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October 10, 2022 4:00 am
What made John the Baptist preaching so powerful, most churches would like to know how to keep people coming back and bring their friends today will hear the answer on Truth for Life as Alistair Begg takes us to Luke chapter 3 we look at verses one through nine. John the Baptist is a remarkable individual.
His birth was remarkable. He had a peculiar dress sense as well certainly striking an offer look to identify it and point it out as being distinct from what others were doing. But that's not really what makes him is remarkable.
What is so remarkable about in is that Jesus said of him. In Matthew 11 it is recorded for us.
Among those born of women there was no one said Jesus, who is of greater significance than John the Baptist, the one who is my four Runner. Why was it that he was such a remarkable preacher number one on account of divine authority on account of divine authority as a sensitive heiress what we've said there was a man sent from God. When Jesus is asked about John the Baptist and this is recorded in Matthew chapter 11 Jesus says this is the one about whom it is written in other words, if you're wondering who this is just go back and read your Old Testament Scriptures and you will discover there that there was one to step on the stage of human history, and he was to prepare the way of the Lord.
If you're wondering who he is, read your Bible, you will discover that he possesses divine authority. And so when the crowds began to gather and when people took their friends out into the wilderness, and you can imagine Levi when his friend is closing down his shot for the evening saying Jim you know we were going to get a few sandwiches together and go out into the date they hot depression of the Jordan wilderness and his friends are what you want to go there for a picnic was is not so much the picnic, but we want to go here preacher and I was wondering if you would like to come in here into an Saudi eventually get out and get seated in the grass and eventually John stands up and says you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming rot and Levi says to his friend.
What in the world is this about how you bring me out here to listen to this. Who is this fellow think he is now. Frankly, he had no basis upon which to say these things apart from divine authority, and any attempt to create authority by means of our personality or the context out of which we minister is destined to crumble to dust you explain all of these people making their way out into such a strange place to listen to such a strange man when the crowds gather they would've said to one another. At least the religious ones we haven't heard preaching like this in the Senate why we never had this kind of thing I'm going. The Senate overhears.
I never heard anybody.
I certainly never had an introduction like this, you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming rot.
I wonder what else is going to say will hang on, it gets better eventually is going to throw you in a tub if you stay with them right to the end preaching exists not for the propagating of views and opinions and ideas preaching exists for the proclamation of the mighty acts of God.
That's why preaching is worship you don't have worship and the word used of worship.
The word is worship. True preaching is worship because true preaching is declaring the mighty acts of God, which is to worship God and we want to encourage our people to be those who worship in spirit and in truth. Why then is this strange man is such a strange place such a testing and popular preacher number one because of divine authority. Number two on account of personal integrity, personal integrity, simple contrast I think will help to make the point you remember in acts chapter 20. When Paul takes his leave of the Ephesian elders and he meets them on the beach and they prayed together and and that they all begin to cry because they're not going to see his face anymore and Paul is overcome with that and any issues them with his great word of instruction. I want you to attend yourselves and take care of the flock of God that is in your charge because he says there will arise even from your own number teachers who will draw away people after themselves, individuals who will take people and making them their disciples. Now that was the warning to the Ephesian elders you look at the ministry of John the Baptist you say did he do that know his disciples were tempted to encourage them to do that that you have at least the inference hey John, Jesus is over.
On the other side. He seems to be picking up numbers you know that the crowd seem to be going in that direction. I don't really want to just maybe spin it in a different way.
Or maybe just that, tighten your belt a little, or change your jacket or something but we're going to have to lay hold on market share here John because this is going down. John says all don't be so stupid behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is not about me.
This is about him the reason that many of us are less effective than we might be is because too much of what we do is about me and not enough of it is about the I cannot say he is he is he is when people are so familiar with me saying I am I am I when I trace the roots of disintegration my own ministry I trace it to far too much of the ion far too little of the he is personal integrity is integrity comes out not only in that, but his test is integrity comes out in the fight and maybe just need to refresh your memory of this by turning to Matthew 11, but your member in Matthew 11 when John was in prison and he had what Jesus was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else. In other words, he had doubts he had uncertainties and he had misgivings. The same fellow who is able to stand up and say, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world now finds himself in the jail. The word is out that Jesus is apparently not ushering in the kingdom and the way in which John the Baptist thought it was going to happen. At least with the speed and forcefulness that John may have anticipated.
I stood up on the stage of history.
