Notes: July 18, 2007

The first baptist church in the wilderness

Well, one might argue that it wasn’t a church. It didn’t have pews or stained glass windows. There were no offering plates or overhead projectors, no pews or praise bands or parking lots. There was no government registration, tax exemption or website with #1 Google ranking. But there were the people of God and others listening to God’s messenger proclaim the need for repentance and preparation to meet the Savior. Remember Stephen spoke of another church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38).

This, according to Mark 1, was the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and its historical setting is given in the first two verses of Luke 3.

Mark 1:1-6

  • Years earlier God has announced through His prophet (Malachi 3:1) that one would come to prepare the way for the Messiah (v. 1-2).
  • This was John who came preaching about sin and repentance (v. 4).
  • Many people came to hear him, were convicted of their sin, and confessed their sins and were baptized by him (v. 5), even though his appearance and diet were very out of the ordinary (v. 6).

Matthew 3:1-10

  • John’s theme was the kingdom of heaven. Men should heed his message because that kingdom and its King were near (v. 2).
  • Isaiah 40:3, as well as Malachi, had spoken about the forerunner of Christ (v.3).
  • Among the crowds who traveled to hear John preach were many Pharisees and Sadducees. Rather than giving them a friendly welcome and inviting them to participate, John called them a bunch of vipers who were errantly trusting their heritage and tradition to save them (v.7-10).

Luke 3:1-14
When others asked how they might prove outwardly that they had inwardly repented, John had much to say.

  • To numbers he advocated charity to the unclothed and unfed (v. 11).
  • To tax collectors he advocated honesty in their profession (v. 12).
  • To soldiers he advocated justice and contentment (v. 13-14).

Meditation Point:

Do your actions indicate that you have repented of your sins and have peace with God?