Matthew 11:7-11 What do you want to be known for?

If we asked the question what do you want to be known for, we would all have answers that would be favorable.

Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Ronald Reagan, Jim Gaffigan Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Bobby Bowden, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and  Derek Jeter all have thoughts positive or negative attached to them. All these people left a mark on society in some way but was it worth it? For some yes for some no and only history plays out the impact of ones life.

Our world measures greatness by popularity, financially, athletically and academically. We do honor those who have sacrificed greatly for our country or for others but when we think of those we honor they are usually more popular, smarter or wealthy. What we need to ask is, what would Jesus say about me in front of others?

Johns beliefs were probably being questioned because the disciples asked Johns question in front of others. The crowd was probably wandering why this person who was so bold in his beliefs was now questioning everything.

Jesus now steps up to tell about John and says that he was a reed unshaken by the wind.  In our society now more than ever we need to be unshaken by the times and the winds of change. John was confident in his calling and his message and alth0ugh he had every reason to falter he didn’t.

This is why we need to get rid of our doubts, ask the hard questions and get the answers because in this turbulent world we live in, people need Christians to be unshakable. Christians have the hope that people are looking for and when we stand strong others will seek us out to find the answers to life’s most complexing questions.

Jesus was reminding the crowd that John never changed his message even when many believed he could have been the long awaited Christ (Luke 3:15)

1)   Stability

Ephesians 4:11-14 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

We have to start building each other up so that we become unshakable.To accomplish that we need to stop looking to what the world offers.

Jeremiah 2:13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

John was the first prophet in over 400 years and so everyone was talking about him and his arrest was a major topic of discussion. His message was to bring a nation that had forgotten God back to Him through repentance of sins and baptism. It was the unshakable message that the nation needed not because they wanted to hear it but because they needed to hear it.

If I love people than I have to tell them the truth for their own good.If I believe that the wages of sin is death then I cannot sit back and just allow them to continue to destroy their lives with bad choices. Our world does not like when they are told their lifestyle is wrong but for their own benefit someone needs to be the one sharing about the destructive path they are on.

2)   Sacrifice

Read 11:8

We expect sacrifice in every area of our lives except spiritually. You sacrifice to get your education, you sacrifice to get better at a sport and you sacrifice at your job for a better financial return. Our Spiritual lives suffer because we do not take them seriously unless we are in real trouble. We do not sacrifice the things of this world to make sure our spiritual lives are in shape.

What if we started raising up a generation that took their spiritual life as seriously as their athletic life?

John the Baptist wore camel hair and ate locus and honey. It was part of his routine to give up the things of this life to make sure they did not get in the way of his calling and message.  John did not dress like those who were trying to impress the Kings because his devotion was to the ministry God had called him to.

Our first priority should be to pass on the spiritual truths to our children more so than athletic and academic success.

As a Nazarene he gave up cutting his hair, drinking wine or liquor and touching dead bodies. He did not do that to earn God’s favor he did it because he knew what was most important. Just like an athlete who must sacrifice to become better John made sure the things of the world did not hinder him from his mission.

God has given each one of us a calling and now what do we need to do to make sure that mission happens? What sacrifice do we need to make for our calling?

“In our culture, tolerance is king. We don’t want anybody to feel bad about themselves. Everybody gets to do whatever they want, and we’re cool with it, so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. And we get to do whatever we want, too, and it’s nobody’s business but our own.” (Be Intolerant, pg 24, Ryan Dobson)

For the sake of others we have to be willing to risk our reputation, our popularity because we cannot sit back and just allow others to destroy their lives. No one lives individually, we are called a citizenship for a reason. We pay for prisons and we also pay for thefts that individuals made because no one was allowed to tell them how to live until they became too bad or too big of a problem. We are called to preserve the society in which we live but we have been taught that we are to remain silent.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed

Paul was warning them that if they allow one person to continue in sin then it would spread to more. Of course the first thing to clean up is the people of God but even in our churches we are not allowed to tell people what is right and wrong.

3)    Legacy

Read 11:9-11

Greatness is not about what this world says about us but what Jesus says about us. We all long to hear “Well Done” but are we willing to sacrifice the worlds greatness for true greatness?

I am sending my messenger ahead of you

Jesus says we all are His messengers to prepare people for the coming of the Lord. Although John was a greatest person born of woman, Jesus says we can become greater because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The prophets of old longed for that time and even John the Baptist who experienced the Spirit of God did not have it like we have it today. We also have the word of God at our disposal which is God’s special revelation to us.

“Our task here is to participate in God’s mission to reach these people by living pure and blameless lives that reflect his nature and draw others to Him.” (The Unshakable Truth, pg 431, Josh McDowell)

“Yet the Lord of heaven and earth has left us a message. This message is rooted in the Word, and we are to make this Word heard and felt to a generation such as this.” (Is your Church Ready? Zacharias and Geisler)

Now more than ever our world needs us because its philosophies lead to nothingness and when people figure that out they are left hopeless with nowhere to turn. May we be there for them as a voice crying in the wilderness for them to turn from their ways to Gods ways. Although our message may repel some may we be faithful in telling it so that those who do listen can have eternal hope in Christ.

It is in the difficult times that people really search for truth because the lies are exposed during the difficult times. The only way people will listen to us is when they see our sacrifice and our commitment to not do things the world does but to live with a different perspective in mind.

May we become known for being the unshakable truth in the midst of change.

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