WHEN THERE IS NO VISIBLE SIGN OF BREAKTHROUGH
Have you ever found yourself in a state of affairs where you are believing God for breakthrough in a situation where there is no visible sign of breakthrough? When there is simply no tangible sign on the earth of what we have received as Kingdom promises in our heart? Me too!
Whilst meditating recently on this particular subject, the Lord blessed me with some pearls of wisdom as I studied Matthew 3 and 4. From this short study I believe there are some valuable principles that we may lay hold of by faith, today, as we believe for breakthrough in our personal, community, or international situations.
In the early part of Matthew 3 we read of John the Baptist, who came preaching in the desert saying, "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near." Jesus described John as a prophet (Matthew 11:9), and the Scriptures point to John as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 40:3).
"John the Baptist Continues to be a Prophetic Message to the Church Now"
In essence, John becomes a prophetic message to the Church then, and continues to be a prophetic message to the Church now. In order to understand what this means, we need to consider the essence of the message John brought.
BECOME ONE WITH CHRIST THROUGH PURITY AND REPENTANCE TO BRING THE KINGDOM
"Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 3:2
Confession and genuine repentance lead to purity of heart through our being forgiven, accepted, and adopted as sons by Christ Jesus. John pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God and the Savior of the World. Our lives ought also to reflect Christ's Messiah-ship in order that others can come to a saving knowledge of His Truth.
PREPARE FOR THAT WHICH IS COMING
"Prepare the way for the Lord." Matthew 3:3
John was all about making straight paths for the Lord; in other words, his preaching, his lifestyle, his words, his thoughts, and his actions pointed to the necessity to remove every obstacle that would keep us from God's love in Christ and the power and compassion of the Cross of Calvary.
John lived to exalt the Lord. May we likewise emulate John's surrender to Christ in our own walks of faith, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate and remove any sin, wrong mindset, or lack of faith that prevents us from honoring God with our whole beings.
WE PRODUCE FRUIT BY BEING HUMBLE
"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." Matthew 3:8
Perhaps we might describe the fruit of repentance as a broken and a contrite spirit (which the Bible says God esteems -- see Isaiah 66:2).
"Our Lives Become Totally Transformed . . . "
Our hearts become marinated in the grace of God, our minds saturated in the reality of His total forgiveness, and our spirits are awakened to the reality of the kindness of Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Our lives become totally transformed by God's love through the Holy Spirit. What a privileged position of agape (love) given unconditionally to all who seek Christ with humble hearts.
John continually pointed people to the Christ and the Cross -- where our sins, our sickness, our death, and our poverty are exchanged in the Blood Sacrifice of Christ for forgiveness, health, life, and abundance.
GROW IN PASSION FOR THE BRIDEGROOM
"To this John replied, 'A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, "I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him." The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.'" John 3:27-30
"The Smaller We Are, the Bigger God Can Be in Our Lives!"
John calls the Church (the Bride) to holy union with her Bridegroom King, Christ Jesus. Part of believing is belonging. Attaining such a place of abiding in the Father heart of God releases us to untold joy. We should be a cheerful bride! John's message was wrapped up in a genuine understanding of the position of Christ as Bridegroom King.
The ongoing message of decrease calls us to humility and servant hood, whereby Christ is exalted. The smaller we are the bigger God can be in our lives!
A TIME TO PRUNE
"The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." Matthew 3:10
In the context of this Scripture, John was addressing the religious people of the day. Specifically, I believe he wanted the Jewish people to come to a revelatory understanding that their natural lineage to Abraham could not bring them to into a position of righteousness; this comes not by works, but by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. May God deliver us from any religious bondage today that we might be a pure and spotless bride.
[Romans 4 is just one excellent link Scripture if you wish to study the topic of justification by faith alone.)
THE WILDERNESS THAT BIRTHS POWER ENCOUNTERS
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:11,12
Matthew 3 and Matthew 4 are two desert/wilderness experiences placed back to back, with a message on harvest interwoven throughout. John reveals Jesus not only as the Lamb of God, but also as the Harvest King endowed with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
John clearly enunciated that any encounter with Jesus was a power encounter of profound proportions that would rock our world! Over and over he compelled the people to receive the message of the coming King.
John was a soul winner. We have a similar calling. I pray for a fresh baptism of God's love and Spirit on each one of us today, in the name of Jesus.
A CALL TO PIONEER
"A voice of one calling in the wilderness . . . " Matthew 3:3
John was a forerunner for Jesus, pioneering the eternal message of the Gospel in his generation. He broke the mold and dressed differently, spoke differently, and acted differently for the sake of Christ, defying religious convention of his day.
He was bold for God, immersed and consumed with serving God and seeing the people embrace purity.
It's time to come out of our church buildings and bless our communities and streets in Jesus' love.
BARREN BUT BLAMELESS
John was a much-loved son. His parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, endured their own spiritual desert prior to the long awaited birth of their apostolic son. The Bible says, "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly, but they had no children, because
"John Believed for Breakthrough Before His King Came"
The Lord knew at exactly what point in history he wanted John to be born. John literally came out of the desert when he began his proclamation of the coming Christ. One thing we can glean from the Scriptures is that Kingdom forerunners cannot evade the desert experience. It is an integral part of our training. A desert experience is one when it appears that the manifest presence of Jesus is not with us, but we believe God for breakthrough despite or, perhaps, even because of this.
John believed for breakthrough before his King came. His words were full of passionate and powerful exhortation, warning people of the coming judgment for those who would not accept the mercy of Christ. John creatively preached and spoke of Jesus as Savior, Lord, King, and Bridegroom.
YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE REWARDED FOR YOUR PERSEVERANCE
Ultimately, John was rewarded for his perseverance when Jesus came from Galilee to the
Finally, John broke through in the desert and found the face of Jesus Christ and heard the voice of God in a moment of heart-stopping, life-changing prophetic fulfillment.
"John Was Rewarded for His Perseverance When Jesus Came"
Jesus is the One who brings breakthrough. All we have to do is trust Him, receive His love, and continue to walk in obedience to His call on our lives.
May you be enveloped in the beauty and the sweetness of the aroma of Christ. Believe for breakthrough -- it is coming!