Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 4 (04-08-19)
Bob George continues teaching from the book of John. He briefly shares from the gospel of Matthew to provide further information. John the Baptist came with an appeal to men to change your mind. So too is the same appeal for the hearts of men today concerning truth in regards to what you have been trusting for salvation. Are you depending on anything you can do to be in the presence of God? Then change your mind. All of Jesus and none of me. This is a personal decision between you and God. Do you believe what the bible says as revealed by Jesus Christ, the word of God? What does He want you to believe? Truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You cannot say you are a believer in Christ and still go to a priest. You cannot say you are a believer in Christ and rededicate your life and commit to keeping short accounts with God. Do you say, “I am the initiator and He is the responder?” Is that true? No. God is the initiator and I respond to Him.
Many people with their mouth say they are a Christian but have never repented. John the Baptist said, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” A New Covenant is going to be ushered in. Be ready for it. Prepare the way of the Lord and make straight paths for Him.
1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”[Isaiah 40:3]
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
What were they doing? They were confessing their sins. So what is John the Baptist saying?
Change your mind. Put your faith in him, the coming Messiah. Repent, for the kingdom of God is near. There was cleansing in Judaism before Christianity came along. It was part of tradition. Cleansing was a means of identifying yourself. Identify yourself, submerge yourself, in the New Covenant coming. Put the old behind and become a follower of the new.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Why did John the Baptist come baptizing? Let us turn back now to John 1:30.
30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’
John knew Jesus as his cousin but he could not know Jesus as the promised Messiah until that truth was revealed to him. John the Baptist baptized in order that the Messiah might be revealed to Israel. God chose to use the ceremonial cleansing of water for Jesus to be revealed as the Messiah.
Why did John the Baptist baptize Jesus and why did Jesus allow himself to be baptized?
There are those who believe in baptismal regeneration, that someone has to be saved by being dunked in water. Well, Jesus was baptized is the argument. But that is not the truth revealed in scripture.
30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
The reason John the Baptist came to baptize was so that the man who is the Messiah might be revealed to Israel. John gave this testimony that he would not have known Jesus as the Messiah except the one who sent him to baptize told him that the one on who you see the Spirit descend on him like a dove is the one.
Who sent John to Baptize? God.
33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God]
Why did John the Baptist come baptizing? To identify Messiah to Israel. If John the Baptist did not know, how do we expect to know? God told John who to expect.
Every time John went baptizing, the question would be asked, “Is this the one?” That is why when the Pharisees came down, he told them that they were white-washed sepulchers, and you certainly are not the one. “Who told you to flee from the coming wrath?”
Why did Jesus allow himself to be baptized? To reveal himself to Israel. He was not doing so to get cleansed, for he had no sin. He did it to fulfill the promise of God. Yet, people will make it to mean all sorts of other things.
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
To be a Rabbi, you had to be taught to be a teacher and you were taught in rabbinical schools. Historical research and archaeology tells us that there was one in Jerusalem and one in Seporos, in Galilee, across the valley from Nazareth. It was a booming city, a metropolis. There was a lot of construction in Seporos. There was also rabbinical school headed by Eli, Mary’s father. Being a metropolitan area for that time period, with a population over 100,000 people, terrific amount of construction took place and provided lot of work for carpentry. Joseph, we know worked as a carpenter. Jesus, in the silent years, where nothing is recorded down in scripture about him when he was between 12 and 30 years old, other records or findings indicate he was in a rabbinical school. He would have been in rabbinical school with his grandfather as the head of it. We do not know these things from scripture. But we do know Eli was Mary’s father and we do know Jesus was called Rabbi. So, without being recorded in scripture, certain amount of speculation but more archaeological findings are providing information.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.]).
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
Nathaniel asked if anything good could come out f Nazareth. He had preconceived ideas much like people today. The people in that town were farmers and there was a certain attitude toward them. You cannot answer preconceived ideas. So just by-pass the question and tell him to find out for yourself. “Come and see.”
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[Genesis 28:12] the Son of Man.”
Jesus identified himself as who he is, God.
In our lives, many grew up in different religious backgrounds. Bob never heard about new birth in his church upbringing. He referred to church he was raised in as a liberal church. You get to hear nice stories. You hear a nice story about Jesus feeding 5000 and then the application is that we should be kind to the poor. Yet, he never heard the salvation message. He recalls music and appreciates the music. Bob had no clue he could know God. He heard about him. If someone asked, “Do you believe in Jesus?” Yes, he would say. “Do you believe he died? Yes. Resurrected? Yes. Bob could answer “yes” to many questions but was not saved. He believed in him like Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s theater. Bob said he believed a lot of things but was not saved. At age 36, he realized something was terribly wrong with him. Bob recognized there was something far worse than the sin he was doing. He had an emptiness that he was trying to fill. He was desperate to find acceptance. Outwardly he was happy, telling jokes and being funny. Inside, though, he felt empty. He went to a Billy Graham crusade. Billy Graham made an invitation to come repent of your sins. Bob said, “No way.” Bob said, “If I could repent of my sins I would have done that a long time age.” There was no way he was going down there knowing that tomorrow he will go back to the bar. Bob said that was the wrong thing to say, to repent of sins. Billy Graham did not say to repent of unbelief. Bob said he could not repent of all his sins. Is anyone able to repent of all your sins? No. Nobody can. If you could repent of all your sins, you would not need Jesus. Do you know what sin is?
everything that does not come from faith is sin.
The issue is this. The sins of the world have been placed on Jesus, God’s son. He died for the sins of the whole world. The only sin contributed to man is rejection of the Son of God, which is the sin of rejection of Jesus. The world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus (John 16:9). That is the sin of blasphemy (Matthew 12:31-32). Bob knew he could not get rid of his sins. Bob knew he could not be the person he wanted to be. Bill Bright shared the Lord with Bob. Bill did not give a presentation. Bill could be dull as he could be and he was. He just handed a book to Bob George to read. As he read John 3:16, ” 16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son[a] so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, Bob realized this was truth to Bob. As he continued to read Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, Bob realized he needed new life, that he was in control of his life, and needed to turn that control over to God. On that day, he asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. He was born of mom and dad but not until then was he born again from above.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The only way to enter the presence of God is when you die to any sufficiency in what you have. Then you will be born again from above. An earthly father provides the seed for physical birth. For spiritual birth, God provides the seed, Jesus Christ, for spiritual birth. The decision is yours and yours alone.
1 John 1:8-9
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
That is what Jesus did at the cross. Having cleansed us of all unrighteousness, God deposited the very life of Christ in you by His Holy Spirit the moment you repented and believed. The Holy Spirit came to indwell you with His righteousness. You have been given new life, spiritual life, when you are born again from above.