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Summary: What made John stand out that Christ singles him out as the greatest human being born up to that point in time?

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WHAT MADE JOHN THE BAPTIST GREAT?

MATTHEW 11:1-11

Introduction: When we think of the greatest men and women of the Bible, we think of Moses, Abraham, David, Sarah, Ruth, Elijah, Peter, and Paul. Yet, Jesus Christ said that no one had ever been born who is greater than John the Baptist. What made John stand out that Christ singles him out as the greatest human being born up to that point in time?

I. He was Spirit-filled

A. Luke 1:15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

B. Most Christians tend to minimize the Holy Spirit’s role in their lives. They need to realize that it was the Holy Spirit who drew them to belief in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit Who wants to works in their life to mold them into the image of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for them and stands as their Advocate. One cannot live successfully as a Christian apart from the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.

C. Every believer is indwelled by the Spirit, but not every believer is controlled by the Spirit.

D. Ephesians 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”

E. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to have opened yourself to the Spirit, committing every area of your life to Christ, seeking to glorify God in everything, and dedicated to do God’s will.

F. “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.” - Andrew Murray.

G. You have probably been in a restaurant where the waitress has asked, "Can I warm up your coffee for you?" The cup may be half-full and cold after sitting on the table for a while. When she pours the new coffee in, she refills and warms up the cup. Maybe you are spiritually cold and empty. It doesn’t have to stay that way. Quit trying to live in your own power and strength. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit right now. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 93)

II. He lived a Separated life

A. Matthew 3:4 “And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”

B. John’s food and clothing was far from fashionable. He lived a strict, separated and disciplined life. He did not conform to the world around him.

C. Matthew 11:18 “For John came neither eating nor drinking…”

D. Mark 6:20 “...Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man…”

E. We need to fashion our lives from a heavenly perspective not based on this world’s.

F. An advertising billboard campaign in Los Angeles by New York fashion house Charivari displayed these words: "Just because you live in LA it doesn’t mean you have to dress that way." Just because we live the world doesn’t mean that we have to be like the world.

G. Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”

III. He was Steadfast in his stand

A. John the Baptist was uncompromising when it came to truth and righteousness.

B. His messages were not watered down or permissive. He called sin - sin and confronted the issue of sin regardless whether he was speaking to the people, the priests, or the politician. , confronted backsliders with the nearness of eternity and compelled men to fruits of righteousness and obedience to the word of God.

C. Luke 3:7-9 “Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ’We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

D. Luke 1:17 tells us that John came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Elijah was known for his bold uncompromising stand for the Word of God. Remember his confrontations with Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel. John had this same boldness.

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