Temple Baptist Church - 8-27-2017
A. This morning, I want to look in the New Testament at the last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist. First, let me set the background for the message.
B. For 4,000 years, since the first Messianic Promise in Genesis 3:15 until the birth of Christ, the world waited for the promised “Seed of the Woman.”
C. For 400 years between Malachi’s prophecy and the beginning of the New Testament, God spoke not one word! These have been called the “400 Silent years.”
1. As the Old Testament prophecy came to an end, hope declined and religion took its place. Now they had both the temple and synagogues.
2. They had priests as well as Pharisees and Sadducees. Israel went from the purity of an inward righteousness to the impurity of an outward righteousness.
D. At the time of our Lord’s birth, Israel and the world sat in spiritual darkness and bondage to Rome. Few looked for the long-promised Messiah and his birth was shrouded in obscurity.
Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
E. In fulfillment Isaiah 40:3, Zacharias and Elisabeth begat a son whom God named John.
Matthew 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
F. John the Baptist was a second cousin to our Lord Jesus Christ and six months older. John and the Lord Jesus grew up together. He grew up with the Lord and knew not that it was Him that was promised.
G. There are many similarities between the first and second comings of our Lord. There are also many similarities between the forerunner, John the Baptist, and the church.
1. John Was Great Because He Was A Chosen Man - John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (To be commissioned for a special task or mission. We are a chosen generation.)
2. John Was Great Because He Was A Godly Man - Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (John lived a clean life for the Lord. We are to live a clean life for the Lord.)
3. John Was Great Because He Was A Burning Man - John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. (Before John could shine for God, first, he had to burn for God. He was willing to put all his energy into the work of God. We are to shine for God as the light of the world.)
4. John Was Great Because He Was A Preaching Man - Matthew 3:1-2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (John preached the way of salvation and the coming of the Messiah. We preach the way of salvation and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.)
5. John Was Great Because He Was A Humble Man - John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease. (John knew that he was not there to place himself on a pedestal but to glorify and point people to Christ. We that are saved are to glorify Christ and point sinners to Him.)
6. John Was Great Because He Was Just A Man - Luke 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
1. As John the Baptist walked with God in expectancy, he was “the voice of one.”
a. Not “a” voice but “the” voice. There were many voices of religion in John’s day but only one voice of salvation. Thus, it is with our day.
b. Many religions and denominations clamor for the attention of the world, causing much spiritual confusion. Their “voice” is always the Bible plus or minus something. These make the Bible adapt to their doctrines instead of adapting their doctrines to the Bible. God has always had one voice and one way of righteousness, God’s Word.
c. Today’s religion attacks the Word of God by reducing it to a manmade version instead of a God made Bible!
2. As John the Baptist walked with God in expectancy, he cried aloud in a world that was a spiritual “wilderness.”
a. Crying means to proclaim loudly. John the Baptist was a prophet and a preacher. Until the day of our Lord’s public appearance, John continue to be the voice of righteousness crying in the spiritual wilderness of this world.
b. We who are expecting the soon return of our Lord are to be crying aloud in the sinful wilderness that we live in. How shall they hear without a preacher and that preacher is you; that preacher is me.
c. As in Noah’s day, they may not listen but they will know who we are and what we preach.
3. As John the Baptist walked with God in expectancy, he “prepared the way of the Lord.”
a. John the Baptist was the plowman. He prepared the ground for the seed to be planted. That preparation is repentance of sin. First, it takes a recognition of what sin is and a godly sorrow for that sin.
b. John the Baptist was the sower as he prophesied of the Lord’s coming and point the people to “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
c. We who expect the Lord to come need to continue to preach and stand against sinfulness, preach and teach repentance, and point the world to Christ. We must decrease while our Lord Jesus Christ increases.
Conclusion: We are to occupy until He comes. We look for Him expectantly as His coming is imminent.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.