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1 19-28 Learning To Praise God For Orange Barrels

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                                                  liberty bible church          10/28/07 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“leARNING to praise god for orange barrels”

John 1:19-28


Illus. of when we see “construction ahead” signs, we are never happy. One of two things happens; we either cut in the line, which I have done before or we get extremely frustrated or perhaps even angry. We are all susceptible to this. We’re in a hurry and where we’re going and what we are doing is more important than anyone else. The only people that like orange barrels or cones are the people that make money on these projects. The rest of us, although we want straight, smooth roads, loathe orange barrels. We don’t like having to deal with the work that it takes to have the good roads.

The same might be said of our spiritual lives. Most people here today would say that they want to be a follower of Christ; they would say that they want others to know Him as well; they would say that they want our country to be blessed as it has in the past; but very few are willing to do the work that is necessary to see that others are saved and grow. This is the only thing that will bring lasting change. The church is full of line-cutters and road ragers. We want easy Christianity with all the trimmings; fun, entertainment, and certainly no trials. We loathe “orange barrel Christianity.” Anything that takes work. Today we are going to learn from someone that did spiritual road construction and from him we can see how we can learn to praise God for those orange barrels of life that come along.

OPEN to passage.                                       

Prop. In this passage, we see how we can pave the way for others to know Jesus.

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Three weeks ago we finished the prologue of the Gospel of John. We have saw that Jesus is God and that John the Baptist came to be a witness of who He was. Many rejected John’s witness. Cf. v 10-11 But all who received Him, could be called the children of God. Cf. v 12-13 Today, we get a little more detail from John the Baptist and what his ministry was to be and learn from him how to love orange barrel Christianity. First…

 i. who john the baptist was not vs. 19-22

Illus. of as a kid I used to love to watch Rich Little. (Richard Nixon) He was a great impersonator. They say impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery. In our success-driven culture, impersonation has inundated the church. Many preachers and laymen alike impersonate others who have been successful, rather than be who God made us to be. John the Baptist impersonated no one and his ministry created quite a stir.

A.     he was not the messiah

V 19a   1. By John’s own testimony, we see who he is not. This was not speculation of the Apostle John not conclusions drawn by the religious leaders. These are John’s own words as to who he was not.

V 19b  2. His ministry had created such a stir that the Jewish leadership thought they better check this guy out. After all, they were expecting the Messiah to come, as well as others. These leaders were priests and Levites, men who were expert in the Law and leaders of the people. They ask him straight out, “Who are you?”

V 20    3. He is not the Anointed One who was to come and save the people. By using the word “confession” twice here, John is stressing the fact that John the Baptist made it clear that he was not the Messiah.

b. He was not a prophesied prophet

            The OT indicated that there were other prophets who were to come.

V 21a   1. Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah. Cf. Malachi 4:5 John’s ministry was similar to Elijah’s in that he tried to turn people back to God and he even dressed and lived like Elijah. But, he makes it clear that he was not Elijah, even though he is the fulfillment of this prophecy. Cf. Matt. 11:14

V 21b  2. John was also not “the Prophet.” Who is “the Prophet?” Cf. Deut. 18:15 We know now that this is a reference to Jesus. Cf. John 1:45 Some made the mistake of thinking that the Messiah and the prophet were different. John 7:40-41. Note that John’s answers get shorter and shorter in this confrontation. He did not want to talk about himself. He was there to point to Christ, not draw attention to himself.

V 22    3. Who was he then? He had made nothing clear. The authorities wanted to know, but they understood nothing that he said.

Trans. We now know WHO JOHN WAS NOT. He was not the Messiah, Elijah, or the coming Prophet, (who was the Messiah.) Now, we get a clue from…

ii. what john did vs. 23-28

Illus. of most cell phones don’t work out in the middle of nowhere. But, John functioned as a phone that worked anywhere. This is important if you work…

a. John did road construction in the desert

V 23    1. John quotes from Isaiah 40:3. This references highway workers in the desert clearing the way for the return of the Lord, as the exiles returned from the Babylonian captivity. Similarly, John the Baptist was in the desert preparing the way for the Lord and His kingdom by calling on people to turn to Him.   

