Tag: John the Baptist

John the Baptist

The Witness of John the Baptist

Book of John Chapter 1:15-36

In last week’s lesson we saw that John introduced the Jews to the Holy Trinity, the Triune God. The Jews laid claim to God. The Jews were familiar with the Spirit of God. The Spirit can be found 224 times in the Old Testament. It was time for the world to meet the Messiah, God the Son.

Last week we saw these words Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Last week we saw these words Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

John the Baptist preached to all who came to hear him that this man named Jesus was indeed the Messiah sent from God.

This is the same job we have today, “to witness that Jesus is “the Christ”, “the true Messiah” come from God, the God-Man!

We believe that John was only 6 months older than the Man/Jesus, so we know that John the Baptist preached the coming of the Messiah before Jesus made His presence known to him.

You see it is important for the world to know that God certainly manifested Himself in the flesh and that Jesus was that person.

Jesus’ last name is not Christ, Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah!

*****Joh 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

There can be no doubt that God had sent His Spirit to dwell in John the Baptist.

God’s answer to the sin of Adam was making Himself known to the world. We would have never known Jehovah God if He had not introduced Himself to us!

When John realized by the Holy Spirit that it was this Jesus, the son of Mary his cousin, he could say that Jesus was born of Mary after his own birth.

John also knew by the Holy Spirit that this same Jesus was before Him, in fact so far before him that He was God in the flesh!

Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

God alone is eternity.
God has always existed.
God is the cause of John’s existence and also our own existence.

Jesus the Christ is to be first in importance much more than any human being that has ever lived.

The entire world has changed and is still changing since the First Coming of our Lord to this earth and this cannot be denied.

BUT, We must all be aware of the Second Coming of the Messiah, still in the same flesh He wore at His departure.

Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

There is no human who can lay such a claim to themselves other than Jesus the Messiah.

Christ is not Jesus’ last name it is who He is! It is only Jesus Christ who has revealed God the Father to us!

All that we are capable of knowing about God the Father is revealed to us through His Son!

*****Joh 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist had a great following, but he had to make sure that the Light of the Messiah did not shine upon him, John was only the “Voice” and not the “Foundation” of the Church.

His job was to lead as many people as he could to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is only Christ Jesus who can reveal to us the “Grace” of God!

There would be no “Gospel” (Good News) for us if, Jesus was a mere man like so many who lay claim to be of God!

Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

We can be complete in no other but Jesus Christ.

Jesus has given us “Grace” upon “Grace”, Grace enough to meet every need we could ever have, no matter the circumstances!

Jesus Christ does not only have the answers but He in His Deity is the answer to all life’s problems!

It is a fact that Moses revealed the written Law to the Jews but, is also a fact that “Grace” came by Jesus Christ!

What is “Grace”? Grace is the unmerited favor of God!

The word “Grace” can be found 39 times in the Old Testament and 131 times in the New Testament. God’s Grace is very important to us!

Rom_5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Law made us realize that we are all sinners.

It is only by the “Grace” of God that we can be saved from our sin!

Righteousness cannot come by the Law for no one can keep all the Law, but Jesus Christ.

Therefore righteousness can come only by Jesus Christ, who in His person is the “Grace” of God!

Moses was no more than a servant just as we are to be. Jesus Christ is the Master!

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Again it is only by Jesus Christ that we can know the true God!

*****Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Had the Lord Jesus Christ not come to this earth we would have never known the truth of God. He would just have been someone who just moved on after He created us like so many believe.

There is but one God and this is very true!

There is no such thing as a God of Evil and a God of Good who are fighting to see who wins.

There is One God and He is very involved in every action upon this earth.

This does not mean God does bad things because He cannot do such a thing, but He can allow them to happen when He could have certainly stopped them from happening. God will not necessarily stop anything that does not alter His plan of salvation or His plans for this world.

This is why our prayers are so important. God has to power to alter anything that does not change His salvation plan and He is willing to do so. Sometimes He just wants to know if we love those we say we love!

God will never deviate from what He says but God will heal where healing is needed and comfort where comfort is needed if we fall down on our knees and pray!

We must not forget that we are His children and Jesus is working on our Mansions now.

Christianity is in fact the fulfillment of the Old Testament because Jehovah God designed it that way.

If we had seen God in all His Majesty before we have become Christians, we would have perished!

Exo 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

When the Lord does return, this time in all His glory, those who reject Him will be just as this Scripture. They cannot see Him and live!

*****Joh 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Joh 1:20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

We must not be fooled, those that were questioning John the Baptist, many of them students of the Scriptures, knew the prophecies of Daniel and he had said when a period of time would come, and the Messiah would appear. Maybe not the exact day but at least in that generation. Just as it is today when the Lord will return.

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.
Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

They understood that Daniel was writing of years.

When will the Lord return?

Luk_17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

How was it in the days of Noah?

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

We cannot deny that we live in a replica of the days of Noah today!

We can just imagine how great a preacher was John the Baptist if the elders of the Scribes and Pharisees thought he might be the Messiah!

But they had not yet heard our Savior preach!

Luk_7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

It would have been rather easy for John to say he was the real Messiah, at least for a while but, he confessed he was not the Christ!

John the Baptist knew what he was sent to do, and he concentrated on those things!

John knew he was not the Messiah and John also knew he was not the Prophet Elijah.

Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

The Lord Jesus said that John was Elijah in the spirit but not in his person.

Mar 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Elijah will return from the dead to be the forerunner of the Lord when He returns, at least this is what I believe because there were two, Elijah and Enoch who do not have a recorded death on earth!

Heb_9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

John the Baptist was well aware that he was not the Messiah.

In fact John knew very well that he was only a sinner unworthy to serve the Lord just like the rest of the world!

*****Joh 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Joh 1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

The Scriptures only subtlety show the great impression John the Baptist made on the Jewish elders of that day, including the Sanhedrin Court.

It is obvious that these Bible Scholars had missed the Church Age and the Messiah the Redeemer in their studies.

John was certainly not Elijah even though in many ways he was like Elijah in his boldness.

John was not just another prophet who I believe to be Enoch the two prophets who would show up before the Second Coming of the Lord.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

John the Baptist said he was just a poor desert preacher, one who was doing his best to lead people to the Lord.

John said he was nothing more than a voice and really this is the same job we have today. We are God’s voice and God’s legs to take the “Gospel” of the Lord Jesus Christ to all parts of this world!

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

It is only Jesus Christ who could meet all the requirements written in the Scriptures of the Messiah the God-Man!

We are never to claim to be the Messiah.
We are never to claim to be some great man or woman.
We are not even to seek recognition.
We are never to assume some power that only the Lord has.
We are never to allow God’s Mercy and God’s Grace to turn our heads toward “Pride”, thinking more of ourselves than we should.

We are simply to obey the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, in everything He tells us to do!

These people who were the Bible Scholars of that day when seeking for a Messiah were looking for some man to show up and by His works determine that the Messiah had arrived.

It is the same for many today. Most of this world are ignoring the fact that Jesus was God in the flesh.

The message of John the Baptist was that the Kingdom of God was among them in His person, not in His majesty!

These Jews saw the Messiah as being someone along the line of King David who would set them free from the tyranny of Rome!

