All right. In your bible in Matthew, chapter 11, I'm preaching this evening about John the Baptist. This is a real famous passage about John the Baptist. We'll read in verse 7, Matthew 11:7 it says, "And as they Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
The part I really want to focus in on this verse 11, well, this is Jesus talking so we know this is true. This is not just some person's opinion. This is not a statement that could be perhaps just someone's opinion. This is the truth. It says, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." According to Jesus Christ himself, John the Baptist was the greatest person who ever lived. Obviously, we know that Jesus was perfect. Jesus was God in the flesh, but amongst normal human beings, John the Baptist was the greatest man who ever lived. We'll turn over to Luke, chapter 7. You might ask, "Why was John the Baptist the greatest person who ever lived? What made him so much better than all the other bible characters?"
Think about all the characters in the bible that may be your favorite character. Think about someone like Moses. Moses who is a great man of God who spoke face-to-face with God. Think about someone like the apostle Paul who started churches and did all sorts of preaching all over the world. Think about someone like Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet in the old testament, performed many miracles. Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, great preachers, great prophets in the old testament. Even someone like Abraham, Abraham who's basically the father of faith. You had all of these people, who ever your favorite bible character is, John the Baptist was greater than all of them. He was the greatest person who ever lived according to Jesus himself. If you're in Luke, chapter 7, this is basically the same parallel passage but there's an extra point in here.
Luke 7, verse 28, it says, "For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." Here, Jesus add, not he's the greatest person, he's the greatest prophet. The greatest preacher who ever lived was John the Baptist. Why was John the Baptist the greatest Christian, the greatest preacher who ever lived? I'd like to explain that tonight, explain some reasons why I think he was the greatest, why he was better than all of those people in the old testament. The apostle Paul, all the great men in the bible. Why was John the Baptist greater? If you would turn to Luke, chapter 1, we'll see what some of the reasons are. The number one reason why I think John the Baptist was so great is that he was willing to give up his personal ambitions for the kingdom of God.
John the Baptist was willing to give up his desires and his wills and what he wanted to do with his life. He was willing to fully devote himself to the kingdom of God, to serving God, to performing his ministry in this world. If you're in Luke 1, go to verse 80, it says ... It's a talking about John the Baptist right after he was born and his father named him and everything. It says, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel." Turn over to Matthew, chapter 3. Same that John the Baptist was in the desert, basically in the wilderness until the day of his showing unto Israel. Basically, he spends his whole life just in the woods preparing for his ministry. John the Baptist wasn't out doing the common things that people do today. John the Baptist wasn't out trying to get a job and have a career and start a business. John the Baptist wasn't out getting married or trying to meet girls or try to the normal things that people might do today.
John the Baptist just 100% fully devoted his life to his ministry and to serving God. He basically had nothing else going for him and whatsoever. If you're in Matthew 3, go to verse 4, it says, "And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." John the Baptist living in the woods, doesn't have really any earthy possessions aside from it says, "He had a raiment of camel's hair and a leathern girdle about his loins." He just had this clothes made out of camel's hair and he had a belt, a leather belt. That's pretty much all he had, the clothes on his back and the food that he ate which was locust and wild honey. He's eating bugs and he's finding honey out in the woods. He's not even really eating real normal food that you'd have to cook or things like that.
John the Baptist, he's dedicated. He's pretty much given up everything. He has no earthly possessions, no traditional family, or job, or anything like that. He's pretty much devoted everything to serving God. Here's the thing, those things aren't even sinful things. I mean, those are good things. Getting married is a blessing from God the bible talks about. Working and laboring, that's something God commands us to do to provide for ourselves. Even things that are not necessarily sinful, John the Baptist was willing to give those up just 100% fully devote himself to his ministry. I've heard many stories of people who have a job. I remember there is an evangelist that came through the church that I went to in Virginia. He said he was a carpenter and he was really successful in his carpentry business. He said he was making about $200,000 a year being a carpenter and basically, he gave that all up to become a full time evangelist to basically do something full time serving God. Obviously, evangelist making a lot less than 200,000 a year. He was willing to give up that high-paying job to just devote himself to God. Very similar.
In this story, I think of my wife. When she was in high school, she studied hard and she really focused on her grades. That was like her whole life. She got straight As and she was in the honor's program and everything. Then, she went off to ASU and she had dreams of being a doctor, or lawyer, or whatever. She's working on her scholarship and then basically, after she started coming to this church, she pretty much just gave all that up and decided to just do what the bible says for the women should do. I'll just read this to you. If you would go to Hebrews, chapter 12, 1st Timothy 5:14 says, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." The bible is really clear that God wants the younger women to get married, to have children, and to guide the house.
