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Summary: Jesus is God, and I can prove it. I call to the stand John the Baptist! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

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Call Your First Witness

John 1

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/FirstWitness.html

A witness is to tell the truth that he knows. He testifies before God and everyone the truth. Jesus is God, and I can prove it. I call to the stand John the Baptist!

John the Baptist was a relative of Jesus. Their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth were cousins. John was 6 months older than Jesus, and they probably knew one another and played together when they were young. John is mentioned 89 times in Scripture. He introduced Jesus as the Messiah to his people.

He is called the forerunner, and the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

He would be imprisoned and martyred for his bold preaching. John had the boldness to confront Herod when he stole his brother, Phillip's, wife, Herodias.

His greatest endorsement came from Jesus...

Luke 7:28

For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:

Nike can endorse Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong...I'd prefer the endorsement of the Lord!

John's message was Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Why? It was dark days for Israel, spiritually, when Christ came. They hadn't had a prophet in 400 years. God had been silent. Their spiritual leaders had slid into tradition and many were corrupt. King Herod [the great] was a tyrant with 9 wives. When he didn't care for a wife he would have her executed. You didn't want to burn the biscuits in that house!

America is in dark days as well, and repent is the message we need to send out as well. Instead, we have feel good messages, and preachers patting us on the back, telling us we are good and how we can prosper and enhance our lifestyle. We need bold preachers like John the Baptist who will preach repentance! Because Jesus is coming soon...the kingdom of heaven is at hand just as it was in John's day.

Repent = to turn around. A change of mind which leads to a change of action. And John said that if you have truly repented, there would be two evidences: Baptism and a changed life. John's message was--Don't make this salvation decision if you're not gonna back it up and follow thru and live the life!

John was a man sent from God to be a witness. "Witness" is used 47 times in this gospel, and is a key concept. A witness is someone who tells what they have seen, heard, or experienced.

v. 6-8, 15a If you've ever been called as a witness for someone accused of a crime, you know it's a serious matter.

joke--a man was accused of biting another man's ear off. There was only one witness and he was a major redneck who didn't even arrive on the scene until it was over. The young defense attorney for the accused said, I've only got to tear down this bumpkin's credibility and my client will walk free! He called the redneck to the stand. "Were you there when the argument started?" "No." "Were you present when it became a fight?" "No, I just arrived on the scene when it was all over." "So, you weren't present when the defendant allegedly bit this man's ear off?" The man hung his head and admitted, "No, I wasn't". The cocky, young attorney strutted back to his seat and said, "I rest my case." Just then the redneck leaned into the microphone and said, "But I was there when he spit it out!"

A witness is someone who knows something, and then can share it with someone else.

The Bible says you and I are to be witnesses. We have seen, heard, and experienced, and we must share.

Acts 1:8

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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 5:32

And we are his witnesses of these things...

1. The Content of John's Witness.

a. Jesus is eternal. v. 15

'preferred before me' = He is greater than I am...look at Him, not me.

'He was before me' doesn't mean chronological age, since Jesus was a few months younger. This is a reference to His eternal nature.

This is important because Satan's primary goal is to undermine the person of Jesus Christ. Cults start when someone denies Jesus' Godhood.

We don't bash other churches, but I will quote them...

Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe John's witness:

In "Let God be True", p. 33 they say, "Thus he [Jesus] is ranked in God's creation, being first among them...he is not the author...but after God created him, God made him his partner." This means Jesus is not eternal and not part of the Godhead.

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