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John the Baptist Preparing the Way

Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:42
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John the Baptist Preparing the Way

Mark 1.1-8

Introduction:

The writer of the Gospel of Mark is John Mark. He was the young man that went with the apostle Paul and Barnabas on one of their mission trips decided that it was not for him at the time. As a matter of fact, Paul and Barnabas later a falling out over whether or not to bring John Mark back into the ministry. As a result of this discussion between these two godly men; the apostle Paul chose a man by name of Silas and Barnabas took Mark with him on his missionary journeys.
The gospel of Mark is the shortest of the gospels. It is commonly believed that the apostle Peter was the main resource for the writing of the Gospel of Mark.
Although many of the books in the Bible have key verses, the Gospel of Mark doesn’t have a particular verse that outlines the book; but rather it has key phrases that it uses: straightway, immediately, these are action type words.
The Gospel of Mark contains many of the same narratives and stories that the other Gospels do concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, but Mark seems to focus more on the miraculous than the others do. With this desire to emphasize the miracles that Jesus performed, is understood that Mark believes that Jesus is deity will be shown through his actions rather than the author stating it.
Even though Mark presents the miracles of Jesus as something that only Jesus can do his main focus is presenting Jesus as a tireless servant. This is definitely a character trait that we can imitate in our Christian walk. Throughout the Scriptures, especially in the New Testament God’s people are called upon to be servant leaders.
Mark 10:45 KJV 1900
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Philippians 2:5–8 KJV 1900
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The Gospel of Mark presents Jesus: The Compassionate Servant of God.

1. The Proclamation of Jesus-vs. 1

Mark’s first sentence serves as a title to the book and it serves to plunge us immediately into the earthly ministry of Jesus. Mark is going to share with his readers the good news concerning who Jesus is and what He did while He was here. Mark calls the Lord “Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.
The Proclamation of the Man-vs.1
His Name-Jesus
The name “Jesus” is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Joshua”. It means “Jehovah is Salvation”. Jesus is a human name and it reveals the reason Jesus came into this world. Jesus came into this world to save lost sinners, . The name “Jesus” declares His Person.
Matthew 1:21 KJV 1900
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Luke 19:10 KJV 1900
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
His Title-Christ
He is called “Christ”. This identifies Jesus as the “Jewish Messiah”, or “the Anointed One”. The name “Christ” declares His Position. Jesus is pictured as the One Who will deliver His people from their enemies.
John 1:41 KJV 1900
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
His Power-The Son of God
Then Mark raises the stakes. He calls Jesus “the Son of God”. Mark lets us know in very clear terms that he is writing about a man, Who is no ordinary man. He is writing about a man Who is God in the flesh, The name “Son of God” declares His Power.
So, this title declares four important truths regarding Jesus.
1. He is truly human – He has a human name – Jesus.
2. He is truly divine – He is the promised Messiah. He is the Son of God.
3. He is truly unique – He is both humanity and deity in one Person.
4. He is the true source of Good News – Jesus alone is the source of salvation!
Hebrews 1:2 KJV 1900
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
The Proclamation of the Message-vs. 1
The Gospel means “Good News” and it is good news to all men!
Message to all men.
Romans 1:16–17 KJV 1900
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 KJV 1900
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Revelation 14:6–7 KJV 1900
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Message content-The Gospel
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 KJV 1900
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Ephesians 1:13–14 KJV 1900
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

2. The Prophecy of John-vs. 2-3

It was not unusual for a king to have a forerunner that came before him announcing his soon arrival, this man had two duties:
First, he was to make certain that the roads were passable. There were to be no delays when the king passed through. He was to have a clear, open route through the kingdom.
Second, the forerunner was let the people know that the king was coming. He was to go along the route before the king came through and he was to tell the people to get ready for the king.
John the Baptist fulfilled both duties seen in the ancient forerunner. He came to this world with a divine mission. John was given a heavenly mandate, which he fulfilled while he was here.
The Miracle of the Prophecy-vs. 2
John the Baptist fulfilled two important Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus. These prophetic writings were written hundreds of years before John. In, fact Isaiah was written about 700 years before, and Malachi about 450 years before John the Baptist was born.
Malachi 3:1 KJV 1900
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, Even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
Isaiah 40:3 KJV 1900
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
John cleared the way for the coming of the Lord by appealing directly to the people. The Jewish religious leaders had long ago forgotten the common man. John came preaching to the people, calling on them to repent because the Lord, the King was coming to deliver His people.
The Message of the Prophecy-vs. 3
John was a lone voice against the dead legalism of the Jews. He was a hard preacher in a dark day and God used him to touch a generation.
(Note: John the Baptist preached during a period when the Jewish religion had become nothing more than dead orthodoxy. Legalism and ritual ruled the day. The Jews were in desperate need of a spiritual revival. The Gentiles had given up on religion and viewed most religious beliefs as superstition and foolish tales. Both groups needed just what John preached: the Truth!
We are living in similar day! Many churches have abandoned the great doctrines of the Bible to preach either a message rooted in humanism or legalism. People are either never challenged regarding their sins or they are beaten down with the Word of God.
There is a great need for men of God in our day who will stand up, open their Bibles, open their mouths and preach the Word of God. Jesus is coming soon! Where are the forerunners who are preparing the way of the Lord and proclaiming His return?
2 Timothy 4:2 KJV 1900
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3. The Preaching of John-vs. 4-8

