Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 23rd, 2018.
These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
You and I live in this time and place on a big ball called earth. A little planet in the vast cosmic universe. Our mission is simple: survive. From the moment you entered this world, every system and cell is striving to survive and live. But in this world we face challenges, hurdles, struggles, problems. Some small and easily solved, some bigger and maybe impossible to solve… unless. The maker of the “unless” - We almost take this for granted… But He is there… And He took care of the greatest of all our needs.
Here’s the problem: SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD
Romans 5:12 NIV
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
>In the Gospel of John we see God intervening and providing the ultimate solution to the worst problem imaginable - life without God’s presence, life without His glory.
Let’s examine a narrative that John is giving us:
John 1:6-8 NIV
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
God sent John to be a forerunner witness.
SENT: God sent John for a purpose… revealed in verse 7: “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
John - A WITNESS: Gives a testimony of what they know to be true.
vs 15: John testified, cried out…John 1:15 (NIV)
What was John’s Message?
John 1:15 NIV
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”)
John 1:19-28 NIV
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”He said, “I am not.”“Are you the Prophet?”He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John prepared the way. in verse 23 we here the main point and purpose of His message: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
>John is reaching right into the very WORDS of God and speaking them as a testimony of who he is and what his purpose is.
>The moment he spoke this one this one sentence, the whole Text in Is. 40 came to the mind of the listeners. I am sure they not just knew this one sentence but the knew the whole prophecy. Let’s look at it…
Isaiah 40:1-10 NIV
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” 9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
John came to comfort His people. TO bring the great news that the Light - the one to bring light in the darkness, the Lamb of God - the one who would take on all the sin of man and die the ultimate death - the SAVIOR has arrived.
This message came at a great cost to John. To live this testimony out and share it boldly, came with a great price.
John possessed three inner qualities that kept him of point in order to fulfill what God sent him to do.
>When the religious leaders came and questioned John, they wanted to know who he was. “Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet?” He answered no to all these questions. “Well then, who are you?”
>Now John could have said, “I am John the Baptist. I am the forerunner of Christ and I have come to prepare a people for the Lord. I am His greatest prophet and the Messiah is my cousin.” John could have answered any number of ways to draw attention to himself, to steal the glory, but he didn’t do that at all.
>Notice his answer in verse 23. John said, “I’m just a voice.”
>That’s it! Just a voice. Just a messenger. Just a witness.
>Listen, until we come to the place in our lives that all we care about is promoting Jesus, then we’ll continue to try to steal the show. There must be this inner quality of self-denial in our lives. Our lives are to be about Jesus, but so often we make it about us.
>When John said that he was just a voice, what he was saying was that he recognized that Jesus was Lord and he was not.
>God had called and commissioned him to do this thing; and he did it. John never changed course, he never decided that this wasn’t what he wanted to do – rather, he spent his entire life preparing for this calling and gave his life in pursuit of it.
>The issue that we need to come to grips with is who is in charge of our life. When we make Jesus the Lord of our life, then it follows that His interests are to become our interests, and His commands are to be followed to the best of our ability.
>A person with a servant’s heart is a person who has the best interests of others on their mind. You see, personal recognition, personal pleasure, personal anything is never the first concern – they serve out of a genuine and Godly concern for others.
>The Pharisees wanted to know why John was doing these things if he wasn’t the Messiah or one of the other men.
>When John began baptizing Jews, many of them took offense to the act. The Pharisees strongly objected to it. You see, the Jews considered themselves to be God’s chosen people, but then here comes this man who tells them that they are strangers to the grace of God and were aliens, separated from God because of their sin. They needed to repent and be baptized so they would be ready for Christ’s coming.
>The Pharisees found that message offensive. How dare anyone come along and suggest that they need repentance and ritual cleansing in the Jordan! They were God’s people! Or so they thought.
When they asked John why he was doing all this then, he again proclaimed Christ – His authority came from God, and then he added that while they were so worried about his authority, they really needed to be concerned with the One who was coming that John wasn’t even worthy to untie his shoes.
>John’s encounter with Christ reinforced his view that he was at his very best nothing in comparison with the Savior – all he could offer was absolute surrender to the will of God and let God have His way in his life.
Now you think about these qualities of
2. a servant’s heart
3. absolute surrender.
John possessed these qualities.
What about us… do you remember the beginning words of Isaiah 40?
“Comfort, comfort my people”
What if we saw others the way God really intended us to see them. See our neighbor as ourselves. (Love your neighbor as you would like to be loved)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
May we earnestly ask God to strengthen us, change our selfish mindset and use us for His name sake and for His glory.