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The Forerunner

By Pastor Hal Mayer

The Forerunner [1]

One of the most fascinating people in scripture was John the Baptist. Here was a man that was to play an important part in introducing Jesus to His church. His experience, we are told, will be repeated just before the coming of Jesus the second time in the lives of God’s people. But before we begin, let us pray and ask God for a special portion of His Holy Spirit to help us as we study.

Our Father in Heaven. Thank you for revealing to us the things that are coming upon the earth in the last moments of time. We believe that we are there now! Therefore we have a solemn responsibility to be practical in our walk with Jesus and in our witness. Please Father, may this study open to our minds the very special spiritual principles that your people need to prepare for Jesus coming, and to help others prepare for His soon return. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

I would like to begin by reading an incredible statement from the Spirit of Prophecy. Perhaps it will surprise you if you haven’t heard it before. It is from the first volume of the Testimonies, page 321.

“In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.”

Isn’t that something…? “A still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. In an age when any kind of effort to correct existing evils is considered to be almost as bad as treason, we are to have “a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist.” In a time when it is considered politically incorrect to raise your voice against sin in God’s church, we are to have “a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist.” In a time when God’s church is compromised on every front, we are to have “a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist.”

Did you know that God has placed you where you are because He has called you to a special purpose? God has called you to fulfill a calling that others will refuse or neglect to fill. God is also calling you to prepare for the last great crisis which is soon to fall upon the world and upon God’s church. God has called you to awaken those that sleep, to arouse those in lethargy, to arrest those in carnal security. We have a very important work to do.

Let us read what happened in the days just before Christ’s first coming. Turn with me in your bibles to Luke chapter 1, vs. 5-17.

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.”

Zacharias is a godly man. He is a man of prayer who longs for the redeemer. He is also a man who is burdened about the sins of Israel . He is a man who sees the deep seated apostasy and earnestly longs for a change in the hearts of the people. He too wants them to be ready for the coming of the Messiah. Yet he fears because he knows the people are perverse and don’t like spiritual things. He knows that religion has become a formality. He knows their schools have corrupted themselves with false teaching. He knows that the physicians don’t comprehend God’s way of healing. He knows the people are materialistic, greedy and are blindly loyal to the rabbis. He knows that sports and entertainment have gutted the spiritual interest and fervor of the youth. Even his fellow priests have become worldly and don’t feed the people with messages designed to stir them with spiritual zeal. Yes, he longs for the redeemer to bring in righteousness and peace.

Listen to the condition of God’s people just before Christ’s first coming? Do you think it is like this today? Desire of Ages, page 36 makes this astonishing statement. “The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant.”

Isn’t that amazing? God’s chosen people were the ones that were now working for Satan. They were his representatives doing his work. Is it possible that some of God’s people today are Satan’s representatives, doing his work?

No doubt, you remember that God’s end-time prophet makes this statement in the First volume of Selected Messages, page 406. “The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the second coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants, that they may not be able to discern the precious truth.”

So you can see that many of your fellow Seventh-day Adventists could be representatives of Satan. Imagine that! Those nice people that you sit with in church on Sabbath could be representatives of Satan and do his bidding. The pastor that preaches could be a representative of Satan and do his bidding. Perhaps a few of them are faithful like Zachariah. But most of them are caught up in selfish pursuits and are leading others astray. But more importantly, you and I must be sure that we are not representatives of Satan and do his bidding and lead people to misunderstand God.

What are the misunderstandings of God. In the time of John the Baptist, the representatives of Satan in the church were leading people to see God as a tyrant. Now it is the exact opposite. The representatives of Satan are leading people to see God as so indulgent that he will never punish you for your sins. This is the opposite extreme, but it is just as much a misrepresentation of God as is the image of a tyrant. Christ came to show that God is love and also that He is just. Love without Justice is like a parent who let’s her child have anything he wants when he wants it. Eventually, the child despises his mother.

