Summary: ADVENT 3(B) - Believers want to reflect and display God’s glory in this sin-darkened world as lights of the true Light.
REFLECT/DISPLAY THE GLORY OF THE LORD
JOHN 1:6-8; 19-28 - December 12, 2004 - Third Sunday of Advent
6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
19Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."
21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23John 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.’ "
24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned 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. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."
28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
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Dearest Fellow Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
What do people see when they look at you? What do they notice? Well, some people when they look at you know your name, and thus know how to address you. Some people when they look at you may know what you do and thus put you in that category of your occupation -- you’re calling in life. Sometimes people know us by our character or personality. Then they put us into another category, which narrows us down to who we are in this world. Sadly, we know when people note character traits or personality traits they seldom remember the good traits or the good personalities in a person. Many often seem only to remember those character traits which are not good, not very flattering. So what do people see when they look at you? Do people see in you just a name, just a person with a job, just a character? Once again today we turn our attention to John the Baptist, who in his day was (and had) quite a character. When people looked at John they saw the reflection of God’s glory. Today, especially in our world today, especially in these times of today, you and I as Christians are encouraged to do the same. We are reminded our purpose to reflect or display the glory of the Lord. Our Lord’s words in Matthew remind us: "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear"(MATTHEW 13:43). So may we come with open hearts and hearing ears, to listen to what God’s word has to say to us to encourage us this morning. We consider the account of John the Baptist, by considering that we are to:
REFLECT / DISPLAY THE LORD’S GLORY!
I. in this sin darkened world,
II. as lights of the true Light.
I. REFLECT GOD’S GLORY IN THIS SIN DARKENED WORLD
We know a lot about John the Baptist. We have been looking at him the last couple of Sundays. Because of his preaching and teaching and in his baptizing, many of the crowd came out to see him. Still John and his mission were misunderstood. People are still had sin darkened hearts. Our text tells us in verse 19: Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. The priests and the Levites were the leaders of the church. They had heard a lot about John the Baptist. They had noticed the crowds going out to him. And now the church sent them to find out who really is this person in the wilderness, this character. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."
Now you have to remember that the Jewish nation was looking for the Christ to come ever since the Lord promised Adam and Eve that a Messiah would be born to take away their sins, thousands of years earlier. Now they thought maybe this John was the Christ. But he admits and he says "I am not the Christ". That is his confession. John was going to reflect the glory of the Lord, the glory of Christ -- not his own glory. The leader’s questioning continues. You can picture the leaders of the church addressing John, they ask him: 21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" Again, they had a mistaken notion that maybe this John who was so great in attracting crowds was Elijah. Elijah was supposed to come before the last great day of the Lord. He said, "I am not."