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12 December 6, 2015, Matthew 3;1-12, The Way Prepared


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12 December 6, 2015, Matthew 3;1-12, The Way Prepared

  1. 1. Matthew 3:1-12 The Way Prepared December 6, 2015 First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi USA What’s the number one thing? The Glory of God! 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. December Memory Verse Luke 2:14 NKJV “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
  2. 2. Keyboards at Christmas Sunday, December 20, 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Christmas Eve Service Thursday, December 24 Sanctuary—5:00 p.m. One Worship Service Sunday, December 29 at 10:30 a.m. No Sunday School or Evening Activities or Evening Worship Service. Please Pray For The Pastor Search Committee Ross Aven Rodney DePriest Laurel Ditto Susan Lindsay Chris Maddux Joe Young Paul Moak, Jr. (Chairman) French Camp Academy
  3. 3. Share your faith with one person each month and build a relationship with them, so they will become a believer in 2015 as God uses you to plant seeds with that person. Luke 19:11-27 How have you seen God at work during the week? Sunday Matthew 1:18-25 The King Arrives December 13, 2015 First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi USA
  4. 4. TODAY Matthew 3:1-12 The Way Prepared
  5. 5. hanukkah-encounter/Bethabara-Beyond%20Jordan.jpg?height=400&width=374 Ray Stedman 1917-1992 The 400 Years Between the Old and New Testaments
  6. 6. Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV 5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” At the close of the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is back again in the land of Palestine after the Babylonian captivity, but they are under the domination of the great world power of that day, Persia and the Medio-Persian empire. In Jerusalem, the Temple had been restored, although it was a much smaller building than the one that Solomon had built and decorated in such marvelous glory. There was no king on the throne of Israel, they were a puppet nation, under the domination of Persia. Nevertheless, although they were beset with weakness and formalism as the prophets have shown us, the people were united. There were no political schisms or factions among them, nor were they divided into groups or parties. Now when you open the New Testament to the book of Matthew, you discover an entirely different atmosphere---a different world. Rome is now the dominant power of the earth as the center of power has shifted from the East to the West. Palestine is still a puppet state---the Jews never did regain their own sovereignty---but now there is a king on the throne.
  7. 7. But this king is the descendant of Esau instead of Jacob, and his name is Herod the Great. Furthermore, the high priests who now sit in the seat of religious authority in the nation are no longer from the line of Aaron. They cannot trace their descendancy back, rather, they are hired priests to whom the office is sold as political patronage. The Temple is still the center of Jewish worship, although the building has been partially destroyed and rebuilt six times since the close of the O T. The synagogues have sprung up in every Jewish city & are the center of Jewish life more so than the Temple. At this time the people of Israel were split into three major parties. Two of them, the Pharisees and Sadducees, were much more prominent than the third smaller group, the Essenes. What happened in these four hundred so-called "silent" years after the last of the inspired prophets spoke and the first of the N T writers began to write? There is a phrase in Galatians that says, "When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son...Galatians 4:4. The time of our Lord's birth was God's appointed hour, the moment for which God had been long preparing. Exciting preparations took place during that time of "silence," and we will understand our N T much better if we understand these historic events.
  8. 8. God rearranged the scenes of history, much as a stage crew will rearrange the stage sets after the curtain has fallen, and when the curtain rises again there is an entirely new setting. Up to this time, Babylon had been the major world power, but this was soon succeeded by the Medio-Persian empire which had been predicted by the prophet Daniel, who said that there would rise up a bear who was higher on one side than the other. Daniel signified this division between Media and Persia, with the Persians the predominant ones (Daniel 7:5). At the height of the Persian power there arose in the country of Macedonia (which we now know as Greece) north of the Black Sea, a man named Philip of Macedon who united the islands of Greece and became their ruler. His son was destined to become one of the great world leaders of all time, Alexander the Great! In 330 B.C. a battle between the Persians and the Greeks entirely altered the course of history. Twenty-year-old Alexander led the armies of Greece in victory over the Persians and then completely demolished the power of Persia (Iran). He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history's most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle until the age of 16.
