Summary: We need a "John the Baptist" generation of Christians to prepare people’s heart for the Lord’s entrance into their life and His return to this earth
A “JOHN THE BAPTIST” GENERATION
I. THE MINISTRY OF JOHN
A. Character and ministry of John (7-8 - What went ye out to see)
-John was a man living in the wilderness and looked like the wilderness he lived in
-he was not shaken by the questioning Pharisees or Herod’s threats
B. What brought you out to see John?
-the setting, his clothing, the message he preached
C. What has brought us to church this morning
-to be seen, a fleshly desire to see what others are doing or wearing
-a desire to worship God and hear His Word
II. JOHN’S MINISTRY PREPARED THE WAY FOR THE MESSIAH
A. There was an expectancy at that time of the Messiah coming
-Luke 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
-Luke 3:15 (NLT) Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah.
B. The announcement of His coming of the Messiah was to be announced by someone
-they went out to see not just a prophet but the prophesied fore runner of the Messiah (9-10)
-Mal 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
-John at the first coming, Elijah at the second coming
C. In biblical times the arrival of an important person (king, dignitary, groom, etc) was announced ahead of time, this prepared the people for the arrival of the person
D. We have that same anticipation of Christ’s return and have the same responsibility that John had
-Jesus said that His second coming would be preceded by the preaching of the gospel
-Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
-Acts 1:8-11 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
III. JOHN LED MULTITUDES TO CHRIST
A. John’s message was one of repentance and salvation, of leading people to Christ
B. John’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”
-John was the first soul winner of the N.T. era
C. The people were taking this message literally and pressing their way in (12)
-Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
-people were running into the kingdom, crowding in by the multitudes as an army taking a city
D. What a contrast to the sad condition of humanity and the church today
-people today seem not to care one way or the other
-it is no wonder the lost are not pressing their way in when many professing Christians don’t even seem to care
-we struggle just to get the Christians excited about God, church, etc......how then can we get the sinner in?
E. In a more personal way we prepare people’s heart for Christ’s arrival into their life
IV. WE NEED A “JOHN THE BAPTIST” GENERATION
A. The world needs the church to send forth a “John the Baptist” generation that will generate an excitement about serving God. That will cause people to come rushing into the kingdom of God
-John’s message was “The kingdom of God is at hand”
-our message today is even clearer than that - Rom 10:8-10 The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
B. Various commentary on this thought
-Matthew Henry - ...it is made a particular personal concern, and therefore every man that is convinced he has a soul to save, and an eternity to provide for, thrusts to get in, lest he should come short...Those that would go to heaven must take pains, must strive against the stream, must press against the crowd that are going the contrary way.