Sermons

Summary: To lead the children to understand that faithful obedience to God often means that we will find ourself being opposed by carnal people.

Unit 12 – Faithfulness

Lesson 35 – John the Baptist, a Faithful Messenger – Luke 3:1-20; 7:18-23; Mark 6:17-29

Preparation for the Teacher

1. Aim: To lead the people to understand that faithful obedience to God often means that we will find ourself being opposed by carnal people.

2. Explanation of the Aim: John the Baptist’s life is best summarized by what Dr. Luke wrote in three verses: “And with many words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrach because of Herodias, his brother’s wife and all the other evil things he had done. Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.” (Luke 3:18-20) Faithful people of God are ready to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

3. The Bible Story: John the Baptist shows us what is involved in being faithfully obedient as God’s messengers regardless of the costs. Instead of just soft pedaling the message of the gospel so his Jewish brothers would favor him, John the Baptist preached that not only pagans but everyone who did not repent would face God’s judgement. God directed John to bring people to repentance from their sins as a way of preparing a way for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. John not only angered the Jewish religious leaders, but he also angered the ruler Herod who was exposed for the sin of adultery and immorality. When God calls us to be obedient we must be willing to stand up to consequential adversity we will get from carnal people.

4. Prepare to Teach: The INTRODUCTION helps the people explain why people who are faithfully obedient to witness for Jesus Christ are often misunderstood and criticized. Ask the people why people who stand firm in their faith are often made fun of and ridiculed? The BIBLE STORY explains how John the Baptist represents one of the most faithfully obedient messengers of God’s word in the Bible. Let the people see that truly faithful people are willing to pay any price to complete the will of God in their lives. The MEANING FOR OUR LIVES helps the people make applications from the lesson. Let the people describe what a faithfully obedient messenger of God can expect from people who do not know or love the Lord? Ask the people if they are able to name any person who they know that is faithfully obedient to share God’s message with others? Ask the people what are some of the difficulties that a faithful messenger of God has to endure?

CLASS TIME (Begin With Prayer)

Introduction

Help the people explain why people who are faithfully obedient to witness for Jesus Christ are often misunderstood and criticized. Ask the people why people who stand firm in their faith are often made fun of and ridiculed? Find out if any of the people can recall the definition of faithfulness that was given in last week’s lesson (Faithfulness is when one responds to God’s way in everything that happens, big or little. Faithfulness means staying true to God in my thoughts, words and actions) How does John the Baptist fit that definition of faithfulness?

The Bible Story

John the Baptist came preaching “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him… And all mankind will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:4,6) John’s baptism represented a change of heart since it was a baptism of repentance. John wanted people to be genuinely sorry for their sins so they could be ready to receive the forgiveness offered to them through Jesus Christ. People who come to Christ for eternal life must come with genuine repentance of their sins and a desire to lead a holy life through Christ’s power. John baptized people with water not to wash away their sins, but as a sign that there was an occurrence of an inward cleansing and renewal of their attitude toward God and righteousness.

John preached, “When every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways made smooth.” (Luke 2:5) This is a fulfillment of what Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:3. John is saying that the way is made for the gospel into the heart, by taking down high thoughts, and bringing them into obedience to Christ. When a person humbles or levels their mind and removes all that hinders us the way of Christ and his grace, then preparation is made to welcome the salvation of God. John gave strict warnings against the sins of the world that hinder people from genuinely repenting. He declared that people had become guilty, vile and corrupted in their hearts by their own sin. James said, “What is the source of conflicts, is it not your own desires that wage war in your members.” (James 4:1-4) John declared his generation had become a brood of vipers, people who were hateful of God and hated each other. Only people who are genuinely willing to humble themselves and repent will escape from God’s wrath. These are hard words, but even Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36) The only way to escape God’s wrath and hell is to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ by changing our mind in sincere repentance. This is a difficult message but faithfully obedient messengers will not mind the opposition since they are not trying to please men, but God.

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