  9. 9. The center of world power then shifted more to the west into Greece, and the Grecian empire was born. A year after that historic battle, Alexander the Great led his armies down into the Syrian world toward Egypt. On the way, he planned to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem but as the victorious armies of the Greeks approached the city (according to the Jewish historian, Josephus) word was brought to the Jews in Jerusalem that the armies were on their way. The high priest at that time, who was a godly old man by the name of Jaddua (mentioned in the Bible in the book of Nehemiah), took the sacred writings of Daniel the prophet (chapter 8) and, accompanied by a host of other priests dressed in white garments, went forth and met Alexander some distance outside the city. Alexander left his army and hurried to meet this body of priests and he told the high priest that he had had a vision the night before in which God had shown him an old man, robed in a white garment, who would show him something of great significance to himself, and according to the account, the high priest then opened the prophecies of Daniel and read them to Alexander. In the prophecies Alexander was able to see the predictions that he would become that notable ram with the horn in his forehead, who would come from the West and smash the power of Medio-Persia and conquer the world. He was so overwhelmed by the accuracy of this prophecy and, of course, by the fact that it spoke about him, that he promised that he would save Jerusalem from siege, and sent the high priest back with honors.
  10. 10. Alexander died in 323 B.C. and after his death, his empire was torn with dissension, because he had left no heir. • His son had been murdered earlier, so there was no one to inherit the empire of Alexander. The four generals that had led Alexander's armies divided his empire between themselves. One was Ptolemy, who gained Egypt and the northern African countries; the other was Seleucus, who gained Syria, to the north of Palestine. For the next one hundred years, Palestine was caught in the meat-grinder of the conflicts between Syria on the north and Egypt on the south. Daniel (chapter 11) was able by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to give an amazingly accurate and detailed account of the highlights of these years of conflict between the king of the North (Syria) and the king of the South (Egypt). Those prophecies have long since been fulfilled once (near) and will be fulfilled again soon (far). (Isis)
  11. 11. During this time, Grecian influence was becoming strong in Palestine. A party arose among the Jews called the Hellenists, who were very eager to bring Grecian culture and thought into the nation and to liberalize some of the Jewish laws. This forced a split into two major parties because there were those who were strong Hebrew nationalist, who wanted to preserve everything according to the Mosaic order. They resisted all the foreign influences that were coming in to disrupt the old Jewish ways. This party became known as the Pharisees, which means "to separate"; they were the separationists who insisted on preserving traditions. They grew stronger and stronger, becoming more legalistic and rigid in their requirements, until they became the target for some of the most scorching words our Lord ever spoke. They had become religious hypocrites, keeping the outward form of the law, but completely violating its spirit. On the other hand, the Hellenists---the Greek lovers---became more influential in the politics of the land. They formed the party that was known in N T days as the Sadducees, the liberals. They turned away from the strict interpretation of the law and became the rationalists of their day, ceasing to believe in the supernatural in any way. We are told in the N T that they came again and again to the Lord with questions about the supernatural, like "What will happen to a woman who has been married to seven different men? In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?" (Matthew 22:23-33)
  12. 12. They did not believe in a resurrection, but in these questions they were trying to put Jesus on the spot. A little later on, about 203 B.C., a king named Antiochus the Great came into power in Syria, to the north of Palestine. He captured Jerusalem from the Egyptians and began the reign of Syrian power over Palestine. One of his sons, Antiochus Epiphanes (which means “the mad man”), became one of the most vicious persecutors the Jews have known. In fact, he is often called the Antichrist of the Old Testament since he fulfills some of the predictions of Daniel concerning the coming of one who would be "a contemptible person" and a "vile king." He was a picture of the Antichrist who is to come. His first act was to depose the high priest in Jerusalem, thus ending the long line of succession which began with Aaron and his sons and carried on down through the many centuries of Jewish life. Antiochus Epiphanes sold the priesthood to Jason, who was not of the priestly line. Epiphanes overthrew the God-authorized line of priests and under his reign the city of Jerusalem and all the religious rites of the Jews began to deteriorate as they came fully under the power of the Syrian king. In 171 B.C. Antiochus invaded Egypt and once again Palestine was caught in the nutcracker of rivalry.
  13. 13. Israel is the most fought-over country in the world, and Jerusalem is the most captured city in all history. Jerusalem has been pillaged, ravished, burned and destroyed more than 27 times in its history. While Antiochus was in Egypt, it was reported that he had been killed in battle, and Jerusalem rejoiced. The people organized a revolt and overthrew Menelaus, the pseudo-priest. When report reached Antiochus (who was very much alive in Egypt) that Jerusalem was delighted at the report of his death, he organized his armies and swept like a fury back across the land, falling upon Jerusalem with terrible vengeance. Guided by the treacherous Menelaus, he intruded into the very Holy of Holies in the Temple itself. When he forced his way into the Holy of Holies, he destroyed the scrolls of the law and, to the absolute horror of the Jews, took a sow and offered it upon the sacred altar. Then with a broth made from the flesh of this unclean animal, he sprinkled everything in the temple, thus completely defiling and violating the sanctuary. It is very difficult for us to grasp how horrifying this was to the Jews. They were appalled that anything like this could ever happen to their sacred Temple.
