Coming to God 4/16/20

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ … Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”  (Matthew 3:1-2, 5-6)

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That was the message that John the Baptist preached. Simple. Straight and to the point. Straight and to the heart. And the crowds came from all around. They came, not to an air-conditioned auditorium, not to comfortable seats, not to fancy lights and sound systems, but to the wilderness. They came to hear God’s message, not to be entertained. They came, they heard, they were convicted and confessed their sins, they repented, they were baptized, and they went away changed, looking for the kingdom of heaven that was at hand.

In a small apartment in China, believers gathered in secret, some having traveled for hours by train to be present to hear the American preacher. They sat on the floor. There was no air conditioning. If they were discovered, they would be sent to prison. Yet, they came because they were hungry for the word of God. The discomfort didn’t matter. The danger and threat of prison didn’t matter. What mattered was to come and to be fed on God’s word.

People come to God when they have a hunger for Him. People come to God when they realize that the world leaves them empty. People come to God when the Holy Spirit leads them to Christ because they know they are sinners and must face the wrath of God for their sins. People come to God when He shows them that the only salvation comes through Christ’s death on the cross. People must hear the bad news before they are ready to accept the good news.

The gospel of Jesus Christ does not need to be embellished. It does not need to be softened to make people feel good about themselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed in its simplicity and in its power. Only in the crucified and risen Christ is there forgiveness of sins and peace with God. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Amen.

Pastor Mike

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