The angel has come to Zacharias announce the mission and purpose of John the Baptist. He was to be the forerunner of Christ the Messiah and redeemer. Notice that the angel said that he was 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.” This is a work of reform. This is a work that would do something special in Israel. This was a work that would wake people up. He was the one that was to be the voice “crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

The angel wanted Zacharias to know that the work of John the Baptist was to be a special and important work and he needed to lay on Zacharias the heavy responsibility to train him rightly. So he gave him specific instructions. If John the Baptist was going to be holy, and be able to do this work of reform, John had to live a holy life. He could not be like the other young people of his day. He was not to touch strong drink. He was not be corrupted by the other young people in the church. He must have top-notch self-discipline and temperance.

Listen to this interesting statement from Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 70. “The angel Gabriel, direct from heaven, gave a discourse upon health reform to the father and mother of John. He said that he should not drink wine or strong drink, and that he should be filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth.”

And from Desire of Ages, page. 100. “God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men. In order to accomplish this work, he must have the Lord to work with him. And the Spirit of God would be with him if he heeded the instruction of the angel.”

Perhaps the most important work that parents have is to train their children to be temperate and have self-control. If they do not have this, they will have a hard time in life. How many SDA parents really understand their responsibility? How many Adventist parents are preparing their children spiritually for the crisis that lies ahead, let alone to give the kind of message that John gave? I dare say, not many. Adventist parents all too often give their children all sorts of junk food and drinks, ice cream, candy, and even caffeine drinks.

I want you to notice that John’s work was to be “the greatest ever committed to men.” This is the work of reform . The work of forerunning , of preparing the way for Jesus.

Now listen to this one. “In preparing the way for Christ’s first advent, (John) was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord’s Second Coming.” That’s from Desire of Ages, page 101. Since this is the greatest work. Aren’t we privileged to do this work?

Let us comprehend that. God has called us, who are living at the very close of time, just before the second coming, to do the same work as John the Baptist . We are to do the same work of reform to prepare the people. Is this a work that everybody wants to do? I don’t think so. Is this a work that we will enjoy? Probably not. Is this a work that will bring us glory? Certainly not. It will likely bring us condemnation. This is a difficult work. One that requires sacrifice of ambition. One that requires self-discipline, purity and holiness. It is one that will make you quite different from everyone else.

Now turn to Luke 1 vs. 80. “And the Child grew and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.” John the Baptist eventually went out in the wilderness and lived there. He did not mingle with the unspiritual youth of his day. He did not spend time keeping up with the sports scores. He did not spend his time watching unprofitable drama and theater. If he was alive in our day, he would not be wasting his time on movies, football, bowling, internet games, dating, shopping for the latest fashions, and the myriad forms of amusement and entertainment.

In the days of John, we are told that there was greed for riches, love of Luxury and display; feasting and drinking was prevalent, sensuality was rife, and disease and degeneracy was benumbing spiritual sensibilities of the people – God’s people.

I’ll read it to you. “In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin . John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. That was from Desire of Ages, page 100 and 101.

You see John saw himself as having a very special calling. Something quite different from other young people of his day. He had a purpose that they didn’t want. He was going in a different direction. They were all pursuing their careers. They were enjoying all the amusements. They were giving reign to their appetites and passions. But not John.

Does this sound like today? We have the same challenges. The world and the church is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Appetites and passions are often given full sway. The same problems exist today as existed in the days of John the Baptist. But God’s faithful people are to be forerunners just like John was and do what they can to check the evil.

Let us think a little more about John’s youth. No doubt his mother and father carefully obeyed the angel’s instruction. They made sure that John was home schooled so that he would not be corrupted by the church schools of his day, the schools of the rabbis. They made sure that he did not have the junk foods of his day to eat, or the entertainments and amusements that other young people had. They taught him that he had a special mission and that God needed him to be holy and undefiled. They didn’t let him date young girls. They didn’t allow him to stay out late at night with other young people. They didn’t take him to the theater, or to the stadium, or anywhere else. They just stayed home and kept their focus on spiritual things.

If they were around today, John’s parents would be criticized for keeping him too “sheltered,” don’t you think? They would be labeled as too straight and fanatical perhaps, or unsociable? You can hear them. “How on earth is John going to become a balanced person? He has no social interaction, how is he going to know how to interact with others. He’s so odd and socially awkward. How is John going to make a valuable contribution to the mission of the church?” But John’s parents were careful to remind him of his calling to be the forerunner of the Messiah. John’s mission was far more important, far more powerful than the weak and superficial ambitions of other church members.

