I. The Gospel Message Vs. 1-8
A. The Gospel Means “Good News” V. 1
1. God’s “Good News” is all about Jesus: His birth, life, death and resurrection.
2. “Jesus” was His Greek name; His Hebrew name was “Joshua” (Yeshua).
3. “Christ” was His title, which means “the anointed one”, “the chosen one”.
4. “The Son of God” describes His divinity.
B. The Gospel Message Starts With “Repent” Vs. 2, 3
1. Vs. 2, 3-The prophets were sent by God to speak to people. (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
2. They predicted that someone would be a forerunner to Jesus, announcing His arrival.
3. John The Baptist was that man, and he told people to turn away from their sins.
4. John would be both a sign and a voice to the people. John was God’s messenger.
5. To those who read the Old Testament prophets, they would know to be looking for John, and to recognize him as the forerunner to Jesus.
6. V. 3-When kings or dignitaries would visit a city, the roads would be repaired, leveled, and straightened to make a clear path for the approaching dignitary.
a. John took a physical truth and used it to make a spiritual point/illustration.
b. Filling in the low spots, removing the high spots, removing debris that impedes.
c. Spiritually speaking- We prepare a clear path for Jesus to come into our lives by repenting from our sins.
i. Filling in that which is lacking. Things that aren’t in our lives that should be.
ii. Knocking down that which is wrongly elevated. Too much importance.
iii. Removing spiritual garbage that impedes us from coming to Jesus.
d. Repentance is a deliberate agreeing with God; it is not passive or optional.
e. Repentance from our sins doesn’t save us, but it prepares us to receive salvation from God through our faith in Jesus. There is no salvation without repentance.
f. Repentance isn’t promising to think/act perfectly, but agreeing w/God re. sin.
7. Why do we sometimes not agree with God about sin?
a. Because we love our sin and don’t want to give it up.
b. Because we are used to our sin and can’t imagine living without it.
c. Because we depend on our sin to bring us comfort and purpose for life.
d. Because we aren’t convinced that our sin is wrong.
e. Even though we feel guilty & ashamed, we keep doing what we’ve always done.
C. John The Baptist Vs. 3-7
1. V. 3-The Gospel must be announced in order to be effective.
a. Good works can certainly give credibility to our lives, but they are not enough.
b. Romans 10:14, 15 NLT But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!
2. Vs. 4, 5– Baptism of repentance
a. Baptism was by immersion, and symbolized the spiritual cleansing of a life
b. These people expressed the intentions of their minds/hearts in a public ceremony
c. They heard John’s preaching, and agreed with him about their spiritual condition
d. In humility, they were publically baptized, confessing their sinfulness.
e. V. 4– Remission of sins-
i. Release from bondage or imprisonment.
ii. Forgiveness/pardon of sins, as if they had never been committed. Good News
f. V. 5- Jerusalem to Jordan River…at least twenty miles by foot or animal.
g. The preaching of John was so powerful that people journeyed to hear him preach, & upon hearing him, many were moved by God regarding repentance/forgiveness
3. Vs. 6, 7– Aspects of John’s ministry.
a. A simple man with a powerful message. Multitudes were moved to hear him.
b. He didn’t cater to people’s desires to hear a soft message.
c. He was uniquely called to be a strong voice and a less than convenient location.
d. He didn’t preach himself, he preached Jesus.
e. He didn’t exalt himself; he exalted Jesus.
4. V. 7- Guzik- This might sound like spiritual exaggeration on John’s part. But John said this because in his day, the rabbis taught that a teacher might require just about anything of his followers, except to make them take off their sandals. That was considered to be too much. But John said that he was not even worthy to do this for Jesus.
5. How John the Baptist exemplifies a “no frills” ministry.
a. There is nothing wrong with a comfortable church/ministry environment.
b. Nothing wrong w/building relationships with people in order to share the Gospel
c. Where much of our thinking has gone wrong: Sometimes we think that ministry cannot happen unless the environment is right, and that we have “earned the right to be heard”.
d. The ministry of John the Baptist totally disproves that kind of thinking.
e. God mightily used a man who served in an out of the way place, in a very
non-“friendship evangelism” kind of way, and through him, God affected many.
f. Jesus speaking about John-
Matthew 11:7-11 Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
D. Jesus The Baptist V. 8
1. John’s preaching was used to stir people’s hearts regarding their need for repentance and forgiveness of sins, but the people needed more than what John could give them.
a. He would then immerse them in water as a sign of their intentions to change.
2. Jesus’ ministry would be to die for people’s sins, to give His life as a substitute for us.
a. When a person repents, and accepts Jesus as Savior, they are forgiven.
b. But they also need power to live for God, and that is what John was talking about.
c. Jesus “baptizes” us with the Spirit of God.
3. John 14:15-18 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
4. John 16:13-15 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.