Many people have heard of John the Baptist. Those who read the Gospels or even seen movies about Jesus, have come across this unusual man dressed in animal skins who moved a nation toward the coming Messiah. We actually discover John the Baptist’s sermon or testimony in the gospel of John chapter 3.
Before we get into John the Baptist’s sermon, lets get a little background on him.
He got his name from the cleansing tradition of baptism where defiled individuals would enter into a large body of natural water and, after being submersed under, would be quickly brought back up as a sign of holy purification. John baptized people as a sign of repentance, thus, the name, “John the Baptist.”
He was a great evangelist/Prophet of his day. Had he lived in our day they would likely compare him to Billy Graham or D.L. Moody. Most of the nation of Israel, in fact, came out to the wilderness to hear his booming voice echoing through the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”(Matthew 3:2). He warned them of their sins, and invited those who were moved to change, to be baptized as a sign of repentance.
It became very popular to be baptized by the Prophet John the Baptist or one of his disciples. Those who were anybody in the community came-out to hear John. The nation of Israel considered him a true Prophet of God full of the Spirit of God. Yet, John just had, primarily, one message.
John the Baptist’s sermons pointed the people to the coming Messiah that they had learned would come through the sacred writings of the Prophets. The Father God used John the Baptist to introduce the nation to Jesus the Christ His only begotten Son.
Now, at this time Jesus has come on the scene. And Jesus, Himself, has been baptized by John who introduced Him as the One that the prophets of old spoke of. The mighty power of God overshadowed the scene of Jesus’ baptism, where God, also, Introduced Jesus as His, “…beloved Son…” (Matthew 3:17).
We pick-up John the Baptist’s sermon when Jesus was now preaching and ministering to the nation. In fact, He was preaching repentance and baptizing people like John. This pleased John to no end but it displeased John’ disciples who thought that Jesus was not authorized by the ‘John the Baptist Ministry’ to baptize people. We read where John has to set his disciples straight the gospel of John starting in the 22nd verse:
(22) After these things, Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.
(23) John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized-(24) for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
(25) Therefore, there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.
(26) And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”
(27) John answered and said, “A man cab receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. (28) “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, I have been sent ahead of Him.’
(29) “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.
(30) “He must increase but I mus decrease.
(31) “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
(32) “What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. (33) “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. (34) “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.
(35) “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.
(36) “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Wow, what a sermon or testimony. John the Baptist basically, preached the gospel to his disciples and to all those in hearing distance. He, to the surprise of his disciples, was ecstatic about hearing Jesus preach.
It was one of those rare moments where a Messianic Prophet actually got to see the Messiah to the fulfillment of his prophecies. Remember, Moses prophesied, Isaiah prophesied, Jeremiah prophesied, and many prophesied in the Old Testament about Jesus without having been able to see Him. But John was the first prophet to proclaim the Messiah and see the Messiah as He began His ministry on earth.
This thrilled John, and he let his disciples know it. Had they listened to his sermons for all those years, they would have understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of what John told the people to expect.
Jesus represented the Kingdom of God coming to earth and taking up residence. He was the Messiah. Jesus was the Saviour of the World.
Now that we know what John the Baptist’s sermon was about, what can we learn or gleem from his teachings?
First, any believer in Christ who wishes for Christ to come alive in him; and work in him, must make a conscious decision to decrease and allow Jesus to increase. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me.”(John 12:32). In order to do so there are some things he or she must do:
- He must wait on a revelation word from God before he or she ministers to people. Be it one word or scriptural inspiration, it must be from God to really make a difference.
- He must be an usher for the glory of God. That is to say, he or she must give all honor praise and glory to God.
- He or she must be willing to step aside from their own logic or understanding and allow Jesus to move in His own timing.
- He must be willing to sacrifice his time and efforts for the work of Christ.