January 10, 2016

The Forerunner – John The Baptist

Passage : Luke 3:1-8
Service Type :

“The Forerunner – John the Baptist”
When measuring large distance a device called the transit level is used in various intermediate locations but the process includes plotting back to the starting point the property boundary or marker.  History is taught in a similar manner and we will observe Luke use this very process.
Luke 3:1-18        The ministry of John the Baptist.
Herbert Lockyer gives this description of John the Baptist:  “With the appearance of John the Baptist we have the burial of the Old Dispensation and the emergence of the New.  We seem to see his rugged figure standing with arms outstretched, as with one hand he takes the Old Testament & with the other holds the New, & who through his ministry, makes the transition from Law to Grace.  He was the foreclosure of the old & the forerunner of the new.”
Verse 1 gives Theophilus historical markers to establish a baseline ______________________
If Luke was operating form the Roman calendar, his reference to Tiberius, “the fifteenth year of his reign”, establishes the ministry of John beginning in AD 28 – 29.  ____________________
So Luke has set the 1st reference point and now he looks back in history, giving his gentile audience a reference point of historical context.
Luke is drawing out the timeline which is fortifying the baseline of faith.  700 years before John was born, Isaiah spoke of it.  ____________________________________________________   We could move too quickly here if we were not careful and miss the content of John’s ministry:  “preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins”.  Luke explains what he means by this in some detail in verses 7-14:  _____________________________________________
I think John’s emphasis on this is clearly illustrated when he says in verse 8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”  John is addressing the ‘chosen ones’ mentality that we see evidenced in some circles today.  ___________________________________________________________________________  Remorse is a byproduct of repentance brought by the conviction of the Holy Spirit but remorse is not the totality of repentance.  ________________________________________________    1.  In verse 11  (the people) he says show kindness.
2.  In verse 13 (the tax collectors) he says be honest.
3.  In verse 14 (the soldiers) he says apply your authority with grace and equity
These words are the context of his warning to them in verse 9, “the ax is laid at the root of the trees”.  The two main points of John’s message are:  (1) Judgment is near;  (2) repentance means treating others well.
John is quick to say, ‘it’s not about me’.  The murmur is going through the crowds each time they gather.  ‘Could this be Messiah?’ __________________________________________
Verse 18 concludes, “With many other exhortations he preached to the people.”
If you thought I just skipped over the Isaiah 40 quote, hang on for a minute.  I want to conclude with it today.  For context let me read Isaiah 40:1-10.    Harmony of the baseline.

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