These Jews missed the fact that the Messiah came to save them and not them alone but also the Gentiles.

These Jews believed they were the only ones acceptable to the Lord and not the Gentiles.

These Jews had allowed their beliefs to be tainted by formality and just a form of godliness denying the Power of God!

John the Baptist would burst their perfect bubble, just like the Lord does every day!

*****Joh 1:24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
Joh 1:25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

The truth of the Pharisees in that day is that they had made themselves the interpreters of the Scriptures. They were well aware of the Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah, but they had missed His coming and rejected that Christ was among the people.

1) A Pharisee had to set apart all the sacred tithes of the produce of the land.
2) A Pharisee had to observe the essential laws of purity which affected the eating of food and family affairs.

We know that the Mosaic Laws contained not just 10 laws, but 613 laws and it was impossible for any Jew to keep all those laws all the time, but the Pharisees would argue that they did.

The Pharisee would immerse his whole body in purified water before they partook of holy sacrifices.

The Pharisees had so many laws involving impurity they were in a book named the Mishna, which were only the many interpretations of Scripture and many placed these laws above the Mosaic laws.

It is during this time that the Pharisees and the Sadducees had become corrupt in their thinking on the Word of God and were no more than legalists and liberals, who could not themselves keep the laws that they claimed for everyone else to keep!

These things began with good intentions when the Jews returned from Babylon after their captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.

It’s as if today we placed the words of commentaries above the Word of God.

So they asked John since you are not a Pharisee but only a Levite and you are not the Messiah and you are not Elijah nor any other prophet what right do you have to baptize any person?

They used this same line of thinking upon the Lord Jesus Christ!

Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Mat 21:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Mat 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
Mat 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

How did John answer these corrupt men?

*****Joh 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
Joh 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

We should understand that everything John did was to prepare the people for the Messiah and John’s baptism was just an example of the break from Judaism to the coming Christianity who would bring total purity with His blood.

The Lord Jesus Christ was so pure and so trustworthy and so different from the way these people had been taught that those who were corrupt sought to have Him destroyed.

The Jews of that day needed to know this man called Jesus was the One who was mentioned throughout the Old Testament Scriptures who was sent from God.

This was the job of John the Baptist to teach these things!

Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

What was the importance of Betha bara?

*****Joh 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Betha bara means the house of confidence or the house of crossing or simply ferry house.

It was a place on the River Jordan where you could safely cross over to the other side!

This was the place where we got that wonderful phrase “Behold the Lamb of God”.

1Co_5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”:

Jesus Christ is our Passover!

And we are Saved because Jesus shed His “Blood” on Mount Calvary!

Heb_9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Jesus Christ was certainly , God’s perfect Lamb who was sacrificed to save all the people of this world and He did so for all that love Him!

Jesus Christ was our own blood Substitute!

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

By the blood of Jesus Christ, God has paid the debt for all the sin in this world past, present, and future!

If we will pay attention we will see that Christ Jesus willingly gave His life for me and for you and for everyone who would put their trust in Him!

What did John continue to say?

*****Joh 1:30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Joh 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

We all know that Jesus was at the most only 6 months in age younger than John the Baptist, yet John says He was before him.

The Messiah was not only before John the Baptist, but He was before us all!

The son of Elizabeth must have known the Son of Mary. John means that he did not know Him as the Messiah.

We can believe that John knew Jesus, but he did not know He was the Messiah, The Christ.

God knew that He would not be recognized as a man of God until He reached the age of 30 in earth years. Up until this time He had been feeling all the emotions of the human body.

Heb_4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

We should notice that John the Baptist was a man of strong faith!

Certainly God spoke to John just as He did with other prophets in dreams and visions and God had given him a sign to watch for to know the truth.

*****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.

John said this is the One that is taught in the Old Testament Scriptures!

Again we see the proof of the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

A dove was a sacred bird to the Jews and a symbol of purity, innocence, and gentleness.

The dove was often identified with the Spirit of God!

We should understand that the Holy Spirit did not take the shape of a dove but descended from Heaven as a dove flies in to land.

They land like no other bird in a fluttering motion.

In fact a dove can represent the Church sustained by the “Loving Grace of God”, justified in the “righteousness” of Jesus Christ.

Psa 68:13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

The dove of Palestine is white with golden wings!

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

John saw as the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and remained on God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ!

This became the message of John the rest of his days!

What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit on the life of those who have accepted the Lord as their Savior?

There will be a change in that life!

What are Baptisms mentioned in the Scriptures?

The Baptism of water, in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost(Spirit). As an introduction into the Church.
The Baptism of repentance. Turning away from the world and toward Jesus Christ.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost(Spirit). At salvation and asked for continually all our days.
The Baptism by fire. We should know that God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush and God lead the Jews through the wilderness by fire so to be Baptized by fire to me seems to be baptized by the presence of the Lord! Fire is one the physical manifestations of God’s presence! Fire can also represent “Judgment” and “Purification”!

Turn to Jesus and know the truth of God.

Amen

Let’s Pray!

The Word Became Flesh

The Word Became Flesh

Book of John 1:1-14

Some things we know about John the Apostle of Jesus Christ:

1) John was one of the very first disciples.
2) John was a fisherman along with his brother James.
3) John left everything he had behind to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
4) John was called the “beloved disciple”.
5) John was the disciple that Jesus committed the care of His mother.
6) John was said by Paul to be one of the 3 pillars of the church. Paul considered James the brother of the Lord Jesus, Peter, and John to be the 3 pillars of the early church. We cannot dispute the Apostle Paul, but I believe he was also a pillar of the early church, at least for the Gentiles.
7) John was the only apostle that died of natural causes.

When John was old and feeble his only sermon was “Little children love one another”.

When asked why he would continue with this sermon he replied, “It is the Lord’s command”.

We sometimes forget that we are certainly commanded to love one another, and it is not a request, it is a command given to us by the Lord our Christ, our Messiah.

John shows throughout all his writings that the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah find their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ!

*****Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John states that “before”, there was even one thing created by God, God had a plan of salvation and this plan would be followed until the very end!

We know that all the Word of God has been brought to us by specific men chosen and tutored by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will always lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

John said the Old Testament is so full of words that describe the birth, the life, and the death of the Messiah, He could actually be called the Word!

It should be obvious that the Word was distinct from God, so we can see the beginning of our understanding of the Triune God.

The Godhead was clearly revealed in the Old Testament.

Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

God the Deity and God the Shepherd in the flesh, are two parts of the Triune God. We know the Holy Spirit is the third!

The Messiah is to be a Shepherd and when we acknowledge this truth, the Lord who came in the flesh, is truly our Shepherd.

Our Shepherd existed before creation had begun!

The Book of John was certainly written to the lost and to the Jews but, until the Word of God came along, the Gentiles knew nothing of a Messiah.

The Messiah, God in the flesh, is the very center of Christianity and the Book of John will lead us to this truth.

The Jews saw words as not just a sound, but something alive and existing and John begins with this statement, the “Word was God” so the Jews could easily understand the truth of the Messiah.

We will see that God has given us much more than the Holy Scriptures, God has given us Himself in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ!

When we read the Word of God we can see the ultimate character of God and this same character was in Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ lived the words that were written of Him!

Jesus Christ was not created of God because He is God in the flesh, one third of the Holy Trinity!

