Luke 1:1-17 (text: v. 15)

"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6). He was said to be great in the sight of the Lord. There is a difference in being great in the eyes of men and being great in the eyes of God.  The world's standards of greatness involve the applause of men, worldly accomplishments, fanciful prestige, and lofty degree. True greatness involves having a servant's heart. Jesus said, "he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Mt. 23:11). 
    Jesus spoke of the greatness of John the Baptist (Luke 7:24-28).  What made him great? It was not because of any miracles, because John did no miracle (John 10:41). 
    Each of us should aspire to be great for God. Therefore, let's see what God recognized in John the Baptist to call him great.
I. Great in his REFUSAL and CONVICTIONS ("he… shall drink neither wine nor strong drink"). First, you must decide NOT to do some things.
    A. Not opinions, but convictions. 
    B. People need to know what you stand for, AND what you won't stand for!
    C. It is impossible to be great in God's sight and be a friend of the world at the same time (James. 4:4; John 15:18-20).
      1. Refuse alcohol (Prov. 20:1), drugs, and tobacco.
      2. Refuse pornography and sensual novels
      3. Refuse music that dishonors the Lord. Refuse off-color jokes.
II. Great in his RENEWAL and CONSECRATION ("he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost"). Second, it is not enough to be empty of what is wrong. We must be filled with what is right.
      A. True greatness comes from WITHIN. To be great for God means we must be great with God. 
      B. The fullness of the Spirit is to be UNDER THE INFLUENCE of the Holy Spirit. It is a command (Eph. 5:18).
  III. Great in his REVIVAL and CONVERSIONS ("many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God" ). As we are filled with the Spirit, it will result in conversions to the Lord (Acts 1:8; 2:4, 41; 4:31; 6:5, 7; 11:24).
    A. Greatness comes as you attach yourself to a great cause.
    B. There is nothing greater in all the world than winning a soul to Christ.
IV. Great in his REPROVAL and CONFRONTATION (Luke 3:19-20). 
    A. God asks in Psalm 94:16, "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?"
    B. Gay rights; abortion; etc. needs to be confronted.
      1. Letters to newspapers.
      2. Letters to governmental leaders.
V. Great in his REFERRAL and CONFESSION (John 3:30 cf. Luke 3:16; 9:46-48). This is the real secret in greatness--humility and exalting the Lord. 
    A. When John was asked who he was, he simply answered, "A VOICE…"
    B. D.L. Moody said, "The beginning of greatness is to be LITTLE. The increase of greatness is to be LESS. The perfection of greatness is to be NOTHING!"

CONCLUSION: Notice that John's greatness in the eyes of the Lord was a source of joy to his family and many others (Luke 1:14-15, "FOR…"). Do your parents rejoice that you are great in the eyes of the Lord?