While John was young, he was developing the character that was needed for his mission. Listen to the prophet. “More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life.” That’s Desire of Ages, page 101. John was preparing to hear the voice of God speak to his soul and he needed the freedom from the distracting influences that would have surrounded him. Do you think that God wants us to do the same thing today with those who will be His Last Generation forerunners?

Doing what other people are doing cannot do this for you. This cannot be accomplished if you are going to go after the amusements, sensuality and fashion that other people are going after. You cannot do it by seeking a worldly career and worldly ambition. You cannot do it by studying in the schools of the world, and you cannot do it even by studying in the church schools of our day. You may even have to unlearn the things you have learned in the past if you are going to be a forerunner.

If you want to hear God’s voice speaking to your soul you need to do what he did. You need the training of John the Baptist. And God can train you for this no matter what your age.

You also need to be in an place where you can hear the voice of God and see His handiwork. You need to be in a place where he can speak to you through nature, His second book. You will have to train your appetites and passions to be in subjection to the higher powers of the mind.

Now in training John, God did not send him to the schools of the rabbis. He did not send him to the church schools or the seminaries of his day. If God was going to train a self-supporting worker who is a reformer, as John was to be, He had to do something different with him. He had to take over his training.

Do you know what would have happened if God would have sent him to the theological schools of his day? His mind would have been distorted. His ideas of eternal truth would have been twisted. He would have had influences on him that would have made him unsuitable to be the forerunner. He would have lost his focus and his sense of mission. If John would have attended the schools of the rabbis with all the other children, he would have likely been drawn into sports, amusements, eating and drinking habits that would have dulled his spiritual sensibilities. He could not then have been the Forerunner.

Neither John, nor Jesus our ultimate example, went to the denominational schools of their day. Neither John, nor Jesus sought an accredited degree from the University of Jerusalem. Neither of them attempted to learn from the teachers of theology how to interpret the scriptures. They were to learn directly from the sources of truth, the Word of God and nature and by practical labor.

I’ll read it to you from inspiration. “In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature’s God.” Desire of Ages 101.

Neither John, nor Jesus sat at the feet of the Doctors of Theology, but studied the Word of God for themselves. Do you know what theology is? It is the study of what men have said about the Bible, not the Bible itself. One of the greatest needs that we have today is schools that teach the Bible, not theology. We need schools that follow the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy, that are not feeding youth with what famous people have said. We need schools that train them concerning what God has said. We need schools that exist solely to train young people for God’s service. Schools out in the country, with practical training, like agriculture, not football, basketball, and other idolatrous games. We need schools that will lead students away from artificial banquets, dating entertainment and amusements.

God needs His people to be forerunners. You are called to be a forerunner. What a marvelous calling! You can be one of his Last Generation messengers that will do the same work as John the Baptist. But this time it is not the Messiah in a humble manger. This time it is the Lord Jesus in majesty and Glory! Oh, how important that we realize our calling! We must give the warning and wake up the sleeping saints.

I’m certain that Zacharias and Elizabeth told John what the angel said. I’m sure that they told him the role he was destined to fulfill. No doubt his mother and father explained to John the high calling that God had for him. He was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. Oh, how I wish that parents today would explain this to their children. But if they don’t see it themselves, how can they explain it to them? I’m sure John’s parents were careful to explain the connection between temperance and self-control and spirituality and warned him of the dangers of wrongful associations. What if parents would do that today? Do you think our church would be so spiritually dull? What if parents were to really teach their children that they are to be the forerunner of Christ, the Lord of Glory? Wouldn’t that be incredible? What a difference we would see in our young people. But today parents spend money on television, cable and satellite TV, so that they can bring the show into their home. Often parents give their children cartoon DVDs, dancy music, foolish toys and other amusements that will do nothing for their children spiritually. They take them to football games and movies. They bring novels into their homes, and all sorts of food to eat that will cloud their minds and spiritual sensibilities.

