Summary: Applying the life of John the Baptist to our own.
Are you a Messenger?
Since there is only one more message left in the series “Loving the Lord”, which we will cover on Sunday, tonight’s message takes a slight detour.
Tonight I wanted to look at a passage in the Word which deals directly with a messenger sent by the Lord – something we are called to be as well.
To preface tonight’s message, Malachi 3:1 says, “"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.”
Over the past few weeks we have examined heavily the concept of loving God, in a way that would not only bring glory to Him, but how we could be a solid witness for others to see.
We have discussed belonging and most importantly, participating, in a church, discipling others, and most lately being willing to give of your own time to spread the gospel.
Remember on Sunday was a personal challenge which said, “If someone had not told you about Jesus Christ, you would spend eternity in hell. How would that make you feel?”
Tonight I want to examine John the Baptist.
In your bibles go to Matthew 11 and let’s examine the testimony of John.
John was a man dedicated to the spreading of the Gospel and an example that each of us, regardless of our state in life, ought to be willing to look at and exemplify in our lives.
Point 1 – John’s current state (v3)
John was in prison, and still he was interested in seeing who this person is – because he knew that every Spirit had to be tested.
He understood that just because someone claims to be a follower of God there ought to be certain signs showing that.
Ex: A change in life, a devotion to the Lord, a willingness to obey the Word, faithfulness to the principles of God, etc.
1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
He had lived his life in promise of one coming after him, and so he was the first to ensure that this was not a false Spirit claiming to be from God.
Notice though, that John sent his disciples.
Even in prison, he was continuing to show people the Way.
Where are you in your life? Are you done witnessing? Of course not!!
John is another example that we are too never stop making believers and discipling those who need to know Christ, as well as those who desire to know more about Him.
Point 2 – Jesus gives confirmation and testimony (v4)
The words and guidance Jesus uses are so very specific here – but as believers I wonder if we miss them and in turn miss the will of God?
Do you look for confirmation from the Lord? Jesus says to “go ...”
The will of the Lord should always guide us. James 4:15 says, “Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
When we go to the Lord to ask something, the answer will always be one of truth – because God is truth.
Notice what Jesus says in return as John’s disciples are leaving.
Point 3 – Jesus testifies about John (v7-10)
Not a reed swayed by the wind: John was faithful and strong!
Ex: Matthew 3:7 says, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”
John was not dressed in fine clothes: He was a man of no consequence.
Ex: Matthew 3:4 says, “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.”
Jesus says that John was MORE than a prophet – then Jesus does what we should do in all things – uses the Word of the Lord to confirm!
Point 4 – Who is John? (v11-15)
Look at Jesus’ description and validation of John
Among those born of women – there is none greater
App: Being least makes him greater than all
The Gospel has been advancing – forcefully
App: Forceful men lay hold of it (2 Tim 2:2)
We are called to be forceful (direct) – to not make excuses or water it down
Note Jesus’ confirmation of John (v13):
Everyone up until John was predicting the coming ... but it stops there
Jesus refers to John as being “the” Elijah – not to being Elijah himself