Psa 90:1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Since Jesus Christ is the God of the Bible, then we must clearly understand, “that sin is far more abominable in the sight of God”, than most of us see it to be.

We have made sin to just be bad behavior, but sin is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord!

Therefore the Scriptures teach us to hate sin, but we are never to hate the sinner.

We should understand that when God speaks, things happen and “we can be made new”, if we will listen to what God has to say and apply it to our lives!

Faith does not mean much unless it brings with it action!

*****Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

There are many times that God repeats Himself to show the importance in what He had just said.

God wants to point out to us the importance of His character as the Triune God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Not three Gods but One God in three persons.

John wants us to clearly understand that the Word, the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and the Father in Heaven are one and the same person!

1Jn_5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

It must be clear to all the world that we have an “Amazing God” who loves us enough to make us His home until we can get to His heavenly home!

Most of this world see Jesus Christ only as some man and it is true that He took on the fashion of a man, but each believer sees Christ for who He is, the very substance of God in all His perfect being!

Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all the Word of God and therefore self-existent and eternal, the Son of the “Living” God!

The Word is the way God chose to introduce Himself to mankind, His greatest creation. Why?

God knew that many would look at His creations and call them accidents that just happen to have happened. Even a fruitcake can see the that our world is in too much order to have happened by accident.

The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed God in visible action!

After all if Jesus Christ is then God then He would also be our Creator!

*****Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We should understand that all things, but God were created. Our world had to have a Creator and to believe otherwise is foolishness!

Verse one and two describe things the way they were before any act of creation took place!

We must all understand that “all things” were made of God and without God there would be no creation and we would not exist.

God created everything we see and that we cannot see in the first six days of our beginning because we know God rested on the seventh day.

Not because God was tired but because he had completed what He had set out to do!

There are no creations by man because if man makes anything then he must use something that God has already made.

If our Savior and our Creator creates anything new today, it would be that “Born Again” child of God that only He can make new!

The Word of God is a reality, it is truly the Word of God.

Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the glue that binds this world together!

Jesus Christ’s greatest creation is life, the living things there is nothing on this earth made that is not teeming with life.

A man once wrote “the basic difference between man and beast is speech. Animals cannot speak to man as they speak to themselves”!

We should understand that this world belongs to God and He does with it “as He pleases”!

We should understand that God is not far off removed from His creation but is very near showing great concern for the welfare of His created beings.

We should also understand that the problems in this world do not come from God, but they come because of sin!

The answer to these problems cannot come from man because only Christ Jesus has the answer to all our problems.

God is all about life and life eternal.

*****Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

We cannot know true life without the Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ led a life of perfection to show us that it is possible for us to yearn for perfection in our own lives!

From the beginning in the days of Adam, God has proved He wanted to be up close and personal with His creation.

The knowledge of Jesus Christ is to be our light in this world that belongs to Him.

Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The message of God is really very simple. He says come let us walk together and I will be the light of your path!

*****Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

We live in a dark world made darker by our own sin. When Satan was booted out of Heaven he came to this earth and he brought darkness with him!

Much of world wants to remain in darkness forever but God is not going to allow that to continue much longer.

Jesus Christ has shown us the way to escape this darkness because He has no darkness within Him!

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

When the Light of Christ shined on this world then darkness fled and Satan hides in his darkness because he does not want us to see the “nobody” that he is!

Turn on your light in a dark room and you will see darkness flee to hide until the light goes back off.

When we walk with the Lord we become a light ourselves and then we can shed that light on our families, our neighborhood and then our cities.

Mat_5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Without Jesus Christ there would be no life and then there would be no light.

It is Jesus Christ who gives us purpose.
It is Jesus Christ shows us the meaning of life.
It is Jesus Christ who shows us the significance of our life.

After John has made us aware and the understanding of the Triune God, He then begins to tell us about the life of our Savior, from a man(John) that spent much time with Him and loved Him while He was upon this earth and he will begin with the forerunner, John the Baptist.

Our life improves when we fall in love with Jesus the Messiah!

We are cautioned not to forget what we have just learned.

*****Joh 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

The Old Testament will lead everyone to Jesus the Messiah, when we take the time to study the Scriptures as God commanded and it is these same Scriptures that tell us about a forerunner paving the way for our Master.

Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

That man was John the Baptist.

There is also this Scripture in the Book of Isaiah:

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isa 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
Isa 40:5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Did the Lord need someone to go before Him, I don’t think so, but the Scriptures must be fulfilled according to the way God intended them?

There is a purpose for every Word, every dot, and every tittle, in God’s written Scriptures

There will be a complete fulfillment of the Word of God!

Mat_5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus the Messiah was before the beginning of creation, John was just a man, called of God with a special calling.

This was a part of John’s sermon:

Joh 3:28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
Joh 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah, also had to live his life as close as he could to perfection!

Luk 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 was to bear witness of the truth of God.

*****Joh 1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

The Old Testament teaches that the Messiah was coming.

John the Baptist job was to tell the world that the Messiah was now here.

It is the Church’s job not only to a witness of the Gospel but to also tell the world that the Lord will return to fulfill all the Scriptures.

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

John the Baptist was the first ambassador for Jesus Christ!

2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

It is sin not to look forward to the Second Coming of Christ!

It is sin, to ask Jesus into your heart and fail to repent!

It is all our job to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ and not just be pew sitters!

Our ministry is the ministry of reconciliation!

The same as John the Baptist.

John the Baptist did his job so well that many thought that he might be the Messiah.

*****Joh 1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
Joh 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

We can say the John the Baptist was the first Christian!

John’s purpose was to lead mankind to the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Say what you will but these things are to be true of every Christian. (Forgive me Lord for my failure to be more like Christ)

John could have allowed the people to make him great, but he said:

Joh 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

A man once wrote that “at the point that we quit testifying for Jesus Christ we have chosen to betray Him”.

We are not that Light, we are sent to bear witness of the Light of the Lord!

It seems that this is the world we live in today.

All those sitting in the pews motionless and emotionless “are actually betraying the Lord”.

This is a hard saying but it is the truth!

Light reveals.

Light opens up the truth of darkness and reveals a brand-new world, a brand-new life!

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.

The truth is “Our Creator stepped out of Heaven and came down to spend some time with His creation”.

*****Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

1) Our world is so dark that when the Lord came, people closed their eyes to the truth.

2) Christ Jesus came as a Jew in the line of King David and He was rejected by His own nation.

God cares deeply for His creation especially mankind!

God is actively working to help this world throw off the burden of sin.

God made man in his own trinity, the flesh, the spirit, and the soul.

It is an unforgiving sin to those who reject the Living God.

Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

This world we live would rather recognize the works of Satan, so that the world does not have to change its evil ways!

*****Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

What is the will of God?

2Pe_3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, “not willing that any should perish”, but that all should come to repentance.

God has done and continues to do all He can, (besides force) to persuade the world of the truth of Jesus Christ.

To reject these things is to bring damnation upon yourself!

The new birth is of God and God only!

Yes, we are washed in the blood of Jesus and are made clean, but it is not the blood that saves us in that sense!

It is only by the Mercy and the Grace of God through His Son Jesus Christ that we can be saved and be part of this New Birth!

