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08 A Reed Shaken by the Wind: John Baptist

Bryce Bowman
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Bryce Bowman

Bryce graduated from the Seminary at Andrews University, earning an MA in Religion with emphases in church history and systematic theology. He resides in southwest Michigan with his wife Sandy and their three children: Katie, Caleb, and Micah. Prior to moving to Michigan, Bryce had served as pastor in the Oregon and Indiana Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists.

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  • June 18, 2020
    7:00 PM

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You grant haven't you for the beautiful music and Thank you Pastor Kelly for gracious in particular gracious introduction and it's been a privilege to be hosting each evening and I've done a pretty good job of coming out of the platform on at the right time except for the seeming. If you'll forgive me for that. But our mess is the See evening is called a read shaken by the wind and perhaps it should be a read on shaken by the wind but as I have listened in reflected on the lives of the individuals that we've talked about this week one thing has become extremely evident to me that all of these individuals shared one overarching commonality and that is that they all were completely surrendered to God they were humble and they were teachable 2 of the most difficult graces to receive in to your character but these individuals did great things because they allow God to work in them to will and to do for His good pleasure and I believe that the true key in the journey of faith is a heart that is fully surrendered to God and guided by the Holy Spirit and we've seen that exhibited in the lives of the men and women that we've talked about this week in the c evening we're going to reach down deep into the pocket of divine wisdom and pull out a coin of truth on tarnished by the passage of time and it may be something you haven't thought about before but that truth is this the message is the magnet the message is the magnet. How many of you enjoy playing with magnets. Lots of hands you know when you're a kid you often like you like to do this but I'm not sure that we ever grow out of our fascination with these marvelous little objects and I learned recently that there is a magnetic laboratory in Tallahassee Florida it's called the National Highway magnetic field laboratory and the interesting thing about it is that scientists come from all over the world to study magnets to study magnetic fields for uses and applications in all types of industries and all types of technology in various different ways that they can be used and there's fact some fascinating things to know about magnets magnets have 2 poles guess what they're called North and South and it's interesting if you had a magnet that is a pole that is a bar and you were to cut it in half you wouldn't have a north pole magnet in a south pole magnet the magnets would each realign and you would have 2 magnets each with a North Pole and the South Pole and you remember when you were a kid some of you even I don't know if they have these anymore but the used to make mag magnets in the shape of a horseshoe and with that they would do this because they were trying to bring the poles together in in order to increase the magnetic force by aligning the poles now magnetic force is measured in a unit called a Tesla now the strength of trying to put it in perspective here the Earth's magnetic field is 120000 of a Tesla so that may not mean anything but how many of you have ever been for an m.r.i. now m.r.i. machines those wonderful machines that are around look like a donut that they put you in m.r.i. machines have a magnet in there that is anywhere from half a Tesla to maybe 2 Tesla's. By way of perspective at least one and a half Tesla m.r.i. machine is has a magnet that's 30000 times stronger than the magnet the Earth's magnetic field now in that laboratory mentioned a moment ago they have the world's most powerful sustainable magnet 45 Tesla's 900000 times the magnetic force of the earth but if we think about magnets the most wonderful and fascinating quality is the fact that if you put 2 magnets together pole to pole What do they do they resist each other they will push each other away but the thing that's no most exciting about magnets is that when you the ability of a magnet this invisible force to attract things to itself the message is the magnet Let's pray together Father in heaven we thank you for your word we thank you for the truth as it is in Jesus we thank you for calling us to your kingdom for such a time as this and father we ask once again for the power the wisdom and the guidance of your spirit to keep our minds keen and sharp to keep our feet on the path that leads to heaven and to keep us close to Jesus be with us now as we open your word in Jesus' name amen was a Pember 1939 the clouds of war had been for many years. Coming over the European continent the year before in 1988 March Hitler had annexed Austria and it didn't appear is though he had any plans to slow down his conquest on. A little shit while later in the King of England it was night it was March 1st 1031 as many of you remember from reading in your history books Hitler went in and conquered Poland 2 days later Great Britain declared war on Germany King George the 2nd knew that if the cause of Britain was to prevail he needed his people to be united and so to this and he sent them a message this message was delivered via the radio to the people