Lifelines: John the Baptist

He may have been considered eccentric by modern standards, in fact his contemporaries probably saw him as such, but he was a man for the moment. John the Baptist was sent by God to pave the way for the long anticipated Messiah. The Lord did not send a politician or a philosopher. He sent a preacher. He wasted little breath on the insignificant. His message was kingdom rattling. Repent and live like you have. Something new is at hand, and you had better rearrange your minds and lives to match. The world braced for the kingdom of God.

The Son of God arrived on a mission trip. He left His home in glory to seek and save the lost. His proclamation echoed John’s. Repent. A different way is imminent which brings a unique approach. He came to live it and to preach it. He explained through parables that which would be distinctive. It transcended human thought and visible expectations. The new kingdom demanded elaboration, and He showed up to provide it. God had but one Son, and He was a missionary.

The crucifixion and resurrection punctuated the uniqueness of this kingdom. Thoughts were flung beyond the boundaries of the visible. He rose from the dead and commissioned a small band of followers with a worldwide task. Preach! They did it with zeal. That tiny group evangelized the world. They were threatened, beaten, stoned, chased and imprisoned. They never stopped. Death only inspired the living. The opposition could lock them up and chop off their heads, but they could not stop them.

Now the message is in our hands, and mission fields beckon. This morning we welcome Jerry Hogg and Larry York to share news of the work in Africa. They will help us kick off our summer of evangelism. Memorial Day has always been the unofficial beginning of the season, and we join in with new enthusiasm to seek the lost. We will close out the summer with a trip to Guyana and Suriname, South America right after Labor Day with the same purpose. It is our season of evangelism.

Exotic journeys to Africa and South America are exciting, but our main responsibility is right here. Not everyone can go to a foreign field, but we can all do something locally. Rocky Mount, Nashville and the surrounding areas just outside our door are filled with the lost and lonely. Now is the time to reach out to them. Pray. Talk. Focus. Share what you believe. A heart without Jesus is a mission field, and a heart with Jesus is a missionary. Let’s make this our summer to change someone’s eternity.

Mike Hinrichs