Summary: A sermon on John the Baptist

Sermon for 1/8/2005

Matthew 3:1-12


- Let’s compare John the Baptist to modern day preachers.

A. His clothes.

1. Modern day preachers wear suits.

2. John the Baptist wore camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist.

B. His diet.

1. Modern day preachers like chicken, or more like the buffet.

2. If one had John the Baptist over they would have to eat locust and honey.

C. His pulpit.

1. Modern day preachers stand behind a pulpit usually made of wood.

2. John the Baptist didn’t have a pulpit. He walked around the Jordan River shouting out his message.

D. His building.

1. Modern day preachers want a church building right off of the main drag. 2. John the Baptist didn’t have a building. As a matter of fact he preached outside in a place with few buildings. He preached in a remote place where few went unless they were looking for John the Baptist.

E. His style.

1. Modern day preachers like to tell stories and a lot of jokes to make the audience feel comfortable. They speak for at least 20 minutes.

2. John didn’t tell any stories and he never made a joke. As a matter of fact, his message was serious. He didn’t speak long but in a few minutes he was hard hitting. John’s style was to beat you up from head to toe in a short amount of time.

F. His personality.

1. Modern day preachers are public relations people.

2. John the Baptist was very confrontational. This was one guy that we would not want to invite to a social occasion.

3. He was confrontational in his talks in the wilderness. Could we imagine a preacher that began to talk about sin and then started naming names?

4. This is exactly what John did. He not only named names he called people derogatory names. Vs. 7

5. The ruler of the land came out to see John the Baptist and witness his ministry. If this were to happen today, we would roll out the red carpet. Not John. (Luke 3:19 NIV) But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, (Luke 3:20 NIV) Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison. You see Herod had an affair with his Brother Philip’s wife Herodias and they got married. (Mark 6:18 NIV) For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife."

6. This lead to John’s beheading.

H. His message.

1. Modern day preachers try to present a positive message. Light on negativity.

2. John was very negative.

B. this morning I want us to examine the message of John the Baptist.

Thesis: This morning we will examine 4 themes from John’s preaching in the wilderness.

For instances:

1. Repentance.

A. Vs. 2, 8

B. Wilkins, Michael J. - John’s call to repentance sounds similar to the prophets of the Old Testament, calling the people into a right relationship with God that must affect every aspect of their lives. 6 Indicating “to change one’s mind,” repentance in the Old Testament always called for a change in a person’s attitude toward God, which would then impact one’s actions and overall direction in life. External signs of repentance regularly included confession of sin, prayers of remorse, and abandonment of sin.

C. Confession of sin. Vs. 6. Many times we are general in our confession of sin. But I can picture here John encouraging people to specific and not general. The more specific we get about our sins the more it helps us to change our minds about our sins.

D. Regret about our sins. Repentance is not just confession of our sins; it involves the emotions like guilt. Guilt is something that is absent in our society. Now there is bad guilt and good guilt. Good guilt is when we know that we have done wrong and we are sorrowful for what we have done.

E. Abandonment of sin. To repent is not just to feel sorry and go out and do it again. It is to take steps to make sure that we will not do it again. One of those steps is to give it to God and let him help us to not do it again. Without God and his strength, we will keep on doing it. Repentance is to take a 180 degree turn and go the other direction.

F. John’s central message is repent. Why? Because the Messiah is coming. Get ready for what is ahead! Sounds good for us because we don’t know what is ahead!

H. Repentance is a rare message in today’s church because it requires confrontation with an uncomfortable subject: sin. And sin does not sell well in our culture. When sin gets personal, people get skittish. Preacher you’ve gone from preaching to meddling. Only the conviction of personal sin, however, brings us to Christ. This was John’s central message and it should be ours.

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