of Great Britain King George began his message in this way in this grave hour perhaps the most fateful in our history I send to every household of my peoples both at home and overseas this message spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself the message of the king was to be the magnet that would draw his people together and unite them behind the cause of Great Britain the message was the magnet the message was to bring his people together in unity it was to give them purpose it was to solidify their identity to give them focus to give them resilience to give them perseverance and to give them power the message was the magnet after outlining the threat and discussing what would be necessary in order to meet it King George concluded his message with the following words. It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the sea who will make our cause their own I asked them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial the task will be hard there may be dark days ahead and the war can no longer be confined to the battlefield but we can only do the right as we see the right and reverently commit our cause to God The message was the magnet and if an earthly king can use a message to call his people together and unite them behind a common purpose what about the Heavenly King our message tonight is about the man who was intrusted with what is perhaps the greatest message ever commuted committed to a human being John the Baptist was called by Jesus the greatest of the prophets and I would suggest to you the seedling that the reason that John was the greatest of the prophets was because he was intrusted with the greatest of messages but I don't want to begin our story with John I want to go back to another time and another place and another message in fact this message is the 1st message given to the human race after sin entered the world outside the gates of Eden God's people were in grave danger there was an enemy at the gate and God needed to get them a message so that they could face the crisis ahead this message is found of course in Genesis Chapter 3 we're going to put it on the screen. We know it today as the proto even Jolyon the 1st message of the Gospel given to the human race after sin came into the world Genesis Chapter 315 many of you probably know this by heart I will put enmity between the and the woman between your seed and her seed he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel the message is the magnet like a magnet this message was designed by God to draw us out of and away from sin and back into rent relationship loving obedient relationship with himself and what is more this message given here in Genesis was a precursor and a promise of the greatest message ever given to the human race the message of love from a father's heart embodies. In The Life and the person of Jesus Christ as the Bible tells us for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life and within the context of this over arching message God has sent prophet after Prophet with message after message each one intended to draw us out of sin and away from sin and to bat and back into relationship with him the message is the magnet we see this clearly in Luke Chapter 13 verse 34 as Jesus' feet are tending toward the cross having left the precincts of the sanctuary and been rejected by the people that he came to save he looks over the city that he loves and he says oh Jerusalem Jerusalem. Which kills the prophets and why was it that Jerusalem killed the prophets Why was it that God's prophets that he sent were persecuted in killed was it not because of the message the messages that they bore and stones them that are sent on to you how often would I have gathered you draw on you through these messages to myself you and your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings but you would not get the message is the magnet in order to understand the message of John the Baptist we need to start with Elijah it's best to reason mention the other night there are 3 Elijah's brought to light in Scripture course there is the illogic of the Old Testament that we're going to look at in a minute then there is the Elijah which was John the Baptist who came in the power of the power and spirit of Elijah and then there is the Elijah God's people at the end of time that prepare the world for the 2nd coming of Jesus thinking back to the message of Elijah in the Old Testament Elijah was given a message by God to bring to his people during a time of universal apostasy that Ellen White tells us that Elijah was the voice of one crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and pressed back the tide of evil and while he came to the people as for approval of sin his message offered the bomb of Dealey ed to the sin sick souls or all who desired to be heal do you see the drawing power of the best age. The message is the Magna and the message that God gave Elijah was specifically designed by God to draw all the people away from their sin away from their idolatry and back to himself that if you read the story there on Mount Carmel it's fascinating Eliza when after he repairs the altar do you know what he does he calls the people to himself it was through the straight testimony of the message given as God had directed that brought conviction to the people they were drawn to God through the message of Elijah because the message was the magnet. Not everyone however was drawn to the message given by God through Elijah there were those like a heaven jazz a Bell who had a message of their own and like 2 magnets put together pole to pole the