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NOTE: The Spirit-filled life of John the Baptist was marked by unusual humility. There was a direct connection between John's powerful ministry and the complete surrender he had made to the Lord. It was John's highest joy to point others to Jesus rather than to himself. All he did was designed to bring glory to God's name.
NOTE: Yes! John quoted from the Old Testament as evidence that he had a solid grasp of the Scriptures. The Bible also tells us that John taught his disciples to fast and to pray often (Matthew 9:14). This is another testimony of his deep love for the Lord. In the same way, through our personal devotions and Bible study, we can come to know and love God and to receive of His Spirit.
NOTE: : By nature, John was a solitary soul (Luke 1:80). Yet he was willing to risk ridicule and even to lay his life on the line in order to point people to Jesus as Saviour of the world. In the same way, those who truly love the Lord today will be willing to set aside fear and convenience to witness for Jesus.
NOTE: John boldly spoke out against the popular sins of the day that were indulged even by the religious leaders. God's last-day message of repentance and holiness will also be unpopular among most of the respected political and church leaders, but it will be biblical.
NOTE: Yes! John the Baptist wore simple, modest clothing--a good pattern for Christians to follow. The popular, sexually suggestive fads and fashions of today encourage a great deal of temptation and debt. God does not intend for us to dress in burlap; however, unduly expensive, flamboyant, or ostentatious clothing should not be part of a Christian's wardrobe. Although the wearing of jewelry is widely accepted in the world, it has a negative image in the Scriptures. You may not recognize all of the items mentioned in Isaiah 3:18-23, but people in other parts of the world do. Many of these pagan ornaments are now appearing in Western culture, as well.
NOTE: Christians should completely abstain from all fermented beverages in order to keep their minds clear and to hear God's Spirit (Proverbs 23:31, 32; Habakkuk 2:15; 1 Peter 5:8).
NOTE: There is a direct connection between what we eat or drink and our mental clarity, ability to resist temptation, and capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. Everything a Christian does--including what he eats and drinks--should be done to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
NOTE: The Lord has called His people today to live exemplary lives as they help others prepare for Jesus' second coming.
NOTE: John the Baptist commanded the people to abstain from all violence (Luke 3:14). For us, this would include watching violence as a form of entertainment. Jesus taught that sins of sex and violence originate in the thoughts and attitudes (Matthew 5:22, 28). Therefore, a Christian should avoid any TV programs, videos, or reading material that would encourage impure thoughts.
NOTE: It is obvious that a great majority of the popular music in the world does not help us spiritually. Instead, it destroys our desire for heavenly things and often strengthens the lower nature. However, music can be a tremendous power for good. When King Saul was tormented by an evil spirit, the soothing music from David's harp refreshed him and drove away the evil influence.
NOTE: Most of the popular contemporary dancing is associated with worldly music and has a very strong sexual emphasis. In almost any situation we should ask, "What would Jesus do?" I think we all agree that our Saviour would not abandon His reason to swing body and limb to the beat of some syncopated rhythm.
NOTE: Gambling can be just as addictive as many drugs. Some have squandered entire family savings at casinos or on state lottery tickets. Most "get rich quick" schemes are associated with undue risk, unfair prices, and questionable ethics.
NOTE: A person cannot live any way he wishes and finally be saved in God's kingdom. This is one reason Jesus came to earth--to give us an example of holy living (1 Peter 2:21).
NOTE: As ambassadors for Jesus, Christians do indeed have a high calling! John the Baptist helped prepare people for Jesus' first coming, and God has called His people today to live holy lives as they help others prepare for Jesus' second coming.
Ambassadors for ChristWhen a person becomes a Christian, he or she is enlisted as an ambassador from a better kingdom. The Bible says, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:20.The dictionary defines an ambassador as "a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a limited length of time."Ambassadors are just as important in the spiritual realm as they are in the political realm. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven are not like the citizens of this world. We have been sent into the world to demonstrate who Jesus is and what He is like. Through the Holy Spirit, we become His representatives to reflect His image in everything from the way we talk and work to the way we eat and dress. In other words, when we become part of God's spiritual kingdom, we should be living demonstrations of the government we represent. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Scriptures say that "we all ... are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."We, the Church, are the hands and feet, the eyes and mouth, and yes, even the ears of Jesus in the world today. We are the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 23 5:29, 30 Colossians 1:18). Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told us, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21.Every facet of our lives should be a reflection of the life and person of Jesus. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.