They should be a blessing and a support to their husbands. To not just go off and get a career and do their own thing, but he wants them to focus on their family, and to focus on raising their children and the things that are important. That's a decision that she had to make to forsake the degree and everything that she had basically been working on for many, many years in her life so that she could focus on what the bible says, following what the bible says. If you're in Hebrews 12, go to verse 1, it says," Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." See, a lot of people have many sins that are holding them back and hindering them from serving God fully. Not only that, it says, "A lot of people have weights that are holding them back from serving God fully."
Sins and weights are two different things. Sin is something that's contrary to the law of God. Sin is a transgression of the law. Sin is something that's wrong and sinful. A weight is something that's not necessarily a sin, but it's still holding you back. Like I said, maybe it's a career. Maybe it's a getting some sort of degree that'll take you away from serving God. Maybe it's having a job that it cost you to missed church to much, or having a hobby or something that prevents you from going to church, or prevents you from other things, [inaudible 00:08:31], reading the bible, things like that. These are the things that we need to forsake and basically, John the Baptist, he took this to the extreme. He had none of those things. Like I said, he didn't have any career whatsoever. I mean, he's just eating bugs and food that he finds out [about 00:08:46]. His clothes, he probably just handmade them. He didn't worry about any of that worldly stuff. He just basically fully devote himself to his ministry.
If you would go to John, chapter 1 ... We're talking about John the Baptist was the greatest prophet and the greatest person that ever lived according to Jesus. Point number one, is that John the Baptist was willing to give up all his personal ambitions and to devote himself fully to his ministry. Point number two, is that John the Baptist was willing to give up his ministry for the kingdom of God. That may seem like a contradiction that, "Wait a second, I thought he gave up the worldly stuff for his ministry? What do you think about, he gave up his ministry for the kingdom of God?" You see, most of the time, exalting your ministry, building up your ministry would be serving God. Most of the time, devoting yourself fully to your ministry so that the ministry might excel would be the most important thing. Would be basically fulfilling God's will. That would be serving God or serving Christ the most. There are times when it's not.
If you're in John, chapter 1, go to verse 35. John, chapter 1, verse 35, you see, John the Baptist was willing to give up his most faithful disciples, his greatest helpers in his ministry. He was willing to give them up for the kingdom of God and fulfill God's will there. If you're in John 1:35, it says, "And the next day after John stood and two of his disciples ..." We're talking about two of John the Baptist disciples. "And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God and the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, which is to say, being interpreted, Master, where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother." We see that one of these two people that was John the Baptist disciple was Andrew, the brother of Peter who's one of the 12 ... becomes one of the 12 disciples.
In the verse 41, it says, "He first findeth his own brother Simon." The other guy was not Peter or someone else. "And saith unto him, we have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone." We see that Andrew and one of John the Baptist other disciples, they're following John the Baptist. They are disciple of John the Baptist and yet here, they leave John the Baptist. John the Baptist points them to Jesus and says, "Behold the Lamb of God." They leave John the Baptist and they start following Jesus Christ. If you would go to Matthew, chapter 4 ... Actually, go to Luke, chapter 5. I'll read to you from Matthew 4.
Matthew 4:17 says, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." We see that Peter and Andrew, his brother were partners in fishing. At the same time, they both forsook fishing. They stopped fishing so that they could follow Jesus. There, again, it's safe to assume that Peter was also one of John the Baptist disciple. That's at least two of John the Baptist disciples that he loses so that they can follow Jesus Christ. Here's the thing, Jesus didn't pick just anyone to be his 12 disciples. Jesus picked the guys that would turn upside down. I mean, he picked great men of God to be his disciples. It's safe to assume that these were probably John the Baptist's best disciples also. John the Baptist let his best disciples follow Jesus Christ.
If you're in Luke, chapter 5, it goes on, it says, "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, depart from me; for I am a sinful man, oh Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." In Luke, it gives a little more insight. It says that not only were Peter and Andrew partners, they were partners with James and John who were brothers who were also became disciples. That's four of Jesus disciples who are John the Baptist's disciples, forsake John the Baptist at the same time. Lastly, go to Acts, chapter 1.
That's four of John the Baptist's best disciples that he lets leave and they start following Jesus. He has to give up his best disciples and give them up. Then, they become Jesus' disciples and he's willing to let his best disciples, his best church members, if you would, leave his ministry and become part of someone else's ministry. If you're in Acts, chapter 20, this is when they're choosing the 12th disciple who's going to replace Judas who died. It says, "For it is written in the book of Psalms, let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companion with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Justus, and Matthias."
