That Witness Series – Matthew 3:1-12
Intro: Let’s look at the big picture!
I love this time of the year, I enjoy giving and getting Christmas Cards. I love the social events that include singing Christmas Carols and eating cookies. I love to watch all the Hallmark movies on TV that share the spirit of Christmas. I love to give gifts and enjoy receiving them; however, I am not a big fan of that white elephant! It’s fun to decorate and prepare for the anniversary of the Savior for mankind. But that’s not the big picture: The gift of Christ is not just to be opened on the 25th of December; it is to be experience every day of the year. The real joy of giving and getting occurs when you receive Christ as Lord and you give him away. He wasn’t born in a manger so you could share that picture on Facebook or have it sent as a holiday greeting card. John the Baptist came as a forerunner of Christ, he came to be a witness. My question to you as a new series of messages will be shared in theses next few months; “Are you that Witness?” The door to door encyclopedia salesman, the Vacuum salesman or any other salesman doesn’t do the door to door much anymore; however, and this is a big however; there is or should be Christians who still use the “Word of Mouth Advertising.” If John the Baptist could go out into the wilderness of Judea and preach repentance and a regenerated life through Jesus Christ, we can do that? “CAN I GET A WITNESS?” “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:7-8
Text: Matthew 3:1-12 (NKJV)
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.' “4 And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Application - A Witness is; “Any person having knowledge of truth willing to testify to that truth.”
1. The Preparation: Vs. 1-4
The Christmas season does remind us of the preparation that went into the birth of the Christ Child. Much preparation took place for this man of God. John was very excited when he met Jesus the first time; you might say he jumped in his presence! John the Baptist encounters Jesus in his mother’s womb. John’s first encounter change his life! The Man: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” Who was the man? John the Baptist, he came to prepare the way for the coming Messiah: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:6-8 I am sure there are those who labeled him as a street (desert) bum because of his clothing, but here we have a man who prepared to be a witness after his first encounter with the messiah.
Believers are never alone, no matter how secluded they may be. God is there. He will reveal and manifest Himself in the place where believers are; He will use the believer in the place as a witness to His name. God has the very place for every believer to serve. John's place was in the wilderness; Christ's was in the cities and synagogues as well as the countryside. Believers should witness and prophets should preach wherever they are—in the wilderness or in the city; at K-mart or Walmart or even your neighbor next door.
The Message: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Here we have the message of repentance: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3 Really! At Christmas time? Is that what Christmas is all about? Repentance.
What’s the bible say about true repentance? "Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:12-13
That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. The good news is Jesus saves! That’s the message - prepare to tell.
The Meaning: “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.”
Isaiah the prophet foretold John’s ministry and message some 700 years earlier from the Book of Isaiah chapter 40:3. The meaning of repentance is threefold: (1) Turning around, (2) Changing of the mind and (3) being sorry enough to quit sinning. In plain words—get right with God! There is no repentance whatever unless there is a change of life as the result. The change of life is the proof of the change of heart. Do you understand the need of change?
The Manner: “And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.” John was dressed in the skin of an animal. He ate locusts and wild honey. Locusts taste somewhat like shrimp. John pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God. This was and is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of mankind.
Illustration: A good system - Someone has said that the Gospel in the first century was carried by a good system. It was called the teleperson system, and it truly got results, better than we do today with our telephones, televisions, and so on. The woman of Samaria carried the Gospel after her meeting with Christ by the teleperson system. It is said that “many of the Samaritans … believed on Him for the saying of the woman.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
2. The Proclamation: Vs. 5-12
Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Vs. 5-6 first we see SALVATION: they accepted Christ and were baptized. Vs. 7 secondly there was SERIOUSNESS: flee from the coming judgment. Bring forth fruit, live a changed life and don’t depend on your ancestors for salvation. Vs. 10 thirdly there was a SEPARATION: get ready for heaven, or spend eternity in hell. The Pharisees & Sadducees they believed that Abraham’s race was to be saved, if all else were destroyed. John destroys this refuge of sin. The axe that lay at the root of the tree was placed by the soul of the fruitless person. These are God's words, not man's. Vs. 11 forth is the fullness of the SPIRIT: John was baptized in water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit, a baptism of fire. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:1,4
The fifth and final proclamation comes from Vs. 12 there will be SUFFERING: this means those who did not accept Christ could not enter heaven. A reference is here made to the practice of burning the chaff under process of winnowing. The wheat is the righteous, the chaff is the wicked, and Christ is the winnower; the granary is heaven, the unquenchable fire is hell.
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16
John preached to the people of Israel and many accepted his message, repented of their sins and were baptized. He also preached to the religious leaders of Israel and his description of these wicked men were a “brood of snakes.” The leaders demanded that John understood 'We have Abraham as our father.” John warns them to truly repent and do good works or be destroyed.
“He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.” 1 John 5:10
Conclusion: John the Baptist set a blazing example for every minister and believer of the gospel. His message is a message for all; he speaks to the common person and to the religionist alike. The message preached by John stressed thirteen points: Repentance, the Kingdom of Heaven, prepare, for the Lord is coming. Flee the wrath to come, bear fruit and do not be deceived over the merits of a godly heritage, acknowledge the power of God. Judgment is at hand, fruit is demanded—now. Everyone who bears bad fruit is condemned, repent - be baptized with water by man, repent - be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, the Messiah shall separate the wheat from the tares. That will help you to understand: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Illustration: Clock Of Life - The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, At late or early hour. To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed. To lose one’s health is more. To lose one’s soul is such a loss. That no man can restore. Thirty-nine people died while you heard this short poem. Every hour 5,417 go to meet their Maker. What are YOU doing to help reach them with the Gospel be ‘fore they are cast into Hell?
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Let us live in prayer, and progress, and patient watching for His presence. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"
“Can I Get A Witness?”
In : Sermon
Tags: "book of matthew" "are you that witness series"
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