The Place of John’s Preaching-vs. 4
Matthew 3:1 KJV 1900
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
The wilderness…have you ever felt like you were in the wilderness? Don’t feel that you are out of the Will of God when you are in the wilderness. Many of God’s choicest and finest servants I spent much time in the wilderness. But note in this passage of Scripture as John is in the wilderness crying about God and proclaiming Jesus, Jesus himself shows up!
Always remember this, God knows exactly where you’re at.
Hebrews 13:5 KJV 1900
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The Purpose of John’s Preaching-vs. 4
Acts 19:4 KJV 1900
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
He came telling men of the need for repentance. His message was a message of confrontation. John came confronting sin and calling on people to repent. The word “repentance” means “a change of mind that results in a change of action.” The people had sinned and John called on them to change their minds regarding sin.
John was calling on them to clean up their lives in preparation for the advent of Jesus! He was saying, “The Lord is coming! The Savior is coming! You need to straighten out your crooked hearts. You need to get the way into your heart prepared for the coming of the Lord.
John’s message was also a message of change. John told the people that their “repentance” would result in the “remission of sins”. The word “remission” means “forgiveness or pardon of sins as though they had never happened.” John told the people that their repentance would result in God’s forgiveness!
A preacher from North Carolina, Alan Carr states:
(Note: That is the message we need in our world today! Where are the preachers who are preaching about repentance and remission of sin? Most preachers are too busy stroking people’s egos and tickling their ears. They are too busy building their crowds, and their own religious empires.
We need men of God in this day that will lift up their voices and thunder out against sin! We need men who will not allow position, prestige, prosperity or popularity stand between them and the proclamation of the truth. We need preachers who will tell people the truth! I know how hard it is to preach the truth to the people who determine what kind of house you can buy or what kind of car you can drive, but they must be told the truth!
People need to know that the only way to Heaven is through the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. People need to know that sin kills. People need to know that there is a real Hell to shun and a real Heaven to gain. People need to know that God still looks for repentant hearts and changed lives. People need the truth!
Not everyone wants to be lulled to sleep by the weak, anemic preaching of this day! Some people still want to hear the truth. Some people still want to be confronted by the facts of the Word. Those people want to be fed. The rest, those who do not want to hear the truth, need to be confronted! There are plenty of people out there who will not hear the truth. The Bible tells us that it will be this way in the end times, 2 Tim. 4:3-4
2 Timothy 4:3–4 KJV 1900
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The People of John’s Preaching-vs. 5
John did something else that was unusual in his day, he baptized Jews. People in that part of the world had been practicing baptism for a long time. When a Gentile became a Jewish convert, that person would baptize themselves as a symbol of their changed life. Baptism was not new, but the way John used it was.
John did not baptize people to make them right with God. They were baptized because their sands have been forgiven. They went to John in the wilderness and were immersed in the River Jordan to declare publicly that their lives had been changed by the power of God.
Baptism is still a public declaration of one’s salvation. People are not baptized to be saved but there baptize because they have been saved. Baptism is a picture of a person dying to the old life of sin and rising again to a new life of holiness and Christ likeness.
Everyone who comes to Jesus and is saved by his grace is a new creature. They will live a new kind of life, though have new desires, they’ll be different because Jesus changes every life that he touches!
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV 1900
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
notice in verse five: “and there went out unto him all the land…” Some commentators have estimated that as many as 300,000 people may been baptized by John and his disciples. Many of these people traveled upwards to 20 miles on foot to be baptized, and when they got there John treated these religious Jews like there were Gentiles. When they were confronted with their sands, they saw their sands and they repented. When they did God forgave them.
The Passion of John’s Preaching-vs. 6-8
Note-it didn’t take long hearing John the Baptist preach to understand his purpose and his message. He was not there to build up his name or his reputation, John preached to point to the people to Jesus. In fact, John’s messages were all about Jesus.
The message of a humble servant-vs. 7
John the Baptist was a bold preacher. He thundered out against sin and called for people to repent. But, when he began to talk about Jesus Christ, John became a very humble preacher. He tells the people who heard him preach that compared to Jesus, he was a nobody! He tells them that he isn’t even worthy to do the job of the lowest household slave. John says, “I am nothing, but He is everything!” John says, “I didn’t come to call people to me; I came to point people to Him!” That is a humility that is lacking in these days.
John 3:30 KJV 1900
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
The message of a Holy Saviour-vs. 8
John also told them that when Jesus came He would do a spiritual work in their hearts. You see, John was using a material element, water, to baptize their bodies. Jesus would use a spiritual element, the Holy Spirit, to baptize their souls. John was taking them and placing them under the water in a symbol of their repentance. Jesus would take them and He would wash their sins away in His blood and He would give them a new life.
John was not calling people to religion. They had enough of that. John the Baptist was pointing people to a Savior Who could save their souls, forgive their sins and change their lives.
Acts 16:31 KJV 1900
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Romans 10:9 KJV 1900
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Conclusion:

John didn’t have much of this world’s goods, but he had God’s power upon his life because his life reflected God’s truth.
Does your life reflect God’s truth?
John made difference in his world because he pointed people to Jesus and prepared them to personally meet the Son of God.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?
Is your life preparing the way for others to know Jesus as their Saviour?
Are your children more Godly because of you?
Are your friends more Godly because of your influence? When was the last time you invited all of your friends to church?
Are you caught up in the devil’s trap of: worldly things, worldly amusements,
When was the last time you prayed for God to lead you to a specific decision?
Are you daily walking in the Spirit?
Did you put the armor of God on today?
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