TEEN TREE        OF LIFE

THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

Part 3

October 4, 2020

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

In last week’s Tree of Life, we learned that John the Baptist was a man with great self-control. As the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, he lived like the prophets did, back in in Old Testament times, with only the bare necessities and followed the Nazarite restrictions. John did all of this because he had a purpose in life which was much more important to him than his own comfort and pleasure.

 

What is even more amazing about him is that John the Baptist was a priest and because of this, he had a right to a home and to be financially supported by the community when performing his priestly service. But John rejected all that life in order to follow a higher calling by God. He set aside what he could have had, and even what he had a right to have, in order to be as effective as possible for God. This is a choice every Christian must consider on a daily basis. It takes diligence and self-control to fight against the materialism and self-indulgence that is so widespread in our society. It’s very easy to get caught up in the quest for getting more stuff, being comfortable and experiencing more pleasure. We are tempted daily to make the obtainment of these worldly things more important than our relationship with God and His Word.

 

So, you constantly have to ask yourself: “What is more important than living to glorify God?” That question is answered by what you are willing to set aside in order to put Him first. John was called by God to fulfill the prophecies of ISA 40:3-5 (New International Reader’s Version): A messenger [John The Baptist] is calling out, “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord. Make a straight road through it for our God. Every valley will be filled in. Every mountain and hill will be made level. The rough ground will be smoothed out. The rocky places will be made flat. Then the glory of the Lord will appear. And everyone will see it together. The Lord has spoken.” And just like John – the forerunner of Christ – every Christian is called to live in righteousness and serve The Lord with the gifts with which He has blessed us. Do you know what it means to live in righteousness? When most older people think about the word righteous, we often see an image of a surfer-dude describing a big wave. LOL!! Thankfully that usage of the word has come and gone, but how does the Bible use the word?

 

Righteousness is the attribute of God that describes the absolute perfection of His Character and Person. Righteousness is the Perfect Holiness of Jesus Christ. It literally means “One who is right.” Think of it as the polar opposite of sin. To commit sin is to go against God’s Plan for our lives; so, righteousness is the only living standard that is acceptable for us to have a relationship with God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. 1 JOH 3:7 (New International Reader’s Version) says it all: Dear children, don’t let anyone lead you astray. The person who does what is right is holy, just as Christ is holy. And we must remember that the key to living in righteousness is being filled with The Spirit and the only way to do that is through Rebound.

 

John was able to live as he did because he was filled with The Spirit. As we have studied, in order to be filled with The Spirit, you have to name your sins to God the Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you should rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

LUK 1:15 teaches us an amazing fact bout John:  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. Based on how Rebound works, obviously none of us could be filled with The Spirit that early in life. But we can be filled with The Spirit now and we’re commanded to be EPH 5:18 (New International Reader’s Version): Don’t fill yourself up with wine. Getting drunk will lead to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Since the Divine Plan for the Church-Age is perfect from a Perfect God, it can only be fulfilled through the His Perfect Power. As Our Mentor and Teacher of God’s Word, God the Holy Spirit provides the power for the execution of the spiritual life. If your mentor isn’t God the Holy Spirit, you cannot live a righteous life!

 

Pleroo” is a New Testament Greek word which is used for the “filling” of The Holy Spirit in EPH 5:18 (see above). “Pleroo” is described as (1.) filling up a deficiency. At Salvation, we’re lacking, and we need Bible doctrine. It is also described as (2.) fully possessing. The believer must be fully possessed by The Holy Spirit, along with Bible doctrine, before being able to be fully possessed by the blessings of maturity. The word “pleroo” also means (3.)  to fully influence. The believer should be fully influenced by Bible doctrine so that he or she can have capacity for blessing. “Pleroo” (“filling”) also means (4.) to fill with a certain quality and God’s Word is of the highest quality of anything in the world! God the Holy Spirit accomplishes these four things for the believer who is filled (“pleroo”) with The Spirit by the use of the rebound technique.

 

The New American Standard Bible (the translation used in all of the Teen Trees, unless otherwise noted) translates EPH 5:18 in this way: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit… Dissipation refers to a disorderly lifestyle – an excessive lifestyle of dependence on the wrong things to solve life’s problems. The believer must be fully influenced by The Teaching Ministry of The Holy Spirit. Through the metabolization of Bible doctrine, The Holy Spirit fills up the deficiency in your life; fully possesses you; will fully influence you if you allow Him to; and will fill you with a certain quality of life.

 

            John The Baptist’s message is summarized perfectly in MATT 3:1-2 (The Message Bible): While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.” John baptized in the Jordan river to teach Positional Truth.  Positional Truth means that those who believe in The Lord Jesus Christ will pass through from death to life. Identification with Jesus Christ’s Spiritual Death means rejection of human good and evil. Identification with His Physical Death means separation from human good and evil. Identification with His Burial means divorce from human good and evil. Look at ROM 6:11-14 (The Message Bible): Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. AMEN!!!!!!!!

 

John’s message could have been: “I am John the son of Zacharias the priest.” This fact is certainly true – he was! He could have been the high priest in Jerusalem and he really is the true high priest of Israel. John was aware of these things, but he didn’t think of himself as being great; he knew that he was a man sent from God. He knew his greatness was because of who and what God is, not because of who and what he was. He knew he was great for one reason: because he was a man sent from God!

 

Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” (JOH 1:22-23) When John uses the word “voice,” he is emphasizing the message rather than himself. Ministries are only a voice by which God chooses to communicate His Word. God looks for prepared voices.

{to be continued}

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