Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…The healing we all need.
This weekend my wife Lynn and I will be presenting a marriage conference we developed for our church. We have been preparing for the conference, seemingly with every available moment for the past several weeks, as a result as we enter the final days of countdown, the conference and its content are consuming my every thought. Bearing that in mind, it would be quite difficult to talk about much else today, so I won’t even try. One of the things that has been on my mind the past few weeks is that after the conference is over I want to expand my podcasting. I plan to continue to offer my thoughts on a Thursday as usual, I have come to enjoy sharing them with you and would miss it if I stopped, but there will be a new addition as well. On Mondays I will now be offering a Monday Marriage Message. I thought I might offer the first installment of that here this week.
The Healing We All Need
Matthew 19:1-3 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
When I meet with a couple for premarital counseling, early on in the process I shock them with this foundational truth. With tongue-in-cheek I tell them, “Your marriage would be perfect except the two of you are going to be a part of it.” I know that can seem humorous at first glance, but it is true. Marriage is God’s idea. It is His invention. It is His arena. Everything God thinks, creates or does is perfect. So why isn’t your marriage or the marriages of anyone else you know perfect? Here’s why: every marriage is made up of profoundly fallen beings…you and your spouse happen to be the two in yours. Profoundly fallen people do profoundly fallen things. As a result, every marriage has been injured and is broken on some level, and if we’re honest, most are broken on multiple levels.
So why this scripture reference for the opening week of my new podcast? Because we all need healing in our marriages. The sooner you admit it the sooner it can begin. I think it is crucial to see that Jesus, when encountering broken, hurting people, has a common practice. He wants to heal broken people who follow Him. The scripture above is not the first nor the last reference – we could go to in the Gospels where Jesus healed the multitudes that followed Him. It is but one of many such scriptures. I have never read where Jesus was asked for a healing touch by someone in need, and responded that He just wasn’t feeling it that day. This is never His response. His response is always to move to heal. In fact, the only time we read that He did not heal those who needed healing was in His hometown of Nazareth. There it was not for a lack of desire on His part, but rather a lack of belief on the part of the people. Essentially, the people of Nazareth could not be healed because they thought themselves too familiar with Jesus. Their perceived knowledge of who He was, (just a carpenter from down the street) kept them from discovering who He truly was, and the power that He had that He desperately wanted to use to heal them.
As a marriage counselor, I find some of the Christians who come to my office seeking counsel have much the same problem. They think they know who Jesus is. He is the Son of God (that celestial grandpa in the sky). He is that guy they say they believe is alive, but they live their lives as if He died 2000 years ago…and remained in the tomb. They are essentially Nazarenes.
If we want to experience miraculous healing for our marriages, we need to approach Jesus with the faith that He can, and wants to do miraculous things in our marriage. I said a moment ago that I never read where Jesus denied healing someone because He didn’t care to do so. What He did almost always ask however was…”Do you believe?” We have to approach Him with belief, belief that He can and wants to move in miraculous ways in our marriages. After we agree that he can…we have to let Him. Jesus wants to get busy healing the brokenness in your marriage…and in your life, but you must believe that he desires to heal, and still has the power to heal.
Each week I will pose some questions for you to ponder and answer. No worries there won’t be an exam. Often the answers will not be found in the content of the podcast, but rather in your own heart of hearts. If you are listening with your spouse, share your answers with each other. If you are listening alone, share your answers with your sweet, sweet savior, He has asked you to share your cares with Him because He cares about you! I will also be suggesting some actions to take, these will be designed to increase the oneness between you and your spouse as well as the oneness Christ desires to experience with you. Laugh at yourselves and cry with each other as you begin to believe and experience His awesome healing.
Questions to Answer:
What hurts have you encountered in your marriage that you want to see Jesus heal?
Do you believe that you can trust Him to heal those hurts in the way that is best for both you and your marriage?
Actions to Take:
Pray together that God will increase your faith in Him as the two of you seek Him together.
Seek forgiveness from your spouse for the specific things that you have been responsible for that have caused hurt for them and your marriage.
