Four Characteristics of John the Baptist’s Ministry

15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord…He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will also go before Him in the spirit and 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.” (Luke 1:15–17 NKJV)

The angel Gabriel described four facets of John’s ministry that will be characteristics of the laborers that must be sent to complete the witness of the gospel to all nations (Matthew 24:14). This witness will ultimately result in the return of Jesus.

22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:22–23 NKJV)

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord… (Luke 1:15 NKJV)

Messengers at the end of the age must be committed to greatness in the eyes of God. Greatness by any other definition is going to crumble in the face of the challenge that is before us. Only those who live for greatness in His eyes will be able to finish the task. God will expose the shallowness of living for greatness in the eyes of men. The principles of the Sermon on the Mount are critical to understanding greatness in God’s eyes.

…He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15 NKJV)

17‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17–18 NKJV)

Secondly, they must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Though the church was given the gift of the Holy Spirit, God endues the church with an increased measure of power in times and seasons of revival. The end of the age will see the greatest release of power in history on the church. The challenge of the end of the age will shatter all human strength and the glory of God will be put on display through weak vessels who are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can resist, confront, and overcome the darkness at the end of the age.

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16)

16Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls… (Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV)

Thirdly, these messengers will turn many, both Jew and gentile, to the God of Israel. Their preaching will provoke men to repentance and there will be a great turning from wickedness to righteousness among those who respond. Their message will not be new or novel. It will be the message of repentance and of a turning to the ancient paths (Jeremiah 18:15).

He will also go before Him in the spirit and 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.” (Luke 1:17)

These messengers will live their lives before the Lord and will also go, or be sent, before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah. They will live their lives before the eyes of God and feel His gaze on their ministry their entire lives. They will go to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. The church worldwide will require preparation for the return of the Lord and these messages will disciple believers so that they will be prepared for the Lord’s return. It is the most disruptive event in human history and will require the church to prepare for it. These messages are God’s gift to prepare the church worldwide for that great day.

 

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