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Summary: Be a voice speaking for God as John the Baptist was.

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Being a Voice, Not Just a Big Mouth. Matt. 3:1-12

INTRO.: Among the millions who live on the earth at any given time, only a few grab the attention of the public so as to be called “great.”

Some seem destined for greatness. Some become great even though no one would have guessed it.. We can’t always be sure what characteristics or what combination of circumstances makes a person great.

But, occasionally, one comes along who is clearly marked for greatness. Such a one is the Biblical character John the Baptist. He was chosen by God from his mother’s womb. His coming was predicted by the prophet Isaiah. (Isa. 40:3-5)

Jesus said of him, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist;” Matt 11:11. John was God’s man for his time.

I. Let’s look at the man himself:

A. The prophet called him “a voice.”

1. He was recognized most of all for what he said.

2. John was the voice but the message was God’s

3. He spoke to the hearts of men.

4. ILLUS.: As a child, I watched the PA turnpike being built near my home. Hills were leveled and valleys were filled in preparation for the coming of millions of cars. John was an ancient “highway engineer.”

5. He prepared the way for the coming of Christ.

B. He must have appeared very strange:

1. Wore the coarsest clothes. Never cut his hair.

2. Ate the poorest food. Only what he could gather.

3. Was it a protest against the luxury of the rich?

4. Lived in the desert, but was not a social “drop out.” nor was he a political activist. Never advocated revolution. He only protested sin.

C. His character:

1. Valued communion with God, so he left home and priesthood for the desert.

2. Strong to rebuke sin and luxury among perverse people. Man of stern conviction.

3. Did not seek worldly honor or pleasures of sin.

II. What characterized “The voice”’s message?

A. It was an attractive message. People came to hear:

1. Not because of eloquence or originality. They came because they felt the emptiness of the age and identified with him and his message.

2. He spoke with the authority of God.

3. He offered what they had waited centuries for.

4. Today we must also speak with the authority of God’s Word if we want people to listen.

B. It was spoken with conviction and it convicted men.

1. Hundreds repented and were baptized.

2. He told of remission of sins through Christ Who was to come after him. He was convinced.

3. If we want to convict others, we must speak from a heart of conviction.

C. An uncompromising message: Luke 3:7-14

1. Exposed hypocrisy. 7-8

2. Warned of judgement. 9

3. Condemned evil soundly. 10-14

4. We must also warn of the wrath to come. We sadly lack this element in our preaching

III. John was a man with a ministry:

A. Aimed at stirring the conscience of his nation:

1. People need to “wake up” today as much as in John’s day. We need to take a stand for right.

2. We must stir people by prayer, godliness, proclaiming the message of Christ.

3. To stir spouses, children, neighbors, we must live and love as Christ did.

B. His goal: to prepare people for the coming of Christ.

1. John did not stop at denouncing evil. That was not sufficient.

2. The aroused conscience seeks forgiveness.

3. So, he proclaimed forgiveness in Christ. He had the real cure for sin and led people to it.

C. He came to preach a message that was essentially good news, even though it seemed harsh. Lk. 3:18

1. People rejoice to hear about Christ even today. Multitudes in every land are coming to know the joy of salvation.

2. The news we have is even greater than John’s. we can say Christ died and arose.

3. We should rejoice to share the Good News of Jesus with those around us.

CONC.: the Christian should:

1. Be a person of firm conviction, living for God in spite of what others may do or want him to do.

2. Know, live and proclaim the Gospel.

3. Recognize and make the most of his ministry.

Then he will be a voice and not just a big mouth.

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