By John Armes
I am one… I am one man.. I am one man, a voice crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight. For there is one who comes after me that I am unworthy to unlatch His shoes. “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The gospel message is that the people should repent (change their minds and forsake their sins) in order to receive the remission of sins. Otherwise they would be in no position to receive the Lord. Only holy people are able to appreciate the Holy Son of God. Repent and be holy and you will see the glory of God. Jesus came to earth over 2000 years ago in love and peace, and gave His life a ransom for many. He is coming again, but this time He will set on the judgment seat and will separate the righteous from the unrighteous. He will send the righteous on to their reward and the unrighteous on to eternal damnation. And Jesus spoke to his disciples and the multitudes in Matthew 23:33… “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” So, in this day and age is this considered “hate speech”, or is it just a warning of impending doom for those who reject the one true Christ, the Son of God. Do we hate our fellow man by telling him that there is a large open pit which he cannot see and he is walking right into it, and he will be consumed in it. That he is heading to a place of pain and torment and there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” it is so terrible. Or, do we tell him he is doing ok and there is no problem… Everything is fine. You will have great riches, good health, miracles and never have to worry about anything ever again. What happens when he falls in that pit. When he looks at us and screams “why didn’t you tell me that pit was there”?… The gospel tells us that it is because we have sinned against God and we are heading for hell that we need to accept Christ as savior. It is because of our wicked fallen state, our blatant disregard of Gods law, and an uncontrollable urge to sin that we need redemption. That is the time old message, not promises of wealth and prosperity.
Our world is slowly deteriorating into a world where good is becoming bad and bad is becoming good. To be “politically correct” simply means to be incorrect and act as though it is correct. Where it is easier to do evil than good. Are these not signs of the end times. Christ will come back and judge man when man is no longer redeemable. When man no longer tolerates the gospel of Christ. When man revels in his sin and wants to cease the words of truth that condemn him. We Christians are a reminder of that truth and the world will grow to hate us because of it. But I am one man crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. One man with a message for the world. Not a new message, but the same old message that was presented to my father, and his father, and his father before him. Give me that old time religion, it’s good enough for me. Make straight the way of the Lord. Repent and be baptized. The message has not changed, yet in churches today it is watered down, made more “tolerable” , changed “according to our liking”, into something less than it was originally intended. Today in some churches, there is more emphasis on entertainment than learning, evangelism, and salvation, and we think that we have to look and act like the world to convince the world of their need for a savior. The way we dress, our words, and even our music has been formed in such a way that it mimics the world. It even seems like the church has lost it’s way. We went from “black and white” to simply “shades of gray”. What was wrong in our parents generation is still wrong today, because God, His truth, and His law never changes. It always stays the same.
No wonder the world is confused. When they look at us do they see a people “set apart” or are we just a mirror image of them and not any different than what they are. How can you convince someone of a change if they see no change in you. It is true we have all sinned and no man is better than the other, we have all sinned in Gods eyes, but when the world sees us Christians they should see a repentant sinner, no better than them, but redeemed by the blood of the lamb and saved only because of the grace of God. Someone that God has reached down and picked up out of the miry clay, brushed off and set on the rock. Someone who God has drastically changed, cleaned up their lives, and set them on a new journey, shaping them into the person that God intended us to be. Someone who will go back and stand outside the pit and help pull others out so they too can experience the awesome grace and salvation that our risen savior has offered to mankind for the past 2000 years. We don’t need a new gospel, we just have to follow the original message. Anything different than Christ’s original gospel and his true message, becomes a false gospel. To follow the true Christ you have to know who He is. If you are following anything other than the Jesus of the Bible, you are following a false God.
“Study to show thy self approved.” If you don’t have a Bible, get one and read it. If you do have a Bible, take it off the shelf, dust it off and begin reading. Don’t let someone else tell you, let God speak to you thru His word. When you read your Bible, God talks to you. When you pray, you talk to God. Keep the communication lines open. Stay connected with God, He wants to connect with you. And when you have read and learned the Bible you will begin to see the error of false doctrine and be able to tell the true from false. You will be able to see when someone is trying to lead you astray. For there will be many false teachers and false religions in the last days and you need to be able to spot them. The Bible may be your only guide to keep you from falling in this pit. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Do not be led astray. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Trust in the Lord and He will guide all your paths.
God will lead you and work with you but you must take that first step. You must put your trust in the Lord and have faith that he will deliver. How many times do we pray about something and ask God to “make it happen”, and than continuously worry about it. It’s like God is saying “I will take care of it”, and we keep worrying and doubting and than when he does do something about our request we act surprised that everything worked out. What does that tell God about our faith? Could God be saying to us “oh thou of little faith” as Jesus said to Peter. Do we have the faith of a mustard seed, the smallest seed there is? Jesus said that if we had just a little faith we could move mountains. How much faith do we really have?
