The Certainty Of Christ’s Baptism
Book of Luke 3:1-38
It should be very clear to us all that the coming of Jesus the Christ to this world was the pivotal point in human history!
Some may not accept this truth but the Scriptures declare that the entire world will one day in the future declare Him Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
The Lord Jesus Christ changed the world so much that the calendar changed and the years are measured by His first coming.
When Christ Jesus first came He came as the Savior of the world!
When Christ returns, He will come as the true Judge of this world!
For Christ to have the impact that He did, God provided a forerunner.
Christ needed someone to could go before Him and arouse the people to prepare His coming.
That person was John the Baptist!
Christ Jesus needs someone to go before Him and arouse the people to prepare for His second coming.
That is the Church!
John the Baptist is an example for the Church of proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ.
*****Luk 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
We know that there will always be those who try every possible way to dispute the Word of God.
The fact remains that John the Baptist introduced our Savior to the world!
The ministry of Christ Jesus began when He was introduced by John!
Tiberius Caesar, also known as Nero, was in the 15nth year of his reign when God called John out of the wilderness.
Tiberius reigned from 14 AD till 37 AD so this event would have would have taken place around 29 AD.
Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea which meant that he was the civil ruler and also the military commander.
Pilate held this office from 26 AD till 36 AD.
Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. Tetrarch simply means a ruler over a fourth part of what his father ruled.
He ruled this area from 4 BC to 39 AD.
Philip, another son of Herod the Great, was tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitus. Philip was reputed as a good man, fair and just.
Caesarea Philippi was built and named after him.
Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene. Lysanias was the son of Lysanias which has caused some confusion by historians but Luke is accurate in what he writes.
*****Luk 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests.
The High Priest of Israel had become a political tool used by Rome and was certainly corrupt in this day.
According to the Law of Moses, there was never to be more than one High Priest at any one time and they held that position until their death.
The High Priesthood was to be hereditary and held within the family of Aaron, the first High Priest.
BUT, Rome used the position of High Priest to secure power over Jewish life!
This is what false religion does as it tries to dominate in the lives of people.
This is what religion influenced by governments do as governments try to control the people.
This is the very reason that the 1st and the 14nth amendments to the Constitution were written by our forefathers and not in reverse as it is interpreted today, to keep government out of the Church and not the Church out of the government.
Rome gave this position to men who were willing to lead the people to follow the Roman rule.
Between 37 BC and 26 AD a period of 63 years there were 28 different High Priests that were installed and removed by Rome.
The High Priest’s office became corrupted and politically motivated.
Annas served as High Priest between 7 AD and 14 AD but Rome was still behind his power.
Caiaphas was officially the High Priests in Rome’s eyes but Annas was the High Priest that the Jewish leaders looked to.
In the false trial of Jesus, He was first taken to Annas and then to Caiaphas.
Joh 18:13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
It was during this political nightmare of corruption that John the Baptist was called out of the wilderness.
Today in America we see our own list of appointments, regulations and authorities and how political appointments will most always breed corruption.
Just look and see what’s happened to our Supreme Court!
As Jesus ministered to such a world so it is for the Church!
As John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, so it is for the Church!
As Jesus first came at such a time at first, Jesus will return at the fullness of these things!
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
And John begins his work and the purpose he was called of God to do.
*****Luk 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
John preached the repentance and forgiveness of sins!
This simply means that if a man wished to be forgiven of his sins, he must repent which means “he has turned away from his sin and after that then he could be baptized.
The evidence of turning away from his sin would show in a changed life!
Baptism then, was a sign to those that knew him and to the world that he was changing his life, because he wanted God to forgive his sin.
1) We must have a desire to be forgiven!
This can only happen if we have acknowledged that we are a sinner!
2) We must make a decision to repent, to turn from our sinful ways and to change our lives!
Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
3) Only after these things comes baptism!
Baptism is only a sign to the world that here after you are going to live for God and live a changed life.
What is the truth?
A) Forgiveness of sin is conditional.
