Knowing Jesus: John the Baptist
All right turning your bibles to John Chapter One John Chapter One and we're going to continue our series today about knowing Jesus knowing Jesus and the reason that we started this series because we don't want to assume that everybody body is on the same page about who Jesus is. It's just too too reckless of an assumption to be made. It's too important of an issue just to say well. Yeah sure we all I believe the same thing about Jesus and just leave it at that we want to be explicit and here's why is because we have the tendency especially in our are twenty nine thousand American culture to make Jesus into whatever we want him to be and to and to make the Bible into whatever we want it to be and if you WANNA prime example of that you can just look at the news headlines from this past week. And what politicians do you know whenever they want to quote God's word for themselves that that really has no place in. I really have no place in the church but this is a list that I got from some people about some different encounters with a with a different Jesus that they had had first of all there was therapist. Jesus who just helps us cope with life's problems heels are passed tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves might hear about at that one on TV late at night there starbucks Jesus who drinks fair fair trade coffee love spiritual conversations drives a hybrid and goes to film festivals. There's open minded. Jesus who loves everyone at all time no matter what except for the people who are not as open minded as you there's touchdown. Jesus who helps athletes run faster jump higher than the Heathens on the other team and determines the outcomes of big games there shapy Jesus teaches has everyone to give peace a chance imagine the world without religion helps us remember that all you need is love. There's hallmark. Jesus is good for Christmas specials officials greeting cards and inspires people to believe in themselves then there's revolutionary Jesus teaches us to rebel against the status quo's ticket demand the man and buying things on the system then there's the one that I'm the most uncomfortable with and we really want to avoid songs that portray him like this. There's boyfriend Jesus. He wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place directly from a Christian song that made its way around at at at the maybe the beginning of this century and here's why that happens since this term. I'm learning like algae back in high school at something. Ethnocentrism ethnocentrism is the tendency that we have to make our culture and who we are as an individual center the center of the universe right and so we define on everything not according to some objective standard but we define everything and who we are what we like and what we don't like and and the the problem is is that when you do that with Jesus you're actually violating the first two commandments first of all to have other gods before him and secondly not to create an idol when when you take what you like about Jesus and listen to that and scribes that and what you don't like about him you just put over here to be forgotten then you have created an idol and I don't know if you've if you've read the Old Testament God really doesn't like that at all and and so the thing is we want our Jesus to be the Jesus from the pages of scripture from God's revealed word. We want we we want the God that we worship to be the god of his word who's revealed himself to us and if you if you have problems with God's word let me tell you I don't discount discount those come talk to me if you struggle with believing that the sixty six books in the in the old new testaments are God's word. COME TALK TO ME I. I don't think that pastors like you know cut out the lights and locked the door. When people come with hard questions we we love our questions and so so oh come talk to us about that if you if you're struggling because that might be a real struggle but if you believe in the authority of God's word over your life then it's important for us to be continually going back to God's word and digging in deep to say okay who is Jesus. What what more is there to learn about? Jesus and that's why we're we're doing this series for some of you. Maybe you're doctrine will be refreshed because these are things that you've known for a long time and for others. Maybe these will be things that you say you know. I never really thought about out that way but it's all directly from God's word we WANNA vocabulary to be the vocabulary of scripture because whatever scripture teaches brings them life to us and so who is the real Jesus. That's why we're studying the gospel of John and John. Tells US Jesus seven witnesses seven seven signs the miracles in the seven sayings last week we talked about the first witness and that John The apostle he told us that Jesus is the eternal word who is the savior. We should all believe even and this week we wanna hear the testimony of John the Baptist and so let's look in John Chapter one versus nineteen through thirty six. We're going to read this passage in its entirety so just kind of fall along with me as I read at lab this isn't this is the testimony of John when the Jews sent recently bites from Jerusalem to ask him who are you. He confessed and did not deny that confessed Christ and they asked him. What then are you Elijah and he said I'm not not are you are you. The profit answered no so they said to him who are you. We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself. He said I am the voice of one crying out. In the Wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord as the Prophet Isaiah said now they had been sent from the Pharisees and asked him. Why are you baptizing MM -tising. If you're in need of the Christ or the Prophet Jonah Answer Them I will baptize with water but among us among you sans one. You do not know even he who comes comes after me the Strap Sandal. I'm not worthy untie these things took place in Bethany across the Jordan were John was baptizing the next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said behold the lamb of God who takes away the end of the world. This is he of whom I said after he comes a man who ranks before me because he was before me I myself did not know him but for