  14. 14. It was that act of defiling the temple which is referred to by the Lord Jesus as the "desolating sacrilege" that Daniel had predicted (Matt. 24:15), and which also became a sign of the coming desolation of the Temple when Antichrist himself will enter the temple, call himself God, and thus defile the Temple again. As we know from the New Testament, that still lies in the future. Daniel the prophet had said the sanctuary would be polluted for 2300 days. (Daniel 8:14) In perfect accordance with that prophecy, it was exactly 2300 days---six and a half years---before the Temple was cleansed. It was cleansed under the leadership of a man now famous in Jewish history, Judas Maccabaeus. He was one of the priestly line who, with his father and four brothers, rose up in revolt against the Syrian king. They summoned the Israelites to follow them into action and in a series of pitched battles in which they were always an overwhelming minority, overthrew the power of the Syrian kings, captured Jerusalem, and cleansed the Temple. The day they cleansed the Temple was named the Day of Dedication, and it occurred on the 25th day of December. On that date Jews still celebrate the Feast of Dedication each year. During the days of the Maccabbees there was a temporary overthrow of foreign domination, which is why the Jews look back to this time and regard it with such tremendous veneration.
  15. 15. During this time, one of the Asmonean priests made a league with the rising power in the West, Rome. He signed a treaty with the Senate of Rome, providing for help in the event of Syrian attack. Though the treaty was made in all earnestness and sincerity, it was this pact which introduced Rome into the picture and history of Israel. As the battles between the two opposing forces waged hotter and hotter, Rome was watchful. Finally, the Governor of Idumea, a man named Antipater and a descendant of Esau, made a pact with two other neighboring kings and attacked Jerusalem to try to overthrow the authority of the Asmonean high priest. This battle raged so fiercely that finally Pompey, the Roman general, who had an army in Damascus at the time, was besought by both parties to come and intervene. One side had a little more money than the other, and persuaded by that logical argument, Pompey came down from Damascus, entered the city of Jerusalem-- -again with terrible slaughter---overthrew the city and captured it for Rome. That was in 63 B.C. and from that time on, Palestine was under the authority and power of Rome. Pompey and the Roman Senate appointed Antipater as the Procurator of Judea, and he in turn made his two sons kings of Galilee and Judea. The son who became king of Judea is known to us a Herod the Great. Meanwhile, the pagan empires around had been deteriorating and disintegrating.
  16. 16. Their religions had fallen upon evil days and the people were sick of the polytheism and emptiness of their pagan faiths. The Jews had gone through times of pressure and had failed in their efforts to re- establish themselves, and had given up all hope. There was a growing air of expectancy that the only hope they had left was the coming at last of the promised Messiah.
  17. 17. In the east, the oriental empires had come to the place where the wisdom and knowledge of the past had disintegrated and they too were looking for something. When the moment came when the star arose over Bethlehem, the wise men of the east who were looking for an answer to their problems saw it immediately and came out to seek the One it pointed to. Thus, "when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son." Galatians 4:4 er_4_800.jpg "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, 'Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews?'" (Matthew 2:1-2a) It is amazing how God utilizes history to work out His purposes. Though we are living in the days that might be termed "the silence of God," when for over 2,000 years there has been no inspired voice from God, we must look back---even as they did during those 400 silent years---upon the inspired record and realize that God has already said all that needs to be said, through the Old and New Testaments. God's purposes have not ended, for sure; He is working them out as fully now as He did in those days.
  18. 18. Just as the world had come to a place of hopelessness then, and the One Who would fulfill all their hopes came into their midst, so the world again is facing a time when despair is spreading widely across the earth. Hopelessness is rampant everywhere and in this time God is moving to bring to fulfillment all the prophetic words concerning the coming of His Son again into the world to establish His kingdom. How long? How close? God knows! But what God has done in history, He will do again as we approach the end of “the silence of God.” We are constantly encouraged as we see the fact that our faith is grounded upon historic things; that it touches history on every side. As we exercise the faith God has already blessed us with, may we grow strong and be powerful lighthouses as we see the despair increasing around us, the shaking of foundations, the changing of that which has long been taken to be permanent, the overthrowing of empires and the rising of others. God is the One Who does not change. The One Whose word is eternal. As the Lord Jesus Himself said, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My word shall never pass away."
