Voice in the Wilderness

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Voice in the Wilderness
Lesson #21
Jesus said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." Matthew 11:11. What do we know about this solitary man whom Jesus called the greatest of the prophets? When John began preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, people came from miles around to hear this powerful, fearless, and humble messenger. In glaring contrast to the religious leaders of the day, his life was marked with holiness and simplicity. While the priests wore luxurious clothing, John wore a modest garment of camel hair with a leather belt. While they were feasting, John was fasting or eating locusts (carob pods) and wild honey. He refused to drink any wine or strong drink, that he might be filled with the Spirit of God (Luke 1:15). Rather than ornate synagogues, John chose the rivers and rocky valleys as his cathedral for preaching. Soon people were asking, "Could this man be Elijah?" John did dress like the Old Testament prophet, but he was not Elijah reincarnated. The angel Gabriel had explained to John's parents before his birth that he would go "in the spirit and power of Elias [the Greek word for "Elijah"] ... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17. The key to John's ministry was that he would have the same power of the Holy Spirit as did Elijah to cause a revival among God's people. His special work was to preach repentance for sin and prepare people for Jesus' first coming. The Bible says there will be an entire army of Elijahs and John the Baptists in the last days to do a similar work in preparing the world for Jesus' second coming. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Malachi 4:5. (See also Joel 2:28-31.)
1. What was one secret of John's Spirit-filled life?

1. What was one secret of John's Spirit-filled life?

Luke 3:16. John answered, ... I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not ______ to unloose.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   The Spirit-filled life of John the Baptist was marked by unusual humility. There was a direct connection between John's powerful ministry and the complete surrender he had made to the Lord. It was John's highest joy to point others to Jesus rather than to himself. All he did was designed to bring glory to God's name.

2. Did John the Baptist read the Scriptures?

2. Did John the Baptist read the Scriptures?

John 1:23. He said, I am the _______ of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias [the Greek word for "Isaiah"].


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Yes! John quoted from the Old Testament as evidence that he had a solid grasp of the Scriptures. The Bible also tells us that John taught his disciples to fast and to pray often (Matthew 9:14). This is another testimony of his deep love for the Lord. In the same way, through our personal devotions and Bible study, we can come to know and love God and to receive of His Spirit.

3. Was John the Baptist willing to witness for Jesus?

3. Was John the Baptist willing to witness for Jesus?

John 1:29. The next day ______ seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   : By nature, John was a solitary soul (Luke 1:80). Yet he was willing to risk ridicule and even to lay his life on the line in order to point people to Jesus as Saviour of the world. In the same way, those who truly love the Lord today will be willing to set aside fear and convenience to witness for Jesus.

4. Was the straight preaching of John popular among the political and religious leaders?

4. Was the straight preaching of John popular among the political and religious leaders?

Luke 7:30. The Pharisees and lawyers _________ the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

Luke 3:19, 20 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him ... for all the evils which Herod had done, ... shut up John in prison.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   John boldly spoke out against the popular sins of the day that were indulged even by the religious leaders. God's last-day message of repentance and holiness will also be unpopular among most of the respected political and church leaders, but it will be biblical.

5. Does the Bible discourage the wearing of jewelry and fancy clothing?

5. Does the Bible discourage the wearing of jewelry and fancy clothing?

1 Timothy 2:9. In like manner also, that women [and, of course, men] adorn themselves in ______ apparel, ... not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls or costly array.

1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, ... even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Isaiah 3:18-21 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, ... The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers [veils], The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets [perfume boxes], and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Yes! John the Baptist wore simple, modest clothing--a good pattern for Christians to follow. The popular, sexually suggestive fads and fashions of today encourage a great deal of temptation and debt. God does not intend for us to dress in burlap; however, unduly expensive, flamboyant, or ostentatious clothing should not be part of a Christian's wardrobe. Although the wearing of jewelry is widely accepted in the world, it has a negative image in the Scriptures. You may not recognize all of the items mentioned in Isaiah 3:18-23, but people in other parts of the world do. Many of these pagan ornaments are now appearing in Western culture, as well.

6. Was there a connection between John's Spirit-filled life and his simple diet?

6. Was there a connection between John's Spirit-filled life and his simple diet?

Luke 1:15. For he ... shall drink neither _____ nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Christians should completely abstain from all fermented beverages in order to keep their minds clear and to hear God's Spirit (Proverbs 23:31, 32; Habakkuk 2:15; 1 Peter 5:8).