I said here's Jesus. Jesus is going to come and usher in the kingdom. But what I hear he's doing is doing all these things and they don't seem to be the they know the plan and the expectation that I had and so he sends word out, he says, could you just go back out and asking just school quietly humming to make a big fuss about what is grimacing to make John the Baptist had a question for you just want to know are you the one who was to come and or should we expect somebody else fed up with people that know the answers to every question. John the Baptist needed this reply. Go back and report to John what you hear and see the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the good news is preached to the poor, and blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me and then is John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John, what did you go into the desert to see a read swayed by the wind would be very much with it what you guard see a man dressed in fine clothes no chance of that. They all live in King's palaces and what did you go out to see a profit. Yes, I tell you in more than a prophet is amazing the grace of the Lord Jesus that just having received such a question from this guy John the Baptist. He supplies the reply says go back and tell John this and then he turns around and seizes others an opportunity to extol John the Baptist as a prophet sent from God, so is integrity is seen in the fight that he doesn't draw people after himself, appoints them away to Christ is. Integrity is seen and in the fight that is prepared to ask an honest question on the basis of the context in which he finds himself and his integrity is seen in the fact that is prepared to call Simpson in Mark chapter 6 in the encounter with Herod. He is pretty straightforward for Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested the head and bound and put in prison.
He did this because of Herodias's brothers Philip's wife and me and Marit for John had been saying to Herod.
It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife. There goes any possibility of a nice big church somewhere close to the chapel somewhere close to the palace. I should say he's not about to become the chaplain to Herod's Senate. With this kind of talk is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.
Breathing is personal integrity has to say what he has to say, not sugarcoating it is not looking for issues. He simply calling it as it is wiser than that such a strange man in such a strange place. We have such a vast following one because of divine authority to because of personal integrity. Three. Because of genuine humility, genuine humility, John the Baptist was self-effacing. He was in a mouse, you can never see the John the Baptist was a win. John the Baptist is not a weenie he's a lion heart, but he wasn't preaching himself, nor was he trying as we said to create a personal following. You see, but he did create a personal following yes he did so is he to be condemned for the fact that God used them as an effective preacher, was he supposed to stand up and say oh I'm a lousy preacher go down the street that are better preachers down there that would have just been self-deprecating nonsense. He was God's man with God's word for God's time and so he stood up in the exercises ministry with a boldness that was divine within integrity that was real and with a humility that was tangible. I think it would be in around John the Baptist. You have always tasted his humility. A genuine sense of setting himself back clearly in relationship to Jesus and indeed when he builds a significant following. As we said, he directs them to the Lord Jesus himself, and indeed, I love their little search committee that comes through in John chapter 1 verse 19.
Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.
Everything about having you for a conference and we don't really know you and we want to know just a little bit about your we want to get a CD a little bit of background. Someday we can put in the brochure threw up on the screen so we can make a fuss about you in the town and everyone will come because of how remarkable you are, so he did not fail to confess, but confessed freely.
I not the Christ, so the Aston then who are you are you Elijah he said I am not. Are you the prophet. He answered no. Things are not going particularly well on the weave come here in order that we might get something to say about you and so far you've given as I am not. I am not know who are you give us an answer to take back to those who sent us.
Now here's a question that we all love what you say about yourself or will why don't we get a coffee and a muffin and sit down. Let me let me just in fact, do you have do you have time for dinner. I owe what a wonderful question. Let me let me just get get to that immediately honey could you bring me those those pamphlets and books in the videos and things I he wants to know about me.
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, there's a good lesson for us is not you know what to say quote the Bible and the voice of one calling in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, I baptize you with water, but among you stands one you do not know and he is the one who comes after me in the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. John understood his role prepare the way and get out of the way. Self forgetfulness I think is probably one of the keys to effective ministry. Prepare yourself and forget yourself. Why then would the crowds go out to such a strange man in such a strange place. Well, on account of divine authority, personal integrity, genuine humility, and finally, on account of his helpful simplicity is helpful.
No one was in any doubt when they hear John the Baptist preach what is he essentially saying to these people. Jesus is coming. I want you to give them a great welcome. Is that your message that's my message. What should we do in light of the fact that Jesus is coming. While I think that you want to turn from your sins and get straight in the bath the same thing that a mother's sister's son when he comes home all covered in mud. Now you go straight to the top. That's essentially what he said Jesus is coming your vow to meet in. I want you to turn from your sins, go straight to the top and get ready to meet Mr. Levi, who took his friend and he went down when they went home they made their journey back up to sea level wherever it was they were going and whatever else he knew he knew this that is rented not misunderstood the message of John the Baptist because he was marked by total simplicity, even when he addresses the issue of sin in the life of Herod the couch and how does he given some great blue card diatribe on the psychological analysis of the impact of that marital infidelity on the psyche of a king and or stimuli that we have our reasons are that you're wrong. This is right here he is go there believe this follow him's total simplicity come off the pool but many times on a Sunday. I can even understand what I just said I know the people there that I don't know what that was about a 12 first of all, their eyes are staring straight ahead. Then there blared in the cross, then the closed is a lesson for us and will come back to this throughout the course of these days is easy to identify than John is hard to implement it ourselves.