magnet instead of drawing down the message instead of drawing them as God had intended actually push them away because of the hardness of their heart and their refusal to accept the message in the message of the 1st Elijah we find the foundation for the message of the 2nd Elijah in his announcements to Zechariah the Angel Gabriel connected the message that God had given Alija to the message that God was going to give to John the Baptist Luke chapter one verse of 16 and 17 the Bible tells us Gabriel speaking here he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God He will also go before him in the spirit and the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. The message that God had given was going to give to John the Baptist was the magnet that was going to draw his people not only to unself but it was going to draw them to one another that message was calculated by God not only to bring them back into relationship with him but to bring them Brack into unity with one another the message that God had given to John was to draw them out of their sin it was also to point them to the fulfillment of the promise given back in Eden the 1st message that the Messiah would come one day the message is the magnet and Jesus said John the Baptist and in Matthew Chapter 1114 if you are willing to receive it he is Elijah who is to come and if you look at the context here Jesus speaking specifically of the message that God had given through John the Baptist to draw all the people to himself to uplift Christ as the Messiah and to call them out of sin and apostasy and just so we're clear as to how central the message was to the ministry of John if you go back and take your Bibles out later you can look at how John is introduced in all 3 of the synoptic gospels it's exactly the same John is called the voice of one crying in the wilderness and what is it that you do with a voice you give a message John was literally the message of God crying in the wilderness and the message is the magnet everything in John's life hinged upon the message that God had given him those this is the most significant and most important thing in John's life. In fact apart from the message John was called for that purpose John's mission his calling everything about him was wrapped up in the message that God had given him to share with others and John's message was a message of reformation it was a call to repentance it was a call to return to God and to trust in Jesus it was a call to obedience in fact Paul speaking later on of the message that John bore said this in Acts Chapter 19 John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance saying of the people that they should believe on Him which had come after him that is on Jesus Christ a message calling people out of sin uplifting Jesus as the remedy and the solution for their sin a wife says that John's message was to bring the light of God to the world John was to give new direction to people's thinking his message was to impress his hearers with the holiness of God and reveal to all their hopeless condition in need of a savior and I hope you're thinking with me because remember there is a 3rd Elijah want you to notice John Luke Chapter 7 verse 30 Jesus speaking of the message of John says this but the fair season the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves being baptized of him in rejecting the implication here in this verse is that in rejecting the message that God had sent through John the fair season the lawyers were not rejecting the man. They were rejecting the God who was behind the message given through the man when God raises up someone with a message we can't simply play fast and loose with a message without imperiling our saw the 1st these thought they were ejected in the ministry or some an educated Johnny come lately preacher from the wilderness they weren't just rejecting a man they were rejecting the message and the message was the magnet specifically crafted by God for good tain the very truth that they needed in order to separate them from their sin and to bring them back into the path of salvation and a loving relationship with God It was the message that would have caused them to embrace Jesus as the Messiah John's message was the magnet of the message of Elijah did not find its complete fulfillment in the ministry of John in the message of the 2nd Elijah we find the foundation for the message of the 3rd Malika chapter 4 verses 5 and 6 The Bible tells us behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord and He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children in the heart of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse in every age God has raised up individuals to whom he has intrusted messages that are especially calculated to prepare people for the salvific event that is about to take place and we are living in a time when we are about to witness the 2nd coming of Jesus and there is a world that needs to know that he is coming. So they could take refuge and find hope before it's too late and as the time of the 1st advent drew nearer God raised up John the Baptist and as the time of the 2nd advent of Jesus draws near God has again raised up a messenger to bring his preparatory message to the world Hello White says this in early writings John came in the spirit and the power of a lodger to proclaim the 1st advent of Jesus I was pointed down to the last days and saw that John represented those who should go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to herald the day of wrath and the 2nd advent of Jesus in the last days God has raised up his remnant