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                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

              The Testimony Of John The Baptist (1:19-34)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the prologue to John's gospel, we were introduced to John the
   Baptist...
   a. A man sent from God - Jn 1:6
   b. Who came to bear witness of the Light - Jn 1:7-8
   c. Who bore witness to the preeminence and preexistence of the Light
      - Jn 1:15

2. As John begins the narrative portion of his gospel, he starts with
   John the Baptist...
   a. His testimony to priests and Levites from the Pharisees in
      Jerusalem - Jn 1:19-28
   b. His testimony the next day when he saw Jesus - Jn 1:29-34

[What did John the Baptist testify concerning Jesus?  What lessons might
we glean from his testimony?  We note first of all that John the Baptist
proclaimed...]

I. I AM NOT THE CHRIST

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT HIMSELF...
      1. He confessed he was not the Christ - Jn 1:19-20
         a. Many people wondered if he were the Christ - cf. Lk 3:15
         b. John clearly asserts that he was not the Christ
      2. He was not literally Elijah as foretold by Malachi - Jn 1:21a
         a. Some thought Elijah would return in person, which John
            denies - cf. Mal 4:5
         b. John did fulfill the prophecy, which was figurative
            1) As foretold by the angel Gabriel - cf. Lk 1:l7
            2) As testified by Jesus - cf. Mt 11:11-15; Mt 17:10-13
      3. He was not the Prophet foretold by Moses - Jn 1:21b
         a. Moses foretold a Prophet like him would come - cf. Deut 18:
            15-18
         b. Many people were anticipating the arrival of this Prophet 
            - cf. Jn 6:14; 7:40
         c. This Prophet was indeed Jesus, not John - cf. Ac 3:22-26
      4. He was the one foretold by Isaiah - Jn 1:22-23
         a. The voice of one crying in the wilderness - cf. Isa 40:1-3
         b. Sent to prepare the way of the Lord - cf. Lk 1:16-17;
            2:76-79

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. John's example is a powerful one for all Christians, especially
         ministers
      2. As followers of Christ, our task is similar to his role as
         forerunner
         a. To deflect attention away from ourselves, and point people
            to Christ!
         b. Let us never forget, no matter how honored we may be, we are
            not the Christ!

[As John continues with his testimony, he proclaims concerning Jesus...]

II. HE IS PREFERRED BEFORE ME

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. Given in response to those from the Pharisees - Jn 1:24-25,28
         a. Why did he baptize, if not Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet?
         b. For he had been baptizing in Bethabara (or Bethany) beyond
            the Jordan
      2. The One coming after him is preferred before him - Jn 1:26-27
         a. Even One who was in their midst as he spoke!
         b. Whose sandal strap not even John was not worthy to loose!
      3. The reason Jesus was preferred before him?
         a. "For He was before me" (i.e., because of His preexistence) 
            - cf. Jn 1:15,30
         b. "Who is mightier than I" (i.e., because of His power) - cf.
            Mk 1:7
      4. John would later reaffirm Jesus' preference over himself
         a. "He must increase, but I must decrease" - Jn 3:30
         b. He is "above all" - Jn 3:31

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We should not hesitate to exalt Jesus over self - cf. Lk 9:
         23-24
         a. He is preferred before us
         b. While we may be the body of Christ, He is the head! - cf. Ep
            1:22-23
      2. Jesus deserves our humble service and adoration
         a. Because of His power - cf. Col 1:16
         b. Because of His preexistence - cf. Col 1:17
         c. Because of His headship over the body, the church - cf. Co
            1:18

[On the next day, John the Baptist had another opportunity to testify
concerning Jesus, in which he declared...]

III. BEHOLD! THE LAMB OF GOD

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. Declaring Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
         the world!" - Jn 1:29
         a. As foretold by Isaiah - cf. Isa 53:4-7,10-12
         b. As later proclaimed by the apostles - cf. 1Co 15:3; 1 Pe
            2:24; 1Jn 2:2
      2. Identifying Jesus as the "Man who is preferred before me" - Jn
         1:30
         a. Because He was before John (i.e., His preexistence)
         b. Even more so now as the Savior of the world!

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We should never forget the basis of our salvation!
         a. We are not saved on the basis of our good deeds - cf. Tit 3:5
         b. We are saved by the blood of the Lamb! - cf. Re 1:5; 5:9; Ro
            5:1
      2. We should ever point the world to Jesus!
         a. He is their only hope for forgiveness of sins! - cf. 1Ti 2:
            5-6
         b. We should proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified! - cf.
            1Co 2:2

[If Jesus is truly "preferred before" us, we will never hesitate to
offer Him as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.  Finally, we
note John's testimony concerning Jesus that...]

IV. THIS IS THE SON OF GOD

   A. HIS TESTIMONY ABOUT CHRIST...
      1. "I did not know Him" - Jn 1:31,33
         a. Though related, Jesus lived in Nazareth, John in the Judean
            desert
         b. Even if there had been a casual acquaintance, John did not
            know Jesus as the Messiah
         c. Yet John came baptizing with water
            1) That the Christ might be revealed to Israel
            2) For upon whom the Spirit would descend, would be the One
               who baptizes with the Holy Spirit - cf. Mt 3:11
      2. "I saw the Spirit descending...and He remained upon Him" - Jn
         1:32
         a. Just as John was told to anticipate - Jn 1:33
         b. Which occurred when Jesus was baptized by John - cf. Mt 3:16
      3. "I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." - Jn
         1:34
         a. John saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus like a dove - cf. Mt
            3:16
         b. John testified to the same truth as spoken from above: "This
            is My beloved Son" - cf. Mt 3:17

   B. LESSONS FROM HIS TESTIMONY...
      1. We must be willing to confess Jesus as did John - cf. Mt 10:
         32-33
      2. We must confess Him to be the Son of God
         a. As did Nathanael - cf. Jn 1:49
         b. As did Peter - cf. Jn 6:68-69
         c. As did Martha - cf. Jn 11:27
      3. We must believe Jesus to be the Son of God in order to be saved
         a. As John declares in his gospel - Jn 20:31
         b. As the Ethiopian eunuch confessed in order to be baptized 
            - cf. Ac 8:37

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus would later describe the testimony of John...
   a. He bore witness to the truth - Jn 5:33
   b. He was the burning and shining light - Jn 5:35
   c. In which some were willing to rejoice - Jn 5:35

2. Are we willing to rejoice in the testimony of John...?
   a. Knowing that John was not the Christ?
   b. Understanding that Jesus is preferred above John and all others?
   c. Accepting Jesus to be the true Lamb of God who takes away the sin
      of the world?
   d. Willing to confess along with John that Jesus is the Son of God?

If we are willing to accept the testimony of John the Baptist and obey
the Son of God, eternal life can be ours! - cf.. Jn 3:36; He 5:9; Mk
16:16
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