this purpose I came baptizing with water that he might be revealed to Israel and wh- and when John Bore witness saw the spirit descend from heaven like a dove and it remained on him I myself did not know him but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me he on whom you see the spirit descend remain this is he who baptize with the Holy Spirit Britt and I've seen and have borne witness that this is the son of God the next day again John was standing with two of his disciples and he looked Jesus as he walked by and said behold the lamb of God and so that's the message of John the Baptist behold the lamb of God and so let's learn a little bit more about who John the Baptist is before we jump into his message all right now first of all whenever bad this here hear about John. The Baptists are like yeah. He's on our team right and you need to know that's not. That's not actually what that word means right. I mean we are baptised in the same vein that John John was was was bad tising by immersion right but when you read that don't think John the Southern Baptist because it would be better to to make that into Kinda Verb John Tyzzer something that he did. He baptize people by immersion. He was Jesus his cousin. He was the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth and Luke chapter after one chronicles kind of his the prophecy of his birth he he was born. It seems like whenever God wanted to do something really a cool he would take an older couple who never had any kids who couldn't have any kids and he would he would allow them to have kids you think about. Abraham and Sarah and others throughout scripture and so what what he did was Zachariah and Elizabeth they found out <hes> Zachariah in a pretty glorious way there in the temple when he was serving found out that they were we're GonNa have a son and that son was to be named John and then John was conceived and born and he is Elizabeth his mom and and Mary we're cousins and so John is technically Jesus cousin. I can't do the math on that second third fourth whatever and as he grew up I I think that probably he was an orphan because his parents were both very old when he was born and when he grew up he <hes> <hes> maybe that's why he had such a radical appearance and lived out in the wilderness because he was passed around from from family family. Maybe he and Jesus played together when they were younger but they he went on and as he grew up he came to know because I think God revealed it to him. What is calling was and he was called to make straight the pass or he was called to declare the word gone and prepare the way for the Messiah but he didn't know who the Messiah was even though when he was in his mother's womb and Mary came near he leapt at the news right you remember that passage in Luke chapter one one he he was he was very aware in the in the womb because Mary Elizabeth fill the Holy Spirit is very aware that Messiah was near but I don't think I don't think John I had a proximity close enough to Jesus to know exactly that he was the Messiah and so as the time came as they grew up in John started preaching he was preaching preaching and Attleboro radical appearance he wore animal skin with a leather belt locusts and wild honey and he at least preached out in the Wilderness and probably lived out there as well bill and there are a lot of people came to him and he did not hate it and read a copy of Carnegie's how to win friends and influence people because if you read the message passage of John the Baptist in Luke chapter three it was a very abrasive and harsh message why because he had a specific purpose and that's what we want we want to begin into to flesh out here in this passage this message of John that reveals to us who Jesus is and so let's look at this this thing that John was called to do look specifically when it says in Verse Twenty Three said I am the voice of one crying <unk> out in the wilderness make straight the way of the Lord as the Prophet Isaiah said and so one of the cool things about John is that John just have a a he had a purpose but that purpose had been foretold in the Old Testament in fact you want to hold your place in the gospel of John. Turn back over to Malachi the last book in the Old Testament the book of Malachi this whole replacing John turn back over to Malachi and look at the very last words of the old Old Testament which is why they are where they are in the Old Testament Canon Matt Malachi chapter four beginning in verse five unless Russia Malachi Chapter Four Verse Five Malachi writes. It's behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord comes okay. Let's stop there now. You understand why <hes> the Pharisees were asking. Are you Alija. They were expecting a forerunner to the Messiah to come because they hey it read that in the book of Malachi. They had it memorized. They were waiting in fact. Luke Chapter One when John's birth is announced to his father if you if you read the text very closely it says there was a remnant outside praying. What was that remnant praying for well they were being oppressed by Roane? They were praying for deliverance but who was going to bring that Deliverance Messiah and so isn't it interesting that God mobilize those people to pray at the very moment that the angel was being revealed to Zachariah to declare that John was gonna come who would be the forerunner the Messiah now interestingly in John One John Answers. He says I'm not Elijah and so. I don't think John is willfully. Are you telling a falsehood here but I think John just knew what he was called to do and he wasn't looking for any kind of fame and glory to say Elijah. Come back right but here's here's how we know and you can kind of right. You can try this passage down. This is how we know that John is the one being talked about in Malakand because look at chapter four six says he will turn the hearts the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers well Luke chapter one versus sixteen and Seventeen says about John the Baptist he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord God and he will go before them in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make ready for the Lord of people prepared and so the angel in Proclaiming Zachariah that John was coming is rooting his purpose in the pages