So when John was old enough, the spirit of God moved him to leave home and go into the wilderness so that he could learn of God. The Holy Spirit helped John to understand what was happening to Israel; how that they were unsuited to receive the Messiah and proclaim His salvation to the world. The time was almost at hand, and John gained an urgency by studying the prophecies. He could see that their fulfillment was at hand.

John no doubt was ridiculed for being so different. Has anyone ever ridiculed you for doing what’s right? If not, rest assured they will. But you can hear them taking John to task for his strange lifestyle. “John, you need a more promising career. You’re very smart. You need to attend the prestigious schools. Or at least one of the schools of the Rabbis. Go get trained at an accredited school. You need a real education so you can get a real job.” Wait a minute. What is more real than winning souls for the Kingdom? What is more real than proclaiming the coming of Jesus. Strange isn’t it? Our reasoning is all backwards.

Those that do not have the Word of God as their guide cannot see beyond the human. Therefore the majority opinion even among those who claim to be God’s people means a lot to them. So much so that they ridicule those who dare to take a different direction in life. Those who follow God’s word will be considered fanatical, strait laced, out of touch, wasting their time, etc…But that is because their thinking is different. Their thinking doesn’t match the rest of the world.

But you and I must also change some of our thinking patterns. When you are consecrated to God, your thinking will change. But it requires that whole-hearted consecration. We cannot continue to think like most Adventists. They are worldly and given over to the pleasures of sin. We have to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that can’t happen if you are worldly.

John had to think much differently than the Adventists of his day. They too were given over to the pleasures of sin. We have to break from the mold that has reared us if we are going to be a forerunner. We may seem strange to others, we may seem fanatical or weird, or out of touch to some, but that is because their thinking is upside down.

Now let us talk for a moment about John’s message

Desire of Ages, page 103 and 104 says this, “He (John) saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.”

John was very pointed. Let’s read the kind of things he said. Turn to Matthew 3, vs. 7 through 12. “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John reproved the sins of all including priests and people. He preached to publicans and soldiers. Many that heard him were convicted of their sins and sought repentance and baptism.

I want you to notice that it didn’t matter to John what the priests or people thought of him. He fearlessly gave the message with all its startling features. But without the longing for them to be roused to a holier life, John would not have been able to give them hope. So John’s message was about their wickedness and sins, but also of repentance and forgiveness.

Is that an easy message for a forerunner to give? Perhaps some of you have had to deal with this dilemma. Perhaps you have attempted merely to point out something that isn’t right among God’s people, such as foolish Halloween parties that some churches have. How were you treated? Were there those that accused you of criticizing? Were there those that made you feel that you were unwelcome? No wonder God trained John out by himself and alone. He needed to steel him against unjust criticism and misrepresentation.

Here is another inspired statement. “God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, “What must I do to be saved?” Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” That’s from Desire of Ages, page, 104.

John proclaimed the coming of Christ and called the people to repentance. Isn’t that our work? Why wouldn’t it be? But John’s message was also tender. It was the voice of appeal. It was the voice of urgency and heart searching. It was pointed, but full of hope. John saw the sinfulness of sin. Therefore he could help others understand it. Christ was coming to this earth as the Messiah, and the people needed to be ready to receive Him. Likewise today, Jesus is about to come. The Holy Spirit is about to be poured out in latter rain power. But the people are in no better condition to receive Him than they were in John’s day. Today we need to do the same work of preparation that John did. Yet, to do this creates a negative reaction within the church. There is a profound neutrality to Christ.

Perhaps you remember the statement from the 3rd volume of the Testimonies page 280 and 281, “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.”

Sadly neutrality to Christ is prevalent every where in the church. How than can you see the sinfulness of sin if you are neutral? The only way is by a warning message of reform and hope, a knowledge of Jesus and His word. But God is calling for the second forerunner to be present and accounted for.

How did John get the holy boldness that he possessed? John got it from the Holy Spirit. John was equipped to stand in the presence of monarchs, and worldly great men. How did this happen?

Desire of Ages tells us. “He looked upon the King (that is, the King of Kings) in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of Kings.” That is from page 103.