It says there in verse 21 that those guys had been with the disciples all the way back, it says verse 22, "Beginning from the baptism of John." It's safe to assume that probably all of Jesus' 12 disciples were there at the baptism of John, were disciples of John the Baptist, that were following John the Baptist, were baptized by John the Baptist and yet John the Baptist's 12 best disciples, his 12 best church members, he was willing to let them leave his ministry and become the 12 disciples that would turn the world outside down. Because he was willing to let his ministry take a hit so that the kingdom of God could be advanced in the long run. This is something that a lot of churches are not willing to do. A lot of churches, they're not willing to let their best church members leave to perhaps start another church or something like that. Often times, they want to hoard their best church members and keep them for themselves.
Obviously, our church has already had to send out two of our best church members, Pastor Dave [Bursons and Presket 00:15:42], and Pastor Donnie Romero over in Texas. I knew those guys for many years. They were two of the best church members of Faithful Word Baptist Church when they were here. We had to let those guys leave. Our ministry took a hit so that their ministry could be exalted and so that people in those distant cities could reach the gospel, so that people there could join the church. There's many people going to those two churches that basically if we to kept brother Bursons and brother Romero, those people might not be in church today or they might not be sowing. They may not be serving God to the extent they are today. It was because we were willing to basically let some of our best church members leave and we are willing to take a hit. The kingdom of God was furthered and the gospel is furthered and it helped many people's lives.
Like I said, a lot of churches aren't willing to do that. They want to hoard their best church members or even like a lot of bible colleges, they lure in students and they would say, "Oh, you should become a pastor. You should become a full time Christian servant. You should do something big with your life." They lure the people in and then once they get there, they keep the best and those people, they hire monitor staff and they hang on to them. They don't send them out and let those people start churches or start other ministries in distant cities. They keep them for themselves, but that's not who John the Baptist was. John the Baptist was willing to let his best disciples, his best church members leave his church for the kingdom of God's sake. Basically, so that Jesus could train them and they could eventually turn the world upside down.
If you would go to Matthew, chapter 3, will start in verse 1. Not only was John the Baptist willing to let his best church members leave, but he was willing to do more. We'll see here in Matthew 3. In verse 1, it says, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." It says in verse 5, "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
We see here that John the Baptist in verse 5, it says that people went out to him from Jerusalem. That's the main city, and from Judea. That's the big state of the country they lived in, and all the region round about Jordan. There's just tons of people from all over where he lives that are coming to be baptized of him and to hear his preaching. Like I said, John the Baptist, my first point, he forsook his whole ... this traditional life that someone might live to fully dedicate himself to his ministry and it paid off. Because when he comes on the scene preaching, I mean, there's a ton of people coming out to see him preach. There's people from all over the city, all over the state, and the whole region round about for miles and miles about where he lives. People are flocking to him to hear him preach.
Go to Luke, chapter 3. Many people came to hear John the Baptist preach. He had tons of people following him. If you're in Luke, chapter 3, go to verse 4. It says, "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, oh generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Here in Luke, a [parallel 00:19:43] passage says that there's a multitude of people that came to be baptized of him. I mean, it's talking about thousands of people came to see John the Baptist, came to be baptized of him, came to hear him preach from all the region around about him. He had a huge following when he was in his heyday.
If you would go to John, chapter 3, John the Baptist had multitudes of people following him. He had huge great following. People came from all over to hear him preach. If you're in John, chapter 3, go to verse 23. It says, "And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."
We see that John the Baptist had multitudes of people following him. He had thousands of people who came to hear him preach. He had a ton of people from all over came to be baptized of him and to hear him. Again, in John, chapter 3, in verse 26, people come to him and they say, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness ..." Talking about Jesus, "Behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him." People are saying, "Hey John, remember that guy that you said that you bare witness of? You said he was the lamb of God. Hey, everybody's following him now. People aren't following you anymore. Hey John, first, he took your 12 best disciples. First, he took your 12 best disciples. First, he took your 12 best church members. Now, everybody is forsaken you and everybody is following you Jesus. I mean, you did that guy a favor. You pointed to him and yet now, everybody has forsaken you and everybody pretty much, this whole ministry is just following Jesus."
Now, what did John the Baptist do? Did he try to hang on to his ministry? Did he get all worked up and try to keep the people that he had and he didn't want to lose what he had work for? I mean, he sacrificed his whole life for this moment. He finally gets a big ministry. He finally has something, but did he just want to hang on to it? No. He said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." He was willing to let not only his best disciples leave his church to follow Jesus Christ, he was willing to just let his whole church just pretty much be disbanded and follow Jesus Christ. He was willing. He spend his whole life preparing for his ministry. He only had a short period of time and yet he was even willing to let this ministry that was his whole life just be forsaken and let everyone follow Jesus. He didn't have pride. He weren't trying to build a name for himself. He wasn't just trying to build up John the Baptist Baptist Church. He basically, he was willing to let his whole church forsaken and follow Jesus Christ.