  19. 19. Matthew 3:1-12 The Way Prepared Matthew 3:1-12 NKJV John the Baptist Prepares the Way 1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:1-12 NKJV
  20. 20. John MacArthur, Jr. (born June 19, 1939) Radio program: Grace to You "What makes a person great?" In the world's eyes, such things as being born into a famous, wealthy, or influential family bring a certain measure of greatness simply by heritage. Earning a great deal of money is another mark of the world's greatness, as are academic degrees, expertise in some field, outstanding athletic ability, artistic talent, high political or military office, and other such things. By those criteria, however, even Jesus Christ was not great. Though He manifested surpassing wisdom and power, He was born into a quite ordinary family, His father being a simple carpenter. Even after He was grown, Jesus did not own a business, a herd of cattle or sheep, a house, or even a tent. He said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20). He had little, if any, formal education, no political office, no artistic accomplishments - in short, almost no marks of what the world considers greatness.
  21. 21. John the Baptist had even fewer of the world's marks of greatness than did Jesus. Yet Jesus called John the greatest man who had ever lived until that time: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). John was greater than Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph; greater than Moses, Elijah, David, or any of the other Old Testament men of God and he was greater than any of the kings, emperors, philosophers, or military leaders of history. Yet, like Jesus, he was born into a simple, obscure family. His father, Zacharias, was one of many priests who took turns ministering in the Temple when their course, or division, was scheduled to serve. His mother, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly tribe of Levi and a descendant of the first high priest, Aaron (Luke 1:5). But there were many such descendants, most of whom had no place of special dignity or recognition. That was John's family heritage. When he was grown, probably starting in his teen years, John the Baptist went to live in the wilderness of Judea, existing much like a hermit and forsaking even what little social and economic status he had.
  22. 22. Yet Luke recorded of him, "for he will be great in the sight of the Lord" (Luke 1:15). That was John. His conception was miraculous, he was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born, he was great in the sight of God, and he was to be the herald of the Messiah, announcing and preparing the people for His coming. Jesus said that no man born of woman is greater than John the Baptist, that is quite a statement. But He also said that the least one in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John. Least means not all are equal and it also means we are highly valued! Matthew 3:1 NKJV John the Baptist Prepares the Way 1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, Preaching is from kerusso, the primary meaning of which is "to herald." It was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of the king (are we doing that today?). The King is coming back as you know! John knew his position and his task. He never sought or accepted honor for himself, but only for the One Whose coming he proclaimed.
  23. 23. As a child John no doubt had been told many times of the angel's announcement of his birth and his purpose, a purpose from which he never wavered, compromised, or tried to gain personal recognition or advantage. When questioned by the priests and Levites who had been sent from Jerusalem to ask his identity, John replied, "I am not the Christ" (John 1:19-20). He also denied being Elijah and "the Prophet" (John 1:21; Deut 18:15). When they persisted in knowing who he was, he simply said, "I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said" (John 1:23). The question about his being Elijah introduces some important truth. At every orthodox Passover ceremony even today a cup is reserved at the table for Elijah. At the circumcision of orthodox Jewish baby boys a chair is placed for Elijah. The anticipation is that, if Elijah would ever come and sit in the chair or drink from the cup, the Messiah's arrival would be imminent. 1.1 That belief is based on Malachi 4:5-6, in which the prophet predicts, "Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." Yet, as he himself testified, John the Baptist was not the literal, resurrected Elijah most Jews of his day were expecting, or that many Jews of our own day expect. John the Baptist was born of obscure parents, dressed strangely even for his day, and carried on his ministry mostly in out-of-the-way and unattractive places. All of that, however, was not incidental or circumstantial.
  24. 24. It was symbolic of John's ministry to call the people away from the corrupt and dead religious system of their day — away from ritualism, worldliness, hypocrisy, and superficiality. John called them away from Jerusalem and Jericho, away from the cities into the wilderness — where most people would not bother to go if they were not serious seekers. John brought them away, where they were freer to listen, think, and ponder, without the distractions and the misleading leaders they were so accustomed to following. In such a seemingly desolate place, they could begin to see the greatness of this man of God and the even greater greatness of the One Whose coming he announced. If you don’t come apart and rest a little while and focus on God, you may just simply come apart. A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. THE MESSAGE The message John proclaimed was simple, so simple it could easily be summarized in one word: Repent! (Matthew 3:2; Acts 13:24; 19:4). The Greek word (metanoeo) behind repent means more than regret or sorrow (Hebrews 12:17); it means to turn around, to change direction, to change the mind and will. It does not denote just any change, but always a change from the wrong to the right, away from sin and to righteousness. In his outstanding commentary on Matthew, John A. Broadus observes that "wherever this Greek word is used in the New Testament the reference is to changing the mind and the purpose from sin to holiness." Repentance involves sorrow for sin, but sorrow that leads to a change of thinking, desire, and conduct of life. "The sorrow that is according to the will of God" Paul says, "produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation" (2 Cor 7:10; cf. v. 9).
