Note: Please read Mark 1:4-8, first.
And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5 NASB)
No doubt, John was a remarkable person! He wasn’t like the haughty religious leaders of his time who wore expensive clothing and sat in exalted places among the people. He was a man who lived a simple life; but more importantly, he practiced what he preached. He wasn’t a people pleaser, nor one who coveted the praise of men; rather, he was a herald of light, and one who preached fearlessly, telling people to repent of their sins. Indeed, John’s words moved people to make profound changes in their lives, and thus an immense spiritual awakening took place.
Sadly, most people today believe the gospel has to conform to modern-day culture in order to be effective. It’s as though they have forgotten that it’s not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God that men are drawn to the truth. Church leaders tend to focus on trying to make the place of worship look attractive, while neglecting to make sure they have the right message. Thus, they conform the gospel to the world, when they should do the opposite.
Few people are willing to preach like John did. Messages of repentance are rare these days. For the most part, people don’t favor preaching like that, because it doesn’t make them feel good. They’re used to hearing a watered down version of the gospel, which assures them that God accepts all forms of worship. So, they feel no need to change anything, except to try to make their church experience more lively and entertaining.
If the truth you think you’re hearing doesn’t agree with the truth as it is in Jesus, then you aren’t listening to the right people. It doesn’t matter how brilliant a preacher sounds, or how good a message might make you feel; if these don’t agree with Jesus, then you’re not hearing the gospel. How a minister looks is not as important as how he lives; and how the gospel is packaged is not as important as making sure it’s the right gospel.
To know that a message agrees with the truth as it is in Jesus, one must examine the life of Christ. That means people need to read the Bible, as that’s the best place to get to know how Jesus lived. Spend time in the Scriptures. Pursue the righteousness of God. Seek Jesus. And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.