of Malachi in the pages of is am and so this is the forerunner to the Messiah in John the Baptist and therefore how is he going to make straight the way of the Lord. That's the question for us. In this first part of the message well the reference Isaiah points the fact that John was gonna pave the way he was. GonNa make the path easier straights. It's so that people can see the Messiah and therefore his goal was to prepare people spiritually so that they could behold them. How would he do this. I'm going to tell you just real quick. The direction that people give utmost importance several months ago or a couple of months ago <hes> in Aurora Colorado Aurora Colorado drivers were headed to the Denver International Airport and you know everybody's is Kinda scared of this now but google is Google knows you're here facebook knows you're here and and one of the things that you agree to that that end user license agreement that nobody reads except anyway is that they can track you because they want to know the traffic patterns and if you're if you're on a road and you're stuck in traffic topic then it'll it'll update. Everybody else's funds. There's real time traffic updates. No reroute people and this actually happened in Aurora Colorado a couple of months ago as people were going to the Edinburgh International Airport where there was a wreck and so everybody who is using Google maps re-routed them and said Hey. You need to go this way. Get off on this exit and go down and it tells them this can be a dirt road right but you're fine but what Google does it no is that there have been a recent thunderstorm and so over over one hundred people end up getting trapped and I- mud bog in Aurora Colorado because Google Map took them down a hundred cars long right and and so it was really funny thing about about about Google not knowing everything and about how willing we willingly we follow follow our smartphones and and so this is the reason I tell you. The story is because John himself else John Himself wanted to make the path easy to the Messiah and the good news is is that when God called John. He gave him the very clear message about what what to preach so that this didn't happen to people spiritually. Let's face it. This is what happened. People spiritual when the Pharisees preached with all of their six hundred fifteen fifteen additional walls that they heaped on the people the the way of the Lord was not straight it was not prepared had gotten muddy and people have been bogged down for a long time and so John came to a correction on what the Pharisees kind of the beginning of a correction on what the Pharisees had been preaching and therefore the the two components of his message our his message to us today about who Jesus really is first and foremost it's repent he calls us is to repent. Luke chapter three versus seven and eight record this when when some of these initial people come to him and listen to this he says you brew to Vipers. There's WHO warned you to flee from the wrath to come bear fruit in keeping with repentance in order for a person according to John the Baptist according to God who call John the Baptist in order for a person to recognize their need for Jesus. They must repent repentance is a key component of the gospel of Jesus Christ and yet it's a word that we're shying away from more and more more and more and more and more and this is actually what your community groups are going to be about tonight. We're GonNa talk about what is repentance house repentance fit into our lives especially only the Christian life and so repentance is this crucial component of the Gospel because sin always always always always separates us from God. If you don't hear anything else that I say today operate they got would lodge into your mind. Sin Always separates us from God. It corrupts his plan. It stains our very souls and it destroys relationships sin always separates us us from God and from the people that God's putting our minds apart from Christ Syndrome spiritual death even with Christ sin breaks our fellowship and break our relationship chimp send breaks our fellowship with the father in an art our day and age of where we're kind of coming out of this idea if you notice the cultural narrative is shifted. We're not we're no longer you know trying to trying to talk about self esteem and and be a better you now well. It's now. It's no you just you be. You and it's not it's not it's not better be more virtuous. Be This that things that you are now. You don't have a right to tell. Tell me what I am and what I'm not. I am who I am and you can't say anything about it so I'm just going to stay this way right. That's kind of the Cultural Gospel cool if you will. That's not really a Gospel but the message Jesus Christ comes in two thousand nineteen. Americans says no you must repent or are you all likewise perish. Repentance is a key component of the Gospel and see us. Let's put it this way. The reason that repentance is so crucial he you said fallen. Man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement. He is a rebel who needs must lay down his arms and laying down your arm surrendering saying saying you're sorry realizing that you've been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor. That is the only way out of a hole this process of surrender. This movement went full stern is what Christians call repentance and that's why John came proclaiming. A message of repentance is because you cannot continue to love yourself self to love your sin to love own agenda that you set up for your life and yet the united with the savior. You must do what those all those drivers in Aurora Colorado had to do they had to eventually change direction and go back the other way. That's what repentance really is and that repentance of sin prepares us to receive the next part art of John's testimony and that is one that he says multiple times in this passage at behold the lamb you see the testimony of John is not just about repentance penance for repentance alone cannot save us. You need to hear that repentance alone cannot save anybody feeling sorry for your sin feeling guilty over your sin and feeling even we would use the Christian word convicted over your sin cannot save you. Those things alone cannot save you. No matter how bad or how guilty