Greetings CMA NSW/ACT members,
I trust that this communication finds you all well, and keeping involved in your service for our Lord Jesus Christ.
This president’s chat, includes another worthwhile and important biblical essay from our CMA brother, Richard (Kimbo) Kimball. CMA members, continue to keep in contact with him, offering encouragement and support.
Kimbo, continues faithfully serving our Lord, through his witness to fellow inmates, and by his bible study and recording of his thoughts and observations. Below, is another of the devotionals that he has prepared, and he has asked me to share this with you, the CMA membership. It is lengthy, but please take the time to read it. Believe me, it is worth your time!
JOHN THE BAPTIST – part 2
Jesus said “There was no man born of woman, that was greater than John the Baptist”. The picture of a man dressed in camel hair, eating locusts and wild honey, immediately comes to mind.
John was certainly different – he was odd looking, lived in a different way to most, out in the desert, and yet, he had a magnetism that drew people to him. It was the angel, Gabriel, who announced John’s birth. John would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and as a prophet, He would be filled with the power of Elijah. John’s role, was to prepare the coming of the Messiah. According to the gospel of Luke, John began his ministry around the Jordan River about 26 – 27 AD.
Herod Antipos, was Tetrach of Palestine / Galilee at this time, and John was vigorous in taking the man to task over his sensuous lifestyle. Antipos, was the son of Herod the great, who wanted to kill Jesus when he was an infant, in fear that Jesus would be a greater king than he was. In Mark Ch. 6 vs. 14-29, we read that Antipos married his brother’s wife Herodios. John strongly let him know that this was against God. It was known, oddly enough, that Herod Antipos, was actually fond of John and his teachings.
John’s message to the world, was for all to be baptised (the sign of repentance), and to turn away from their sinful lives. They were to follow the teachings of the coming Messiah.
John’s message has not changed for us today. To follow Jesus, we need to die unto ourselves, to give up the way we have been living, and to start living a life like Jesus. We are not simply given an invitation to pray a prayer, but it is a summons to leave the lives we have been living, our life of sin without Jesus. Yes, there is a cost that accompanies our stepping away from the casual, comfortable and cultural Christianity we are in, but it is well worth it. Why would we think that truly following Christ, means anything less for us?
When a person is being led to Christ, through the Holy Spirit, and encouraged by a Christian to accept him, sometimes they are told to pray the “sinner’s prayer”. I have yet to see anywhere in the Bible, this “sinner’s prayer”. Nor is there any mention from John or Jesus, of this prayer. There is no specific prayer to be prayed by those accepting Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Any simple prayer that is prayed to ask Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and to accept Christ into our lives, to turn from our sins and to follow him, is all that is required, with a sincere and seeking heart.
In Matthew Ch.7 vs. 21, Jesus says “Not all who say to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven”. This is what John the Baptist came to warn us about, in those days and today as well. We are to repent, give up the old ways, die to ourselves, obey God’s word and change the way we live! 1 John Ch. 5 vs, 1 says “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. Everyone who loves the Father, loves his son as well”.
Despite John knowing Jesus before they were born (Luke Ch. 1 vs. 35 – 41), he still doubted if Jesus truly was the Messiah. John sent his disciples to question Jesus if he truly was the Messiah, or to inform John to wait for another. After this, Jesus spoke to the crowd about John, saying “What did you go to see in the desert? Did you expect a man in fine clothes? No, those in fine clothes and indulge in luxury, reside in palaces. In the desert, did you find a prophet? Yes, I tell you, more than a prophet. This is the one to whom it is written “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. I tell you, among those born of woman, there is none greater than John. Yet, the one who is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than he”. (Luke Ch. 7 vs. 28).
So, here is Jesus, God incarnate, telling us that John the Baptist, is the greatest ever born. YET, don’t overlook the YET, there is someone less significant, in the eyes of the world, who is greater. In all of history, nobody fulfilled his God given purpose, better than John the Baptist. YET, in God’s kingdom, all who come after him, have a greater spiritual heritage, as they have a clearer knowledge of the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, the last to prepare the way for all for the Messianic age. Jesus was not contrasting John with individual Christians, he was comparing life before Christ, with life in the fulness of his kingdom. The common people of Christ’s time, heard John’s message and repented. In contrast, the Pharisees and experts in the law, the religious leaders, rejected John’s words. They were stuck in the old ways, and wanted to live their own lives. They were so close to the truth, and at the same time, so far away. The truth was before them in both John and Jesus, yet they chose to reject it. Are we doing the same today?
We need to heed John’s warning, and to follow Christ in all that we say and do. We need to die to our self-centredness, consumption, righteousness, indulgence and exaltation. In the words of Paul “We have been crucified with Christ, and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. As Christ lives in us, everything begins to change about us”.
As great as John the Baptist was, we who come after him, are even greater in God’s eyes. How good is that?
Kimbo – September 2022
Please note for your information, that the following area co-ordinator changes have been implemented-
- Braam Meyer is now the co-ordinator for the Shoalhaven area
- Max and Cay Merritt have taken over from Paul Thompson, as the ACT co-ordinators
Please refer to the website for details.
CMA NSW/ACT has been active, so far for 2023, and my previous chat, summarises what we have achieved.
More recent events completed for 2023-
- August – National Run was held at Hervey Bay, Queensland
- October – Church raid / fellowship weekend was held at Cobar in western NSW
Details of all upcoming events can be found on the CMA NSW/ACT web site, or the face book page, or you can contact myself or the secretary.
Please don’t hesitate to provide the committee with ideas for rides, church raids and events you may have in mind. We need CMA NSW/ACT to be active amongst our communities, and serving our Lord.
Blessings to you all, as you continue to serve our Lord, within CMA NSW/ACT, and in the areas that Christ has called you to. I look forward to catching up with you at an event some time.
Graeme Bingham – CMA NSW/ACT President