Many Christians underestimate the significance of the ministry of John the Baptist. He baptized Christ and was the voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him” (Mark 1:3). He preached the Gospel and called sinners to repentance by emphasizing the consequences of sin.
His message was raw and as a result, many repented and followed him. He is the one who said, “I must decrease so that [Christ] will increase.”
I am beginning to think that preachers should adopt the John the Baptist’s example in evangelism. Taking the Gospel to those who have not heard about Christ in my opinion should start with a call to repentance before showing them Christ who has power to deliver them from sin. John the Baptist did not start with but to call all to repent and return to God.
John was a lone voice crying in the wilderness. He did not fashion his ministry after any known prophet but did what God had called him to do. His ministry was not popular, but he fulfilled it by preparing the way for Christ and by making His path straight.
The undiluted message of John the Baptist is completely lacking these days in our Gospel witness. The penalty for sins are seldomly mentioned and many who come to Christ do not know anything about repentance. They were only told to believe in Christ without renouncing their sins. No wonder there are so many unconverted people filling our pews today. How I wish every pastor and evangelist would call for repentance in their evangelism.
The example of John the Baptist’s ministry is worthy of emulation by the custodians of the Gospel. He called a spade a spade and never cared about people’s reaction as long as he preached the raw Gospel. “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Mathew 12:34). In my many years of taking the Gospel to the unreached, I have come to realize that telling people truth about their lifestyles is a sure way of making them realize that their ways are not pleasing to God.
When the truth of the word of God is watered down, repentance is hard to attain. Pastors are now afraid to call evil evil. We now beat around the bush when it comes to sin so that we don’t offend people. Many who have come to Christ genuinely are now influenced by bandwagon effect and the activities of mixed multitudes.
Many Christian these days are no longer looking to Christ but to pastors whom they love more than Christ. “He must increase, but I must decrease” is a motto that every pastor should follow(John 3:30) Some ministers of the Gospel have refused to decrease, and that is why Christ is becoming less popular in the lives of Christians.
Let us learn from John the Baptist by calling people to repentance before telling them what Christ can do for them if they come to Him. Jesus will return soon enough and the Gospel of repentance should take the center stage if we want to see a harvest.