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Summary: What kind of man was John the Baptist? Rough and tough in dress and speech.

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Introduction

The outline for this message came from "The Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible", from Leadership Ministries Worldwide.

John, a neighbor of mine, was annoyed because he had to search for his newspaper each morning after the paperboy tossed it. Often he would find it, covered with dirt, under the car in the gravel driveway. Then one-day the paperboy's mother mentioned that her son's ambition was to play professional basketball. John had an idea. When he got home, he attached a basketball hoop to a post on the front porch. Sure enough, the next morning there was a resounding "plunk" as the newspaper sailed through the hoop and landed by the door. John never had to search for his paper again.

Lets turn to Mark 1:6 .

This is a quote from Max Lucado. John the Baptist would never get hired today. No church would touch him. He was a public relations disaster.

First was his attire.

Mark 1:6 (NKJV)

Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

I have experienced the problem of improper dress. I wear western style clothing, but back East, it was looked upon as improper attire. It was obvious that I was new in the church, but everyone except the official greeters ignored me. Just imagine if I had been candidating to be pastor of that church, obviously I would not have been hired as preacher because my dress was not in good eastern taste.

Next to his attire, was his preaching.

Why, His message was as rough as his dress. A no-nonsense, bare-fisted challenge to repent because God was on His way. No, John’s style wasn’t smooth. He made few friends and lots of enemies, but what do you know? He made hundreds of converts.

How do you explain it? It certainly wasn’t his charisma, nor his money or position—for he had neither. Then what did he have? One word: Holiness.

Turn to 1 Peter 1:15-16.

Holiness seeks to be like God. You want to make a difference in your world? Live a holy life. Be faithful to your spouse. Pay your bills. Be the employee who does the work and doesn’t complain. Don’t speak one message and live another! Just be like God in your world.

1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)

but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, {16} because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

John the Baptist set a brilliant example for every minister and believer of the gospel.

His message is a message for everyone; he speaks to the common person and to the religious elite alike. Now we will outline our passage as follows:

John ministered in the wilderness (verse l)

His message to the people: repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (verses 2-6).

His message to the religious elite, the Pharisees and Sadducees (verses 7-10).

And his message to all was Christ centered Messianic preaching.

Lets consider Matthew 3:1

John ministered in the wilderness.

Matthew 3:1 (NKJV)

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

This was not a desolate, desert-like area. It was a country area with at least six cities scattered about, probably small communities or villages. It was in this country area, the wilderness of Judaea, that John emerged with the lightning cry for repentance: the long-awaited Messiah is at hand.

Turn to Psalms 46:10

Thought 1. God uses the wilderness (quiet places) to prepare and launch the ministry of people.

Quietness is essential:

Psalms 46:10 (NKJV)

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Turn to 1 Timothy 4:15.

Meditation is essential.

1 Timothy 4:15 (NKJV)

Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

Thought 2. Believers are never alone, no matter how secluded they may be. God is there. He will reveal and manifest Himself in the place where believers are; He will use the believer in the place as a witness to His name.

Thought 3. The gospel began in a wilderness, not in a synagogue or temple or church.

Thought 4. God has the very place for every believer to serve.

John's place was in the wilderness; Christ's was in the cities and synagogues as well as the countryside. Believers should witness and prophets should preach wherever they are in the wilderness or in the city.

Now we turn to Matthew 3:2 - 6.

John's message to the people was repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:2-6 (NKJV)

and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" {3} For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'" {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. {5} Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him {6} and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

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