I will continue with these Monday Marriage Messages beginning next week. Additionally, I will be back with next Thursday to share my thoughts with you as I regularly do.
So now, seeking the emotional healing you need in your marriages or elsewhere in your life with a thorough belief that Jesus can and wants to give it to you…go be awesome!
Hi this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…New Birth!
Just yesterday Eddie Brown showed up! You may not have any idea who he is, but we have been awaiting his arrival for many months. Lynn and I have looked forward to every one of our grandchildren’s impending entrances to the family since the first day we knew of their existence. Each one has captivated our imaginations before they arrived, and our heart’s attention afterward. I have said it before and I will say it again now…being a grandparent is the best job on earth! So if you see me walking on a cloud, you’ll know why…this never gets old!
Besides taking the opportunity to shamelessly brag, why do I mention this? In part because it is a Thursday and I always offer you my thoughts on a Thursday. Additionally, it has been difficult on this particular Thursday for my thoughts to be anywhere else. Beyond that though there is a spiritual truth I want to share because Eddie’s arrival has caused me to ponder it.
Yesterday was Eddie’s Birthday. It is a day that for the rest of his life will be commemorated. Each year on that day we will spend time with him, give him gifts, and embarrass him with stories of his years gone by. He will get a cake with the appropriate number of candles perched atop that he will blow out with increasing success over the coming years. However, that cannot be the only day we pay any attention to him or there would not be many birthdays. Instead, his mom will lovingly feed him every day. She will tend to his needs to see that he has all that is required for good strong healthy growth. His dad will make sure that he is directed and corrected as necessary so that He can grow up to be who he should be. Though He arrived on scene just yesterday, he immediately enjoys all the rights and privileges of being a member of the Brown family, but there is still much to be done!
So it is with our re-birth. While the day it happened is an amazingly important day, the other 364 days a year are just as important. 1 Peter 1:3-4 in the New Living Translation reads, All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you. Because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and in so doing conquered death, He made a way for us to share in that new life in Christ. For those of us who have accepted his totally free gift of salvation, we have been born again. We have been born into a heavenly family and have all of the rights and privileges available to us from that very first day in the family…but there is still work to be done!
Just as Eddie’s little life must be sustained with food and protected with clothing every day for the rest of his new life, our new life needs sustenance and protection. We need to be fed if we are to grow to be strong. In John 6:57 Jesus said, “I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me.” Earlier in this same chapter of John Jesus refers to himself as the “Bread of life” in other places in the book of John he referenced himself as the source of living water. Psalm 34:8 tells us to Taste and see that the Lord is good. Even Paul, concerned with the continued growth of the Corinthian Christians spoke to them about their need to learn; to move on from spiritual milk and to begin to consume spiritual meat so that they could mature and become stronger.
Just as little Eddie will grow as he is nourished so will we grow in our rebirth as we are nourished. In fact, our growth will be proportionate to the amount we consume, just as his will. The more he eats both in volume and frequency, the more he will grow. The more you and I pull ourselves up to our Father’s table and partake of the Living Word, the more we will grow and the stronger we will become. If we cut ourselves off from that food, no matter what our reasoning, the result will not be one of health. If you were babysitting little Eddie, you would not withhold food from him, saying that he had no need of it. Of course, you would make sure he got the nourishment he needs so that he would continue to strengthen and grow. So why starve yourself and withhold the very spiritual food you need to grow. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.” One of my favorite scriptures relaying the need for regular consumption of the word is 2 Timothy 3:16. God has breathed life into all of scripture, It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right.
I submit to you that every day of Eddie’s life will be one to celebrate…they will all be important to his Papa; I can assure you of that! I will want to see him begin to grow and take shape as he becomes the man of God he is purposed to be. So, I will take every chance I can to feed him, protect him and watch him grow. Though that is difficult for me to imagine, our Abba Father cares more about you and I and little Eddie than I will ever be able to do, He desires to see each of us grow into the fullness of our purpose as well. Each day of our walk with the Lord is precious to Him so he celebrates our life and cares for us wonderfully everyday…not only on our re-birthday.