church with a message to give the world to prepare them for the 2nd coming of Jesus the message is the magnet it is calculated to draw the faithful out of error out of apostasy into the light of the truth of God's Word and God has predicted the rise of his end time Elijah his end time people in his words John Chapter 10 verses 16 Jesus says this and other sheep have I which are not of this fold them also must I bring and they will hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd Jesus indicates that his voice his message would be heard in the last days and that that message would be a magnet to draw his people wherever they might be into one fold so they can be ready when he comes and be prepared to stand with him through the times that lie ahead. God present truth message intrusted to the 7th Day Adventist Church to proclaim to the world as we know is found in Revelation Chapter 14 the cornerstone of that message is found in verses 6 and 7 the Bible says and I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the ever lasting Gospel to preach to them who dwell on the earth to every nation tribe tongue and people saying with a loud voice Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment is come and worship Him who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and the springs of water the message that God's people have been called to proclaim in these last days is the ever lasting Gospel and this message is the magnet that is to draw God's people back to scripture this message opens to our view the content of the everlasting Gospel it calls us back to the God of the Bible it's God's present truth message calculated to prepare the world for Jesus' 2nd return and it is the impetus of our ministry and of our mission to prepare the world to follow and be ready for Jesus soon return l.-y. puts it like this 14th volume of the manuscript releases the 14th chapter she says of Revelation outlines the work that is to be done by God's people the everlasting Gospel is to be preached and to be practiced through missionary work is to be done not in the wisdom of men but in the wisdom of God. Revelation 14 is the final proclamation of the everlasting Gospel to go to the world before Jesus returns it is the fulfillment of the great commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28 This message is a judgment our message it's a message that calls our attention to the reality of the heavenly sanctuary the reality of Jesus' ministry there on our behalf it is a message of righteousness by faith that calls us to worship the Creator it establishes the authenticity of the Genesis account of origins as literal and historical and consistent with what Jesus and the Apostles taught it establishes a place of obedience in the life of the believer and it uplifts the 7th day Sabbath as a sign of loyalty to God This message is the magnet it is the message that God has specifically designed to call his people to Himself in these last days is the message that God has you designed to call his people together in unity in these last day I want to turn our attention now back to John for a moment I want to look at some of the lessons from the life of John that bear directly upon us who have been called to take this message to the world there are 5 up survey sions I would like to make the 1st one is that John was fully and completely surrendered to God John chapter 3 verse 29. John is speaking he says he who has the bride is the bridegroom but the friend of the bridegroom who stands in hear him hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled He must increase but I must decrease the attention which was fixed upon him John had deliberately directed to Jesus you remember reading about George Miller George Miller was asked the question to one time what was the secret in his life and this is what he replied there was a day when I died utterly die died to George Mueller his opinions his preferences his tastes his Will died to the world its approval or its censure died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and my friends and since then I have studied to show myself approved only to God The secret of John's ministry was he must increase I must decrease Helen waiting conflict encourage says this in order to give such a message as John gave We must have a spiritual experience like his the same work must be wrought in us we must behold God and by be holding him lose sight of self 2nd observation was that John was faithful in the work that God set before him from a superficial glance it might seem as though John's life was a failure his son rose in obscurity and it set in tragedy. John's life appears in the pages of Holy Writ like a meteor that streaks across the sky with brilliance but it's gone as quickly as it appears John's message had stirred the nation headed in and stirred the hearts of the people and his life ended at the very point when he seemed to be poised and in a position to change the world and the people evidently were wrestling with this trying to understand the purpose of John's life and ministry so much so that Jesus felt it necessary to answer their unasked question Matthew Chapter 11 verses 7 to 10 Jesus tells us as they departed Jesus began to say to the multitude concerning John what went out into the wilderness to see or read shaken by the wind but what did you go out to see a man clothed and saw for a mint behold there that where soft clothing are in King's Houses but what did you go out to see a prophet yea and more than a prophet for this is he of whom it is written behold I send my messenger before the face which