This New Birth is not a natural birth it is a Spiritual Birth!

This New Birth is necessary to become a child of God!

This New Birth is a true experience!

This New Birth is a radical change in our lives that can only be brought about by the Love of God, and His power to save!

It is not our own flesh that brings us to salvation, it is Holy Ghost conviction.

There is no man on the face of this earth that has the power to make us a child of God!

It is only by God’s power that the new birth can take place and we are welcomed into the family of God!

We must understand it is also our Holy God who has broken the barrier of race! There are only believers and non-believers!

There is only one truth of those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

What is the complete truth of our Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son?

*****Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ is a reality!

Those that believe in God:

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Those that believe in God must also believe that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is God in the flesh!

1Jn 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

The flesh of mankind today is not what God created it to be!

Our flesh no longer exists in the image of God because of sin. The same sin that began with Adam! Disobedience.

Jesus Christ had to come in the flesh to give us that example of what God intended for us all.

1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

Joh_15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus Christ became flesh to correct and then counteract the corruption of sin, which mankind did not understand until God revealed Himself in the Scriptures!

It is by the “Grace” of God that He took the time to give us the truth of His creation when He did not have to.

We are a foolish people if we ignore what God has to say!

It is the will of God that we should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, so God’s “Grace” can come to its fulfillment and we can be saved.

There is no other way period, for anyone to be adopted into the family of God!

We must understand what God is saying!

If Spiritual life comes by receiving the truth of Jesus the Messiah, then there must be death in rejecting Him!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

The Forerunner of Christ

The Certainty Of Christ’s Forerunner

Book of Luke 1:1-25; 57-80

A forerunner is a messenger who was sent forth to proclaim the approach of another.

It can also be said that a forerunner is also a sign of something that is to come.

As we begin in the Book of Luke, which is what we say, one of the “Gospels”, we can understand that this book was written by Luke who also wrote the Book of Acts.

The authorship of Luke was never questioned by the early church and we should not question it now.

It seems that Luke was also a Gentle who was raised in Troas which is now called Old Constantinople.

It is probable that Luke found the Lord Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul, when Paul was on his second missionary trip where he joined Paul on his trip to Philippi.

We know that Luke was also a physician, which would lead us to believe that he was highly educated.

This should also assure us that God provided this man Luke, for Paul’s health.

It is probable that Luke was the last one to remain with Paul before Paul became a martyr for the Lord and his head was removed.

It is probable that both the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts were written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD because this thing is never mentioned.

Luke was not an eyewitness to the life of Jesus Christ but Luke sets forth an eyewitness account of Jesus, the Son of Man, the Savior to the world.

Luke assures each of us that he obtained his information of Jesus from those who were eyewitnesses and Luke was an eyewitness to all those things he wrote of the Apostle Paul!

Luke writes to someone called Theophilus.

The name Theophilus means “lover of God”.

It is believed that this man was probably a Roman, probably a person of rank, to whom Luke dedicated both of his books to, but we can be sure the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts were written to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ!

It can be said that the Book of Luke is the “Gospel to the Gentiles”.

Just like the rest of the Bible, the “Gospel” of Luke is a record of historical events!

Christianity is based on historical facts and not the false theories and false ideas of man as are all other religions.

All man-made religion are based on the notions of some man and not on historical facts.

The Book of Luke is a written proclamation of the truth of Jesus Christ!

Let’s Begin:

*****Luk 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Luk 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
Luk 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

We see that word “many” for many had written about the life and the work of Christ but they were not as complete nor as orderly as Luke wished to record.

We will see that Luke includes many more things than the other two Synoptic Gospels which are the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark, for the Gospel of John had not been written at this time.

Because that we have four written records of the life of Christ, it is in itself strong evidence that all these events are true!

We need all 4 “Gospels” to get the full picture of these events.

Luke says these things “are most surely believed”!

In fact the Greek words that were translated into English actually mean they were fulfilled, that they were actually performed and they had run their full course.

The events in the life of Christ before His ascension, actually took place, they had their purpose, they were accomplished and they were fulfilled.

We have the written records of the truth of Jesus Christ!

The things that were accomplished and believed were the things of the Old Testament which were fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament.

Therefore the whole Bible is a record of these things and the whole Bible can be believed as the truth!

So Luke begins:

*****Luk 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

The time of Herod the Great can be proved, so when Luke mentions “the days of Herod” it establishes a time line for these events.

Herod was the son of Antipater, who Julius Caesar gave control of Judaea in 47 BC.

Herod was awarded the title King of Judaea by Mark Antony in 40 BC.

Herod by blood line was also a descendant of Esau.

During the time of David, the priests that served the Temple were divided into 24 courses and each priests served at the Temple twice each year for one week at a time.

The priest of the course of Abia were the eighth of the 24 courses.

Zacharias, which means “remembered of Jehovah”, was a descendant in the line of Aaron and the father of John the Baptist.

Elisabeth was also from the line of Aaron, the first of the High Priest, and the older brother of Moses.

Elisabeth, which means “one whose oath is to God”, was the mother of John the Baptist and was also a related cousin of Mary the virgin mother of Jesus.

Elisabeth was the daughter of a priest.

She was a pure women and a virgin at her marriage as God gave Aaron the laws of the priesthood.

Lev 21:14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.

So we see that both the parents of John the Baptist were of the bloodline of Aaron which was a coveted distinction in Israel.

******Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

They were both righteous in the eyes of God.

They were both joined together and committed to each other.

They were both walking in the commandments of the Lord and seeking to please Him in all that they did.

Remember there 613 commandments especially to the priests.

They were blameless but this does not mean they were perfect.

They were living in such a way that no one could charge them with open sin.

These are basically the same qualities God requires of us all!

*****Luk 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

We see even though they were righteous and walking in the ways of the Lord, they still had human problems.

Christians will never be isolated from the human problems in this world until the Lord returns!

AND, We should clearly understand that all believing Jews knew of the prophesies of the Messiah.

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

To be childless in the believing Hebrew society, was a terrible calamity in that day.

Children were considered as a blessing from God and they are a great heritage to all families.

If the wife of a believing Jew could not bear him children, she was thought to be cut off from God and certainly could not bear the Messiah.

It was every female Jew’s wish to bear the Messiah.

A believing Jew was expected to divorce his wife and remarry to some one who could bear him children.

All these things weighed heavy on Zacharias and Elisabeth, but they clung on to their marriage.

They were now elderly and all the problems that come with growing old were also upon them.

BUT, They were not aware of the plan of God.

*****Luk 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
Luk 1:9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

Next we see that these were parents who worshipped the Lord.

Zacharias was faithful to his priesthood and he had been all his days.

Zacharias was faithful in his duties even though God had not given him a son.

You know, if the Lord never does anything but save us, we have already gotten more than we deserve!

Zacharias would have seen the birth of a son as the greatest blessing that he could have received!

Zacharias’ job of burning the incense was considered to be the highest of the priestly duties and not many ever got this opportunity.

We should remember that incense was burned upon the altar by a priest before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice.

The burning of incense reminded all those who could smell it, that the sacrifices were being made for their sins.

The aroma of the incense was just like prayer, it enveloped the sacrifice and carried the sacrifice before the throne of God!