7. Why is God concerned about what we eat and drink?

7. Why is God concerned about what we eat and drink?

Judges 13:7. Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any ______ thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   There is a direct connection between what we eat or drink and our mental clarity, ability to resist temptation, and capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. Everything a Christian does--including what he eats and drinks--should be done to God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

8. What does the Bible say about worldly behavior?

8. What does the Bible say about worldly behavior?

James 4:4. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the ______ of God.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Come out from among them, and be ye seperate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

1 John 2:15 If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Romans 12:2 Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   The Lord has called His people today to live exemplary lives as they help others prepare for Jesus' second coming.

9. What should a Christian choose to think about?

9. What should a Christian choose to think about?

Philippians 4:8. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are _____, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   John the Baptist commanded the people to abstain from all violence (Luke 3:14). For us, this would include watching violence as a form of entertainment. Jesus taught that sins of sex and violence originate in the thoughts and attitudes (Matthew 5:22, 28). Therefore, a Christian should avoid any TV programs, videos, or reading material that would encourage impure thoughts.

10. What type of music will a true Christian enjoy?

10. What type of music will a true Christian enjoy?

Psalms 40:3. He hath put a new _____ in my mouth, even praise unto our God.

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   It is obvious that a great majority of the popular music in the world does not help us spiritually. Instead, it destroys our desire for heavenly things and often strengthens the lower nature. However, music can be a tremendous power for good. When King Saul was tormented by an evil spirit, the soothing music from David's harp refreshed him and drove away the evil influence.

11. Is dancing good recreation for a Christian?

11. Is dancing good recreation for a Christian?

1 John 2:6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to _____, even as he walked.

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Most of the popular contemporary dancing is associated with worldly music and has a very strong sexual emphasis. In almost any situation we should ask, "What would Jesus do?" I think we all agree that our Saviour would not abandon His reason to swing body and limb to the beat of some syncopated rhythm.

12. Will a Christian play the lottery or gamble?

12. Will a Christian play the lottery or gamble?

1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many _________.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Proverbs 28:20 He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   Gambling can be just as addictive as many drugs. Some have squandered entire family savings at casinos or on state lottery tickets. Most "get rich quick" schemes are associated with undue risk, unfair prices, and questionable ethics.

13. What should be the aim of God's people today?

13. What should be the aim of God's people today?

1 John 3:22. We _____ his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   A person cannot live any way he wishes and finally be saved in God's kingdom. This is one reason Jesus came to earth--to give us an example of holy living (1 Peter 2:21).

14. What makes it easy to obey God in the matters of lifestyle discussed in this lesson?

14. What makes it easy to obey God in the matters of lifestyle discussed in this lesson?

John 14:15. If ye ________ me, keep my commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.


Answer :  ____________________

15. Why is the Christian life such a high calling?

15. Why is the Christian life such a high calling?

1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a ______ generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.


Answer :  ____________________

NOTE:   As ambassadors for Jesus, Christians do indeed have a high calling! John the Baptist helped prepare people for Jesus' first coming, and God has called His people today to live holy lives as they help others prepare for Jesus' second coming.

16. Are you willing to be a unique

16. Are you willing to be a unique "voice in the wilderness" and witness through a godly lifestyle to prepare others for Jesus' second coming?



Answer :  ____________________


Supplemental Study

Ambassadors for Christ
When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is enlisted as an ambassador from a better kingdom. The Bible says, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:20.

The dictionary defines an ambassador as "a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a limited length of time."

Ambassadors are just as important in the spiritual realm as they are in the political realm. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven are not like the citizens of this world. We have been sent into the world to demonstrate who Jesus is and what He is like. Through the Holy Spirit, we become His representatives to reflect His image in everything from the way we talk and work to the way we eat and dress. In other words, when we become part of God's spiritual kingdom, we should be living demonstrations of the government we represent. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Scriptures say that "we all ... are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

We, the Church, are the hands and feet, the eyes and mouth, and yes, even the ears of Jesus in the world today. We are the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 23 5:29, 30 Colossians 1:18). Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told us, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21.

Every facet of our lives should be a reflection of the life and person of Jesus. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.

  Answers to Difficult Bible Texts by Joe Cr...
Answers to Difficult Bible Texts by Joe Cr...

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