Summary: 3 of 4. John was approached by others regarding his spiritual niche. We must identify those competing for our belief. But How are we to identify them? Identifying competitors for your belief employs...
IDENTIFYING The COMPETITORS For BELIEF-III—John 1:19-28
Signs—What are they really trying to say?
On a California freeway:—‘Fine for Littering’
In a New York jewelry store:—‘Genuine Faux Pearls’
In a Boston fast-food parking lot:—‘Parking for Drive-Through Customers Only’
Billboard on Florida highway:—‘If You Can't Read, We Can Help’
On the Triborough Bridge in New York:—‘In Event of Air Attack Drive Off Bridge’
On a Lockhart, Texas, gas station & mini-mart:—‘We're out of Rolaids, but we've got gas.’
At the basketball court in a Gastonia, North Carolina, YMCA:—‘Anyone caught hanging from the rim will be suspended’
In a Grand Rapids restaurant:—‘Half baked chicken’
In a Dayton barbershop:—‘During vacation of owner, a competent hair stylist will be here’
On a Jacksonville, Florida, bookstore:—‘Rare, out-of-print, & nonexistent books’
On the wall of a British Columbia cleaning service:—‘Able to Do the Worst Possible Job’
Likewise, there are many competitors for your belief.
John was approached by others regarding his spiritual niche.
*We must identify/concern ourselves with/ the spiritual niche of those vying for our belief.
How can/are we to identify the niche of those vying for belief?
9 considerations/keys/objectives/principles for identifying/categorizing those vying/competing for belief.
We’ve previously discovered that...
Identifying competitors for your belief employs...
1. TRUSTWORTHY INFORMANTs(:19)
2. QUALIFYING QUESTIONs(:19b)
3—Identifying competitors for your belief employs...
:20—“He confessed, & did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.””
The answer is necessarily guided by & thereby limited by the qualifying questions!
If you ask ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions you will get simple unqualified ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers.
John made sure that everyone knew that he was NOT the Messiah(“Christ”).
Mat. 24:23-25(Mk. 13:21-23)—““Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs & false prophets will rise & show great signs & wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”
Since John denied being the Messiah, they assumed that he must still be of major importance in some way having to do with the consolation of Israel that was promised thru the coming Messiah(“Christ”).
We may define ourselves negatively by ‘who we are not.’
Unqualified Confessions, for the ask-er, keep things within a framework within which I have chosen & am comfortable working. A framework which is easily & nicely managed without challenge. Tradition & rule-keeping lend themselves easily to this scenario. If something will not fit within the mold of personal Tradition it is discarded as faulty.
“Confessed”2X—omologew—1) To say the same thing as another, i.e. To agree with, assent; 2) To concede; 3) To profess; 4) To praise, celebrate. Strong—To assent, i.e. Covenant, acknowledge.
From—omou—At the same place or time—&—logov—Something said--“A word”(including the thought); by implication--A topic(subject of discourse), also reasoning(the mental faculty) or motive; by extension--A computation. = ‘Same word.’
“Deny”—arneomai—1) =To deny;2) To deny someone—2a) To deny one's self—2a1) To disregard his own interests or to prove false to himself, 2a2) Act entirely unlike himself; 3) To deny, abnegate, abjure; 4) Not to accept, to reject, to refuse something offered. Strong—To contradict, i.e. Disavow, reject, abnegate.
“Christ”—Cristov—Adj.—= “Anointed”—1) Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God; 2) Anointed. Strong—Anointed, i.e. The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
**Jn. 3:5-12—“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you[Nicodemus], unless one is born of water & the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, & that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes, & you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from & where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered & said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered & said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, & do not know these things? “Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know & testify what We have seen, & you do not receive Our witness. “If I have told you earthly things & you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
Nicodemus would not allow his belief to suffer violence(at least tentatively—See Jn. 19:38-40) at the hands of Jesus.
*Jn. 19:38-40—“...Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; & Pilate gave him permission. So he came & took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh & aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, & bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.”