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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Oct. 23, 2007

  • 2007 Oct 23

Jesus, Humility, and John the Baptist—

the Greatest Man


We have been studying the Gospel by Mark now for several weeks. First we saw the human author that captured the words onto paper was Mark. Then we saw the man behind those words, the eyewitness to Christ's life and ministry, Peter. Now we come to the first mentioned character in the book, John the Baptist. 

This morning I invite you to consider Jesus, humility—and the greatest man who ever lived up until Christ. That greatest man was also the humblest and his name was John the Baptist. John is the first character introduced in the Gospel by Mark. He is so vital that we need to examine his life closely. 

The Lord declared we are sinners from birth and because of that we all want our own way (Isaiah 53:6). Wanting our own way is a simple definition of pride. All of us this morning share one thing in common and that is the sin of pride. Though most of us never may murder another human—we are proud.  

Though we may never get involved in witchcraft or sodomy—we will have a life long involvement with pride.  

No matter what else we do in your life, if humility is not ours then God will resist everything else we do. God is moment-by-moment in a personal warfare against pride in the life of believers.  

Pride is the sin God hates most, sees first, and wants us to likewise hate. 

It we are not consciously humbling ourselves daily, hourly, and moment-by-moment, then we are losing the battle with pride. That brings us to Christ's messenger named… 

John the Baptist 

When God wanted to introduce His Son, who did He send? John the Baptist—a messenger who displays the supreme character God seeks in His servants called humility. 

When God described the messenger He would use as the herald announcing the coming of the Lamb of God who would die for sin, how is he described? Note in Mark 1:3 he is called a "voice”, no name, no rank, no flowery introduction—and how profoundly these words about John the Baptist remind us how important humility is to God.  

The supreme lesson of John the Baptist's life is humility. And there can be no more vital message that we all need to hear than that God HATES pride. God used John because he was willing to obey the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life cultivate humility. 

Now look back in Matthew chapter 11. When Jesus describes John He calls him the greatest man who had ever lived until that time. Listen what Jesus said:  

“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11).  

May I introduce you to the greatest saint who ever lived up until Christ's time? Jesus called him that. Great saints are like giant markers that point the world to God. Before John were many incredible saints, but Jesus said none of them were greater than John. 

Jesus no saint more fully or greatly pointed to God then when a simple man dressed like a peasant, after a lifetime of discipline and self denial thundered from the wilderness, "Its time to look at Jesus!" 

John the Baptist has been prepared by God as a man alone, a man apart, a great man, greater than had not been born from among women Jesus said. Why? What had refined and shaped this man to such a point as that? Listen to the testimony of John and we will hear his secret.  

He Must Increase 

Please turn with me to John 3, and read from v.22-30! 

The key to God’s attention is humility. The pathway to being constantly showered with grace is humility. The heart attitude that leads to humility is summed up by John’s testimony, “Christ must increase and I must decrease”.  

Can you say this morning that those words are your heart’s desire? “I want Christ to increase and for me to decrease”. 

Have you come to the place in your life as a believer where you want to increase Christ's attitude as yours decreases? Christ's actions increase through you as your selfish actions decrease? Christ's gracious words increase in your mouth as your words decrease? Christ's desires and passions increase in you and your fleshly passions and desires decrease? “Christ must increase and I must decrease”. That is the essence of humility. 

Humility produces spiritual blessing. Just as every sin starts in pride, every virtue begins in humility. Humility allows us to see ourselves as we are, because it shows us before God as He is.  

Just as pride is behind every conflict we have with other people and every problem of fellowship we have with the Lord, so humility is behind every harmonious human relationship, every spiritual success, and every moment of joyous fellowship with the Lord. 

The greatest plague on earth is pride. More people miss heaven for pride than any other sin.  

All conflicts and troubles have flowed downward from pride. The source of every gossip, every hurt feeling, every church division, every departed sheep is pride. At the heart of every fight is pride.  

God is at war against any and all pride He sees in our lives. Both Peter and James warn us of this ongoing “pride-resisting” that God promised.  

Open with me to James 4. 

James 4:6, 10 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 

Why is God so opposed to pride? Because… 

This sermon will continue tomorrow October 24th as we look at “Satan is the Father of Pride.”

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