  25. 25. 2 Corinthians 7:9b-10 9b your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. John's command to repent could therefore be rendered “be converted”. John's message of preparation for the coming of the King was repentance, conversion, the demand for a completely different life. That must have been startling news for Jews who thought that, as God's chosen people — the children of Abraham, the people of the covenant — they deserved and were unconditionally assured of the promised King. Knowing what they must have been thinking, John later told his listeners, "Do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). Repentance was exactly the same message with which Jesus began His preaching and the apostles began theirs. turning.jpg "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand," Jesus proclaimed; "repent and believe in the Gospel" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32).
  26. 26. Mark 6:12 says of the twelve: "And they went out and preached that men should repent." w611szijno/UvemcVOXR4I/AAAAAAAAB5I/67Y3gk2QByE/s1600/FBCOVER_WentOutPreachedRepent.jpg In his Pentecost sermon, Peter's concluding words were, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:18).
  27. 27. hanukkah-encounter/Bethabara-Beyond%20Jordan.jpg?height=400&width=374 Chuck Missler Matthew has a unique perspective on Jesus Christ. He focuses on the royalty, the kingship, the Messiah of Israel and gives His legal lineage to the throne. Mark views Jesus as the Servant. Luke sees Him as the Son of Man and gives Jesus’ blood line to show how he came to be the last Adam. John calls Him as the Son of God. John the Baptist was born into the priesthood but he rejected it and went out into the wilderness. His ministry was outside the camp of Israel as was the crucifixion of Jesus.
  28. 28. Salome’s mom got tired of John the Baptist pointing out her adultery so she had the voice of one crying in the wilderness silenced. That is also how ISIS is attempting to silence the voice today (beheading). The gospel according to John gives us the name of the place where John was baptizing – Bethabara – which means “house of the ford, place of crossing or the house of passage”. John 1:28 NKJV 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. hanukkah-encounter/Bethabara-Beyond%20Jordan.jpg?height=400&width=374
  29. 29. It is the exact spot where Joshua miraculously led Israel to cross the Jordan River from the wilderness into the Promised Land. Joshua 2:1 NKJV 1 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. In Joshua 2, only two spies were sent in to the Promised Land because Joshua decided from his previous experience that ten of the twelve spies were unnecessary. They did not bring back much valuable military intelligence information but the real reason that God had them go in was to meet and to save Rahab the harlot (she became the mother of Boaz) - to preserve the blood line of King David and Jesus! Matthew 1:5-6 NKJV 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. Joshua sent in two spies, two witnesses ahead of time before taking the land. That is a forerunner, a picture of the two witnesses in the book of Revelation that God will send to Earth before He retakes the land prior to the Second Coming. Matthew 3:9 NKJV 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. After the children of Israel entered the Promise Land, they stacked up the 12 stones as a memorial of the crossing of the Jordan on Passover, the 14th day of the 1st month (Nisan). Passover! John the Baptist said behold, the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world. He was referring to the Passover Lamb!
  30. 30. Joshua 5:13-15 NKJV 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. Joshua 5:13-15 NKJV In Joshua 5:14 we see that Jesus is the One Who led the battle of Jericho! “Captain of the Host of the LORD” is how the King James Version states it. Joshua worshipped Him. Angels never allow themselves to be worshipped, except one – Satan – and he got cast out because he allowed it. Take off your shoes because this place is holy. Just like He said to Moses.
  31. 31. Speaking of removing shoes – John the Baptist said I am not worthy even to unloose His sandal. The Jericho account is a model of Jesus leading the hosts to disposses the usurpers of the land. His baptism symbolized only death to sin until he introduced Jesus Christ Who takes away the sins of the world. Baptism in Jesus was a different thing than John’s baptism. The Jews listened to John and publically identified their sin by being baptized. The Temple authorities sent out a research team to ask John: Are you the Messiah? No. Are you Elijah? No. Are you the Prophet? No.