We must first repent to be forgiven and if we truly repent we can be baptized!
B) Baptism is to be the witness or the sign that a man has repented and changed his life.
We should also note that baptism was not at this time a practiced among the Jews even though they did believe in spiritual cleansing with water.
Isa 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
And note it was John the Baptist who proclaimed that he was the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah.
*****Luk 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Luk 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
Luk 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
For the Jews, it was a dark and dreary time because they lived under the domination of Rome and saw no end to it.
John preached better times are coming but only if we repent!
John warned the people as he quoted from the Book of Isaiah!
1) John said prepare for that valley to be filled, which represents all those who repent and are humbled before the Lord. They would be exalted.
2) John said prepare, for those mountains and hills will be brought low, which means all those full of their own pride and boastful ways, would loose everything and be made low.
They would be made as low as the dust of the ground, if they would not repent!
3) John said prepare, for the crooked would be made straight, which means, the crooked thief, the crooked politician, the crooked business man, the crooked husband and even those crooked wives, all the crooked sinners throughout the world, who are bent out of shape could be straightened if they would repent.
4) John said prepare, for the rough ways will be made smooth, which means the ways of hopelessness, the ways of loneliness, the ways of emptiness, the ways of guilt and shame, and sin and false religion and false worship, will be made smooth and easy to reach.
Christ Jesus simply made salvation a simple thing!
5) John said prepare, for the salvation of God shall be seen of all flesh!
Not only to the Jews, but to all people who connect with the Messiah.
When the way is prepared then the Savior will appear!
John’s preaching woke up all who heard him, to prepare to look at the Messiah.
Daniel had foretold of this day and it would be fulfilled.
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And then John preached to those who came on their own.
*****Luk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
John preached that salvation could only come by the Messiah but John also preached condemnation.
As we witness to those who do not know the Lord we should always tell the truth about salvation before we ever tell about condemnation!
Most people realize they are lost. It is our job to tell them how to be saved!
John always preached the truth about men, no matter who they were!
1) Those of false religion are vipers!
Their message is poisonous!
They had allowed themselves to be poisoned and they intended to poison all others.
2) And John then preached the wrath to come.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
*****Luk 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
The truth is we must first repent and then bear fruit. In other words our repentance must be noticeable to others.
There should be evidence of a changed life!
John preached against pride!
Many of those that came to John believed they were acceptable to God, just because they were Jews, the descendants of Abraham and of godly forefathers.
Many believed they were acceptable to God because, they had been circumcised and dedicated to God as the Laws of Moses had said. They felt the righteousness of their parents had saved them.
Many of them believed how they lived did not really matter when it came to being accepted to God as they were already the chosen of God.
Even today most all people believe that they are just special enough to be accepted of God!
They reason these things in their minds:
They have godly parents.
They have been baptized.
Their good out weighs their bad.
They are religious.
They are members of a church.
They are regular worshipers.
But God says this is simply not the truth!
It is not enough just to have a head knowledge of God.
It takes a personal relationship with God to be saved!
John preached salvation through the Messiah.
The Messiah said:
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
John also preached judgment!
*****Luk 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
What is the truth of the Bible? God will one day sweep away everything in this world that is corrupt!
Jesus came to save!
This is the only part that He has given us to do!
Obviously we cannot be saviors but we can lead as many as we can to the Lord Jesus and He will save them!
As Christians we are to portray God’s “goodness” and God’s “mercy”!
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
This is what God requires of those that are called by His name!
So the truth remains that:
1) God is the Divine Woodsman.
2) The axe has already been laid at the roots of the trees.
3) The trees are not yet cut down but all men have been warned.
4) There are many trees, some lofty (the proud), some stately (the politicians), some diseased, some bearing good fruit, some bearing bad fruit, some bearing no fruit.
5) All trees that do not bear good fruit will be chopped down and cast into the fire!
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
And what is the question we all should ask after we have heard the truth of the “Gospel”?
What shall we do then?
*****Luk 3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Luk 3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Any good preacher will allow some time for the people to repent and confess their sins after the sermon!
