Ministry of Jesus 1 Blazing a New Trail
The Ministry of Jesus; Blazing a New Trail – NV1/26/03
OS: A (Intro to Series) As we read this text notice the focus on the concept of wilderness or desert. Remember the background of God rescuing His people from Egyptian bondage through Moses. And parting the Red Sea and leading them forty years through the wilderness before crossing the Jordan River to enter the Promise Land. I was telling my first-grade Sunday school class about John the Baptist. Mentioning that he ate locusts and honey comb, I noticed a puzzled look from one of the boys. "Wow," he mused, "I never knew they had cereal back then!" B & C Mark 1:1-8
D For more than four hundred years God had been silent. His silence was broken when John the Baptist called the people of God back to the wilderness. It was time once again for His people to blaze a new trail, in an old wilderness, toward a new promise land. It was time to blaze a new trail, not from Egyptian slavery, but from the slavery of this world, the slavery of their tradition bound religion.
Let’s not fail to see the forest because of the trees. Take a step back and grasp the picture. John is a person sent by God to tell people about Jesus. The most obvious observation from our text is that E people need people to know Jesus.
Ø How many Christians are here today because someone in some form or fashion led you to Jesus? (100%)
Ø Send cards, make phone calls, talk to that person at work, invite a neighbor to church. In 10 years when the question is asked again how many will have you in mind.
Ø Will Newton (illustration) God will use our feeble efforts to bring people to Jesus. People need people to know Jesus.
John’s call to the wilderness was one of repentance and confession. It was an invitation to a new wilderness journey of Deliverance, Dependence, and Judgment. That same message of John proclaimed so many years ago, is a message for today to you and to me.
There comes a time when we need to blaze a new trail in our spiritual lives, and step back into that wilderness journey. Because Jesus has come and He wants to lead us personally through the wilderness of life to a promise land that is eternal. Let’s listen to John’s cry from the wilderness and consider all that is involved in the wilderness journey with Jesus:
Break - A family game of football was underway and 6-year-old Alan asked his grandmother to join his team. Grandmother, in her late 60s, replied, "I'm too old to play those games now." Alan looked at her with wide eyes and asked, "Grandma, when were you new?" With Jesus the invitation always stands to begin brand new all over again.
F If you want to take this wilderness journey with Jesus you must learn that He is your only hope for Deliverance. The Wilderness is a place of Deliverance.
Ø Pillar of fire by night, and cloud by day
Ø Trust at the foot of the mountain lost – looking for another to deliver (gods of Egypt-golden calf)
Ø What’s your golden calf?
Ø Sin – Only the blood of Jesus will provide forgiveness!
Ø Today we grope for all kinds of worldly things to deliver us – We seek significance, meaning, and purpose in the things of this world and they don’t deliver! Only Jesus will make your life count!
Ø G Mark 8:34-38
H If you want to take this wilderness journey with Jesus you must learn to depend on Him for everything. The Wilderness is a place of Dependence on God.
Ø Water from a Rock, and Manna from the sky.
Ø - BREAK - Although there is no record of the precise number that left Egypt in the Exodus, a military census taken not long after listed the number of men 20 years of age and older who could serve in the army as 603,550 (Exodus 38:26). From that number, the total Israelite population of that time has been estimated at approximately 2 to 3 million. Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them? They had to be fed, and feeding 2 or 3 million people requires a lot of food. According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day. This would take 4000 tons of wood. They would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day. They had to get across the Red Sea at night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights. So there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night. But then, there is another problem...............each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles. AND WE DON’T THINK HE CAN HANDLE OUR PROBLEMS!
Ø I Matthew 625 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
J If you want to take this wilderness journey with Jesus you must be willing to deal with His judgment on your life. The Wilderness is a place of Judgment.
Ø The 10 bad report spies fell in the wilderness, but Joshua and Caleb did not.
Ø The whole clan that was swallowed up. Numbers 16 23 Then the LORD said to Moses, 24 “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’”… 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions.
Ø Things in our life that need to be left to fall in the wilderness, refined by fire, etc.
Ø K Hebrews 12:1-3
L The Wilderness is life with God.
“It’s time for me to blaze a new trail! I’m gonna follow Jesus and I’m not gonna turn back, give up, stop, quit, till I get to the promise land. I’m gonna work for Him and not for me, He’s gonna bear fruit through me no matter what I have to give up.
Think about people who find themselves in religious ruts. They discover a number of things about themselves. They will find that they are getting older but not getting any holier. Time is their enemy, not their friend. The time they trusted and looked to is betraying them, for they often said to themselves, "The passing of time will help me. I know some good old saints, so as I get older I'll get holier and better. Time will help me, purify me and revive me." They said that the year before last, but they were not helped any last year. Time betrayed them. They were not any better last year than they had been the year before.
Citation: A. W. Tozer in Rut, Rot or Revival. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 3.