Matthew 3:1-17

The Ministry of John the Baptist.

I.    Verse 1-4, The things concerning John.

A.  In those days - This is referring to those days when Jesus was called a Nazarene.

B.   John's name.

1.   He is called "Baptist" because he was a immersing people to baptize them.

2.   His last name wasn't Baptist.

3.      This teaches us that it is not so important what the name on the church door is as what is being taught inside the building.

4.      There are a lot of churches that have the name Baptist that don't teach Bible doctrine: they are not Baptist.

C.            Preaching in the wilderness.

1.      John wasn't preaching to a bunch of rocks and stones, but he was preaching to people who didn't have a leader.

2.      There were people living in the wilderness where John was preaching, but we do find that people from Judah and Jerusalem came to hear him preach

D.  This raises a very important question: If John was preaching in the wilderness, how did people find out he was there?

1.   We know from verse 5 that all Jerusalem and Judah went to hear him preach.

2.      John 1:19-28, The Pharisees sent people to question John about his purpose and identity.

3.      John confessed that he was not the Christ, but was the one crying in the wilderness (verse 23).

4.      This is also what the Bible says in Matthew 3:3, which is a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3.

5.   In John 1:28, we find that John was baptizing near Bethabara, which is located on the Jordan River, just north of the dead sea.


II.   An interesting point to notice here is that Jesus left from somewhere in Galilee and walked all the way down to John so He could be baptized.

A.  Why did Jesus walk all that way?

1.      Because John was the only one with God given authority.

2.      Jesus could have said it was too much trouble to walk all that way, but He was setting an example for us to follow.

3.   It should never be too much trouble for us to obey God.

B.   But to answer our question - People found out about John because of the Holy Spirit. I think it might have worked like this:

1.      John preached to one person who was then saved and baptized.

2.      That person begin telling others while John continued preaching.

3.   The news soon traveled everywhere that there was a man down by the Jordan River baptizing (immersing) people until finally the news reached all of Jerusalem and Judah.


III. Verse 2, John's message - Matt. 4:17.

A.  The same message Jesus preached.

B.   Acts 2:38, the same message Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost.

C.   Mark 1:4, John preached the baptism of repentance.

1.      This is not a baptism unto repentance, but a baptism because of repentance.

2.   It is not be baptized and repent, but repent and be baptized.


IV. Verse 3 is a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3.


V.  Verse 4 is a description of John.

A.  This compares with the description of Elijah in II Kings 1:8.

B.   John said in John 1:21, and Jesus said in Matt. 11:14 that John was Elijah.

1.   Is this a contradiction?

2.   No.

3.      John is answering a question from the Pharisees because they were asking if John was Elijah raised from the dead.

4.      John, of course, replied that he wasn't.

5.      Jesus on the other hand is not talking about Elijah raising from the dead, but is talking about John being the fulfillment of the scripture concerning one who would be like Elijah.


VI. Verse 5,6, The things concerning believers.  John baptized believers who brought forth fruits of repentance.


VII.      Verse 7-12, The things concerning unbelievers.

A.  John did not baptized unbelievers.

1.   The way to tell unbelievers from believers is by their fruits.

2.   To find out what kind of fruit to look for check out Gal. 5:22-26.

B.   Also it's interesting to check out the qualifications for a pastor in I Tim. 3:1-7.

1.      There are no doctrinal requirements for either a pastor or a believer.

2.   The fruit is "what kind of person are they?"