upon; we look for what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. It is in the context of this search that the bible speaks in terms of a man being “lost”.

When Paul was in Athens, he saw many idols throughout their city. Like the people in Athens, we too, can fill our life with the things of this world in the attempt to fill the void which only God can fill. Surrounded by their many objects of worship, the people in Athens knew something was still missing.  That something was a personal knowledge of the God who created all things.

Maybe you have many things in your life which you love and treasure; however, you're not satisfied nor content. What is your relationship with God like? What do you know, think, or believe concerning Him. In Athens, there was a smorgasbord of beliefs, philosophies, and ideologies, yet still no certainties. Without certainty, there can be no peace or contentment within the heart, the spirit, or the soul of a man.

Paul's words to the people at Athens brings hope to us all. We learn that God is not far from us as some might feel or think. Instead, He is close by us, desiring for us to seek Him and to know Him.  

God has said, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” - Jeremiah 29:13.

His Spirit speaks to our spirit, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” - Hebrews 3:7-8. God has gone to great lengths to reveal Himself to you and to me. The greatest demonstration we have as to His love for us, and His desire for us to know Him, was revealed in the life of His Son , Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ was the express image of God. He was God in human flesh. To learn about Christ is to discover and know God our Lord and creator.  God speaks to us today through the words spoken by Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” - Matthew 11:28-30

Seek God today for the longings of your heart. The treasures of this world may bring comforts to the body; yet, they are worthless when it comes to satisfying the soul.