SO WHY DID PEOPLE COME OUT TO HEAR JOHN PREACH:?
Charles e Whisnant, Pastor/Teacher
May 12, 2013 Luke 3:5-8\9 and Selected Verses
Heading south from Beit She’an, we note the emerald-green splashes of farms in the distance, hugging the valley of the Jordan River (above, wide view of the Jordan valley). On the golden hills to our left we can see the barbed wire fence separating the country of Jordan from the State of Israel.
Luke does tell us that all Jerusalem and all Judah came out to hear John. That would be a lot people.
Population estimates for the middle of the first century CE are uncertain, but it is believed that there were around 4 to 5 million Jews, half a million of whom lived in Palestine, mainly in the province of Judea. This estimate excludes Samaritans and pagans.
John the Baptist began his work suddenly. Very soon people began to talk about him. He lived in the desert. The desert was east of Jerusalem, near the Jordan river. Very few plants grow there. Very few animals live there. It has bad soil. The soil has chalk in it. Stones and rocks cover the ground.
We are now 30 years from John’s birth. His parents have died, since they were old when John was born. I would say the story of the birth of John was widespread in time around the area. Maybe on E mail or Facebook. (Kidding)
But his miraculously birth was well know I would say. The news would have circulated all around.
How many came out that first time John preached would have been interesting. But before long many came to hear him. Maybe they were curious. Maybe they hear he would tell them about the coming of the Messiah. So they came out to see if indeed the Messaih had come in the man John.
Some were ready. Some were wanteing to be a part of the long-awaited blessings promised to Abraham and David.. They were I would think really weary of the oppression of the Romans. Many would have believed they were due there Kingdom, and their freedom to rule, and a King that would be their king over them, rather than the Romans.
As John MacArthur points out, many came with the idea that they were already in the Kingdom, and they were wanting to know how they could get the best set in the kingdom. They were wanting to be on the best terms so that the Messiah would get the best position in the kingdom.
WHAT THE CROWD LEARN WHEN THEY HEARD JOHN PREACH?
John said to the crowd, you don’t need to know what you are going to be doing in the kingdom, you need to know how to get into the kingdom.. That was a shock to many. He said you are one the out side looking in. And you need to get ready to be on the inside when Jesus Christ comes.
You need to be saved, you need to repent. You need to have faith in the Messiah and show that you have by going through what amounts to a proselyte baptism. They were so wanting to get into the kingdom they did get baptized. So they came, they heard John preach, and they were baptized. (Much like a Billy Graham meeting) People often do see they are on the outside and need to get in, and they are ready to say a prayer or join a church and get baptized. Common.
The message of John was clear, but it seemed as time when on there were a lot of shallow and false confession of repentance. Before long they were crying for the death of Jesus. And 120 were in the upper room .
As we see in many meetings a lot of superficiality goes on. Even with the strong message of John they still was so little faithfulness. Preachers know how in reality there is so little faith. Billy Graham said 10% might be saved. Even Charles Spurgeon said the same thing.
In many churches there is so little call for real repentance of sin. They give people the false damning illusion that they are saved when they are really not.
SO HOW CAN WE KNOW AND SEE AND RECOGNIZE REAL SALVATION REPENTANCE?
REAL RIGHT RIGHTEOSUNESS THAT SAVED!
You do know what is viewed a reality is in truth not reality at all. All reality TV shows are not in fact reality of truth.
WE LEARN THAT JOHN GIVES US AT LEAST A HALF DOZEN WAYS TO KNOW TRUE REPENTANCE AS HAPPEN IN OUR LIVES.
WHAT IS TRUE REALTIY OF SAVING REPENTANCE?
We learn the doctrine of harmartiology: (sin) we learn eschatology, and soteriology (salvation) to pneumatology (Holy Spirit)
Here is what preach of John consisted of: Sin, end of the age. Coming wrath. Salvation. He talked about within the framework of salvation, conversion, transformation and regeneration. He also talked about Christ. Then the Holy Spirit. So his preaching was filled with theology. He was then a theological preacher.
HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE HAVE REALLY REPENTED OF SIN?
NUMBER ONE: THERE IS A REFLECTION ON PERSONAL SIN.
Luke 3:4 is a statement from Isaiah 40:4-5. This tell us that John is one who is going to cry in the wilderness and he is saying “Get ready, make way for the Lord, make His path straight.” This mean he’s saying, get ready. Which means, do the necessary preparation for the coming of the Messiah.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GET OUR HEART IN PREPARATION FOR CHRIST?
