Summary: Pray for Opportunities; Study the Scriptures; Live Honestly; Point People to Jesus
MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY
CHILDREN’S SERMON BEFORE THE SERMON (kid's staying in the service this particular day)
Today in the sermon, I will be talking all about a guy by the name of John the Baptist. I am not sure what you all know about John the Baptist. What do you already know about him… maybe from reading at home or VBS or Sunday School?
Camel’s Hair Desert Before Jesus Mom Elizabeth Pointed to Jesus
Leather Belt Baptizing Like Elijah Dad Zechariah
Let’s read: Matthew 3:3-6 says about him, “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" 4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”
I want to share with you the most important thing about John the Baptist and the least important thing about John the Baptist. The most important thing about John the Baptist was that he was the herald for Jesus. [repeat: herald]. “Herald” is a word that means announcer. Basically, it was John the Baptists’ job to announce that Jesus was coming. He did that by being a little weird to get people’s attention, baptizing people for the forgiveness of sins, and taught people lessons that prepared their hearts for Jesus. The other really cool thing about John the Baptist was that in the Old Testament, God told Israel He would send a herald before Jesus came on the scene… and God kept His promise.
The least important thing about John the Baptist was he ate bugs. He ate bugs and honey for some reason. There was no McDonalds or anything then, so I guess John just ate whatever was lying around. I happen to have some bugs for us to eat today if you’d like to try them. Don’t be scared, they are bugs for people to eat and unlike John, I bought these from a store and did not find them lying around. What do you think?
[small cups of water]
Let’s see if any of the adults want to try these crickets?!
PRAYER FOR THE CHILDREN
Today we are indeed talking about John the Baptist and his message, but more importantly we are talking about his purpose and how that relates to our lives. Let’s read from John 1.
READ John 1:19-28
19 Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ." 21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." 22 Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'" 24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" 26 "I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
God the Father and Architect of the Eternal Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ chose to use John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ’s ministry. God coming to earth warranted someone to announce it! Jesus was big news… good news! John was unlike anyone Israel had seen in quite some time and they sent important religious people from Jerusalem to investigate him.
The important religious people asked John questions. John said he was not the Christ. Nope. He was not Elijah come back from the dead. Nope. He was not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15 who the Jews were not even sure who he was supposed to be. Nope. John said he was the one spoken about in Isaiah 40.
John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ’s ministry by turning people’s attention back to God and God’s ways. He showed them the need to repent from old patterns and habits. Repent means to change the direction of their lives away from selfish sinful attitudes and behaviors and towards God-centered and God-honoring attitudes and behaviors. John immersed (baptized) people for the forgiveness of sins in an expectation of a Greater Person to appear.