The whole battle is a battle with self. You cannot fight the battles of the Lord, you cannot go before His face, if you have not overcome in the struggle with self. The whole great controversy is over pride and selfishness. Only when you have overcome the battle with self, can you really be a forerunner.

But there is more. God takes us deeper. The plan of redemption is about separating our affections from this world and placing them on Christ. This happens most effectively through nothing less than suffering. We need to understand suffering in its true light.

You remember that John the Baptist suffered for Christ. He was put in prison, and then was martyred. God led him through that suffering for a very important reason. He wanted John to really get close to Him . It is only through suffering that we can understand Jesus and really get close to Him. The scripture says; “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” In other words, if we want to experience the first resurrection, we have to also experience the same kind of suffering Christ had, and experience His death to self.

We will go through suffering. You are destined for suffering. Did you know that? Listen to this one, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: “ That’s 1 Peter 2:21.”

Suffering helps us let go of this world and put our hand in the hand of Christ. Suffering severs our affections from this world. Suffering prepares us to appreciate and value heaven more than anything else.

But what kind of suffering is being referred to here? What kind of suffering did Christ have? Christ suffered at the hands of his brethren. Think about it. Jesus was killed, not by the Romans. He was killed by his brethren. “I was wounded in the house of my Friends.” Zech 13:6 It was His fellow church members, not the world that killed him. He died, not of the cross, but of the weight of sin that was laid upon Him, the sins of His people, your sins, my sins.

Yet suffering is the calling of all who shall live Godly in Christ Jesus. Who do you think the suffering will come from? It will come from many of the very people who we would not expect. Our fellow church members who should know better and treat us better. Yet we can never understand Jesus’ suffering fully if we do not go through it ourselves.

God ordains suffering at the hands of our fellow believers so that we don’t rely on man for our experience, but so that we will gain an experience with Christ that is incomparable with any other.

John’s message was about Christ. He said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” He pointed anguished, repentant souls to Christ. He showed them how to be saved and how to be delivered from their sins. Do you think that is our work too? Of course it is. That’s the best part. For once the heart is broken by a knowledge of sin and its consequences, and once the Holy Spirit has brought conviction to the wicked soul, it is ready for the remedy. It is ready to receive Christ and surrender to Him. That is our work too. Any message of warning must be accompanied by an appeal to come to the Great Healer, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist is a symbol for us today. He watched the fulfilling prophecies. He paid attention to what was going on around him in the world. He avoided the corruption, play and frivolity of the people of his day. Instead he learned how to speak to them of the truth of God’s word and to warn them of their need of the Savior.

Today again we see the prophecies unfolding and being fulfilled. We have no time to lose. We must get ready. Dear friend, place your hand in the hand of Christ today. Tell him that what you need, He has permission to do to you, only that He will sustain you in being a forerunner.

Friends, the time of God’s visitation is near. This world is crumbling and is about to become chaotic. We have but a few moments to get ready. Now is the time for urgent preparation for the Millennial Crisis. If your life is hid with God in Christ, you don’t need to fear the coming crisis. You have a work to do.

We need more John the Baptists today. We need men and women who will be as true to duty as the needle to the pole. May God help us be ready. May we use our time wisely – preparing with a knowledge of the Holy.

Let me read that first statement I read at the beginning. “In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as His shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.”

Do you believe that God is calling you to be a forerunner? I hope so. I pray so. We all must surrender ourselves to be trained and led by the Holy Spirit just like John, to proclaim the nearness of the crisis and the coming of Christ. Our people need to get ready. God bless you as you think about how you can become a forerunner for Jesus.

Please bow your head and join me in prayer. Our loving heavenly father. It is so important that your people understand their true condition. Yet many of them do not want to hear about it. We often don’t know what to do, but we trust you. We want what is right. We pray that you will teach us how to be holy so that we can be a powerful forerunner. May your Holy Spirit give us power to overcome sin. May we bow low before the majesty of heaven so that we are fearless before earthly authorities. But most of all, please Lord, prepare us for the crisis ahead, that we may help others, that we may have the experience and testimony of John the Baptist.

We pray for our leaders. Please Lord, help them understand the dangers that face your people and not speak smooth things. Your people need to be aroused. And please use us as you see fit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.