So.... today I tried recording VIDEO of this morning's message and, well... it failed. So, here is a copy of my sermon notes. FYI, there are likely spelling and grammatical errors. These are my preaching notes.
 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
That was the life and legacy of John the Baptizer.
Let's talk about John the Baptizer... John is THE LAST OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET
John's Baptism is not the Baptism we practice today.
· John's Baptism was looking forward to Messiah's coming
· today we look back at His finished work
· This was an act of righteous obedience to God, which is why Jesus was Baptized by John. Jesus, of course, had no sin to repent of.
· We’ll talk about that in a bit
 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
There was something about his message... something about his passion... who are you?
 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
There was something about his message.
You see, there were many people preaching and teaching all sorts of things.
Jesus Christ was not the only One proclaiming to be the Messiah.
Satan was working in and around that area seeking to devour whomever he could.
But there was something about John the Baptizer's message… something so powerful that :
 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
It certainly was not his appearance. IT WAS HIS MESSAGE! IT WAS THE TRUTH!!!
Friends… we don't need expensive programs or state of the art anything to:
a) serve the Lord or
b) win the lost.
This is what we need:
a) the truth of the Gospel message.
b) this attitude
JESUS IS GREATER & I AM NOTHING apart from Him.
 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
Who is "the Prophet" they asked about?
 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen
We will look at this later in the Gospel… as it comes up again
Why would they ask these questions?
I think we can safely say that this is more that curiosity.
 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke just told us: HERE ARE 7 of the Who's Who of Society and the W.o.G. came to
- a funny man
- wearing funny clothes
- eating funny food
- preaching the usually UNPOPULAR message of repentance
- down by the river
John is upsetting the religious framework of the leaders.
 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
This is a question of authority.
I have a friend who is a police officer in Florida and you would not know he is an officer unless he was in his uniform or his squad car.
The religious world was waiting... ANTICIPATING this very moment... the coming of Messiah... but Jesus and His last prophet where not wearing the uniform they were expecting.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but when you tell others about Jesus, make sure you are wearing the right uniform:
NOT IN SELF-RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT… BUT OF HUMILITY.
You see… the Gospel of John tells every Christian's story….
I was broken and Jesus fixed me.
or maybe a little more accurately:
I AM BROKEN…. AND HE IS STILL FIXING ME.
 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”  (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)
God called and sent John the Baptizer in accordance with Prophecy from
BUT WHO SENT THESE QUESTIONERS … ??? = the Pharisees
These guys will show up again and again… so let's discuss them for a minute:
The Pharisees were an important sect of Judaism and numbered about 6,000 mostly influential.
They held a strict interpretation of the Law and embraced many oral traditions.
Their teachings formed the basis for Talmudic Judaism.
They want to know… basically:
“Since you have no official title, why are you baptizing?”
 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
This was a question of AUTHORITY…
WHO give you permission ………!?!?!?!?!?!?!
This is a re-occurring theme in the life of Christ too….
People are generally against things they don't understand…
ESPECIALLY when it threatens their livelihood.
 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,  even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
I love how John does not even answer their question…
but is FOCUSED IN HIS MISSION
If you grab a hold of this truth… it will be life changing folks:
You are never too _____ for God to use you.
Now… some of us may not be qualified for some things…
BUT WE CAN ALL SERVE CHRIST!
Do you know what determines your usability?
You determine your usability?
Not your circumstance… just ask Moses… or David… or Elijah… or Rahab
Not your upbringing… just ask Moses… or David… or Elijah… or Rahab
Not your past… just ask Moses… or David… or Elijah… or Rahab
Your SUBMISSION to His will and leading determines your usability in the Kingdom.
 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
There is so much we can say here… but please take note of this:
John's whole ministry was about pointing people to Christ.
And, so we don't loose sight of John's message… your ministry is to point people to Jesus.
But I am just a ______.
WRONG! You are more than JUST A _____...!
You are a child of the King and a mighty tool in His hand… if you are willing.
 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
We could say so much hear…
- This is a public declaration of Jesus as the Christ (Messiah).
- While it is true that every believer should be Baptized in water (a proclamation identifying them with Christ)… JESUS IS THE ONE THAT SAVES Baptizing with the Holy Spirit.
- We should note that this act got probably got John into some trouble.
Part of a prophet's job was to be the mouthpiece for God.
Who was it that anointed David? Samuel in
1 Samuel 16
 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Christianity is more about serving than being served.
It is about living for Christ and sharing your story.
One more passage and then we will close for this morning: Luke 7:24-28
 When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts.  What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’  I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:24-28
Did you catch that last bit? " one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he”… friends… if you are in Christ, you are great in God's program.
You have the same mission John the Baptizer did (to declare God's goodness and mercy).
So here are a few things to challenge us:
- Think, ask God for clarity, what area(s) of my life are hard for people to see Christ because my ego or pride or _____ are in the way?
- Because it is true that You are never too ____ for God to use you… ask Him for ways you can be used of Him EVEN TODAY.
- Read the rest of CH 1 and see that we will be looking at the disciples' witness.
- As I said for the last 2 weeks… and will continue…
SHARE YOUR STORY OF GOD'S LOVE