            2. Jesus earlier in this chapter was called the Word. Here, John is called the “voice” or “fwnh” a sound, a tone. phone. Illus. when we speak on the phone, the voice only represents the real thing. The person is not in the phone. John’s voice pointed to Jesus.

b. john did baptisms in the desert 

V 24    1. The Pharisees were a very important group. There were 6,000 of tem and they were very powerful. They were very strict and had adopted many oral traditions. They ask John a very important question…

V 25    2. Since you have no official title, why are you baptizing? This should have been done by someone who was an official religious leader, not by some renegade in the desert. But, John’s popularity could not be denied so he could not be ignored.

V 26a   3. John makes it clear here that his baptism was anticipatory. He could not remove sin as the michva baths pictured. They were ceremonial cleansings before sacrifice. John’s baptism was only with water, but something more was coming; a baptism of greater significance than any baptism before.

V 26b  4. There is one here that they did not know, but His work was to be greater than John’s.

V 27a   5. Cf. 1:15 John was older than Jesus, yet Jesus was before John as God. He is far superior to John. His baptism is far superior to John’s. Cf. John 1:33 The moment we are saved, we are baptized with the HS. Cf. 1 Cor. 12:13 There is no second baptism, as is erroneously taught by some. Every true believer has the HS from the moment they are saved. Cf. Rom. 8:9 The water baptism we do is symbolic of what has happened to us already spiritually. Cf. Rom. 6:2-3 refers to spirit baptism. Water only pictures what has happened. John’s baptism was symbolic. It pictured the cleansing that would come when the repentant sinner trusted Christ.    

V 27b  6. Because of this superiority, John doesn’t feel worthy to do the most menial task for Jesus. Yet, we know he was worthy.      

V 28    7. This site is unknown. It may have been across the Jordan from Jericho. The place is irrelevant now. What’s important is what happened there. John was preparing for Jesus to come. He was showing that people that they needed to prepare for the Messiah by admitting that they were sinners and the Law was not getting the job done. A more perfect sacrifice was needed. So, even with his baptisms, John was doing road construction, preparing the way for the Messiah.


O.K. So we know who John was, who he was not, and what work that he did, and why. So, what does that mean for today and how does it help me to praise God for orange barrels? What are some spiritual orange barrels we dodge?


1.      The orange barrel of unforgiven sin. We need to repent and believe in what Jesus did on the cross. GOSPEL

2.      The orange barrel of unconquered sin. We are dead to sin and alive to Christ. We need to reckon ourselves as dead and begin to have the victory. Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:13

3.      The orange barrel of fear of evangelism. 2 Tim. 1:7 We are the voices in the wilderness today.

4.      The orange barrel of trial. James 1:2

What is your orange barrel today? Worry, a spirit of unforgiveness, anger, lack of faith? We all have them. Instead of dodging them, we need to praise God for them and search the Scriptures for our answers.

Illus. of the “God isn’t finished with me” shirts.

We are all works of God, under construction with the completion date for sometime in the future; but it will not be in this life. God sent Jesus…and he sent John to prepare the way…and He sent us as His voices, so others can know Jesus as well. We are the modern day Johns, voices crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus. When you see orange barrels, remember the task we have been given and praise God for the opportunity to serve Him.



“leARNING to praise god

for orange barrels”

John 1:19-28


Today we are going to learn from someone that did spiritual road construction and from him we can see how we can learn to praise God for those orange barrels of life that come along.

 i. who john the baptist was not vs. 19-22

A.      he was not the messiah

b. He was not a prophesied prophet

                Cf. Malachi 4:5; Matt. 11:14; Deut. 18:15; John 1:45; 7:40-41

ii. what john did vs. 23-28

a. John did road construction in the desert

                Cf. Isaiah 40:3

b. john did baptisms in the desert 

                Cf. John 1:33; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:9; 6:2-3


What are some spiritual orange barrels we dodge?


1. The orange barrel of…

2. The orange barrel of…

                                Cf. Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:13

                3. The orange barrel of…

Cf. 2 Tim. 1:7

4. The orange barrel of…

Cf. James 1:2

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