shall prepare the way before the in this verse Jesus indicates a very strong negation was John a reed shaken in the wind that is was he a man of unstable disposition was he of weak and cowardly conduct absolutely not and that Jesus applauds the invincible courage and consistency in the man who faithfully bore the message that God had given him to share even at the cost of his own life 3rd observation John did not hide his identity or allow himself to be struck this track did from his mission. John was unswayed by the secular and religious opinions of his day he was unmoved by political pressure and unashamed of the message that God had given him to share with the world Helen why it reveals that John's ministry was carried out in a time when discontent was verging on Revolution perhaps not unlike the times in which we live John could very easily have leveraged his influence for political gain he could have used his position to further any number of political causes. And why tells them fact that's exactly the temptation that Satan presented before him but John had one agenda and that agenda was the message that God had intrusted him to take to the world and you know sometimes I fear that today that the the unity that we used to have based on our doctrinal beliefs has been has been set aside by the the disunity did this come in because of our political stances and I want to tell you this morning are the softer noon the ceiling rather that often times we are on this side or that side and we need to be on this side John's agenda was the message and that message was the magnets that drew the people to God 9 via the testimony page 19 we've already heard this once tonight Amazingly enough we didn't coordinate with the Holy Spirit oftentimes coordinate things when we're not aware. Now why says this in a special sense 7 they haven't as have been said in the world as watchman and light bearers to them has been intrusted the last warning for a perishing world then is shining wonderful light from the Word of God They have been given a work of the most solemn import the proclaiming of the proclamation of the 1st 2nd and 3rd Angel's messages there is no other work of so great importance they are allowing nothing to absorb their attention nothing else to absorb their attention for the observation John spoke the truth in love and without compromise in the text we read a moment ago Jesus is essentially asking the people what did you go out to see and in his response it's evident that they didn't go out to see anything they went out to hear a message it was a betters of truth that captured their hearts it was a message that stirred their hearts it was the message given with clarity and conviction that drew them to the wilderness to hear John and I want to tell you today it is the message that God has given us preached proclaimed shared with clarity and conviction that will draw all the world to Jesus the message is the magnet the message of truth proclaimed to the world in these last days proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit will change lives and bring people to the foot of the cross the people didn't go out into the wilderness to hear religious platitudes that would make them feel comfortable in their sin they want to track to the opinions of men or what today we might call popular skepticism seems vogue today to question everything. John didn't try to soften his message so as not to offend those that were trapped in the stronghold of sin John knew there were certain things that need to be said in a certain way in order to break up the stony ground of the heart and sometimes today I think we live in constant fear that our message might offend someone and we don't want to be offensive but if we are constantly hiding those portions of the Gospel that God has designed to break up the stony ground that that so that the seed of truth can take root we will actually wind up affirming people in their sin and sending them away empty Ellen White said this Our message must be as direct as was the message of John he rebuked kings for their iniquity notwithstanding that his life was in peril he did not hesitate to declare the Word of God and our work in this age must be done just as faithfully you know John was not educated according to conventional wisdom of his day he didn't attend the formal institutions of learning and he was disdained by those who had for his audacity and the simplicity of his message in calling out their sin and holding them accountable those who seek to be relevant to the culture by speaking its language and mimicking its f. those will join the culture when things become difficult the message of John was the magnet. And sometimes we become so focused on the man that we forget the message or we miss the message our focus needs to be on the man so that we can catch his message and be drawn to him 5th in the last observation John understood this truth God's message was and is the magnet. John understood that his ministry was not about him it was about the message that God had given him to proclaim his goal was not to draw attention to him self he didn't try to help the message along by engaging in methodology is that would appeal to the carnal nature of those he was trying to reach people flock to hear him not because he had the latest the actual core accoutrements people in John's day as in ours were longing for hope they were longing for meaning and purpose in their lives it was the message of truth spoken with authority and conviction that gave them a glimmer of hope in their otherwise hopeless existence John was called to be a