Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn

                                                                    Faithfulness – A Key Step to Happiness

Dec 16 2012:                                                  “ Forerunner!”

Sun AM Worship      I know who I am and I know who God say I am and what God says I can do.                     

Text John 1:1-23 (King James Version)  

  “Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people.”

                                           The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, “If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if

the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;”

 

An F5 tornado can have winds of over 300 mph! I watched part of a show here while back where they were testing building materials for tornado damage. They had a gun that would shoot a 2-by-4 at a cinder-block test wall. That board went through the cinder-block wall like it was going through a piece of paper!

*Sometimes life feels like an F5 tornado. How are you going to stand in something like that? How can I find the strength to stand? We can see right here in the Word of God.

 

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Joh 1:5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Joh 1:6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Joh 1:7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Joh 1:8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Joh 1:9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Joh 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Joh 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Joh 1:15  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Joh 1:16  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Joh 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Joh 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Joh 1:19  And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

Joh 1:20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

Joh 1:21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

Joh 1:22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

Joh 1:23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

 

* Let’s pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.  

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice. Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

It’s strange, but for the last 2,000 years God has selected a few key men named “John” to preach the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament there was “John the Baptist,” “John the apostle,” and “John Mark.”

During the Reformation there was “John Knox,” and “John Calvin.”

In the 18th Century there was “John Wesley.” Before and since then I am sure there have been many “Johns.” The reason for that of course is that the name “John” has become very popular with the Christian church. It means “God is gracious,” or “the gift of God.”

 John the Baptist was a gift from God to the Jews in Israel. He was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ preparing the way for His appearing. It was John the Baptist that introduced Jesus to the world.

You must understand something about John the Baptist. He was the last Old Testament prophet. Before John there was 400 years of silence from God; 400 years when God refused to speak to the world. Then, after 400 silent years, John emerged with a fresh message from God for His people. He had the revelation of God ringing in his message. He was God’s official “spokesman” for the hour.

John was a rugged figure who held the Old Testament in one hand while holding the New Testament in his heart. Law in his Hand and Grace in his Heart! It is through his ministry that we can make the transition from law to grace. He was the foreclosure of the Old and the forerunner of the New.

I do know an fully understand,that there have been many great men throughout history, but other than Christ Himself, I have never read of a greater than John the Baptist. Let me explain. Some men are great by their own estimation. Some men are considered great by other men’s estimations. But the only one who was considered the greatest by Jesus’ estimation was John the Baptist, (Mt. 11:11)

Mt 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

 

I want to share three things with you this morning about this man named John. I want you to remember this.

BI - “Just as John was God’s dynamic voice telling those in the wilderness about the Christ to come, so we are to be God’s dynamic voice telling the world about Christ too.”

I. WHEN GOD HAS A TASK HE WANTS DONE, HE SEEKS A MAN TO DO IT…:
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath, and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 22:30-31

II. A DIVINE TASK DEMANDS A DIVINE COMMISSION: “…sent from God.” “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:20-21.
“And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.”
Hebrews 5:4.

III. A DIVINE TASK HAS A DISTINCT PURPOSE: “came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light…”
One cannot be a witness to that of which they have no knowledge. We cannot share that which we do not have nor give that which we do not possess. Note the witness of John and the testimony that he declared.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.” John 1:29-30.

IV. A DIVINE TASK NEVER DISCRIMINATES IN THE BLESSING IT AFFORDS: “…that all through him might believe.”
John the Baptist declared: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29.
The Apostle Paul declared: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16.
The Apostle Peter declared: “The Lord is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
IIPeter3:9.

 

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He too had a miraculous birth, born of a couple well past the age of normal conception. His arrival had an angelic announcement, and he grew up with special promises attached to his mission. John the Baptist’s mission was to prepare people’s hearts for Jesus. His message was simple: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

He was called The Baptist because he, obviously, baptized people. He said, “I baptize you with [or, in] water for repentance.” His was a baptism of repentance, of turning away from sins. What he did was a symbol of people leaving their old ways and following the way of the Lord. He was like an OT prophet, shouting from the rooftops what people should do, and then helping them turn that way.

You see, John the Baptist was given a very important role in the whole scheme of things. He was the announcer to Jesus’ earthly ministry. It was quite a privilege and a burden, all wrapped up together. Come to think of it, most things God asks us to do are a combination of privilege and burden. They aren’t always easy, and can sometimes weigh heavy on us, but they are also part of God’s wonderful plans for our lives. Privileges and burdens altogether.

I. John’s Human Limitations - “John was a man.”

A. A Common Man - (Mt 11:2)

There was nothing extraordinary about the man John except his birth. He was born to Elizabeth and Zacharias at an old age, which was quite miraculous, but he was common flesh and bones like the rest of us. He had the same temptations, shortcomings, and problems that we all have. You might not read about them in the New Testament, but it’s true. John was highly revered by the Jews of his day, but he was a common man just the same.

Mt 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

A witness is not someone who tells something he thinks, but something he knows. John was a witness of the fact that Jesus Christ was the true Light of the world. It was John’s task to expose the world to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was John’s task to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jews. That is a holy occupation.

Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mr 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

1] John was an ordinary man with an extraordinary mission -- to bear witness of Christ.

2] John was an ordinary man with an extraordinary manifestation -- Heavenly authorization, divine power

Ac 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

3] John was an ordinary man with an extraordinary message -- the gospel of Jesus Christ.

BI - “Just as John was God’s dynamic voice telling those in the wilderness about the Christ to come, so we are to be God’s dynamic voice telling the world about Christ too.”

 

Dennis was a guy from Katy, Texas who had an emergency and needed his suit dry cleaned before he left on a trip.

 He remembered one store with a huge sign, “One-Hour Dry Cleaners.” It was on the other side of town, so he drove out of his way to drop off his suit. After the clerk filled out the necessary information, he told her, “I have some errands to run and I’ll be back in an hour to pick it up.” She said, “I can’t get this back to you until Thursday.” “I thought you did dry cleaning in an hour,” he said. “Oh, no,” she replied, “That’s just the name of the store, we don’t actually do that.” There are many folks today who wear a sign saying they are a Christian, but they fail to deliver the goods. There are many churches who do not deliver on what the sign out front says either.