There's a lot of churches out there and there's a lot of pastors out there that they start out serving God with good intentions. When they're small and they first start out, they just want to preach the bible. They just want to do exactly what God said. They just want to do exactly what pleases the Lord. They're not trying to please man. They're not trying to sugarcoat the message. They're just trying to do exactly what God said. When they first start out, when they're young, when they're small, they're like John the Baptist. They're willing to give up a good career. They're willing to give up a good career. They're willing to give up a lot of worldly things for their ministry and when they first start their ministry, they are right down the line. They preach whatever the bible says, they don't care what man thinks and they just do exactly what God wants. Then after doing what God wants, God will bless them. Their ministry will start to grow and they might be like John the Baptist where he had thousands of people following him.
Then once they get the big crowds, once they have a lot, then they're afraid to lose it. Then they start to compromise. Then they start to do what's wrong. Then they start to please man and then they stop being the great man that John the Baptist was. John the Baptist was not just a great man when he started, he stayed a great man. He never compromise. He never just forsook his ministry. He never just basically forsook God just to build his own ministry. He never compromised. I heard a story one time of someone I know and they said that they used to go to a really good church. It's an independent Baptist church and this is the church they even got saved in. This is a friend of mine and he said, when he first started going to church, it was a great church. It had about a 150-200 people, and they're so whinny, and they're King James only. They're serving the Lord. It's hard preaching. It was just a great church, very similar to how our church is.
He said, "They're doing great." He said, "God was blessing them" and then about one year time frame, he said, "They went from 200 people to 400 people. They just doubled overnight and the church was booming. It was thriving. I mean, God was blessing them. People were getting saved and it was great." He said, "After they grew to 400 people, that's when things started to change. That's when the pastor started to compromise." They get a big building and they get a big palace of the building and now, all of a sudden, they can't lose anybody. Because if they lose people, they can't afford the building anymore. I mean, I heard stories, there are somebody preaching behind the pulpit who wasn't even saved. The pastor knew he wasn't saved but he kept [lighting 00:25:31] and preach, because so many people in the church like him. That if he made that guy stepped down, half the church are going to leave. You can't afford your building anymore. You're going to lose everything.
See, John the Baptist had the success. He had the multitudes, but he was willing to lose the multitudes and not lose his integrity. He was willing to lose the crowds. He was willing to lose all the people following him to retain his integrity and to not compromise. That's something that made John the Baptist greater than a lot of preachers in this day and age. Like I said, a lot of preachers, a lot of churches, they start out with good intentions. When they're small, they're doing what's right but then when they get the success, then they start to compromise. I know Pastor Anderson has a good saying. He says, "When you ain't got nothing, you ain't got nothing to lose." A lot of churches when they start out, hey, they ain't got nothing so they'll preach what the bible says. If the five people attending their service quit, whatever, they'll find five more. Not a big deal, but then when they've got 500 people in their church, when they got a thousand people in their church, now they've got something to lose. Now, the stakes are high. Now, they start to compromise because they don't want to lose people.
That would be something that we had to strive in our lives and never do. To never compromise after we get success and to retain our integrity. You know what? If Faithful Word Baptist Church grows to a thousand people and then something crazy happens, we just have to just let half the ... We just have to let 500 church members leave to retain our integrity. That's something that we need today decided that we're going to do and that we're not going to compromise when we're big just to stay big. That's something that John the Baptist did that most people won't do that separated him from your average Christian. If you would go to Matthew, chapter 14 ... Matthew, chapter 14. We started by saying, John the Baptist was willing to give up his personal ambitions, his personal dreams and goals in his life to serve God a 100% for his ministry. Number two, John the Baptist was willing to give up his ministry and let all his disciples and everyone following him follow Jesus for the kingdom of God's sake. Obviously, that's what God wanted. That was what you would supposed to do. He's not supposed to hang on with those people.
Lastly, my third point, John the Baptist was willing to give up his life for the kingdom of God and to serve Christ. If you're in Matthew, chapter 14, go to verse 1. It says, "At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, this is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, it is not lawful for thee to have her." John the Baptist is preaching here and basically, Herod was the king. Herod had taken his brother Philip's wife and John the Baptist preaches against that wickedness. Preaches against that adultery. Preaches against that sin and because of that, he gets thrown in prison. King Herod throws John the Baptist in prison because he was speaking out against the sins of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was willing. Like we said, he didn't compromise when he came to his ministry. He was willing to preach what the bible said and preach what the truth is even he was going to get thrown in the jail. Continue down to verse 5, it says, "And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison and his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus."
