Digging   The   Word

"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." PSALM 119:162


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Special Announcement

“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"


John 1:6-9 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

John 1:15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

There is a special announcement to be made and God like he usually does sent a special messenger to give us the news. God sent John the Baptist to break the silence that has lasted for four hundred years. Nobody heard anything from God but now he is ready to reveal the Light of the world to us.

You may wonder why a dark world would have a problem seeing the Light. Even a small match would be obvious to somebody that was living in total darkness. It would be just like standing in a cave without any light at all. As soon as a source of light is turned on everybody knows it but that isn't true if you are a blind man. 

2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You have to realize that a blind man is always in the dark, even if he is standing in the brightest light, that's how it is for those that need Jesus. We needed John to tell us about the Light because Satan has blinded our eyes.

John the Baptist had to do some searching to find out the truth about Jesus, God gave him proof, he made it clear that he didn't always know that Jesus is the Messiah. (John 1:31-34) The men that the religious leaders sent to question John and ask him who he is were not open to the truth that John shared with them.

Are you trying to decide about Jesus identity, is he really God in a body? John the Baptist says "Look at Jesus, he is the one." But what makes John a good witness and why should we listen to him?

Is John a credible witness?

John 5:31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid.  32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33 In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true.
Jesus confirmed that John was a credible witness that we should listen to. Everything from his special birth to his peculiar lifestyle is evidence that John's testimony should be admitted into the courtroom in our minds as we attempt to know who Jesus is.

✔  His birth and his ministry were a fulfillment of prophecy. (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1)
✔  He is a good and holy man. (Mark 6:19-20)
✔  He didn't show any desire for power, for wealth or to exalt himself.
✔  He stood up to the powerful for what he believed. (Matthew 3:2-10)
✔   He died for his mission. (Matthew 14:1-12)
✔  He was an eyewitness to God's revelation. (Matthew 3:16,John 1:30-34)

When John says, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" we have plenty of reasons to believe him. John didn't have an agenda other than the one that God gave him, it was the reason that he was born, it was the reason that he lived, and it was the cause of his death.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Do You Think You Are?

Keeping your perspective in ministry.


John 1:19-28 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” "No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” 22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”

24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.

Somebody has started a new ministry and it is causing quite a stir. The established religious leadership decided to form a committee to figure out who this guy is and why he thinks that he has the right to perform a religious ritual such as baptism. We want to know who he is but we don't want to be bothered with going out there and seeing for ourselves.

The religious leaders thought that they knew the next event on God's calendar. They had a checklist of possibilities that they went through but that didn't help them. Was this the Messiah? Was he the prophet that was to come before the Messiah? Who is this guy and why is he in ministry?

After the committee went through their list John revealed his identity by using scripture. Certainly the religious leaders would understand if John quoted scripture, they are the experts on God's word, it seems like that would have made John the Baptist identity crystal clear. Instead of a clear revelation about what God is doing the committee seems to be interested in getting an answer and going back home as soon as possible. They are not the least bit curious about John's claims that he makes based on prophecy.

Since they don't know who he is they certainly don't understand why he is baptizing. Instead of getting caught up in arguments about religious issues he answers the question "what right do you have to baptize?” by pointing to Jesus. Forget about who I am there is somebody much more important on the way and you probably aren't even going to recognize him.

It's all about Jesus

John 10:39-42 Once again they tried to arrest him, but he got away and left them. 40 He went beyond the Jordan River near the place where John was first baptizing and stayed there awhile. 41 And many followed him.

“John didn’t perform miraculous signs,” they remarked to one another, “but everything he said about this man has come true.” 42 And many who were there believed in Jesus.
John didn't perform any miracles he just pointed people to Jesus, when they asked him "Who are you and why are you doing that?" He would minimize the "who are you" and talk about the "why are you doing that."

John knew his place in ministry and even though Jesus called him the greatest man that had ever lived he still kept his focus. Success in ministry could have been his downfall, pride, jealousy, envy or have ruined him. No doubt Satan worked on him to try and get him to focus on himself.

"Being in ministry will either make you a much better Christian, or a much worse Christian."
-Kathy Keller

The pull to become apathetic, cold, disobedient to be proud of your success can make you a much worse Christian than when you first started serving. If the greatest man that ever lived thought very little of himself then I need to do the same.
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Friday, August 1, 2014

The Testimony That The Light Is Coming

John was sent to tell us to get ready.


John 1:6-18  God sent a man, John the Baptist,  to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.  John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.  The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  10  He came into the very world He created, but the world didn't recognize Him.   

11  He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.  12  But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.  13  They are reborn--not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14  So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.  15  John testified about Him when He shouted to the crowds, "This is the One I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for He existed long before me.'"

16  From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.  17  For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.  18  No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father's heart. He has revealed God to us.

It has been four hundred years of silence since the last prophets of the Old Testament shared any information from God. The last prophets were Ezra and Nehemiah, they led the people in the return to Jerusalem and in the rebuilding of the temple and the city walls.

Finally God has something to tell us, he was coming to be with us, he was coming as a man. But first he sent a man named John to announce the beginning of his ministry. John was born with a mission from God, we are all born with a purpose, but John's was spelled out from day one.

Luke 1:15-17 For he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.

John was an unusual man, set apart from birth, he took after Elijah for his fashion sense, and he started his ministry out in the wilderness.  He was a simple man, he lived in a remote area, he lived a simple lifestyle. The only ambition that he had was to prepare the way for Jesus. (Matthew 3:1-12, Luke 1:5-25, 57-66)

Matthew 11:11 "I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!

Besides being an unusual man John was a great man, Jesus told us so, there were a lot of great men in the history of the Jews and yet John in just a few years of public ministry is said to be the greatest, greater than King David or Abraham or Moses. Some of the people started elevating John above his rightful place and John had his own disciples but John didn't let his ego get out of whack.

John is the greatest man that lived but he told us that he is nothing compared to the next great man that was about to come onto the scene. Even the greatest man in history is nothing compared to Jesus, the light is coming, a huge light, and compared to him John is just a little flicker from a match.

It's Not About Me!

John 3:28-30  You yourselves know how plainly I told you, 'I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for Him.' 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at His success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
Sometimes the people in ministry get an inaccurate perspective on who they are and how important they are. If the greatest man that ever lived had such a humble attitude then how should we see ourselves in our ministry? We should have the same attitude that Paul had:

1 Timothy 1:12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him

The spiritually blind crowd needed to have the light shown to them (John 3:19-20), John had to tell them and later he would show them the Messiah, his message was always that people shouldn't look at his greatness but look at the fact that the creator of the universe was soon to be revealed. John knew his place and his purpose.

John 1:6-7  God sent a man, John the Baptist,  to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.

John's whole purpose was to help you believe that Jesus became human and made His home among us. They saw his unfailing love and faithfulness, they saw his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son. John knew who Jesus was, do you?
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