God is so wonderful that if someone could see where God has worked in my life they would think that there is a lot of “coincidences” where things worked out for me, but I know better. I can see the hand of God working with me as I look back on my life as I am sure some of you can. It doesn’t mean that everything goes my way all the time. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any rough spots in my life. It just means that when the storms rage, and the heartaches come, that Jesus is there with me, beside me, leading me out of the storm, but sometimes I have to go thru the storm to see God better. To see where he is working in my life and reminding me that he is still there… He wants us to go to him with all our needs. You see, we fail him… He doesn’t fail us. He is always there to pick us up when we fall, and to brush us off and set us on our feet. But, just as we do with our kids when they are growing up, he has to let us fall so he can pick us up. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, which means that he is all knowing, all seeing, and able to be everywhere at the same time. So when we think we know better than him, that is when we fall. But when he picks us up he shows us that he knows better than us. As a patient and loving father to his kids. Not saying “I told you so”, or pointing an accusing finger at us, but holding us in his arms of love. Someone who is great doesn’t have to tell anyone they are great, they don’t have to prove anything or defend themselves because people already know they are great. And often great people have a respect and compassion for all people. Christ did, and as we become more mature Christians than God changes us over time to be more like Christ.
“So I tell you to make straight the way of the Lord. Believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for we are in the business of saving men’s souls, and we should be about our fathers business. God’s kingdom is at hand. Repent and be baptized, for now is the season of harvest, now is the day of salvation, and the fields are plenteous, but the laborers are few. Brothers and sisters, now is the time to take up your cross and follow Him. The end time is drawing nigh, this day will never pass this way again and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Yes, you are only one, but you are not alone. You and God make a majority. What you have to do for the Lord, do now. Be that one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord. Be set apart from the world, for we are in this world but not of this world. Lean on God’s understanding and not your own because he can do far better than we can. I am one, but we are one in the spirit, together redeemed by the blood of Christ, and saved by the grace of God. So now there is you, me, and God and together we can be strong. Together we have true purpose. Together we can help change lives. And together, me you and God can change the world. The world is waiting.. Now is the time, today is that day… What are we waiting for?……..
By John Armes
I recently started this web site… I put a lot of Christian stories there that I write and than direct my friends and acquaintances there by telling them about it or handing out my business card and tell them to go to my web site. I know I have startled some because they aren’t Christian, didn’t know that I was Christian and I feel that some avoid me because of it. I knew that would happen, but I had to resolve in my mind that if someone avoids me or doesn’t speak to me because I am a Christian, than I can deal with it. I consider myself an ambassador for Christ, so I am bound to do right even when others don’t… Also, if I have to go it alone, than it is me and Christ and that is always enough… Because “He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.” So, I shake the dust off my sandals and go on. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel of Christ…
I was trying to reason how that I could lead people toward Christ and do it in a balanced, truthful manner. I don’t want anyone deciding on being a Christian based on enticements to try and convince them to believe in God and Christ, and than later on be disappointed when things didn’t happen. God does promise that he will be with us always, and he will help us get through our tests and trials, but God doesn’t promise us wealth, excellent health, and never a worry from now on. As a matter of fact, Christ said that we would be hated, despised , and rejected, just as he was… The world will not understand us… Some will like what we have to say, and some will hate our every word. If Christ indicated that when we follow him, the world will hate us and despise us just as they did him, than why become a Christian and follow Christ. Since I am usually compelled to stress the good as well as the bad in a situation, than I had to ask myself this question. It finally came down to why Christ was hated, despised and rejected when he was here on earth. Well, he reminded man that man is sinful and will be judged by God. Man will also reject us because we bear witness of the light (Christ) and we remind man of his sin and his need of a redeemer. If man doesn’t believe in God, than he can make himself a god. He would have no one to answer to. There world be no law. There would be no sinful stain. But there is sin and man doesn’t want to face it. Man is comfortable hiding his sin and the last thing he wants is someone revealing his dirty past. In fact, man has become arrogant with his situation.
So, why did Christ do it. Why did God send his Son to die on a cross? Because, man could not, and cannot save himself. Man is in such a helpless state, that Christ’s love for man far outweighed the hatred and rejection he would suffer by telling man the truth, even when man didn’t want to hear it. Like the song says, “Christ has regarded my helpless estate and shed his own blood for my soul”. Here in this life, on this earth, is but a short time when compared to eternity. We tend to sacrifice our futures on the here and now instead of storing up treasures in heaven. That is why we need to be bold yet humble. That is why we need to tell our fellow man about the gospel. The Bible says:
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a “defense” to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
Jesus has pointed the way with his life. Of all the fruits of the Spirit, the greatest is Love. Also “greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his brother.” So, when love for our fellow man becomes more important than what someone will thank of us, and in the face of hatred and rejection we choose to tell God’s truth, that man is sinful and cannot save himself from death and hell, than perhaps we can convince someone to turn around and go the right way, accept Christ’s free gift of salvation, and be heaven bound instead of hell bound. This is why we must go and tell. We will be hated, rejected, and despised by some, but eternity is far more important than anything we could go thru on this earth. In the end, it will all be worth the pain. I am no longer afraid of death, because when that moment comes, I will have discovered the place that Jesus has gone and prepared for me. And live with him forever, and it will all have been worth it. Seek the truth of Christ, because “if you seek righteousness, you will be filled”…