So now, recognizing its probably time to eat again, devour His Word voraciously, and go be Awesome!
Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Why is it that Nothing Bad ever happens to Christ Followers?
I can hear the arguments to this already, so please hear me out. I know at first consideration, most Christians will fall into one of two camps. The first being the Romans 8:28 camp. These folks say they know where I am going with this…everything works for the good of those who love God. The second camp is populated with the Matthew 5:45 folks. They believe I am mistaken, and are ready to remind me that God causes the sun to rise and fall on the good and the evil, and that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. To both camps I say…sit down around the campfire and hear me out.
Allow me to ask a few questions. Is God love? Is God good? Is God all powerful? Is God all knowing? Is God everywhere all the time? Is God unchangeable? If you answered “Yes” to each of these questions, good, that response is in fact true for each of the questions I posed. 1 John 4:16 says And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Psalm 100:5 tells us of His goodness. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. As to the question of being all powerful, Colossians 1:15-17 says this He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. These verses essentially say that Jesus is powerful enough to have created everything…not only what we see, taste, smell, hear or can touch, but also all of the powers that be…both those we would call good and bad. He is all powerful…he made everything, nothing made Him nor can anything move Him off His course. God is also all knowing. Romans 11:33 says of Him, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! God’s wisdom and knowledge is so great, that ours has no way of understanding or measuring His. As it should be…the Creator is unfathomable to the created. God is also everywhere all the time. Proverbs 15:3 says The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Finally, Is God unchangeable? Yes! Psalm 102:27 says, “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” And one of the most comforting of all scriptures, Hebrews 13:8 states, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Why these questions? Because I am reminded by a book I am reading right now that God is big. You might think that a book with such a message would be unnecessary, except that we have managed to make Him too small in order to try to understand Him. The problem with that is that it is only in trying to capture just a glimpse of His BIGNESS that we can ever come to really know Him. God is BIG…REALLY, REALLY BIG! HUMONGOUS in fact. BIG, BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO COMPREHEND!
So, what does any of this have to do with my original question…Why is it that nothing bad ever happens to Christ followers? God is so BIG and yet, He cares about little ol’ me and you. Psalm 8:4 asks the question, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? The Psalmist is asking the question with the recognition that God does in fact care about the itty bitty man He in all of His unmeasurable BIGNESS created. God’s word tells us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares about us. (1 Peter 5:7) God is in fact too big to comprehend, yet, intimately concerned with the condition of His creation, right down to the life of a single sparrow valued at a couple of cents. (Matthew 10:29) finally one of my favorite scriptures on the subject, Proverbs 16:9 in the New Living Translation says: We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
God is all powerful. God is all Knowing. God is everywhere all the time. God is Good…it’s who He is. God is Love…He is not loving so to speak, that would make His actions the result of something greater…He is love…the greatest there is (I Cor. 13) God is unchangeable. Each of these statements stand alone. Any one of them would make God BIG! He is all of them…and more…God is REALLY, REALLY BIG!
Let’s look at one more of God’s superpowers, and wrap this up. Josephs brothers were human traffickers who sold him as the ‘good’ alternative to letting him die of starvation in a pit they had thrown him into. They then perpetrated a decades long cruelty on their own father by watching him mourn the loss of Joseph though they knew he had not died a horrible death in the wilderness. Years later, a forgiving Joseph told his brothers that what they had done out of pure unadulterated evil, God had used for good. Later in scripture we read other examples of God using evil to fulfill His good plans. The hard heart of the Pharaoh was used by God to bring freedom to His people. Later there were evil kings of Israel and Judah who would be used by God to bring the people back to Himself. God used the evilness of a godless man, Haman to set His people free to go back to the promised land and once again serve Him. Perhaps the greatest evil of all time…the Pharisees decision to conspire to murder the Son of God…He used to redeem the world from sin and forevermore make available the road to restoration with Himself! God is SO BIG that evil does not for one Nano-second deter His ability to weave it right into the accomplishment of His perfect plans.
