Summary: To give your Christian testimony, keep answering these four questions: 1. Who are you? (vs. 19-23). 2. Why do you do the things you do? (vs. 24-27). 3. Who is Jesus Christ? (vs. 28-30). 4. How did you get to where you are? (vs. 31-34).
Our Story about Our Savior
The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 13, 2016
(Revised June 16, 2019)
*Do you have a Christian testimony? Well, if you are a Christian, you surely do have a testimony.
*Sometimes we are moved when a person who has lived a horrible life gets dramatically saved, like the former Mafia man who is now preaching for the Lord. Those are wonderful stories, but some Christians actually feel inferior because they don't have that kind of gruesome past. Please let me tell you again that the best testimony is the person who got saved as a little child, and never went through that kind of mess!
*But every Christian has a testimony of our salvation. 1 John 5:9-12 says this to all believers:
9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.
10. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
11. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
*When we believe God's testimony about His Son Jesus Christ, He gives us a testimony! And He wants us to share it. How can we do that? How can we tell our story about the Savior? John the Baptist shows us to keep answering 4 questions.
1. FIRST, ANSWER THIS QUESTION: "WHO ARE YOU?"
*Verse 19 says, "This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?''' Then John gave them an honest and humble answer. He spoke in a way that gave glory to God. And he told them about his God-given responsibility to speak out about the coming Messiah.
*Starting in vs. 20-21:
20. He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ.''
21. And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?'' He said, "I am not.'' "Are you the Prophet?'' And he answered, "No.''
*Some important background information is necessary for us here: John the Baptist confessed that he was not the Messiah. But two more key men had been promised to the Children of Israel: "Elijah" and the "Prophet."
*The Book of Malachi gave the promise about Elijah. Malachi was the last book of the Bible written before Jesus was born. God gave us this book about 400 B.C. And Malachi 4:4-6, closes the book with these words from the Lord:
4. "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.''
*That's why the Pharisees asked John, "Are you Elijah?'' And there's a bit of a paradox here, because John the Baptist surely was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi, but here John denied being Elijah. The reason why is because the Jews of that day falsely assumed that Elijah the Tishbite from King Ahab's time would physically return in person. (1)
*It's also important to say that John the Baptist was not the reincarnation of Elijah as Hindus and Buddhists would falsely believe. Hebrews 9:27 clearly tells us that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." This could be another reason why the Holy Spirit led John the Baptist to deny being Elijah.
*But the fact is that John the Baptist was the promised Elijah to come. In Luke 1:17, the angel Gabriel explained how John would be like Elijah. Gabriel said that John "will also go before Him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.''
*John the Baptist was the promised Elijah. Jesus Himself confirmed this truth after John was thrown into prison. In Matthew 11, Jesus said this about John the Baptist:
9. . . "What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
10. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.' . . .