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The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness 

Matthew 3

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 8, In the year of our Lord, 2017

  1. Matthew 3.1–3 | The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand

    1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

    “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
    Make His paths straight.’”

    (Matt 3.1–3)

    1. How do you think he did his preaching in the wilderness?
      1. Were the crowds already there?
      2. Did he speak to a few individuals and they spread the word that he was out in the wilderness and they all went out to him?
    2. What was his message?
      1. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
      2. Do you think that is all that he said or was that the thrust of his message?
      3. What was the significance of his message?
        1. The Jews had been expecting the kingdom of heaven.
        2. Consider Daniel’s various prophecies.
          1. Dan 2.44–45
          2. Dan 7.9–14
    3. Not only had the Jews been waiting for the kingdom, but they had been expecting arrival of The Voice.
      1. Whose prophecy did Matthew say John the Baptist fulfilled?
      2. See also Mal 4.5–6.
        1. Why was it necessary to prepare the way of the Lord?
          1. He is a King, bringing the kingdom of heaven with Him.
          2. However, people have to approach their king with the proper protocol.
            1. Consider the preparations of Esther for meeting the king.
            2. Consider Joseph preparing to meet the Pharaoh.
            3. Compare Malachi 1.6.
              1. Sons honor fathers.
              2. Servants reverence masters.
              3. Creatures worship the Creator.
          3. Jesus wants everyone in His kingdom, but not everyone is ready.
            1. John came to prepare people in the spirit.
            2. We will see this in verses 7–12.
            3. See Luke 3.10–14.
            4. In this way, John prepare the way of the Lord.
  2. Matthew 3.4 | A Man of the Wild

    4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matt 3.4).

    1. What do you think of John’s appearance?
      1. See Matthew 11.7–10
    2. Some people see a similarity with Elijah.
      1. 2Ki 1.7–8
      2. Mal 4.5–6
      3. Luke 1.17
  3. Matthew 3.5–6 | John Baptized

    5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins (Matt 3.5–6).

    1. The message got out that John was out in the wilderness, especially by the Jordan River.
    2. What did the people do when they were baptized?
      1. People often say that John’s baptism was not for the remission of sins.
      2. Why then did the people confess their sins at their baptisms?
      3. Also see Luke 3.3!
  4. Matthew 3.7–12 | The Ax Is at the Root of the Trees

    7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3.7–12)

    1. Why did John call the Pharisees and Sadducees vipers?
      1. What are vipers and what do they do?
      2. Why then did John call them vipers?
    2. John’s message also included the coming wrath.
      1. Believing what he taught and having him baptize you enabled a person to flee that coming wrath.
    3. However, what did the people have to show or bear?
      1. Stating repentance is not enough, but we have to bear fruit worthy of it.
      2. What does that mean?
    4. John knew that the Jews might be tempted to claim Abraham as their father, implying that would enable them to flee the coming wrath.
      1. How did John refute that claim?
      2. To claim Abraham as your father, do you not have to live as he did?
    5. What is God ready to do?
      1. He is ready to cut down trees.
      2. What will prompt Him to cut down trees?
    6. How did John picture the greatness of the one coming after him?
      1. The Coming One will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
      2. John was not worthy to carry the sandals of the Coming One.
      3. The Coming One clean out His threshing floor.
      4. The Coming One will gather His wheat into the barn.
      5. The Coming One will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
        1. How many of those things could John do?
        2. The people thought John was mighty, but a mightier One was coming.
  5. Matthew 3.13–15 | The Baptism of Jesus

    13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him (Matt 3.13–15).

    1. The One coming after John appeared.
      1. What did He want from John?
      2. He wanted John to baptize him.
    2. What objection did John have?
      1. He needed for Jesus to baptize him.
      2. John was not worry to carry the sandals of Jesus and John could not imagine taking hold of the body of Jesus and baptizing Him.
      3. Also, John baptized with repentance for the remission of sin.
        1. Jesus did not have any sins from which to repent.
        2. Jesus did not have any sins that needed remission.
    3. What did Jesus mean by his answer?
      1. Jesus had to do all righteousness, all right things, and thus He submitted to John’s baptism, because although it was for the remission of sins, it was also the will of God.
      2. Therefore, Jesus did the will of God.
      3. See Luke 7.30.
    4. Notice that John could not reject such a declaration.
  6. Matthew 3.16–17 | The Father’s Testimony

    16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3.16–17).

    1. What a baptism!
    2. I have seen many things at baptisms, but nothing compared to what John saw.
    3. Describe the action of Jesus and the water.
    4. What three things happened when Jesus came up from the water?
      1. The heavens opened to Him.
      2. He saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and alight upon Him.
      3. The Father revealed the true identity of Jesus and that He was pleased in Jesus.