about sin no matter how many barriers you try to set up to to to make you better it cannot save you. This is this is this. This is the way that I tried to respond. When I I understood the Gospel March nineteen ninety seven and I remember being at a Christian Camp Camp and for the first time even though I've grown up in Church and heard the gospel over and over and over and over again in those days it clicked at least in part because I was very well acquainted with mountains sinfulness and I knew I needed to repent but my response lots of repentance was I'll do better. I wanted to change direction but I wanted to try to work my way out of it. That's not that may be the beginning of real repentance but that's not the way that we that we come to know Jesus and so on the one hand end repentance on the other hand. There's something else and that's what John Points is two in the second part of his message out of all the names that John could have called Jesus look at Verse Twenty Twenty Nine and the next day saw Jesus coming toward him and he said behold the lamb of God and then look again in verse thirty six verse thirty six he says and he looked Jesus walked by and said behold the what the lamb of God okay so obviously we learn by repetition right. John knows what he's doing in. John is an old man John. The Apostle is an old man when he's writing all this down. He's preached this message over and over and over and over again why included twice while obviously it's because it's important important behold the lamb you see the testimony of John is not just about repentance but it's about the remedy that repentance points us is to you see Santa's the ultimate problem for human beings but no amount of effort no amount of humiliation guilt or apology can do something called a tone tone it cannot atone for sins and that's why the baptism of John was not a baptism that saves people the baptism of John. John was just for repentance. You see Santa's the problem that God has been dealing with ever since John Genesis chapter. Three the Bible is not a bunch of disconnected elected discombobulated stories. The Bible is epic narrative about how God brings restoration in the broken this of our world. That's what we sang about. We sang worthy that Jesus is that restoration and by his death burial and resurrection that restoration comes into ours personally but not just personally as we're mobilized to be agents of restoration in this world got uses his church to be salt and light in our community right which is why we saying the first one that we saying about build your kingdom here we want God to do that through plus and little by little restoration happens in individual lives in the Kingdom of God is is is built and has furthered in our midst and and so this is God's agenda is to deal with in through a sacrifice and that's why God gave the law to Israel and Leviticus to help them understand something very critical about what had to happen for sin to be taken away all of those sacrifices that shed that shed the blood aww bulls and goats and other animals they were preaching a single unified message and that can be summed up in Hebrews Chapter Nine verse twenty two that without the shedding of blood. There is no forgiveness miss of sins meaning. There's no atonement. There's nothing bringing you back together with the one you've offended apart from the shedding of blood and that's why i John that was also written by the Apostle John First John Chapter. Two verse says this that Jesus is the propitiate. Let's say that we're together. Propitiate Action One more time propitiate some of your like. I'm not even trying that. He is the if you don't don't like the word. Let me tell you a non seminary word for that and that is atoning sacrifice. Jesus is the the sacrifice that brings atonement for our sins and not only for hours but also for the sins of the whole world you see this is in John's letter. This is his John. Three sixteen right got some other world that he sent his only son that whoever would believe in him should not perish but have eternal life. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice vice for our sins. I'm just GonNa were waving a bunch of scriptures together. Which I love to do so let me point one more okay. This is going to bring these together. Hebrews Chapter Twelve or twenty four it says Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkle blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. That's why burs is one of those books and it's like it's really you read it and I think you really have to have a little bit cool mindset to understand the book of Hebrews but here's what it saying able able refers back to Cain and Abel right and if you remember the story about when Cain killed his brother Abel God in one little section there. He says his blood is crying out to me from the ground. What was the blood crying out her. You're guilt pain conflict so that innocent blood that was shed cried out aw to the ears of John and it brought condemnation it brought judgment on Kane and what the writer of Hebrews. There's a saying he's saying all of us like sheep gone astray. The wages of all our sin is death and the blood that is on our hands from our own sand cries <music> out for us the same thing that Abel's blood cried out against Kane for him. We're guilty. There's there's no escaping it. We are stuck in our sin consigned signed to death row the verdict is already been cast upon us and we have no hope until Jesus comes and until Jesus dies and when Jesus shed his blood on the cross. That blood speaks a better word. What word is that. Percy Grace Peace Hope Honus oneness satisfaction action fellowship communion all available to us now because Jesus blood has been shed and his blood that is shed covers over us. It's like the old him says what can wash away my sin nothing but the blood of Jesus are sentenced tone for we are reunited reconciled and justified God faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that brings us back together with our father and where our sin has separated us from him. The blood of Jesus brings exist back into a relationship with him. You see send destroy God's plan in every area it touches it affects you physically relational emotionally really mentally and Jesus is the only remedy that brings broken