Here, we see that because of John the Baptist's preaching, because he preached against the sins of the king, he got him cast in prison and eventually gotten beheaded and killed. John the Baptist was a martyr for preaching God's word, for preaching the commandments of God. He ended up dying for his faith, dying for what he preached. Because basically, obviously, he made the queen very angry that he's basically calling her a whore. He's basically implying that she's switching husbands and that she shouldn't be doing that. She really has it out for him and she convinces her husband to get John the Baptist killed. If you would go to John, chapter 7, John the Baptist, he's willing to give up his life for the kingdom of God and he was willing to not compromise. He was willing to preach the commandments of God and to preach what God's word says even if that meant he was going to offend people. Obviously, the king was offended. He got thrown in jail, but John was no respecter of persons. It seems like he was someone who just trusted God and he preached whatever the bible says and let chips fall where they may.
He wasn't worried if he's going to offend the king. He wasn't worried who is going to offend. He was just preaching the commandments of God, preaching what the bible said, and he wasn't going to compromised. If you're in John, chapter 7, go to verse 6. It says, "Then Jesus said unto them, my time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil." Jesus here is saying in John, chapter 7, Jesus explained why the world hated him. Because the world clearly hated Jesus Christ. I mean, Jesus was killed. He was crucified because they hated him so much. Often times people wonder, "Why was Jesus killed? Why did they hate him so much?" It sort of like, he lays it out right here. He says, "Because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."
Why was Jesus hated by the world? Because he preached against the sins of the world and he explained to them what their sins worth. That's why he was hated. You see, that's the number one style of preaching that the people will hate is preaching against sin, testifying to the world that their works are evil. You see, if you go soul-winning door-to-door, if you preach the gospel, you might received a little bit of persecution. You might get the door slammed in your face. Someone might cuss you out. Someone might pull a gun on you, but not shoot you, hopefully. You might get a little bit of persecution, but where the real persecution comes from, I'm talking about the death threats. I'm talking about the protest outside of church. I'm talking about people stalking you. I'm talking about people calling the police on you. The government getting involved like Herod did with John the Baptist. It's preaching against sin, is the type of preaching that will lead to that style of persecution. That's the style of preaching that most preachers don't want to preach.
If you would go to John, chapter 15, most preachers are stuck on this Joel Osteen, Your Best Life now, positive-only preaching. I'm not just talking about the evangelicals, I'm talking about even independent fundamental Baptists, will be a King James only Joel Osteen where those staying on the word of God, they'll be King James only. They might even go [soul owning 00:33:10] but to be positive only. They'll be scared to preach against the sins of this world and they'll be scared to preach what the bible says, because they don't want to offend people or because they don't want to get in trouble with the government. They don't want to get that style of persecution for preaching against sin. If you're in John, chapter 15, go to verse 18. It says, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." Jesus is saying, "The world hated me before it hated you." He's like, "This is a common thing."
He says in verse 19, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also." You see, Jesus was exposing their sin. Their sin was naked and bare, they had no cloak for their sin anymore. Jesus was preaching against their sins and that's why they hated him. That's why they hated Jesus Christ.
The world didn't hate Jesus Christ, because he said, "Love your neighbors yourself." That's not why they hated him. The world didn't hate Jesus Christ because he gave the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I know that's paraphrase, it's not a quote, but that's not why the world hated Jesus Christ. The world hated Jesus Christ because he testified of their works that they were evil. Because he preached against the sins of this world, that's why the world hated Jesus Christ. Simply put, I'll just read ... Don't turn there. 1st John, chapter 3, verse 13 says, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." You see, you want to serve God in this day and age. You want to do something big for God but you don't want the world to hate you, you're kidding yourself.
Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they'll persecute you." He said, "If they'll keep my sin, they'll keep yours also." He says, "The servant's not greater than his Lord." If they persecuted Jesus Christ and you're following Jesus Christ and you're preaching like Jesus Christ, then you'll receive persecution also. Now you say, "Well, I'm going to have it both ways. I want to serve God. I want to do a big thing. I'll have a big ministry like John the Baptist, preaching the thousands. I also want the world to not hate me." Well, that's not going to happen. Now, you may preach to a lot of people and the world might love you, like with Joel Osteen, but God is not pleased with you. You'll never be called the greatest person like the John the Baptist. It wasn't that even close. You'll be an enemy of God if you're the friend of the world.
