Summary: He prepared the way of the Lord, pioneered soul winning, and was the greatest man ever born, acc’d to Jesus...but even he had his doubts, which Christ satisfied! Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Presentation.
JOHN THE BAPTIST
John 1:19-37; Matt. 11:1-11
This series is “The Gospel of Jesus”, but no study of Christ is complete without understanding His forerunner, the human who introduced Him to the world. John the Baptist is the first soul winner of whom we read in the New Testament, and he was a pioneer in every sense of the word. He not only prepared the way for the Lord, Luke 3:4, but as we study him he will help to prepare us to do this same good work.
There are few people in the Gospels concerning whom we have so much detail and of whom the Lord had so much to say, yet John’s period of service probably covered only six months. He was a unique personality--rugged, strong, yet humble. He was the child of godly parents, Luke 1:5-6; his birth was super normal, Luke 1:7 [leapt in the womb], he was Spirit filled, Luke 1:15: he was our Lord’s forerunner, Luke 7:27. [Behold, the Lamb of God!]
1. HE OBEYED A DIVINE COMMISSION
John’s work was undertaken under a strong sense of divine commission, and in John 1:33 four words emphasize this: "He that sent me". He had been sent to do the work of soul winning. Who had sent him? Look at John 1:6.
It is important to notice, however, that if we truly are Christians then we too have been sent.
Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
2. HE DESCRIBED A SPECIFIC TASK.
Why was John sent? What did he come to do?
John 1:19-22 This sends us back to our OT:
Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:
Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
We also are to be a "voice", we are to speak, to cry out in the wilderness of this world. How wonderful to be a "voice" for God, a channel through whom He can speak to others! Every Christian can engage in this, and on every hand people are waiting to hear this voice that tells them of the Savior. And how did John the Baptist use his voice?...
3. HE INTRODUCED A WONDERFUL PERSON
In all the records of John’s public ministry, and in particular, John 1:19-37, we see that he always pointed people away from himself to the Lord Jesus.
v. 25-27 See John 3:28-30--John calls himself “the best man.”
And may we all have this attitude of making God increase and ourselves decrease!
Who was this Christ whom John introduced to people?
v. 30, 34 Christ was, and is, the eternal, pre¬existent Son of God. We too are to speak of the Lord and to introduce Him to others. There is no vocation in the whole wide world to compare with this. Catch the wonder of it! This is the work of the evangelist, the missionary, the minister, and the individual Christian. But notice what John the Baptist said about the Lord Jesus…
4. HE PROCLAIMED A GLORIOUS MESSAGE
John proclaimed two special things about Christ.
(1) First, that He is the sin bearer, see verses 29 and 36;
(2) Second, that He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, see verses 32 and 33.
Thus the message that John proclaimed to his hearers was that through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they could have deliverance from their sins, Acts 13:38-39, and the gift of a new life.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…
There is only One who can bestow these great blessings, and that is Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for us…and through His sacrificial and substitutionary death upon the cross He bore our sins away and provided pardon and cleansing [look up and compare Ex. 12:13; Acts 8:32; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:24; Rev. 1:5-6].
Only He can take guilty sinners and, by the miracle and mystery of His sovereign grace, unite us "into one body"; and make us "to drink into one Spirit", 1 Cor. 12:13, making us "partakers of the divine nature", 2 Pet. 1:4, "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God", Eph. 2:19, and "an habitation of God through the Spirit", Eph. 2:22. This is the glorious message that we have to proclaim and that this poor old world so desperately needs to hear. Christ alone has the true answer to man’s need for forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. We as Christians have the privilege and the responsibility of proclaiming this message. Are we doing it? If so, we’ll see fruit and the Lord and His work will increase!