Any good preacher will lead those who are under conviction to the Lord!
The preaching of John the Baptist stirred the people and he led them to Jesus!
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
We are always to care enough for God’s people to share what we have with those in need!
And many times our giving should be sacrificial.
Give not only of the things God has blessed us with but give also of ourselves!
In the eyes of God this is fruit of repentance!
This is evidence of a changed life!
*****Luk 3:12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Luk 3:13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Tax collectors were despised because they were Jews who were to collect the taxes for Rome and many would collect much more than was required and cheat the people.
A tax collector who wanted God to forgive their sins, had to change the way they did business.
Notice they were not told to get a new job, they were told that they had to become a person of justice.
They had to show their love for others enough to treat them fairly and respectfully and justly!
*****Luk 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
The soldiers were to be respectful and loving, to all people.
They were to do no violence to any man. That means they were never to act like a terrorist!
Roman soldiers would sometimes allow illegal things to go on if they were paid a bribe and this must cease.
They were to be satisfied with their wages.
A soldier will sometimes allow politics to influence him in bad ways, they were to always be truthful and honest no matter where they served.
I believe the American soldiers are the best in the world, not only because they are the best trained, but because they still love people wherever they go and most of them are true ambassadors for our nation.
Even a soldier could show a changed life by respecting and loving people, being truthful and honest and responsible!
The important fruit John was looking for was a changed life!
Righteousness is doing things the right way and doing things the right way are the fruits of righteousness!
Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
These people had never heard such wisdom come from one man!
*****Luk 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Luk 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
John the Baptist was such a powerful preacher that many even thought that he might be the Messiah.
But John preach of the coming Messiah.
John preached that the Messiah would be much more than he ever could.
John preached that he was not even worthy to unlatch the shoes of the Messiah and wash his feet.
We should remember when a visitor came to the home of someone it was the job of a slave to remove their shoes and wash their feet of the dust of the world.
John said he was much lower that that slave when compared to the Messiah!
You see when Jesus Christ is our example we will simply never measure up to His stature and His righteousness!
1) John knew he was not worth the rank of a slave.
2) The Messiah would be much mightier in His work as Savior and as Judge.
The word Baptism, has never meant to be sprinkled!
Baptism means to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to place into water.
John’s baptism would only be with water!
John’s baptism was preparation and a symbol of the spiritual baptism that the Messiah would bring.
1) Water “symbolized” the cleansing from all sin. To John this meant this people was being prepared for the true cleansing that the Messiah would bring.
2) Baptism also “symbolized” separation and dedication. To John this meant the setting apart of your life for God’s use. A renewed spirit of dedication!
John was preparing this people to meet the Lord, the Messiah who would then bring salvation to them!
John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance!
***The Messiah would baptize in the person of the Holy Spirit!
Every person that is carnal and materialistic that is truly baptized into the Spirit by the Messiah will become “spiritually minded”
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
This was the fulfillment of the Prophet Ezekiel but this was rejected by most Jews:
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
***The Messiah would baptize “In” fire!
Fire will illuminate, warm, melt, burn, and can destroy.
The difference in a baptism “in water” and a baptism “in fire” is that water can only cleanse the outside while fire purifies within, that is the heart!
Jesus told Nicodemus you must be “born again”.
The Messiah separates each person from his former life and purifies him within the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Remember we must die to our old self before we can be “born again”.
In John’s mind, the Messiah would also destroy the enemies of Israel and we know them as the enemies of the Church.
*****Luk 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
An unquenchable fire, is a fire that cannot be put out!
Today Jesus Christ is separating the wheat from the chaff, the believer from the unbeliever.
The threshing floor symbolizes the Church.
That fan is symbolized by the Word of God.
Many who approach the floor of Christ Jesus are swept away by His Words.
They cannot accept salvation and are blown away by the “Grace of God”.
They are blown away by the New Birth.
They are blown away by the doctrines of salvation.
Salvation is the separation from sin. If that separation has not taken place then that person may be swept away.