If you really want to serve God and do something great for God, you're going to have to decided that you're going to have to be willing to let the world hate you. If you want to be a preacher like how John the Baptist was, preaching against the sins of Herod. If you want to be a preacher like how Jesus was, testifying to world of their sins, of their works or evil, you're going to have to be willing to let the world hate you. You're going to have to be willing to endure some persecution. If you would turn to Luke, chapter 14, I'll read to you from Ezekiel, chapter 16. This is Ezekiel, chapter 16, verses 1 and 2 it says, "Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations."
You see, in Ezekiel's day, God wanted Ezekiel to let Jerusalem know what her abominations were. He wanted Jerusalem to know what her sins were so that she could repent of those sins, so that she could forsake those sins and that she would not incur God's wrath. I believe that's a ministry that God has for every preacher. Every preacher is supposed to let their generation know what their sins are so that their generation can stop doing those sins, so that they won't receive God's wrath. Basically, people can do what's right and not be punished by God, not be destroyed by God. That's what God want ... That's one of the main causes of a preacher is to let the people know what their sins are and to let their city, and their country, their nation know, and their generation what their sins are so they can stop doing those. That's something today like I said, that's lacking.
No matter what the style of church, whether it's the new evangelicals, or the protestants, or your independent fundamental Baptists, the churches that we would agree with, that we believe are saved, and that are following God's word, even they're not preaching on sin like they're supposed to. What are the sins that are running rampant in America today, in 2016? What are the sins out there that your average church is not preaching on? Sins like fornication. Fornication, that's when basically when two people that are not married sleep with each other and go to bed together before they're married. That's a sin according to God. According to God, you're supposed to be a virgin and pure until you're married and you're supposed to be with one person until death. Until one of you die, then you could marry a second person, but only ... As long as you're married supposed to be the one person, and you're not supposed to commit fornication before you're married. That's a sin that's running rampant in churches. I can only guess one thing, that's a sin that's not being preached on.
I had a friend that I talked to and he said that he used to go to independent fundamental Baptist church when he first got saved. He said, he was going there for a while. He said, "This was a pretty good church. They had [soul-winning 00:38:55]. They were King James only. They're pretty good. I mean, they're independent fundamental Baptists. He said that him and his wife, they weren't married at the time were in fornication. He said, he didn't even realized it was a big deal. Today, he thinks for himself like, "What a fool I was?" Obviously, it was partly his fault. He should have been reading his bible. He should have seen what a big sin it is. He should have known for himself that that was not pleasing to God, but he didn't know.
That can only tell me one thing, the pastor wasn't preaching it. His pastor wasn't preaching on fornication and the wickedness of fornication. His pastor had let him down and here's someone who's trying to serve God who's going [soul-winning 00:39:35] who wants to do what's right. Yet he's living in such a gross wicked sin, he didn't even know it. He didn't even know it was wrong, because the pastor's not preaching on it. Another sin that's running rampant in Christianity today is adultery. Adultery, as far two people who are married but not married to each other committing that sin and sleeping with each other. That's a sin that even amongst Christians today is on the rise. Not just that, there's another type of adultery in the bible that the bible talks about is divorce and remarriage.
You see, if someone is married to a person and they commit a vow until death and then they stopped being married, call a divorce, and then marry and sleep with someone else, God considers that adultery. That's a sin there again that most Christians don't even realize it's a sin. They just think, "Well, it's probably not Gods' best for my life, but it's not a big deal." No, divorce and remarriage is adultery according to Jesus Christ. Another sin that's plaguing America and Christianity today is drunkenness. There's many people all over America today, Christians who claim to be born-again, claim to believe the bible and yet they're drinking alcohol. They're doing other drugs like marijuana or just another hardcore mind-altering drugs. They're doing this recreational drugs or they're drinking alcohol and they're thinking it's not that big of a deal, but it is a big deal. Drunkenness is a big sin in the bible.
The bible says, "If you know someone who calls himself a brother and they are drunk, that you should not have any fellowship with him at all. You should not even eat meals with that person." You should count them ... Don't hate them, but you should admonish them as a brother and just have nothing to do with them. Another sin that's plaguing our country today is this LGBTQF agenda. You say, "What?" LGBTQF. It used to just be LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. Then a couple of years ago, they added the Q on for queer. Now, I can't understand that. Pastor Anderson didn't added the Q on. Some fundamental Christian didn't added the Q on, they added the Q. I decided to just add a F in the end, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, faggot agenda, basically. The LGBTQF agenda is the agenda ... Just keep adding letters. We'll come up with more adjectives. Is the agenda that's just trying to take over America today. I mean, it's getting ridiculous.
