COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

"John the Baptist" Tagged Sermons

A NEW BEGINNING

Christopher Wright in his book “The mission of God” asks the question:
“How big is our Gospel? If our gospel is the good news about God’s redemption, then the question moves on to, “How big is our UNDERSTANDING OF REDEMPTION?
Where do we turn in the Bible for our understanding of redemption?
If you would have asked a devout Israelite in the Old Testament period “Are you redeemed?” the answer would have been a most definite yes. And if you had asked “How do you know?” you would be taken aside to sit down somewhere while your friend recounted a long and exciting story – THE STORY OF EXODUS.”
Christopher Wright is referring to Exodus 6:6: Say therefore to the people of Israel, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will REDEEM you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.

Repent is not a feeling, repent is an ACTION.
Repentance speaks of a CHANGE OF DIRECTION,
NOT A SORROW OF HEART.

Michael Heiser in “Unseen Realm» comments on this chapter:
“In Isaiah 40:1 we learn that God is the speaker. He issues four commands. All four commands are grammatically plural in Hebrew. That means that Yahweh is commanding A GROUP. The group cannot be Israelites or a collective Israel, since it is Israel that Yahweh is commanding the group to comfort, speak to, and call. You should know the identity of the group by now: THE DIVINE COUNCIL.”

“In response to the commands in Isaiah 40:1-2, a lone response comes:
A VOICE IS CALLING IN THE WILDERNESS, “CLEAR THE WAY OF YAHWEH! MAKE A HIGHWAY SMOOTH IN THE DESERT FOR OUR GOD!” (Isaiah 40:3)

Michael Heiser comments on this scene:
“Like the prophet of old, John the Baptist has “stood in the council and answered the call. To a Jew familiar with the Old Testament, the pattern would not be lost. As had been the case at the time of Isaiah, Yahweh’s council had met in regard to the fate of an apostate Israel. Isaiah had been sent to a spiritually blind and deaf nation. The calling of John the Baptist tells the reader that Yahweh’s Divine Council is in session again, only this time the aim is TO LAUNCH THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH THE SECOND YAHWEH, NOW INCARNATE, AS ITS POINT MAN.”

PAUL’S CHALLENGE TO ALL OF US

“The Martyrdom of Man” by Winwood Reade (1872)
“Thus Man has taken into his service, and modified to his use, the animals and plants, the earth and stones, the waters and the winds…..By means of his inventions and discoveries, by means of his arts and trades, by means of the industry resulting from them, he has raised himself from the condition of a serf to the conditions of a lord. His triumph, indeed, is incomplete; his kingdom is not yet come…
Earth, which is now a purgatory, will be made a paradise, not by idle prayers and supplications, but by the efforts of man himself….When we have ascertained, by means of Science, the method of nature’s operations, we shall be able to take her place and perform them for ourselves. When we understand the laws which regulate the complex phenomena of life, we shall be able to predict the future.
Hunger and starvation will then be unknown….Population will mightily increase, and the earth will be a garden. Governments will be conducted with the quietude and regularity of club committees. The interest which is now felt in politics will be transferred to science….
Not only will Man subdue the forces of evil that are without; he will also subdue those that are within….he will obey the laws that are written in his heart; he will worship the divinity within him….
Man then will be perfect; he will then be a creator; he will therefore be what the vulgar worship as a god.” (pages 512-515)
“Supernatural Christianity is false. God-worship is idolatry. Prayer is useless. The soul is not immortal.”Page 522
In 1941, Julian Huxley wrote a book titled: “Religion without Revelation”
“It is obvious that any religion which lays primary emphasis on salvation in the next world will be something of an obstacle towards getting the best out of this world as speedily as possible……
Once we have rid ourselves of this doctrine of a Divine Power external to ourselves, we can get busy with the real task of dealing with our inner forces.”
That was written almost 80 years ago.

In 1917, Samuel Butler, a Victorian-era novelist published ‘THE NOTE-BOOK OF SAMUEL BUTLER:
“Science is being daily more and more personified and anthropomorphized into a god. By and by they will say that science took our nature upon him, and sent down his only begotten son, Charles Darwin, or Huxley, into the world so that those who believe in him, etc.”

In 1880 The sophisticated German thinker Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a philosophical novel “THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA”
Let me give you two paragraphs from his book:
“Man is something that shall be overcome….What is ape to man? A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. And just the same shall man be to the Uebermensch…
The Uebermensch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Uebermensch shall be the meaning of the earth!
Remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! They are poison-mixers.” (Pages 9-10)
Nietzsche in his book “The Gay Science” wrote:
“God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderer of all murderers! The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What festivals of atonement what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it? There was never a greater deed – and whoever is born after us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history than all history up to now.” (Page 120)
German philosopher Martin Heidegger proclaimed:
“The spirit of community as found in National Socialism is a new configuration of the people, an inner reeducation of the entire people toward the goal of wanting its own unity and oneness.”

The Lamb Of God

Why did John call for a water baptism?
The ritual of water baptism was applied to Gentiles, unclean people, who wanted to convert to Judaism. Ritual baptism was never administered to Jews, only to non-Jews who converted to Judaism. Why? Because Gentiles were considered unclean and needed to go through a purification rite, to take a bath – in order to be welcomed and received into the covenant community of Israel.
However, John the Baptist primarily directed his calls for repentance to Jews. With that, he told Israel “the Messiah is about to arrive but you are not ready for Him. It is you, the people of Israel,that are unclean. That’s the reason why John called the Jews to submit to a ritual of cleansing that up to this point had been administered only to Gentiles. The typical procedure when a Gentile was going through the proselyte baptism, he was never baptized by a Levite or by a priest, who normally performed all the other purification rites in Israel. The convert was to baptize himself. No wonder the religious leaders asked themselves: Who does this man think he is, to call us, the children of Abraham, to undergo a cleansing rite?
The Lamb of God is also prefigured in the Passover, when God prepared to bring His final plague on the Egyptians, the death of every firstborn male of the Egyptians, including the crown prince of the Pharaoh (Exodus 12:3-31). Just as the blood of the lamb caused the people of Israel to be spared from God’s wrath, the Lamb of God redeemed His people from the penalty that was due for their sin.