God says:

Jas 5:11 Behold, “we count them happy which endure”. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

And we know that Elisabeth was a faithful wife all those years she was married to Zacharias.

While the people prayed outside the Temple during the burning of the incense, God sent His messenger to Zacharias.

*****Luk 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
Luk 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Luk 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

As Zacharias was performing his duty of burning the incense, he was praying to the Lord and the multitude, still outside in the courtyard, were also praying.

All those outside were to be as much involved in this worship service, as was Zacharias.

Remember the incense was burned before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice.

You see our prayers are to be well seasoned with love and devotion, lest we offer strange incense that will bring the wrath of God!

We see in the Book of Revelation that “incense” symbolizes the prayers of the Saints:

Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Rev 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Those prayers were to be directed to God through our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

We can see that if our church is as much involved in the worship and the prayers as our pastor we can certainly move the hand of God, especially when it involves any part of His plans and His will.

After all what had God said:

Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

John the Baptist was to be that messenger!

We can see that Zacharias and Elisabeth needed a son and had been praying for a child for many years. God had said that He would send a messenger to prepare the way for the Lord, so God met the need of this family in a very special way.

Notice this was not a dream nor was it a vision, Zacharias was in the presence of an actual angel sent from God.

Certainly Zacharias was troubled.

According to the Scriptures we are always in the presence of God’s angels, but they just are not visible to us.

Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

And for those who want to know the language of angels we see that this angel spoke in a language that Zacharias clearly understood!

*****Luk 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Luk 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
Luk 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.
Luk 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

It is probable that Zacharias was still praying for a child even in his old age.

We know that there is nothing to hard for God!

It is probable that Zacharias was also praying for the Messiah, no doubt he was praying for the redemption of Israel because Israel was in the hands of the Roman government at that time.

We do know that both prayers were answered and this angel said that the prayer of Zacharias had been heard!

Elisabeth would indeed bear a son and his name would be John.

The name John actually means “Jehovah’s gift”.

John would be a great man in the sight of the Lord.

Jesus said:

Mat 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John would make his parents proud because of the life he would live.

John would cause many others to rejoice with his message.

John would live a disciplined and controlled life.

Notice again, that those that serve the Lord should abstain from all alcoholic beverages!

John would abstain from any appearance of doing evil all the days of his life.

John would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the very first, a vessel chosen by the Lord for a special service in a very special way!

God asks no more than this from us all:

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We can see the truth of God that He will bless those that are faithful to Him!

John would be a prophet or a preacher who would turn many back to the Lord Jehovah.

John would be the forerunner of the promised Messiah!

John the Baptist was to be that messenger.

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isa 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
Isa 40:5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

John the Baptist was the first great “Gospel” preacher.

We should also remember, it had been more than 400 years since God had inspired the words of Malachi.

*****Luk 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

John the Baptist was not the Elijah that was to return to this earth for that has not even happened yet, up to our day and is still in the future.

John did come with the same Spirit and the same power of Elijah!

Mat 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things”.
Mat 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

We will next see Elijah as described in the Book of Revelation:

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Elijah will be one of those two witnesses with the other being Enoch.

These two did not see their own death.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Now we see where Zacharias made a simple mistake.

*****Luk 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
Luk 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
Luk 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

When we pray we must believe that God has the power to answer our prayers!

Mat 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

When we do not believe that God can do the impossible we are hindering our own prayers.

Zacharias just could not believe the message this angel had.

Zacharias prayed in faith but but Zacharias thought that God would never answer his prayer.

It is possible that God answered this prayer more for us, that He did for Zacharias!

We need to see and understand the truth of the Scriptures!

There is absolutely nothing to hard for God!

Zacharias said to Gabriel, it just too late for us now, for such a thing to happen and Zacharias asked for a sign.

The name Gabriel means “the mighty one of God” or “God is my strength” .

Gabriel said, he stood in the presence of God ready to do whatever He commanded.

Gabriel said, it was he who was appointed to bring good news to men.

Gabriel had shared good news to Daniel.

Gabriel had shared good news with Zacharias.

Gabriel had shared good news with Mary.

Gabriel would share good news with Joseph.

Zacharias had failed to believe the words of Gabriel which came directly from the mouth of God, so his sign was he had to be disciplined.

Zacharias had let his tongue speak and not his heart, so God stopped his tongue from speaking.

We must understand that we have the true Word of God, we have the truth.

The sin of unbelief, is the greatest sin of all, and the only sin that cannot be forgiven.

God will certainly discipline us all if we speak words of distrust and unbelief!

The day is soon coming when God will stop all disbelief, and every knee will bow to Him!

While these things were going on inside the Temple, the people outside the Temple who had been praying became restless and concerned.

*****Luk 1:21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
Luk 1:22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
Luk 1:23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

When Zacharias came out of the Temple he was suppose to tell all the people how the sacrifices had been made and their sins were forgiven and how they were blessed of the Lord.

BUT, Zacharias could not speak.

All Zacharias could do was make motions with his hands.

The people who had taken the time to come to the Temple then realized that Zacharias had been in the presence of God, because there was no other answer. They thought Zacharias had seen a vision.

Coming to church is a wonderful thing and also a commandment of God.

Those times that it seems that God is right there in the house with His people are certainly special times!

Even though Zacharias could not speak, he stayed on to fulfill his duties.

It was certainly not time to get mad and quit on God!

*****Luk 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
Luk 1:25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Elisabeth hid herself for five months and the best answer for this seems, that she wanted to spend some time alone with God and her husband.

She and Zacharias had many things to prepare if they were going to raise a son at their age.

We must remember Abraham and Sarah went through this same thing.

Elisabeth was not hiding her pregnancy, because she proudly went out in public in her sixth month when it would certainly be noticeable.

She was excited that God had taken away her reproach among men!

God had promised Abraham a multitude of descendants, as the stars in the sky and a woman who was barren was looked down on, especially by the Jewish men.

Skip too Verse 57

*****Luk 1:57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
Luk 1:58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

The birth of any child is a precious event to most every family but the birth of John the Baptist was a significant event for all the world.

The birth of John the Baptist showed the awesome power of God!

Both Zacharias and Elisabeth were far beyond childbearing years yet she was with child.

Zacharias had been visited by Gabriel, God’s messenger, and every word he had said was proved to be the truth.

We see that it is God who is able to control all the things of nature.

We will also see that God is able to fulfill the promises of the Bible, just as He has written them down for us!

God will never break a promise!

Mat 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

The birth of John the Baptist also showed the mercy of God.

God was merciful to Elisabeth, just a simple woman who had been faithful all her days.

God was merciful to the entire world because He would use John in His plan of salvation.

John the Baptist was instrumental in pointing us all to the Messiah, the Christ child, Jesus.

John the Baptist would fulfill his God-given purpose, just as we are all to fulfill the purpose that God has given to us.

We are all born with a purpose!

And his name would be John.

*****Luk 1:59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
Luk 1:60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
Luk 1:61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
Luk 1:62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
Luk 1:63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
Luk 1:64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

By God’s commandment, all Jewish males were circumcised on the eighth day after their birth.

Circumcision meant that the child was offered up and dedicated to God.

It should not surprise us that a baby dedication is more for the parents than it is for the child!

The eighth day was also the official day for naming the child.