I find let me just wrap it up once again my brothers, we are confronted by silence and by darkness. There's a famine in the land is a great absence for the voice of the word of God being proclaimed. That is a darkness that seems to be almost all pervading and were asking God to prepare the way and to provide those who will point to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
I just came from the cold in North Carolina milligrams training center. I've never been there before and on Saturday afternoon I went down into the lower hallway. Some of you will a visited there and I look to these dramatic pictures of stadiums throughout the world. An amazing picture of the twin towers of Wembley Stadium which was my favorite in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow just literally around the whole world and I stood in all and looked at all of those crimes see how honestly, do you account for this.
Here's a farm boy his dad's a dairy farm. He has one errand theological qualification and kind of know quite by his own testimony and your goddess picked them up in the darkness and in the silence and is used in uniquely and profoundly throughout all of the days of each of our lives, whatever we might have to say about the various intricacies of theological formulation and everything else. I think that I would want to say that the only explanation I have for the way in which God has done.
That is because he is a man who is understood the Bible's authority and has always said the Bible says this in the Bible says that in the Bible says the next. I've never ever heard him except that is been marked by total simplicity and no one can find a thing on moral financial anything on that would blot his copybook in 60+ years of teaching ministry's a man of complete integrity and is possessed of a palpable humility and then you know what I thought. Next, then the devil came to me and said, not literally of course because it was because my wife was with me in the voice. It is you, not I'll introduce my wife to you tomorrow, you'll know the she does not afford then then then then the insinuation was this, you're doing nothing you're doing nothing.
How many people have you preached what you doing anything you are. This is where it's really happening, you know, you might as well chuckle you're doing is nothing say we have to remind ourselves what, after all, is Paul Paulus or Cephas only servants, through whom you came to believe it is God who gives the work and it is God who gives the increase. So then we can together say Lord Jesus Christ, will you make is, at least in this sense, like John the Baptist were not interested in his diet. Looking forward to the barbecue were not interested in is close. Frankly, that the gap will do is find but but we we are tremendously interested in his authority is integrity. His humility and his simplicity.
John the Baptist was God's man with God's will and God's place and time listening to Truth for Life that is Alister Greg encouraging pastors to prepare the way and get out of the way. Alister will be back to pray with us in just our study today has provided both instruction and encouragement for pastors and there are plenty of books written for men in ministry, but there is an essential partner who is upholding many pastors that is the pastor's wife and there are far fewer books written to offer instruction or encouragement for the women who play such a vital role in serving the church and the Lord so we want to recommend a book called partners in the gospel. This is 50 meditations for pastors and elders wives. The author is herself a pastor's wife and in this book, she presents a collection of daily readings that reflect on both the joys and challenges that ministry leaders. Wives can face in their own hearts and their homes while they were at church and in the community, you can request a copy of the book partners in the gospel when you make a donation today to give simply tap the book imager see in the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate or you can call us at 888-588-7884 know if you're a regular listener, you know that our mission at truth for like is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance. We do it, so the unbelievers will be converted.
Believers will be established in the faith, and local churches will be strengthened and as this mission relates to the local church. We want to encourage and equip pastors for the work of the gospel. So if you lead a local church, or if you lead young men pursuing a career as a pastor.
We want to invite you to check out the form module online study titled the basics of pastoral ministry. This is a collection of 30 sermons and lectures from Alister that draw on his experience leading the congregation for more than 40 years in the study you'll hear Alister teach about church leadership expository preaching and things like how to handle opposition to change each module. In this study contains between five and nine lessons there's a corresponding downloadable study guide to help you apply what you've learned all four modules in the corresponding online study guides are accessible for free when you visit Truth for Life.org search for the basics of pastoral ministry and now here's Alister with a closing prayer father I pray that right at the outset of our time together will drive these things and other necessary truths home to our hearts that we may not be dispirited but rather energized by remarking on the way in which you choose to use strange people in strange places to do remarkable things. To this end, we commit ourselves to you in Jesus name, amen about the team.
Glad you joined us today is possible to be spiritually malnourished. If you attend church regularly find out tomorrow that on behalf of Alister and the entire staff. Truthfully we want to wish all of our Canadian listeners a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living