reformer and so are we the Reformation didn't begin and in 1517 it didn't begin didn't even end in 1531 with the Augsburg Confession today the message of the Bible is to be given in its glorious simplicity and it's a cut across the commonly held errors of our day the mess is a God has given us proclaim is the capstone of the Reformation it's a call people back to the Bible back to faithfulness back to a relationship with the God who love them the God who is coming soon and 3 nights ago Pastor reason called us back to our mission 2 nights ago Pastor Bentley called us back to prayer last night pastor Conway called us back to the Bible and tonight I want to call us back to our message the message is the magnet that will draw all the world back to Christ and prepare them to live each day for him and to share this message until their great event when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven Illinois says this the most solemn message ever committed to mortals has been entrusted to this people. And they can have a powerful influence if they will be sanctified by it if you want to reach people for Jesus the message is the magnet the message is the magnet lived out in a life surrendered fully to Christ the message is the magnet preached with clarity from the pulpit the message is the magnet live in the home as you interact with your family the message is the magnet seen in the lives of individuals unashamed to belong to Jesus letter 6898 Ellen White wrote the following words our work now is to enlighten the world in the place of bearing a peace and safety message a banner has been placed in our hands upon which is inscribed here is the patience of the saints here are they that keep the commandments of God in the face of Jesus this is a distinct and separating message a message that is to give no uncertain sound it is to lead people away from the broken sisters the cisterns that contain no water to the fountain of living water on May 18th 861 the army of Tennessee under the direction of Ulysses s. Grant besieged the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg Mississippi on the 22nd grant launched a major assault on Vicksburg and one particular section of the fortified Confederate line was extremely strong they were back behind some bold works across the field up a little incline and the only way the Union Union soldiers were going to take that was to walk out across that open field in plain view of those fortified Confederate muskets. There were 5 regiments ordered to attack that section and one of them was the 99th Illinois and the day before there had been some skirmishes skirmishes and their color bear had been wounded and so the commanding officer asked for a volunteer to carry the Union flag colors of the regiment the young man 32 years old named Thomas Higgins volunteered the Union soldiers were given the command to advance Hagan's in the center of that column carrying the colors Confederate soldier later described the scene in this way after a most terrific cannonade of 2 hours during which the very earth rocked and pulsated like a thing of life the head of the charging column appealed appeared above the brow of the hill about $100.00 yards in front of the breast and as a line after line of blue came in sight over the hill it presented the grandest spectacle to the the soldier has ever be his own and as those Union lines advanced than that Confederate ball work. Up and down that Confederate line the command was given to fire and like one unified gun those muskets rang out across that battlefield and over and over volley after volley musket fire penetrated that union line and that blue line vanished in the morning smoke and then it was quiet silent on the battlefield and as the smoke began to clear there was seen there on the battlefield the waving in the morning breeze the Union flag still clutched in the hands of Thomas Higgins still coming across the battlefield alone holding the colors high. And all at once along that Confederate line no less than 100 muskets were leveled on that one Union soldier carrying out the command that he had been given because you see earlier that morning when Higgins commanding officer in place the colors in his hand he had told him Higgins don't stop until you've planted that flag within the Confederate works. And as the muskets cracked out again across that battlefield Higgins holding that flag Confederate line waiting for the smoke to clear and as a smoke cleared there was the flag still waving in the breeze there was Higgins still coming across the battlefield now only a short distance away muskets once again raising all at once they realized that perhaps this man shouldn't be shot and word went up and down the Confederate line don't shoot him and Higgins pressed the head up across that parapet and he planted that union flag within the Confederate line he was later released and at the recommendation of those Confederate soldiers he was given the Medal of Honor friends Jesus has placed his message in your hands he has given you a command pressed forward to the finish don't stop until you stand with me on the sea of glass and there's Jerry and winner and Grant play of song for us I want you to think about that I want you to think about the message that is the magnet that God has placed within your hands to reach of those within your center circle of influence. Will you be dissuaded. In the heat of the battle to turn aside Will you press forward. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon or leader visit w.w.w. audio verse or.

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