It was a common practice to name a son after his father or at least someone in the family and Zacharias was a popular name because it meant “remembered by Jehovah”.

Elisabeth would not allow this to take place and insisted that he be named John which means “gift of God”.

To Elisabeth, this child was certainly a precious gift from God.

The naming of a child was reserved for the father so these relatives took this matter to Zacharias.

Zacharias shocked them all by writing the name John and they all marveled at what Zacharias had written.

Our lesson is, that the name John proved what Gabriel had said to Zacharias and immediately the tongue of Zacharias was loosed and he could speak again.

Why are these details so important?

We must be able to trust that the Word of God is the truth and the Lord Jesus Christ said He was the truth but also much much more than the truth.

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 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Luke, keeping to his truth recorded these things from eyewitness accounts!

When the tongue of Zacharias was loosed, it was also a sign to all those who questioned Zacharias.

*****Luk 1:65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
Luk 1:66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

The family and friends of Elisabeth and Zacharias saw an actual miracle that day as Zacharias began to speak.

It had been nine months since Zacharias had seen God’s messenger, Gabriel, and he had much to say.

Those family members were not frightened but they did have a reverent fear of God for what they had witnessed.

They wondered at what was about to happen because they were witnessing the hand of God in this family that they had known for so many years.

Today, God is still doing miracles but most of them go unnoticed!

These events became the talk of the town and then the talk of all Judaea.

A child that had the touch of God from his birth was born into the world!

These people kept these things in their heart for they were not about to forget this day.

What is the truth of God?

Psa 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.
Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost!

*****Luk 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
Luk 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
Luk 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
Luk 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
Luk 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
Luk 1:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
Luk 1:73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
Luk 1:74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
Luk 1:75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
Luk 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
Luk 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Luk 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
Luk 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Zacharias became the third person in the Book of Luke to be filled with the Holy Ghost and all three were his family. Elisabeth, The baby John, while still in the mother’s womb and himself.

It was time to give God the praise!

This group of Scriptures is known as “The Benedictus”!

When the tongue of Zacharias was loosed it proved that his sin had been forgiven because he had obeyed God.

In “typology” this joy and praise is a picture of what happens to each Christian.

We believe and obey God and we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. God immediately forgives us of our sins and then immediately fills us with the Holy Ghost!

Verse 68: We see Zacharias as a Christian who is looking back to the cross.

“For the Lord God has visited and redeemed His people”!

Zacharias became a prophet. Zacharias began to praise the Lord who had not yet been born.

It was God Himself who came to this earth in the person of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah!

In the Old Testament, God is involved in the affairs of the world.

In the New Testament, God gets personal, one on one, with every believer!

God paid a tremendous price for each believer to be saved!

Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

It is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was the mighty Savior from the house of David!

It is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is the “horn of salvation”!

The “horn” symbolizes strength, power and might.

AND, Only the Messiah is able to save His people!

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

David was raised up by God to deliver and rule the people of Israel.

Christ, the Messiah was raised up to deliver and to rule over God’s people!

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It is the Messiah, Christ Jesus, who will fulfill the entire covenant to Abraham!

It is the Messiah, Christ Jesus, who will fulfill all His promises to Israel!

It is Jesus Christ, the Messiah who will fulfill all His promises to the Church!

Verse 76 confirms the purpose of John the Baptist.

We can just imagine as Zacharias looked down at his son knowing that he would be called a prophet of the Highest.

There had been no prophet in Israel for over 400 years and John would be the first since Malachi.

Christ was called the “Highest”, the “Most High God”!

Rom 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

John the Baptist was to be the prophet of the Most High God!

John was to proclaim salvation, “by the remission of sins”.

Salvation is conditional, our sins must be forgiven!

They cannot be forgiven until we ask the Lord for forgiveness!

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

John the Baptist was to proclaim the rise of the Lamb of God.

John the Baptist was to proclaim Jesus as the “Dayspring” from on High, “the Dawn of the Morning”.

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

John the Baptist was to proclaim that Jesus was sent to give light, to guide our path, and not only the Jews but also to the Gentiles, and to all those who sit in darkness.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while in the womb of his mother and he began to grow in the Lord.

*****Luk 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Here we see the only Scripture that tells us of the childhood of John the Baptist.

John may have grown as a normal child but there are certain things that we must observe.

1) John advanced far beyond a normal child spiritually.

John was committed even as a child to follow and obey the Word of God.

2) John was raised in a different environment than most all other children.

John was raised in the desert.

John was raised away from all the things of the world.

3) John stayed away from world until God called him into His service.

John led a life of obedience.

If we are going to be the servants of God, we need to avoid the things of the world and obey the Word of God!

2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Those that doubt the ministry of John the Baptist are denying the truth of the Scriptures!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Presentation Of God’s Servant

The Presentation Of God’s Servant

Baptized By John

Book of Mark Chapter 1:1-13

In last weeks lesson we saw David becoming the second king of Israel. This week we will begin a study into the Book of Mark.

We will study about the King of Kings!

Even David was a servant before he was king of Israel and The Lord Jesus Christ came to serve before He will sit as King!

So before we get started, just who is this Mark?

The early Christian Church said that this was John Mark:

Act 12:12  And when he had considered the thing, [he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark]; where many were gathered together praying.

This John Mark was a relative of the same Barnabas who helped Paul and then traveled with the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey.

Col 4:10  Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, [sister’s son to Barnabas], (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

This the Mark that was led to the Lord and was discipled by the Apostle Peter:

1Pe 5:13  The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; [and so doth Marcus my son].

This Mark traveled some with Barnabas and Paul.

It was this Mark, whose mother Mary, owned the upper room, the place of Jesus’ last supper.

But, Mark does not appear in the "Gospel" he wrote unless it was he that the Romans caught when Jesus was arrested:

Mar 14:51  And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
Mar 14:52  And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

It seems that Mark wrote these words, guided by the Holy Spirit, around 58 AD and this would make it the first of the Gospels to be written.

The Gospel of Mark was first written in the Greek language because that was the common language spoken in the Roman Empire at that time.

So, Why do we need four Gospels?

It was God, through His Holy Spirit, that decided we needed four Gospels:

2Ti 3:16  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God", and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

God still prefers to speak to all of us through other human beings!

We will see that this is why Jesus chose His first disciples and all others that have followed through their work.

There can be "no more" Apostles than those Jesus chose and for that reason but everyone that accepts the Lord Jesus as Savior is a "Disciple"!

So with four Gospels we have four points of view of the same subject who is, Our Lord Jesus Christ!

We should also note that it was in these years of the Book of Mark, that the Han dynasty in China had been recently founded and Buddhism was introduced to China, so Satan was also busy.

As Christianity began to spread, Satan was spreading his false religions.

And Nero also began persecuting the Christians throughout the Roman Empire.

As we study the Book of Mark we will see that he focused on the actions of Jesus and not so much the person of Jesus.

The birth of Jesus is not even mentioned.

We will see that Mark also focuses on the emotional life of Jesus. Mark tells us about the compassion Jesus had for the lost, but also His sorrow and His sighing for Israel.

In Mark we will see how Jesus prepared the disciples for their future ministry.

