Summary: A clear portrait of a believer who has purpose is found in the example of John the Baptizer. There we will find principles that help us see the importance of participating in God's agenda.
It is believed that in the average New Testament church in America, 20% of the people do a hundred percent of the work. Have you heard that before? That 20% of the people do a hundred percent of the work. People always say, ‘Why is that lady always doing something?’ Because you won’t do nothing. The question isn’t why is that lady always doing something; the question is why aren’t you ever doing anything?
20% of the people do 100% of the work. If this is true, that would mean that 80% of all Christians are spectators. It means that when we do come to church, we come to church to watch. Don’t let your mind sink but most Christians like to watch.
On any given Sunday, we come to watch the praise team sing; we watch a deacon pray; we watch praise dancers dance; we watch ushers usher; we watch greeters greet; we watch Sunday school teachers teach; we watch preachers preach. And then after we finish our watching—after we watch everybody do what they do—then we go home.
We can become—if we are not careful—spiritual gapers. The crowd, in most churches, under this scenario is really a gaper’s block.
Well, Pastor—how do you know that this in not the way that it is supposed to be? The reason I know that it is not the way that it is supposed to be, is because according to Galatians chapter 6, every man is supposed to prove his own work.
Ask your neighbor: Do you have any work?
According to 1st Corinithians 3:13, it says every individual’s work—one of these days is going to be tried.
In these verses that I just read, I am convinced that just by looking at John we can miss our own assignments. Just by spectating and looking at the life of John, we will miss participating and being a part of the life of us. But since we’re comfortable spectating, let’s spectate first. The Bible says that there was a man sent from God who’s name was John. The writer of this particular gospel, through penmanship and authorship—is a person who’s name is also John. He is John, the brother of James—the son of Zebedee. That is who the author of this text is—John the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. During the writing of this gospel, John is a disciple of Jesus. As a matter of fact, he is a part of the inner circle. If you remember, when the Master would hang out and sometimes, who would he take? Peter, James and John.
John, the author of this gospel, is not the John that is mentioned in verse 6. The John that is mentioned in verse 6 is John the Baptizer. John, the gospel writer, is the only gospel writer that never refers to John the Baptizer as John the Baptist. He only calls him John. Also in this gospel, John never refers to himself by name in the whole book. As far as he is concerned, John the Baptist is the only John. John the writer of this book, he refers to himself as the disciple who Jesus loved. Bible Trivia for 250—John, the writer of this book is the only writer who referred to himself as the disciples who Jesus loved—no other disciple referred to him as the disciple who Jesus loved. He’s the only one who called himself that disciple who Jesus loved. Well listen—you better know that Jesus loves you, if nobody else knows—you better know that Jesus loves you.
This man sent from God who’s name was John has a very special and significant place in history. He is the only person in the long list of the prophets (and you know them all—Ezekiel, Daniel…..)—is the only prophet who is given the privilege of announcing and introducing the world to Jesus. John was known essentially as the one who would herald the Master. Herald, karotzos in the Greek translation, denotes to announce or foretell with unction. And the picture is found in the latter part of the 4th Chapter of Matthew where John is engaged in baptism and while he was baptizing he is the only one who is given the assignment—the only one who was able—he is the only one who looked down, as my father used to say the dusty road (and I don’t know how he knew it was dusty but I guess since they didn’t have no sidewalk it was dusty)—he looked down the dusty road and what did he say? “Behold…the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”. He is the only one who is given the privilege of pointing out Jesus.
Now usually when we preachers narrate this passage, we stop right here and we tell John’s story. We tell the story of John the baptizer.