OceanSide church of Christ
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"A Voice Crying in the Wilderness"
SERIES: Sowing the Seed
TITLE: "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness"
A.) John 1:19-23 …"I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness."
1. This man was none other than John the Baptist
2. His terminology came from the prophet Isaiah:
A voice is crying, "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley - Isaiah 40:3-4.
B.) The phrase "a voice crying in the wilderness" summarizes the uniqueness of John:
1. First, he was a voice; a man with a message.
2. Second, that message was to be presented in a unique setting: in the wilderness.
C.) John literally preached in a physical wilderness...
1. But from Isaiah 40 and John 1, he also preached in a wilderness of sin.
2. He dared to be a voice where other voices had been silenced.
D.) So we ask ourselves what message was this voice crying out?
I. A VOICE CRYING "SELF-DENIAL" - IN A WILDERNESS OF SELF-INDULGENCE
A.) In Matthew 3:4 we are given a fair description of John: “Now John himself had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”
B.) What produced a man like this?
1. One factor was godly parents:
a.) Luke 1:6, “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.”
b.) Both of John's parents were faithful to the Lord.
c.) A man cannot have a greater heritage than that - Proverbs 22:6.
2. The second factor was a godly purpose:
a.) "he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" - Luke 1:16-17
b.) John knew who he was and what his purpose in life was to be...
3. Third factor was godly training:
a.) Some of our purposes and training ought to be long term: studying the word and showing ourselves approved unto Him - 2 Tim. 2:15.
i.) It acquaints us more fully to our Lord – 2 Peter 3:18
ii.) To be fully equiped against false doctrine… Timothy 4:6-8, and of the good doctrine which thou has followed... refuse profane and old wives' fables. And train thyself unto godliness: ... for godliness is profitable for all things.
b.) Our purpose ought to be more attuned to God's work - Ephesians 2:10.
C.) We live in a world of self-indulgence, and we desperately need John's message.
1. "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me - Matthew 16:24.
2. Are we living a life of self-discipline and self-denial?
II. A VOICE CRYING "CHANGE YOUR WAYS" - IN A WILDERNESS OF COMPLACENCY
A.) John immediately began preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!" - Matthew 3:1-2.
1. The preacher minced no words as he told his listeners that they needed to mend their lives.
2. "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I say unto that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham" - Luke 3:7-8.
3. John's preaching was pointed and practical.
B.) We still need straightforward preaching today!
1. I strongly both agree and emphasize that statement!
2. We need preaching that will wake us up and prepare us for heaven!
3. We need preaching that says, "When you come into the house of God, having sin in your life and not convicted of it, then you're sitting at the table of devils" - 1 Corinthians 10:21.
C.) "With many other exhortations, John preached the Good News to the people" - Luke 3:18.
1. John preached bluntly with the “good news.”
2. We, too, must preach the Good News straightforward – Romans 1:16.
D.) We should no more want a timid preacher than we would desire a timid surgeon.
III. A VOICE CRYING "BE COURAGEOUS" - IN A WILDERNESS OF COWARDICE
A.) "Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by John because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and because of all the wicked things Herod had done... Herod had John arrested, and put him into prison... For John had been saying, 'It is not lawful for you to have her'" - Luke 3:19; Matthew 14:3-4.
1. It took courage because the prophet had to know that it would cost him his life, and it did.
2. But John was no reed shaken by the wind - Matthew 11:7.
B.) Herod may have thought he had silenced John by putting him to death, but he had not.
1. The voice of a man of courage cannot be stilled.
2. May God give us the courage of John:
a.) To speak out against sin!
b.) To personally confront people about their sin!
c.) To speak that which people need to hear!
d.) To sow the seed!
A.) How was John committed to be such a voice?
1. He was committed to the Lord and to doing His will.
2. He was willing to speak where other voices had been silenced.
B.) That voice with a message must continue to this day.