Mark gives us the purpose that Jesus chooses all his disciples:

Mar 3:14  And he ordained twelve, [that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,]

The Book of Mark also tells us the shortcomings of disciples and the patience of Our Lord Jesus in dealing with them.

There was no doubt to Mark that Jesus was truly the Messiah, The Son of God and that is where he begins his Gospel:

*****Mar 1:1  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

That title "Jesus Christ" is used exactly 5 times in the Gospels. (5 the number for "Grace")

"Jesus" is the human side of Our Lord and "Christ" (the Messiah) is His office when He first came, and "Son of God" is His eternal nature.

That word "beginning" means that this sentence is the first and the Word of God that will follow.

That word "beginning" is up front, that on the acceptance of these words, then there will be no ending but a new beginning and life eternal!

To compare:

Gen 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

On this day was the beginning of all life and Mark emphasizes that there is now a new beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ!

The "Gospel" comes from the Greek word "Evangelion" which means "good message" or "good news".

This is not just any "good news" but the "good news" of Jesus Christ.

To compare, Isaiah said this of "evangelizing":

Isa 52:7  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth "good tidings", that publisheth peace; that bringeth "good tidings of good", that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

This "good news" is not just about "victory" but "the victory that brings an end to the oppression of sin"!

Jesus Christ was a servant whose weapon is love and whose victory came through the cross!

Jesus Christ is the "only news" that is "good" for all guilty and all hopeless sinners!

This "good news" is cause for celebration!

*****Mar 1:2  As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Mar 1:3  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The first voice that we hear in Mark’s gospel will not be that of Christ Jesus.

In this first passage of Mark we see the final promise of God in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of that promise in the New Testament some 450 years later.

There should be no doubt that God intended for us to learn from His prophets.

God had a rule for all His prophets:

Deu 18:22  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, "nor come to pass", that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Not one prophet of God prophesied when they pleased, but only when they were moved by the Holy Ghost:

2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: "but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost".

What is written by the prophets of God will be true prophecy!

Mark quotes from two of God’s prophets here in this verse:

First from Malachi:

Mal 3:1  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Then from Isaiah:

Isa 40:3  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

In ancient times, before a king visited any part of his realm, a messenger was sent before him to prepare the way.

The roads had to be prepared for the arrival of the king but more important the people had to be prepared for the king!

Johns message would be that "The King Is Coming"!

What is "the way"?

In the Old Testament the emphasis was on the wilderness journey.

So John began as a voice in the wilderness to teach "the way" that God will be made known and this is through Christ Jesus.

John the Baptist did indeed, prepare and baptize all the men but Paul who later would become the Apostles of Jesus.

Act 1:21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

*****Mar 1:4  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

John the Baptist was born to be a priest!

His father was Zacharias of the line of Abia of the descendants of Ithamar and his mother Elizabeth from the long line of Aaron, the God appointed priests of Israel.

Luk 1:5  There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

These were parents who were righteous "because they did things right" according to the Word of God!

It was in the wilderness that Israel became God’s chosen people.

It was in the wilderness where God tested His people.

It was through the wilderness that God had led His people back from Babylon.

And it is in "the wilderness" where God will accept a repenting people who will then be Baptized into the New Covenant.

This is "the promise" fulfilled as taught by Jeremiah:

Jer 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

This is "the covenant" promised to the Gentiles:

1Pe 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

This is "the promised covenant to whosoever" will call on the name of Jesus:

Act 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, [that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus].

John was preparing "the way" to Jesus Christ because, "the only way" to Heaven is by Jesus Christ:

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.

Jesus firmly tells us all that it is He that is "the way" in fact "the only way"!

That "Baptism of Repentance" is what Jesus brings with Him and can only come by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!

Repentance signifies a change of the heart, a change of the mind, a change of attitude, and a change of direction along with remorse for all past actions!

In other words we must return to God for a New Beginning!

Jesus said we must be "born again".

As John reached out to Israel, he stood at the River Jordan.

This was a sign that Israel needed to recross Jordan to get to the true promised land.

That promised land could only be provided by Jesus who would come after John.

*****Mar 1:5  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

There is no doubt that we can see the success of John’s ministry because "the people came to him"!

John explained to all that came that sin was like dirt.

Sin is a filth that must be removed!

First, Sin had to be acknowledged!

Next, Sin had to be confessed!

John’s message was not that the water could wash those that were baptized, "clean" but it was only in the Jesus, who would follow, that would bring "the means to clean them" of all sin!

The confession of sins must relate to the act of being baptized not by water but only by the Holy Spirit!

If there is no remission of sin then there can be no pardon for sin!

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

That debt cannot be erased it must be cleansed!

*****Mar 1:6  And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

Is, John the Elijah who is to come?

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Elijah was the troubler of Israel:

1Ki 18:17  And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, ‘"Art thou he that troubleth Israel"?

Elijah denounced the corruption of the kings of Israel and pronounced the worship of the Lord.

Elijah also wore a leather belt and was a hairy man:

2Ki 1:8  And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

Elijah also went east of the Jordan River and ate of nature as he ate what the ravens brought him.

The Bible does say that Elijah would return:

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Will God still send Elijah?

Most believers think yes.

Elijah had appeared to Israel unexpected and certainly was uninvited in a time of corruption in the government of Israel.

I also believe that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses God sends during the Tribulation period also certainly uninvited and certainly a time of corruption:

Rev 11:3  And I will give power unto "my two witnesses", and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

And Jesus said these words:

Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, [Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things].
Mat 17:12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

In the time of John the Baptist, the governments of the world were indeed corrupt, including that of Israel but John proclaimed that "The One" who followed him would be much greater than all that came before him!

John came in fulfillment of prophecy!

John came also of a miraculous birth!

John dressed as Elijah because he practiced what he preached!

John’s sermons had an immediate impact on all of Israel and even on the secular government as they also took notice of John.

John focused on those that were great and on all those that were poor, and all those that were in between, but Johns message was never about himself!

A new day had come and John’s message spread throughout all of Israel!

Mat 3:5  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, "and all the region round about Jordan",

But John had a message greater than that of repentance and we have that same message today!

John preached about the coming of the "Son of God"!

And, the people trembled at the preaching of John.

Even the King (Herod) was afraid of John.

John had said that the Jewish religious leaders were nothing more than "a generation of vipers".

John was mighty in his deeds and his words but John knew that he was nothing, so John preached Jesus.

Every pastor or preacher any where in the world is wrong "when they do not preach Jesus".

Every prayer will go unanswered unless that prayer "ends in the name of Jesus".

If that hurts some ones feelings then so be it, we must pray in the name of Jesus for God to hear us!

Joh 16:23  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

It is Jesus that provides the means of all our salvation, "whosoever we are"!

John was a mere man!

John was a voice crying out in the wilderness!

But Christ Jesus is the Word of God!

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

John was a mighty preacher and his sermon was this.

*****Mar 1:7  And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
Mar 1:8  I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

We see that John the Baptist from the beginning was preaching Christ and John was also filled with the Holy Spirit "while still in his mothers womb".

Thank God there were no abortion considered by Elizabeth after all she was much past the years of a normal birth!

BUT, John was very careful to exalt Jesus Christ and not his own self!

"Mightier" means Jesus would have more authority than any man!

Not only was Jesus promised but John also preached the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Only God can give of His Spirit so John was preaching the coming of the Messiah, "God in the flesh".

