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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Behold, I Make All Things New – Part 3 -- New Witness


     John 1:6-9: There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning the Light, so that through Him all men might believe. He himself was not the Light; he came only as a witness to the Light. The true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
            John the Baptist is the new witness who will reveal the Christ to the Israelites. John was a lone voice preparing people to meet their Savior. John wasn’t preaching in a temple! He came out of a dry, desolate place – the wilderness – to call God’s people to repent and be cleansed of their sin in preparation to meet Jesus. At the time, God’s people were in a dry place spiritually because they had not heard a word from the Lord for over 400 years. John the Baptist will be the first prophet to speak in the New Testament, and the last prophet to speak under the Law in scripture. God will now speak through His Son Jesus and His “new creations,” and those He raises up to be apostles, teachers, prophets, evangelists and pastors. He will also speak through every Christian. Those who love and follow Jesus are to raise up other witnesses of Christ.
            John the Baptist was a forerunner to Christ.
Forerunner Ministry
      A forerunner is one who comes in advance to a place where the rest are to follow. The Law and the Prophets that John represented were also a forerunner to Christ. The Law and the Prophets are Spirit-filled because they were written by the power of the Holy Spirit. These scriptures had a purpose just as John the Baptist had a purpose. John the Baptist, as well as the Law and the Prophets, were to point people to Christ. “The Law is our tutor to bring us to Christ. Galatians 3:24 The Law showed the inability of mankind to live up to God’s high and holy standard. God’s only begotten Son did. Jesus is perfect God, perfect Man and was a perfect Jew because He obeyed the Law perfectly and completely for all. Even though Jesus was without sin, He paid the penalty of death for disobedience to God’s Law for all. And because He did this, we are now all declared righteous in God’s sight through His Son’s shed blood and perfection.
            As John the Baptist was a forerunner to Christ, Jesus is our forerunner to our Heavenly Father. Jesus paved the way on the highway of holiness for all who believe in Him. Jesus went before us to the Holy of Holies (God’s presence). Hebrews 6:19-20: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary, behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”  Jesus’ way is the way we must travel to the presence of God and eternal life. He illustrated the way through His death, resurrection and ascension. If we are to return to the Father, we must allow the Godhead to continually put our flesh to death, and arise in new resurrection life in Christ. We are called to a higher calling in Christ. We must identify with His death as well as His resurrection.
            As John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ’s first coming, the Bride of Christ is to be the forerunner to His Second Coming.  We are to call for baptism and repentance of sin, and point people to Christ for salvation and eternal (spiritual) life. Jesus was motivated by His and the Father’s love even to His agonizing and suffering death on the cross. Believers too must be motivated by love, not judgment, when we introduce those who are lost, hurting and in bondage to sin. We are His forerunners.
            John the Baptist was the bridge between the older and new covenants. John knew his calling. He was to preach repentance and cleansing to prepare the way for Jesus, and reveal Jesus as the Light of the world, Savior of the world, and the Lamb of God who saves and delivers all people. As God used John the Baptist as a bridge between the Old and New Covenants, Jesus’ shed blood would pass between the two covenants drawing them together as one in Him. Both testaments are a revelation of Jesus Christ because He is all truth.
            By the same power that was in John the Baptist in his mother’s womb, John carried out his calling. He introduced God’s people to the Light of the world and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John was not this light, nor was he a false light. John used the light that God imparted to him to reveal the True and Eternal Light of the world – Jesus. The Bible says that the true Light would come to give light “to the Gentiles and for the glory of Israel.”  The Godhead who never changes wants all – both Gentiles and Jews – to believe in Jesus through the testimony of John the Baptist. John’s testimony still speaks today in the Holy Scriptures. Even though John the Baptist had a large following and was well-respected by the religious and secular hierarchy, he never lost sight of his mission – He was to point people to Christ, not himself. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
            Jesus edified John the Baptist in John 5:33 saying that John witnessed to the Truth. Jesus went on to say that John was “a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.” V35 John was not the full light. He came to bear witness to the full Light just as the Older Testament is a witness to the True and Full Light of the world – Jesus. Neither the Israelites nor the Body of Christ can be the full light because we have the weakness of sinful flesh. God in His grace and love sent the Light of the world who was with God and the Holy Spirit when all things were created to be our Light so we can reflect His Light in whatever measure we spiritually see and understand to a spiritually lost and dying world.
            John the Baptist understood that Jesus was the One for whom the Jews were awaiting. John the Baptist gave glory to whom glory was due!

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