Then there is the fan of affliction, we must all remember the Book of Job!
Those that hold true will be gathered into the garner and become God’s treasure, reserved in His storehouse!
We live in a world today that is certainly choking in it’s on chaff!
We live in a world today that the chaff is so rotten that the wheat is in double danger.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
So John preached the truth.
*****Luk 3:18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
Luke only provides a sample of the preaching of John the Baptist.
John preached the coming of the Messiah, but his message was not limited to just those things.
John preached repentance of sin and knowing that God is a “whosoever” God, John even warned the rulers.
It seems not many of us will stand up to our rulers or our leaders and tell them of their sin!
Preaching is communicating the “good news” of the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.
Jesus died for all the sins of mankind but we must acknowledge that He has done so.
Because, No one is out of the reach of God’s wrath!
John was a straight forward and powerful preacher, who did not change his message no matter who was in the audience!
*****Luk 3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philips wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
Luk 3:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
John rebuked Herod for his evil and carnal life style.
Herod lived in the sin of adultery.
Philip was the brother of Herod, even though they both had different mothers.
Herod divorced his own wife and married Herodias the wife of his brother Philip.
Mar 6:17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philips wife: for he had married her.
Mar 6:18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.
The title of our lesson is “The certainty of Christ Baptism” so Luke spends very little time on John and returns to the baptism of Christ, the Messiah.
*****Luk 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Baptism, simply put, is an act of obedience to God!
Jesus was being obedient to God when He was baptized!
Jesus, our example, was baptized along with the other people!
Jesus was doing exactly what God wanted Him to do, “to be identified with the people”!
The one thing that set these other people apart from the people of the world is that they heard the Word of
God and they responded!
In order for salvation to occur, each of us must respond to the “Gospel” of God and then seek God to forgive
This is the will of God for everyone!
The truth is that no man, woman, or child is greater than any other in the sight of God!
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This truth has never changed and it will not ever change!
None of us are above God’s will!
None of us are above God’s commandments!
Notice even while Jesus was being baptized, He was also praying.
Jesus was always in fellowship and communion with God!
Baptism is an outward sign of God, working on the inside of all those that believe!
Baptism is the most significant sign of discipleship!
Just as Jesus was obedient in prayer, we are also to be obedient in prayer.
We must remember that Christ Jesus is our example in all things of God!
1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
God is very please when we are obedient in all things.
When Jesus was baptized the Heavens open up!
*****Luk 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
It is at His baptism that Jesus began His ministry.
The Heavens opened to give Jesus the Man, a sight into the glory world!
This was God’s stamp of approval of His Son.
The Heavens opened up to make known to all those who were present, that Jesus was truly the Lamb of God, the God-Man.
The dove has always been a sacred bird to the Jews.
The dove is the symbol of peace and gentleness throughout our world.
The Holy Spirit descended “in a bodily shape (as a dove) would descend”.
There was a physical representation of a dove.
The dove was a sacred bird to the Jews!
The dove only represented the Holy Spirit.
The dove was a symbol of peace and gentleness, and of purity and innocence.
In other words something in the quality and characteristics of the dove served as a vehicle to portray the Holy Spirit.
It was Dove-like rather than Hawk-like!
The dove portrayed the Holy Spirit coming upon Christ Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry.
Remember Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit while He was still in the womb of His mother Mary.
The dove was visible picture of God Himself descending upon Jesus!
Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Joh 1:34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit entered the life of Jesus once and for all and the voice of God was heard and notice again that the voice of God was in a language that was clearly understood and not some gibberish!
Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
The truth is that when we repent and are baptized, God is well pleased!
Only then does God open up Heaven to receive our prayers!
Only then does God reveal His Spirit to us in a very special sense!
Only then does God know that we have received and understood His Words!
We can be certain that Jesus Christ was baptized!
There is no greater reason for us to be baptized than to know that our Savior was baptized as our example!
God has a plan for all those that have accepted the Lord Jesus as the Messiah.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.