That superpower of God, to use the evilness of man, to accomplish the good and perfect will of God is what allows for scriptures like Matthew 5:45 to be correct. God does allow the sun to rise on the good and the evil, He does in fact allow the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. Both desirable and undesirable things happen to everybody. Our ability as humans to freely choose to act out of godliness or godlessness can and does cause evil to permeate every corner of our lives, much of it not by our own choosing. All of it, is not only able, but completely suitable to be used by our God to bring about good in our lives if we love Him and allow ourselves to be led by His purposes just like Romans 8:28 promises. Yes God is BIG enough to be in both camps!
So now, regardless of what may be happening in your world, understand this. As a Christ follower God loves little ol’ you too much to ever let anything (permanently) bad happen to you…so Go be awesome!
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Making Time.
Don’t you wish sometimes we could really make time? I could get so much more done…at least that’s what I tell myself because it sounds lofty. Truth of the matter is, if I actually could make time, I would probably produce it into perpetuity so that I could perfect the art of procrastination. We use the phrase ‘make time’ so often it’s surprising we don’t really believe we can…but then that’s not really what we mean is it. What we mean is that we will take time. When we tell someone we will make time for them, what we are really saying is we will take some of the time we have, and dedicate it to them.
As a pastor and a counselor I get to ask people on the regular to tell me about their personal relationship with Christ and what that looks like to them. I don’t ask to be judgmental. I simply understand that more Jesus improves any situation and I want to see how I can help them access more Jesus in their own lives. One of the answers I often hear is some variation of; “I know I need to make more time to read my bible. Or, I might hear them say they need to make more time for prayer. They might even say they simply need to make more time for the Lord in their lives.
What if that is all upside down? What if we need to be walking so closely with the Lord that we have to interrupt that, to ‘make time’ for the rest of our lives? What if we stopped trying to find time, make time or take time to fit God into our lives and we started trying to fit the daily requirements of our lives into our relationship with God? Scriptures like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 start to make sense and illustrate that kind of a walk with God to be a possibility. It says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Paul isn’t suggesting that you and I spend the duration of the day and night on our knees beside our beds 24-7. He is saying that a successful life recognizes the necessity to allow our spirits to be in communication with the Holy Spirit living inside us at all times. Every opportunity that presents itself during any given day should be undertaken only after prayerful consideration as to how God wants us to proceed. We need to be continually in prayer if our every move is to to be calculated and our every word measured so we can best illustrate the immense love of God for those we interact with. Do you know when I have to back track and ask someone to forgive me for not handling a situation correctly that involved them? When I acted from Ken’s direction and not from Christ’s, which by the way I could have had if I had only consulted Him.
So which of our relationships with others should we be making sure God shines through us in? All of them! Colossians 3:18-24 says: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Wow, Paul didn’t really leave anyone out. Every relationship we have, marriage, as children, (notice there is no caveat for being over 21) as parents, as employers and employees, basically everyone, is to be treated as if that person were Christ Himself!
An interesting thing to ponder for certain, how would we treat Jesus if He were our houseguest? Would we run out of the house before we spent any time visiting with Him in the morning? Would we go through our entire day too busy to consider that He was right there with us? Would we go home, rush to get dinner on the table, quickly glance up to thank Him for bringing the groceries and then dive into our meal without another word His way? Would we spend the rest of the evening without another thought to the truth that He was right there sitting on the couch wishing like crazy we would engage in conversation? How would we treat our spouse, our family, our boss, our employees, anyone we encountered if we literally took Him with us everywhere we went for a day, a week, a month? Would we introduce Him to people or just ignore that He was standing there?
My toes hurt really bad just considering these things, so don’t be upset with me if yours are a little bruised too. As with all of my ‘Thoughts on a Thursday’ podcasts, I am sharing those things the Lord has been speaking to me about. The things I need to be more diligent with. They are simply my thoughts, if they help you too, great! If not, please encourage me when you see me to get better at my walk with the Lord. I think we all have room to improve at having a life so filled with Him that we have to ‘make time’ for the rest of the world.
1 Corinthians 10:31 sums it up, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. So now, with priorities straight, fitting what the world wants from you into your walk with your sweet, sweet Savior and Lord…Go be Awesome!