  32. 32. John then said, “I am the one preparing the way for the Messiah.” John then went on to call the Pharisees and the Saducees “the generation of vipers” which is referring to them as “sons of Satan” (Satan’s offspring – Genesis 3). “Who warned you to flee?” John was mocking them because they were unaware of their need for repentance and were not there to repent. The Pharisees and Saducees were there for the wrong reason and John knew it. The Pharisees were separatists – they wanted to separate themselves from unlawfulness. The Pharisees were strict law keepers and their group led to the Talmudic Jews. The Sadducees were modernist, liberal humanists and their group became the Father of the Reformed Jews. The Sadducees did not believe anything supernatural which included the resurrection.
  33. 33. What the Pharisees and Sadducees had in common was that they failed to see their need to be reconciled to God. All through the Bible God is saying two things to us: 1) We are imperfect. 2) There is nothing we can do about it. God’s way to forgiveness is through the shedding of innocent blood. Adam and Eve through self-effort tried to cover themselves with fig leaves but God killed an innocent lamb to cover their nakedness with skins. Cain through his self-effort (the flesh) tried to bring a plant (that he raised) sacrifice to God but it was unacceptable.
  34. 34. Abel offered a lamb which was acceptable to God and it involved the shedding of blood. The cherubim guarded the way to the Tree of Life (Jesus) not only so that Adam could not live forever in his fallen state but also so that Satan and his offspring could not block the way back to God when Adam was ready to turn from his sin and be reconciled. All through Scripture we see the slain Lamb, from Genesis to Revelation 22! Isaac was saved by the ram caught in the thicket in Genesis 22. The Passover Lamb in Exodus 12. God gave us the law in order to show us our inadequacy, not to provide another means or way for us to be saved. Matthew 3:10 NKJV 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Tree is bad because the root is bad – God is not interested in repairing man, He wants a new man! The heart is incurably wicked, it is incapable of being repaired, God creates a new one.
  35. 35. Psalm 51:10 NKJV 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, Matthew 3:15 NKJV 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Jesus became sin for us. He told John that we (He and John the Baptist) must fulfill all righteousness. Jesus came to the Earth to be identified with us, to take our place. He took on Himself our sin to fulfill all righteousness. God said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased!” He said it twice, here and in Matthew 17 on the Mount of Transfiguration. This was the first step on Jesus’ public ministry and God was pleased that He identified with sinners so that He could provide the innocent blood that God required for us to be forgiven!
  36. 36. God was also pleased that Jesus spent 30 of His 33 years on this Earth as an example to us to get to know God and to learn to love Him – before doing something for God! He was numbered with us. John the Baptist was three months older than Jesus yet he said that Jesus existed before he did. He said that he was not Elijah but he did come in the spirit of Elijah. John 1:6 NKJV 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Even though Luke was Greek and Matthew was Hebrew, Luke included more of the OT in his writings than Matthew did in his. Luke, a Gentile, caught the phrase in chapter 3 verse 6 “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”. All flesh, not just the Jews, so that was important to Luke whereas Matthew did not report that phrase. This is where the OT actually ends, because in Luke 16:16 it says “the law and the prophets were until John”. Since that time, from that time on… One of the objectives of Sunday School is to stimulate you to study the Bible on your own.
  37. 37. It is important that a student of the Bible gets the big picture, be able to put all the pieces into perspective. The Old Testament is a collection of: • Unexplained ceremonies • Unachieved purposes • Unappeased longings • Unfulfilled prophecies Jesus consummates all of these By itself, the Old Testament is incomplete. In the OT is the NT concealed. In the NT is the OT revealed. God, give us no peace until we rest in You! The Plan of Hope & Salvation John 3:16 NKJV 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 14:6 NKJV 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Romans 3:23 NKJV 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 6:23a NKJV 23a For the wages of sin is death,  Death in this life (the first death) is 100%.  Even Jesus, the one who doesn’t deserve death, died in this life to pay the penalty for our sins.  The death referred to in Romans 6:23a is the second death explained in Revelation 21:8. Revelation 21:8 NKJV 8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
  38. 38. Romans 5:8 NKJV 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 6:23b NKJV 23b but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Revelation 21:7 NKJV 7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”  Romans 10:9-10 explains to us how to accept Jesus as our Savior. Romans 10:9-10 NKJV 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:13 NKJV 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” If you have questions or would like to know more, please, contact First Baptist Church Jackson at 601-949-1900 or