The Calling of John the Baptist
I have recently become increasingly fascinated with the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist, who famously “prepared the way of the Lord“. (Mark 1:3) My heart has continually been yearning for a Third Great Awakening in America, yet I honestly find myself on most nights constantly asking God, “How is this possible with the American Church so asleep?” I believe the Holy Spirit has drawn me to John’s prophetic ministry in this season because there is hidden revelation in his calling that ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ must give our ears to right now.
I have been prayerfully meditating on John’s statement in John 3:30 as he said, “I must decrease, so that He might increase“. Through this extraordinary confession, I hear the Holy Spirit calling to church leaders in America. I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “It’s time to commit ministry suicide like John the Baptist did!” Are you a pastor, traveling minister, or church leader? I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to us in the MONTHS OF AUGUST THROUGH OCTOBER,
“I am releasing a fresh season of crucifixion! This is the hour where I will test your motives and the intentions of your heart like never before. I am about to grant you greater platforms and open doors, but you must not be deceived. I am not making a way for your name and ministry, but I am making a way for My Son through you. How many more offerings will you take to benefit yourself and ministry and not My great Name? How many more opportunities will you miss to give me all the honor, glory, and praise? I am releasing grace for extended fasting so that I might humble and test you. I invite you to come feast on Me this Fall as I strip away the pride, jealousy, and selfish ambition hiding deep within your own hearts.”
John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease…” What if this became a specialized and central focus for all Christian ministers in America from August through October? What if we intentionally and purposely took every opportunity to die to our titles and reputation so that Jesus Christ might be acknowledged and worshipped in all things. What if our sowing into the glorification of Christ produced a lifestyle of humility, prayer, and fasting? I believe God is prophetically calling out to the ministers in America saying, “The Third Great Awakening will come through your empty bellies (fasting), you building monuments to your nothingness (reputation), and your names and accomplishments being burned up on the fiery altar of My presence, power, and love (titles).”
In the season where large crowds were gathering and John the Baptist had all eyes on him, he committed ministry suicide by boldly declaring, “I’m not even fit to tie the sandals of Jesus! I’m not the Christ! I’ve got to get out of the way! I fulfilled my purpose. Get your eyes off me and fix them on the Lamb of God. It’s time to get low!” (Paraphrase mine)
In the days of John Wesley and George Whitfield (preachers of the First Great Awakening in America), the followers of George Whitfield came to him and inquired as to how he would like to be remembered in history. (Wesley and his followers would eventually start the Methodist denomination.) How would George Whitfield desire to be remembered? Just like John the Baptist, the crowds were growing and all eyes were on him. I believe his answer captures God’s desires for this generation of preachers in America, believing for a Third Great Awakening. May Whitfield’s response become our prayer, declaration, and prophetic word that we live by this Fall. He committed ministry suicide by saying,
“Let the name of Whitefield perish, but Christ be glorified. Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.
But what is Calvin, or what is Luther? Let us look above names and parties; let Jesus be our all in all—So that He is preached. I care not who is uppermost. I know my place, even to be the servant of all.
I am content to wait till the judgement day for the clearing up of my reputation; and after I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, “Here lies G.W. What sort of man he was the great day will discover.”
As church leaders from August to October, may our names, reputations, ministry credentials and accomplishments perish so that Jesus Christ might be glorified. Let self-promotion and receiving praise from men be thrown aside. Ultimately, let the road of humility, fasting, and prayer become our way of life.
July 31, 2016