Summary: An overview of the message of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:1-12

The Message of John the Baptist

Matthew 3:1-12

January 22, 2004


Last week we began our look at the message of John the Baptist, by spending time discussing the word ¡§repent,¡¨ and how that should impact our lives. We¡¦re going to review that some as we go through the message this morning.

This morning we continue our look at the message of John the Baptist by looking at the bigger picture of his message as a whole.

I would invite you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 3:1-12. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, you can find this on page 682.

MT 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 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.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

What was it that attracted people to John? Was it his sparkling personality? Unlikely. He may have been a great guy ¡V we don¡¦t know.

Was it his dress? Possibly. Obviously he wasn¡¦t in the running for Blackwell¡¦s ¡§Best Dressed List,¡¨ and he wouldn¡¦t have cared, even if such a thing existed back then.

But I think you¡¦d have to admit that a guy walking around with a camel hair outfit speaking religious messages would attract some attention.

Was it his family? We don¡¦t know anything about his parents after his circumcision, when he was named John by his parents, according to the command of God.

But his father was an influential temple leader, so maybe people went out to see Zechariah and Elizabeth¡¦s son, especially if they thought maybe he¡¦d gone off the deep end.

But I think that while some of these reasons may have been why some people went to see him, the clear implication from Scripture is that what brought people to John was not his personality, his dress, or his lineage.

It was his message.

The message of John was captivating. And more than that, it was convicting. God used John to communicate the need for repentance, in preparation for the coming the Messiah.

So let¡¦s take a look at four facts about his message, and maybe we can catch a glimpse of not just John, but more importantly, the heart of God.

My hope is that as we look at this, we will be able to find something in it from God for each of you, whether you have been following Christ for many years, are new to this relationship with Christ, or even just checking it out for now.

I hope that you will find something beyond a general principle. I pray that God will show you something specific that you can put into your life right away.

In anticipation of that, let¡¦s pray.

The first fact about John¡¦s message was that¡K

1. His message was for everyone.

He didn¡¦t seek an audience with anybody. He made his message available to all who would hear it.

His message was for sinners looking for forgiveness, and for religious people who thought they didn¡¦t need it.

And even a king heard the message, as much as he didn¡¦t like to!

His message wasn¡¦t just for the wealthy. It wasn¡¦t just for the poor.

His message wasn¡¦t just for the learned. It wasn¡¦t just for the ignorant.

His message wasn¡¦t just for the married person. It wasn¡¦t just for the single person.

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