Christ Jesus would have the "Power of God".    (John only had physical power)

Christ Jesus would preach words that were spirit and life.   (John could only preach of His coming)

Christ Jesus would do miracles.   (John did no miracles)

Christ Jesus would have an everlasting ministry.    (even John’s disciples had to be converted)

Christ Jesus died to begin His never ending ministry.   (John’s ministry died when he died)

Christ Jesus had power over the human heart.   (John could only bring the fear of God)

Mere man can do none of these things that Jesus did!

Not one person on this Earth and not one angel in Heaven "is worthy enough" to unloose the latchet of His shoes!

In the Bible times "not even a slave" was not asked to remove the shoes of some one else.!

John was saying that he was no more that any slave in Israel.

The baptising work of the Holy Spirit can only be defined as the work whereby the Spirit places each believer into a union with Christ Jesus and "also" into a union with all other believers which then become the ‘Body Of Christ"!

1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

This baptism began on the day of Pentecost and is unique to the Church Age!

Listen to what Jesus said:

Act 1:5  For John truly baptized with water; "but" ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Jesus said these words a few days before Pentecost.

Listen to what happens:

Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, "as on us at the beginning".
Act 11:16  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water;"but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost".

This is the message of John the Baptist.

This is the action of that Messiah, that Mighty One, that John was speaking of.

This is the message of salvation:

Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

And then He came:

*****Mar 1:9  And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

It would have taken Jesus 10 days to travel from Nazareth on foot to where John was.

He could have easily said at any time that we were just not worth all He was going to endure for the next 3 and 1/2 years!

Jesus had had 30 years to come to this decision!

To Israel, Nazareth was a place of contempt and nothing good could come out of Nazareth "But" all of a sudden Christ Jesus had come from Nazareth to begin His Ministry.

That phrase "in those days" gives us a time line, that the baptism of Jesus came about in the days of John the Baptist and his preaching at the River Jordan.

Time does what time does, it comes and it passes. One era was ending and "a new era" was about to begin for Israel and for all mankind!

The rejection of Christ by Israel, and the beginning of Church Age for "whosoever would come" to follow!

Not since the days of Adam had a perfect man walked on this earth and Adam had not stayed perfect.

The Apostle Paul said it like this:

Gal 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that "we" might receive the adoption of sons.

The early years of Jesus were mostly quiet years but the Apostle John had these words to say:

Joh 21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

And then Jesus was baptized!

This was the exact reason Jesus had journeyed for 10 days, so He could be baptized and not just to be baptized but to be baptized by John!

Mat 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, "to be baptized of him".

Jesus then waited until John had baptized everyone else that came that day!

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,

This day may have even been the 30th birthday of Jesus.

Luk 3:23  "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age", being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

Christ Jesus was not just one of the crowd that day, "BUT" He had not come for repentance because He had nothing to repent of!

*****Mar 1:10  And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
Mar 1:11  And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John baptized with a full immersion as this verse shows but this baptism had nothing to do with sin because we know Jesus had no sin.

Jesus was baptized to fulfill all the requirements of the law!

Jesus was baptized so John could fulfill his own ministry!

Jesus was baptized to give us an example of how we should publicly acknowledge our own separation from sin and to be consecrated to His service!

**"And straightway"

Isaiah wrote these words:

Isa 64:1  Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

Our verse describes what John saw:

John saw the heavens opened!

John saw the Holy Spirit, "like" a dove descending upon Christ Jesus.

Luk 3:22 says:  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.

Matt 3:16 says: 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:

John 1:32 says: Joh 1:32  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven "like" a dove, and it abode upon him.

Did John see a dove?

We can be sure that what is represented here is that the Holy Spirit descended out of Heaven onto Christ Jesus.

What are the characteristics of a dove?

The dove is an emblem of "Peace"!

After God’s wrath Noah sent forth the dove three times:

1.) The dove was sent and found no place to rest the souls of her feet.

This dove came back to the "Comforter’s hands.

2.) The dove was sent forth again and brought back an olive branch.

Indicating a restored earth.

3.) The dove is sent forth a third time and no longer needed the shelter of the ark.

Indicating the return of  the Holy Spirit to the earth.

a.) The dove, Represents the return of our souls to the promised rest by the Holy Spirit.

b.) The dove, Points us in the direction of Christ Jesus.

c.) The dove, Is the earnest of our inheritance until Jesus returns to take us to the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Here again there will be no need for the ark/church to separate us from Our Father who is in Heaven.

And Our Father says as John heard His voice from Heaven:

"Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"

When God the Father spoke, and the Holy Spirit descended onto Christ Jesus we have the entire Tri-Une God.

While there is only one God, there are three eternally distinct and equal persons in the godhead. Each is distinct from each other, yet all three are united as One.

But, This is the picture we should get just as Christ Jesus rose out of the River Jordan.

Baptism gives a perfect picture of the Death, the Burial, and the Resurrection, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But the Trinity also represents our command to reach out to the lost of the dying world:

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost":
Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

God was well pleased that His plan was moving forward on schedule and Jesus said:

Luk 12:32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

*****Mar 1:12  And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

The Holy Spirit has decided that since we have met John the Baptist, and also The Lord Jesus Christ, along with all the godhead, then we also needed to meet Satan who still tries to hinder the Gospel even more in our day.

"Immediately" means as soon as Jesus was baptized BUT before His ministry began, the Holy Spirit that had just came to Him "as a dove" cast Jesus into the wilderness.

That word "driveth" is the Hebrew "ekballo" and it means "to cast out" or "to throw out" into the wilderness.

Baptism and wilderness are connected because to be separated, "baptized", means that our wilderness lies ahead of us all.

*****Mar 1:13  And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

We should notice who is also in this part of the wilderness that man did not know:

1) Satan.

Even back in Genesis 3 when the serpent is mentioned, it is recognized that Satan was that serpent.

The Book of Job specifically mentions Satan.

The Book of Chronicles states that Satan led David to make a census.

In Zachariah, it is Satan that accuses the nation of Israel before God.

Ezekiel and Isaiah refer to Satan even if they don’t mention the name Satan.

In the New Testament every writer makes a reference to Satan.

Jesus Christ Himself, mentions Satan 25 times.

We should not be deceived as Satan would have it, he does exist and just as Our Lord describes him!

2) The wild beast, came not to cause harm but to show respect to the Creator. It was Jesus with the wild beast and "NOT" Satan with the wild beast. It was not Satan that made these beast wild!

3.) The Angels, of which it is written:

Psa 91:11  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psa 91:12  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Mark does not go into the details but "temptation" means "to be tempted to do evil"!

Satan is mentioned as the source of all opposition to the "Gospel" then and now in our day.

2Ti 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

It is Satan who is, out of sight, and behind the scenes of every evil in this world!

It is the angels who are behind the scenes watching over God’s people!

And it is the Holy Spirit that holds back the evil in this world!

2Th 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, "until he be taken out of the way".

That number 40 is a symbol for testing.

Israel was tested for 40 years in the wilderness but Israel failed.

If Jesus survives His temptation, He can then begin His Ministry!

Christ Jesus will be tested for 40 days in the wilderness but Our Lord cannot ever fail!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!