this brings brings back into the broken this sin brings and and so this is what John Gones message tells us I tell people I tell people all the time that that are coming to me for council they come in there may be stuck in one place or another area of their life or another and I I just asked him. I say wait. How do you get going in the wrong direction and the answer. Is One step at a time right. Rarely do we end up in some kind of big catastrophic failure with one big step rather at happens through little compromise compromise compromise and all those former kind of pathway in December. I guess how you get get going back in the right direction. Just one step at a time in the opposite direction right right. I just one time in the opposite direction so here's here's the way I'd like to some of the message of Gun John. Shows us the two feet by which we walk out and follow Jesus. I foot is repentance. Second Foot is faith in repentance. I I reject a throw away. All that has separated me from God. I say I don't want that anymore. I don't love that anymore. I've been I recognize that. That's just brought me death and destruction. That's repentance and that's the first foot set but then the second footstep cons and it's faith is that Jesus paid it. All God loves me. He sent his son to die for me. He is my treasure. He's the one I love love and I thought turn away from US my senna myself and has not turned toward Jesus it forms this this these footsteps by which I follow Jesus in my daily life. It's just this. This is what we talked about. We talked about walking with God. I'm walking with him and I'm repenting of old self and the things that I still struggle with the things that but I still cling to and I'm setting my eyes. I'm fixing my eyes on Jesus the author and professor of fake and I'm walking after him and believing his promises and continuing yeah throw off my old self and embracing my new cell I'm I'm. I'm saying no to send Satan and death and I'm saying Yes to the father son and the spirit and they're working are in my life. It's just this one step step after the other in the right direction and this is exactly what the message of John tells us repents and behold the lamb repent and see how he's taken away your sin reject all that has separated you from him and embrace all that Jesus is for you in the nineteen sixties. There was a French inventor who created a children's story known as the magic screen and inside that screen kind of underneath it was aluminum powder so that as children turn these knobs there was a stylus inside of it scraped the powder away from the screen creating design. We know them as a sketch right right and this is an actual design. I was never that good okay. I can't even imagine how you would do do that. Some of you may have been sketch artists right but the the best or maybe the worst part about an sketch if you had siblings. It's probably the worst part was that after. You've spent all that time right. How did you Michelle got it. How did you how do you erase the screen. You shake it and maybe you've done something right right and you come along and we're like. Oh Wow you know no. It's gone forever and it's gone forever would have been great to have smartphones with cameras on back then and so hello this French inventor gave us a great illustration about Sin Atonement. You San Marks up the screen of our lives it really does it really does hurt us rips into the soul that God created guy gave to you you say but the the evidence of our San Dan our our disobedience even it's indisputable. It's not a pretty picture when we turn our eyes on the lamb of God and we follow him and repentance and faith. It's like God takes that sketch of our soul and just Jackson to wear the thing that you poured yourself into that separated you from him because of what Jesus has done. It's no more and this is the Gospel awesome that we proclaim this. Jesus that we embrace the biblical Jesus who tells us to repent and put our faith in him for those who've never trusted Christ in this room today. There may be some in here who've never put their faith in Jesus. I want to tell you that in following Jesus today in repentance and faith as you've heard the promises of God for you that is you believe in him. They God takes all those scars that are on your soul and just like that sketchy shakes them because of the blood of Jesus your make clean your made holy in you see that's the the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that he cast US sins as far as East is from the West but for the majority of you in here who are believers what you're going to talk about and community groups tonight is that repentance faith. They're not just something that we do at the moment of our salvation but rather forms the footsteps by which we follow Christ all throughout the rest of our our lives and if you wanNA perfect example of that thing about something else that the Apostle John said and i John Chapter One verse nine if we say we have no sin and we'd save ourselves he's talking to believers in the truth is not in us but oh version on what a treasure what a promise to cling to if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and he cleanses from all unrighteousness repentance is agreeing agreeing with this truth and confessing and faith is believing that God will do it and so today during this imitation if you don't know Christ repent and believe let those footsteps of Repentance and faith become the foundation upon which you enter into a relationship with Jesus but if you're a believer in this room today how has your week looked this past week what needs to be repented of and the pathways the same for you. Let I John Chapter One verse nine. Wash your soul and recognize that it's for us and that as we believe then the the effects of sin in our life with that sketch of our soul it applies to us just as well and so as as we have this time imitation. Kevin is GONNA come. Shans GonNA come. WE'RE GONNA sing through that Song Amazing Grace again. We're GONNA believe that that crisis for us. If you're here in this room today that grace for you and not desire would be that you would recognize that. Jesus is the only way and then as you recognize Jesus the only way that you would follow him. Whatever that looks like in your life let's pray to.