The ministry of John the Baptist
John - "the Lord is gracious" - a fitting title for
one born by the special grace of God and sent to
be the herald of His grace to all men!
vs. 2-3 - the message
"repentance" - the first note of warning in the New
Testament - the first practical exhortation directed
generally to all men - the first sermon in the first gospel.
"the kingdom of heaven is AT HAND"
The kingdom comes from heaven - its government -
(Is. 9:7, Zech. 6:13) - its laws, its modes of life and
thought and worship are all of heaven - established
there when the kingdoms of this world shall have
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ!
"Except ye be converted....ye shall not enter the
kingdom of heaven" - Matt. 18:3
"Ye must be born again" - John 3:7
vs. 5-6 - results
v. 7 - "O generation of vipers" - does this imply that
these people belonged in a true sense to the seed
of the serpent? Gen. 3:15
They wanted the baptism only, not the repentance -
repentance is a change of heart and thought.
Jesus also referred to them as such - ch. 12:34 & 23:33
v. 9 - an additional warning against false security - it
is not natural birth but a spiritual relationship to
the Father of spirits by faith - this leads to the
promises of life!
There is no such thing as hereditary salvation!
v. 10 - Judgment - worthless trees are only for burning.
v. 11 - the baptism of "fire" - burns away sin out of the
godly and consumes the ungodly who cleave to
This is the baptism that we must seek - the only baptism
that can help us in the great day!
v. 12 - The present mixture of good and evil shall be
brought to an end - "What is the chaff to the
wheat?" - Jer. 23:28
"unquenchable fire" - equivalent to not being
overcome by the lapse of time!
vs. 13-15 - the baptism of Jesus
John knew that he needed the baptism of the Holy
Ghost and that the Lord Jesus did not need the
baptism of repentance.
But the Lord, who, in His ineffable condescension,
had taken upon Him the form of a servant, in that same
condescension submitted to the rites which told of sin
vs. 16-17 - the witness of God - the Father was there,
the Son was there and the Holy Spirit was there.
vs. 1-11 - The Temptation of Christ
v. 1 - "led up of the Spirit unto the wilderness"
A need of lonely meditation, sustained prayer - we
must find time for meditation, if we are to advance
far in the spiritual life.
Consecration to God does not exclude temptation.
Christ was in all points tempted like we are yet without
The Holy Spirit cannot tempt, but He can and does
lead us into circumstances where temptation is
permitted that we may be proved and disciplined
for future work.
Work is a great safeguard against temptation. A lot of
the world's sin comes from nothing to do - remember the
old adage - an idle mind is the devil's workshop - without
work the thoughts run wild; often they wander into
Solitude is good sometimes for a while; but it should be
a pause in a life of active work for God.
I Peter 2:21-22
Christ suffered being tempted and is able to succor those
that are tempted - we have the Divine sympathy in our
temptations - through self-denial, prayer and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we too may
I Peter 1:3-7 I Cor. 10:13
v. 2 - Jesus was weak from fasting for over six weeks -
the tempter takes advantage of this moment of
v. 3 - the tempter came up to Him - this implies physical
"If" - the doubt - "if thou be the Son of God" - to Eve
he had said "hath God said" - he tempts us now with
his evil whisper, breathing doubts into our souls, doubts
of truth of God's revelation - doubts of His power and
love, doubts of our own conversion - "if thou be a child
of God" harassing our souls with fears and perplexities.
Our God turns "if thou be a child of God" into "I know
whom I have believed"
v. 4 - Jesus' three answers are quotes from the book of
Deuteronomy - 8:13, 6:16 - and portions of 6:4-9
and 11:13-21 -
This was the first part of Scripture taught to a child.
Man lives, not necessarily by natural means, but by
even supernatural means, if God so wishes!
v. 9 - Satan places the immediate and the visible above
the future and the unseen.
Christ came to use His power for the saving and good
of humanity - not for supplying His own wants.
Do this my way - I will give you everything - A LIE -
he does not have that authority, yet in Rev. 20 we
see Satan deceiving the world - do this without difficulty,
without pain, without self-denials, without the CROSS!
The devil tempts men today to use for worldly
advancement and worldly glory things that were given
them to work out their own salvation and to aid their
fellowman in the world. The end justifies the means is Satanic
THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO THE WRONG
Men will find in the end that rank, riches, and pleasure
bought by sin are but dust and ashes - "to be carnally
minded is death!"
Satan asks Christ to offer worship which is due to God
alone! Christ expresses His indignation with this -
"Get thee hence Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou
Jesus said that "no man can serve two masters"
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
with all thy soul, with all thy strength"
Satan was trying to get Christ to misuse His power, what
was part of the great scheme of redemption, miracles,
were wrought to relieve distress or to increase the faith
of His followers, not needlessly to display His power or
to satisfy curiosity.
Remember how Christ dealt with Herod - Luke 23:8-9
May no man alive today have Herod's attitude - it
originates from the devil himself.
The Lord's answer was "It is written" - misquoted
texts, misapplied Scripture did not trap the Lord!
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my
path" - "Thy words have I hid in my heart that I might
not sin against thee" - "the entrance of thy words giveth light"
Our memories should be stored with the sacred words;
useful for holy thought and diligent obedience, ready at
hand for use in the hour of trial amid the deadly struggle!
Prov. 7:2-3 Jer. 31:33
Life is too great, too Divine a gift, to attempt to support
it only by material things - we need a Diviner food - the
Bread that came down from heaven, the Lord Christ
Through Christ we may share His victory and overcome
as He overcame. "I can do all things through Christ who
v. 11 - "The the devil leaveth Him"
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you" - James 4:7
I Peter 5:8-9
vs. 13-16 - fulfillment of prophecy - Isaiah 9:1-2
v. 17 - the beginning of the ministry of Christ - "Repent:
for the kingdom of God is at hand"
The gate of that kingdom is repentance.
Same message when He sent out the disciples - ch. 10:7
vs. 18-20 - The call of Andrew and Peter
Immediate detachment from their present sphere of
interest - "they straightway left their nets"
vs. 21-22 - The call of James and John
"immediately they left the ship and their father,
and followed Him"
The end result which Christ prayed for is: John 17:22
v. 23 - "And Jesus went about all Galilee...teaching...
Teaching those who have heavenly desires.
Preaching to the unconverted.
Healing those with physical problems.
vs. 24-25 - reaching beyond the Holy Land -
Syria........Decapolis (population primarily heathen)