That's an agenda that if you follow John 7:7, if you expose to the world that their works are evil, that's an agenda today that you receive a lot of persecution for. It's an agenda that very few pastors are preaching on today. I mean, I just saw it on the news recently, North Carolina, they created this law that says that if you're a man, you have to use the men's restroom. If you're a woman, you have to use the women's restroom. To me, that makes sense. I mean, why even have the sign if you're not required to use the restroom of your gender? Yet the transvestite, transgender, cross-dressers of North Carolina and of the whole country freaked out. They freaked out that North Carolina said, "If you're a man, you're supposed to use the men's restroom." They couldn't handle it and they freak out. I was really shocked at why people freaking out.
I'm a graphic designer by trade and I really like fonts. There's a font designer who I really respect who's really good at designing fonts. I was following him on Twitter and he said, that he was supposed to speak at a college in North Carolina and he canceled his speaking arrangement because he was so offended by this law in North Carolina that says that if you're a man, you have to use the men's restroom. You can't use the women's restroom. I mean, what kind of a weird screwed up, just insane country are we living in when people are offended that they say that if you're a man, you have to use the men's restroom? Why is there even two restrooms? Why not just have one giant restroom? It doesn't make any sense. That's an agenda that is trying ... The people who are the homosexuals and the people who are part of that agenda, they're going full force. They're very evangelical about their agenda.
They basically are coming at a full force attacking the word of God and attacking people who oppose them. That's an agenda that many churches and many preachers are wilting on and yet it's something that's very important. Like I said, that's an agenda that we received a lot of persecution. That's an agenda if you preach against at, where you receive the death threats, where you'll received the people calling the police on you and trying to get the government involved. Yet it's so important that the truth of what the bible says about that movement about how it's pure wickedness is preached. It's very important. Other sins that are plaguing America, abortion is a huge sin that's plaguing America. Abortion is basically where someone kills their child before it's born. No, it's not just a fetus inside of a pregnant women. It's not just a blob of tissue or a embryo or whatever the terms they want to call it. It's a child. It's a human being and someone who has an abortion who ends their pregnancy on purpose before it's born is a murderer. They're committing murder.
They're not just committing an abortion. That's kind of an obscure word that doesn't mean anything. They're not just terminating the ... They're committing murder. It's a human being. It's just as much murder in God's eyes if you walk on the street and just shot somebody in the head, just a random person. It's just as much murder in God's eyes and that's a sin that is basically causing the wrath upon this nation seriously that needs to be preached about. Another sin that I think is a big deal is covetousness. Covetousness is basically when you desire things that aren't yours and that you can't have. That's a sin that is also plaguing America. We live in a consumer culture, whatever you want to call it where basically everybody want stuff. They want the latest gadget. They want a bigger house. They want a better car. They just want nicer stuff that they can't have or can't afford. The bible says, "The love of money is the root of all evil." That's a big sin. That's not just a small sin that needs to be preached on in this nation.
There are other sins I'm sure. Obviously, there are plenty of sins out there, but those I think are the biggest ones that are plaguing our nation that we really need ... the preachers really need to focus on. Sadly, there a lot of ones that preachers out there are not focusing on the most, because they're controversial and because they don't want the persecution. John the Baptist was not so. He was willing to call out the king when the king's commit an adultery, when he's stealing another person's wife. John the Baptist was willing to preach against sin. He was not a compromiser and he was willing to endure the persecution even it meant going to jail, even if it meant losing his life.
If you're in Luke, chapter 14, go to verse 26. Luke 14:26 says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish." See, Jesus says here in Luke 26, he says, " If you want to be my disciple, if you want to be like John the Baptist, someone who fully dedicated his life to serving God, someone who is considered the greatest man who ever lived ..." He said, "You must hate even your own life."
You must not love your life in order to serve God fully. John the Baptist was not someone who did that. He didn't love his life in the sense that he didn't just try to just amass pleasures on this earth be comfortable. He didn't love his own life in a sense that he didn't try to build up his name and just have a big ministry to make himself look good. He's willing to let his disciples leave if it was for a righteous cause. He didn't even love his own life that he was willing to preach against the sins of his nation. He was willing to stand on the word of God even it meant prison, even if it meant losing his own life. Jesus says here in verse 28, "or which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost ..." That's what you have to do today if you want to serve God to the fullest.
If you say, "Hey, I want to be like a John the Baptist. I want to be someone who is used [mightily 00:48:39] of God, who God is pleased with, who God says is one of the greatest people who ever lived." You must count the cost. Are you willing to give up what John the Baptist gave up? Are you willing to give up your worldly pleasures on this earth? Are you willing, if you have success, to give up your success if it's for a righteous cause? Are you willing to give up your life? Because he says in verse 28, right after he says, "Count the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him."