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Happy Meals.
This past week pastor Rick spoke about Jesus feeding the five thousand. He made some interesting points from this scripture not the least of which was that we ought to be less ready to send our problems away. There is great truth in that. When we send our problems away because we would rather not deal with them, we eliminate the possibility of being witness to how God will solve them. We literally are making a concerted effort to subdue the mighty hand of God, though we would probably never say it that way. The truth is the truth though, when we desire to have no problems, we desire to see no miracles.
Let’s look again briefly at the account picking it up as Jesus wrapped up the afternoon of healing and teaching. Mark 6:35-44 reads as follows:When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass.So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.So they all ate and were filled.And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
One of the other things that I love about this scripture is that after the disciples asked Jesus to send the problem away (to send the people into nearby towns to buy food), Jesus’ response was designed to teach them. In verse 37, we read that Jesus said to them, “You give them something to eat.” Due to their answer to Him, which was a question about how they should pay for the amount of food it would take, I don’t think the disciples got his meaning at the time. Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that it was always the right time to love people by meeting their needs. I think He was also using an incredible teachable moment to help them see that ministry should never cease because supplies seem short. Lesson #1 for the disciples that day: It is always the right time to love those around you by meeting their needs.
Jesus response to the question of funding was telling as well. In the very next verse it is recorded for us that Jesus ignored the question of money (the obvious source of solution to the problem) and simply told the disciples to see what they had on hand. Jesus knew there was a need for bread, so he didn’t waste time talking about money, that wasn’t the need. He asked, “How many loaves of bread do we have? Go and see.” Upon the completion of their search, though I am not sure it was a very exhaustive one…my wife and my mother say men don’t know how to look for anything…they found one young boy’s lunch. Five rolls and two fish. They returned to Jesus to let him know all they had was one lousy happy meal.
I have to wonder, were they sarcastic when they told Jesus what they had found? Did they give it to him with some quick glances between them, just “knowing” sending the people away when they had first suggested it would have been the prudent thing to do. I don’t know. What I am fairly sure of is that they were not handing that happy meal over with a faith filled expectation of what was about to take place. I believe that because Jesus then modeled faith in God by telling everyone to sit down and get ready to eat…while He was still holding only 5 rolls and 2 fish. Lesson # 2 for the disciples that day: acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place.
What happened next? Jesus got happy about a happy meal. It says that when He had thanked God for the provision, He broke the bread and divided the fish and a group of 5-12 thousand people ate until they were full. Lesson # 3 for the disciples that day: thank God for His supply even while it is not yet evident. God loves seeing faith placed in Him. It illustrates that the faithful person understands that everything comes from God. It shows that there is a recognition of not only God’s immeasurable power, but also of His immense love for the powerless.
It would have been miraculous if there had been enough food for half of the people and Jesus doubled it. Even more so if He had tripled or quadrupled the amount He began with. But He began with one little boy’s lunch…one lousy happy meal, and He fed thousands of people until they could eat no more! With God there is no starting place too small. You don’t lack enough to be unusable in God’s hands. You can never have too little for God to use. It is interesting, this scripture doesn’t say the disciples stole that kid’s lunch. It doesn’t say they bought it from him. The inference then is that the kid gave them his happy meal. Lesson # 4 – God doesn’t need us to have much to use us, His ability makes up any difference that may be lacking, He only needs us to be willing to let Him use what we have.
Finally, I find it amazing that there were 12 basketfuls left over. Mom always used this scripture to point out that Jesus believed in leftovers when I was being ungrateful for them as a kid. I think there is even greater truth here though…sorry mom…I still don’t care that much for leftovers. I have heard it said that there were 12 basketfuls left over so that each unbelieving disciple had to carry a bushel of their newly learned lesson. Maybe. Pastor said what a blessing it might have been if it was all presented to the boy the happy meal originally came from…that sure would have made for many more happy meals at his house in the next few days after that. We don’t know if that’s what happened either…the Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know is there was another lesson for the disciples that day. Lesson # 5 God’s ability to meet our needs, far supersedes our needs. God is infinitely able to meet all of our needs, and the needs of others.