Isaiah 40:. 3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted , and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed , and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6 The voice said , Cry . And he said , What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth , the flower fadeth : because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth , the flower fadeth : but the word of our God shall stand for ever. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted , and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed , and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6 The voice said , Cry . And he said , What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth , the flower fadeth : because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth , the flower fadeth : but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Isaiah 40. 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” English Standard Version
6 A voice says, “Cry!” And I said,”What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
John Gill tells us:
(3)The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness
Not the voice of the Holy Ghost, as Jarchi; but of John the Baptist, as is attested by all the evangelists, ( Matthew 3:3 ) ( Mark 1:3 ) ( Luke 3:1 Luke 3:5 Luke 3:6 ) and by John himself, ( John 1:23 ) , who was a “voice” not like the man’s nightingale, “vox et praeterea nihil” a voice and nothing else; he had not only a sonorous, but an instructive teaching voice; he had the voice of a prophet, for he was a prophet: we read of the voices of the prophets, their doctrines and prophecies, ( Acts 13:27 ) , his voice was the voice of one that crieth, that published and proclaimed aloud, openly and publicly, with great eagerness and fervency, with much freedom and liberty, what he had to say; and this was done “in the wilderness”, in the wilderness of Judea, literally taken, ( Matthew 3:1 ) , and when Judea was become a Roman province, and the Jews were brought into the wilderness of the people, ( Ezekiel 20:35 ) and when they were, as to their religious affairs, in a very forlorn and wilderness condition F13: what John was to say, when he came as a harbinger of Christ, and did, follows:
(3)prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God:
by whom is meant the Messiah to whose proper deity a noble testimony is here bore, being called “Jehovah” and “our God”: whose way John prepared himself, by preaching the doctrine of repentance, administering the ordinance of baptism, pointing at the Messiah, and exhorting the people to believe in him; and he called upon them likewise to prepare the way, and make a plain path to meet him in, by repenting of their sins, amending their ways, and cordially embracing him when come, laying aside all those sentiments which were contrary to him, his Gospel, and kingdom. The sense of this text is sadly perverted by the Targum, and seems to be, done on purpose, thus, “prepare the way before the people of the Lord, cast up ways before the congregation of our God;”
whereas it is before the Lord himself. The allusion is to pioneers, sent before some great personage to remove all obstructions out of his way, to cut down trees, level the way, and clear all before him, as in the following verse.
(4)Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low
Which is not to be understood literally, but, as Kimchi says, parabolically and mystically: the meaning is,
that in consequence of John’s ministry, and our Lord’s coming, such who were depressed and bowed down with the guilt of sin, and were low and humble in their own eyes, should be raised up and comforted; and that such who were elated with themselves, and their own righteousness, should be humbled; their pride and haughtiness should be brought down, and they treated with neglect and contempt, while great notice was taken of lowly minded ones; see ( Luke 14:11 ) and ( Luke 18:14 ) :
and the crooked shall be straight and the rough places plain;
what before was dark and intricate in prophecy should now become clear; and such doctrines as were not so well understood should now become plain and easy.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
Christ himself, who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and his own glory, as the glory of the of the only begotten of the Father; the glorious perfections of his nature, seen in the miracles wrought, and in the doctrines taught by him; the glory of the divine Father, in the face or person of Christ; and the glory of his attributes, in the work of salvation by him; all which is most clearly discerned in the glass of the Gospel, or in the ministry of the word, by John, Christ himself, and his apostles: and all flesh shall see it together;
not the Jews only, but Gentiles also; not with their bodily eyes, but with the eyes of their understanding; even the salvation of the Lord, and his glory, as displayed in it, being set forth in the everlasting Gospel to the view of all; see ( Luke 3:7 ) , for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it:
that his glory should be revealed, and be visible to all, and therefore sure and certain; for what he has said he does, and what he has spoken he makes good. The Targum is,“for by the word of the Lord it is so decreed;” and therefore shall be fulfilled.
If you then are going to see the salvation of the Lord, experience salvation personally and then all together, you then must make the path ready. How is that? You need to really search your heart. You need to be real about your personal sin. You need to see the depth of your sinfulness. What has really kept your heart from allowing the King to come into your heart?
Have you really had a heart self examination, of self-will, self exaltation, self-fulfillemnt? Are those matters straightened out! Any rough, anything that would be an obstructs, any kind of hindrance, that would clutter up a clear and smooth path, to the Lord’s entrance into the Heart… self-love, self-apathy, indifference, lust, unbelief……
1 SIGN OF REAL REPENTANCE:
A Reflection on Personal Sin.
A Recognition of Divine Wrath: vs. 7
Luke 3:7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, 1“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
So why did John mention this? If they didn’t see just how depth of their sin was, they would not see the wrath that was to come.
John Gills notes from Matthew http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-3-7.html
O generation of vipers!
It seems their parents before them were vipers, and they their offspring were like them, in hypocrisy and malice. The viper appears very beautiful outwardly, but is full of poison; it looks harmless and innocent, as if it neither could nor would do any hurt, its teeth being hid, but is a most deadly and hurtful creature: so these men, though they made specious pretences to religion and holiness, yet were full of the deadly poison of hypocrisy, malice, and error. A very disagreeable salutation this must be to men, who were desirous of being reckoned very religious, and who boasted of, and trusted in, their being the seed of Abraham; when they were the children of the devil, the seed of the old serpent, and the offspring of the worst of men, and in whom was verified the proverb, like father like son. John proceeds and asks, saying, “who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” who has suggested this to you? from whom have ye received this hint? who has pointed out the way to you to escape divine vengeance, or the ruin which will quickly come upon you? for by
wrath to come
is not meant hell fire, everlasting destruction, from which baptism could not save them; but temporal calamity and destruction, the wrath which in a little time came upon that nation to the uttermost, for rejecting the Messiah, and the Gospel dispensation; from which they might have been saved, had they given credit to Jesus as the Messiah, though only with a bare assent; and had they entered into the kingdom of heaven, or Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, by receiving its doctrines, and submitting to its ordinances, though only externally.
In six months you better be ready, Jesus is coming. TRUE REPENTANCE COMES OUT OF THE FEAR OF DIVINE WRATH.
Those coming to hear John had to admit they were on the outside looking in. They were just like the Gentiles.