You see, you don't want your life to be a life of mocking. You don't want your life to be, "Hey, I had good intentions in the beginning, I started to serve God and yet in the middle, I said, the cost is too much and I forsook God." The bible says, "Demas has forsaken me having loved this present world." You see, Demas started off with good intentions. Paul this apostle, he didn't just run around with just anybody. He didn't hire just any random person to be a partner with him and his ministry. Demas was a great man of God yet at some point in the middle, because Demas apparently had encounter the cost, he said, "I'd rather just have a comfortable life. Paul serving with your ministry, all this persecution that we're enduring, it's costing a little bit too much. I think I'm going to stop and I'm going to go back to just the pleasures of this world." He didn't count the cost and guess what everybody does today? They mock him. They make fun of Demas. "Demas have forsaken me."
Nobody names her child Demas. Plenty of people name their child Paul, nobody names them Demas because Demas is considered a loser in the bible even though he was a great man in the beginning. He didn't count the cost, he failed and he quit in the middle, and everybody mocked him and makes fun of him now to this day. If you were turn to Revelation 2 ... IF you really want to do something big with your life, you got to count the cost and make sure you're willing to give up everything and not compromise especially on the word of God. If you want to be preacher, make sure you don't compromising your preaching. Make sure you preach against sin. Jesus said, "That's why the world is going to hate you. If you testify of the evil works and the sins of this world, they'll hate you so make sure you count the cost."
If you're in Revelation, chapter 2, got to verse 9. It says, "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." You see, if you die a martyr's death like John the Baptist did, the bible says you'll receive a crown in heaven. You'll receive a reward for all eternity from Jesus Christ. If you were turn in Hebrews, chapter 11, that's a great honor. Everything that we do on this earth, every penny that we make, every possession that we own, everything that we create if you're artist or a poet or whatever, it's all going to be gone one day. What will remain forever, if you die for Jesus Christ, is that crown.
If you're in Hebrews, chapter 11, go to verse 32. Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 32 it says ... This is the famous faith chapter and at the end of it, it's talking about people who have great faith. It says, "And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."
You see, if you are tortured to the point of death, God's clear, you'll received a better resurrection. You'll received a reward in heaven. It says in verse 36, "and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." You see, this people who were tortured, these people who were swan asunder, they were slain with a sword. They were killed. They were murdered for their faith, for standing for Jesus Christ.
The bible is clear that they will receive, as a result, a better resurrection because they died for their faith. You may say, "This is America. Okay? This is the land of opportunity. This is a Christian nation. Nobody is going to die in American for being a Christian. I mean, okay, maybe you'll get the policed called on you. Maybe you get the door slammed in your face out [sowing 00:54:07]. No one's going to try to kill you." Well, what if you don't live in America the rest of your life? What if you move to a distant country where Christianity is not accepted like it is in America or things might changed? That's a decision you're going to have to make. You know what? We are truly living in the last days and like I said, with this whole queer homosexual agenda, moving full speed ahead with many other anti-Christian agendas in America, moving full speed ahead, you don't know what America is going to be like in 20-30 years.
Being a martyr for your faith in these last days, it's a legitimate thing that should be on your mind. Count the cost whether or not you're willing to endure that persecution and whether you're willing to give up your life for preaching God's word, for preaching against sin and for basically being like John the Baptist was where he preached against the wickedness of his nation. In conclusion, we established John the Baptist was the greatest preacher, the greatest man who ever lived, why was he great? He was great because he gave up his personal ambitions to serve Jesus Christ. He gave up a career. He gave up money. He gave up possessions to serve Jesus Christ. Number two, after his sacrifice paid off and he had a great ministry with multitudes of people following him, he even was willing to give that up so that God's kingdom could be advanced. He didn't compromise just to keep people to himself and just have a big name for himself. He was willing to give up his ministry.
Lastly, John the Baptist was willing to give up his life for the kingdom of God. He didn't compromise on his preaching. He didn't [share and coat 00:55:43] the message. He didn't just preached what would make people popular. He's willing to rebuke the sins of his nation that were going on and it cost him his life. We know that John has a crown in heaven that will never fade, so let's close and prayer. Father, just thank you God for John the Baptist and for all the stories recorded about him in your word that we can see a great man who truly served you fully with his life and who was truly sold out. God, we will never be as good as John the Baptist, he was the greatest who ever lived, but God, please help us to be as good as we can be and to be very similar to John the Baptist. God, help us, help this church and help those in this church who really have a desire to serve you to never compromise God, to never try to be a people-pleaser, but to stay it on your word our whole lives, our whole ministries.
No matter what it cost, God, whether it's our ministry or even our whole life, please just help us all to stand on your word and never compromise, God. In Jesus' Chris name, we pray. Amen.