Are you one of Jesus’ disciples? Then these lessons are also for you: It is always the right time to love someone by meeting their needs. Acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place. Thank God for His supply to meet the need even while it is still not evident. God can use anything; our job is to make it all available to Him. Finally, God’s ability to meet the need absolutely supersedes any need. God is powerful enough to do it and loves enough to want to. We simply have to stop sending the needs away to have opportunity to see it happen.
So now, moving in faith, willing to be used to lovingly meet needs…go be awesome!
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…When integrity speaks people listen.
From the mid 1970’s and into the 1980’s there was a well-known advertisement campaign for the Wall Street brokerage firm, Hutton. Most of the commercials were set in busy places such as bars, restaurants, or concert halls. An actor playing the founder of the company, Edward Francis Hutton would lean over to say something to someone nearby. As he began to speak the entire room, noisy a second before would go quiet and everyone would lean toward him to try to hear what he was saying. The narrator of the commercial would then say the line that became famous…”When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen”. The idea of course was that the Hutton firm was so successful that everyone wanted to know what E.F. Hutton thought.
Do you know who everyone is always interested in hearing from? A person of unwavering integrity. Pastor Rick was speaking about just such a person this past week. In Mark 6:14-20 we read: 14 Now King Herod heard of Him, [Jesus] for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” 16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
King Herod was not a godly man, but the Bible tells us that he liked to listen to John the Baptist. He didn’t like listening to him because John would only tell Herod things he wanted to hear, in fact the scripture says quite the opposite was true. John was incredibly candid with Herod. Herod had married his brother’s wife, and John couldn’t have been more clear that this was an ungodly thing to do, he didn’t hold back the truth at all. He called sin what it is…sin, and if we know anything about John, he most certainly implored Herod to repent and get right with God. This passage points out, as did pastor this weekend, that though Herod apparently wasn’t willing do what was right in terms of his marriage, He did like to listen to what John had to say and as a direct result of some of those conversations, Herod made quite a few adjustments in his life. The bible says And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
In Mathew 11:11 it is recorded that Jesus said of John: “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist…”. John wasn’t perfect, he was a fallen human being just like you and I, but he did have unwavering integrity. What I mean by that is that when John was confronted with evil he called it what it was and made the remedy (repentance and godliness) known to the offender. His entire ministry surrounded repentance, and he couldn’t have had a ministry of repentance if that ministry hadn’t included calling out unrighteousness when he saw it. John didn’t decide who he would call on the carpet for their sin based on the repercussions to him. He once told off a group of Pharisees for their hypocrisy. We know from the account above that is recorded for us in both Matthew and Mark that John did not waver from telling King Herod of his sin. Sin was sin to John and he was going to point it out and the way to repentance and a renewed relationship with God regardless of the personal cost to himself. John took the charge found in Ezekiel 3:18 & 19 very seriously: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
So what am I saying? Should we beat people over the head with their sin? No, and I don’t think that’s what John the Baptist did either. The sheer number of people he was able to influence and the influential people like Herod who John almost got through to, indicates that though He was direct he must have also been seen as sincere and caring. People must have been able to see that his concern was for their very souls. That coupled with the fact that he was unwavering in his message, regardless of the personal price, caused people to want to hear what he had to say.
So if you want to be one of those people that others want to hear from, you don’t have to be a Wall Street tycoon like E.F. Hutton, you simply need to have integrity. You need only be consistent in your message. We can’t be good Christians on Sunday and then look and sound no different than anyone else on Monday if we want people to listen to what we have to say. Consistency and integrity and love are the keys. I know messages like this are not popular, few are willing to put themselves out there like John the Baptist did. But it is the only right thing to do. If you saw someone getting ready to do something you had knowledge would get them killed would you not out of a sense of concern for their very lives, try to warn them of the danger they were in? Would you remain silent in fear that if you spoke up they might tell you to mind your own business and not to judge them? Of course you wouldn’t. James 5:19,20 says: Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
So now, walking and speaking with integrity and love…go be awesome!