The Greatest Announcer – Matthew 3:1-12

Today is Tuesday, May 19, 2020, and I am Pastor Kim Alexander and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 53

Welcome and so glad that you have joined me.

How are you today?

Announcements:

Church this week – 8:30; 945; and 11:00 A.M. through May 31st

VBS in June – We need your help. Please contact Annette Ward

  • Pre K- K Teacher
  • 1st & 2nd Teacher
  • 3rd & 4th Teacher
  • Lots of bodies to help
  • Register to help online at slbc2u.com

AWANA in September needs volunteers

Today in the News:

 

CNN Reports: Navajo Nation, the biggest Native American territory, surpassed New York for the highest coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. Meanwhile, the nationwide death toll passed 90,000 as states continued to ease restrictions.

The Wall Street Journal Reports: The stock market jumped after pharmaceutical company Moderna reported positive early results from a vaccine trial. The data is preliminary and reflects a small number of participants.

NPR Reports: Trump revealed he’s taking hydroxychloroquine to protect himself against the coronavirus, even though the antimalaria drug is unproven against the virus and can have serious side effects. The FDA issued a safety warning about the drug last month.

USA Today Reports: Where coronavirus isn’t: What’s kept cases officially at zero in these 200 counties?

In just four months, the deadly COVID-19 virus has infiltrated every state and major U.S. city. But a scattering of remote counties continue without a single reported case, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

As of May 15, a total of 231 of 3,143 counties had no reported cases.

The list is getting shorter by the day, though. In the first half of May alone, 40 counties went from zero recorded cases of the virus to at least one.

Georgia started the month with two zero-case counties. Now there is none. Tennessee also had two counties with no reported cases on May 1; two weeks later, only one remained. Iowa went from eight counties with no cases to only four by mid-May.

Counties where there are no reported cases of COVID-19*

The long stretch without coronavirus cases in some counties likely reflects an undercount from limited testing. But in others it may also reflect the benefits of being relatively cut off. USA TODAY found a strong link between population density and official infection rates across the country.

People in case-free counties said they don’t consider their communities immune, just less exposed.

Bible Quiz – Do you know the Answer?

 

Q: What were Isaac’s sons’ names?
A: Jacob and Esau

Q: Who was born first?
A: Esau came first, with Jacob grabbing his heel.

Q: How did Esau provide food for the family?
A: He hunted.

Q: Who did Isaac favor of his two sons?
A: Esau

Q: What did Jacob do most of the time?
A: Stayed in the home with his mother.

Q: What did Esau receive in exchange for his birthright?
A: Some stew.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs
  • Tom Spann
  • Terry Robinson
  • People working through COVID-19
  • Lowana LaBolle
  • Men’s Bible Study start up
  • Yard Sale this weekend
  • Cup of Grace Ministry

Today our WORD from the Lord comes from Matthew 3:1-12,

 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 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.’ ” Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 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? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 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.”[1]

   Today I want to have a WORD with you about The Greatest Announcer

   Do you remember “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. I was pretty young, and so I didn’t watch the show very often. However, the iconic introduction by the announcer is famous – Here’s Johnny! Who was the announcer? It was none other Ed McMann. What a voice, and what an introduction.

   I want to talk about an even greater announcer, and he even introduced someone far more important that an entertainer. I’m speaking about John the Baptist, and the individual he announced was Jesus Christ. His announcement was, “Behold, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

   Let’s take a look at the passage before us. What do we have in these verses?

  1. The Man – v. 1

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

   You can read about the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1. He was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. His father was a priest, and his mother was beyond child-bearing years. He was an answer to his parent’s prayers. An angel told his father that he was going to have a son. He was also told to call him, John. One other bit of insight – John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. He was born six months before Jesus Christ.

   John the Baptist was born for a specific purpose. He was considered a prophet and he was going to provide the greatest announcement the world has ever heard – the presentation of the messiah.

  

   This is what Jesus later said of John the Baptist,

   “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)

  1. The Message – v. 2

and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

   His message was one of repentance. What does it mean to repent? The word means: to change one’s mind and to act on that change.

   The second part of his message involved announcing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the sphere in which God rules and reigns. When you become a believer you actually become a part of the Kingdom of God.

  1. The Mission – v. 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.’ ”

   As I mentioned a few moments ago, John the Baptist was born for a purpose. He was a part of God divine plan in the redemption of humanity. He was prophesized. If God were baking a cake, John the Baptist would have been an ingredient.

   Isaiah 40:3 – The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of

the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

  1. The Manifestation – v. 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.

   In the Old Testament we read about a prophet named, Elijah. Well, John the Baptist was a lot like Elijah. As a matter of fact he was called, The Elijah who was to come (Luke 1:16-17).

   We read about the appearance of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8,

   “So they answered him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.”[2]

   If you were to placed John the Baptist side-by-side they would look almost identical.

  • The way they dressed – camel’s hair with a leather belt.
  • The food they ate – locusts and wild honey. 
  1. The Ministry – vs. 5-6

   5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

   The baptism of John didn’t wash the sins of the people away. There was no cleansing power in the baptism. No, it’s just like baptism today. It was the outward demonstration of an inward change. It was the outward sign of repentance – that you have turned your life over to God. You were telling those who watched your baptism that you want to live a different life. In the case of those being baptized by John, that you wanted to walk with God. Your life then produced the fruit of your repentance.

  1. The Method – vs. 7-10

 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? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 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.

   John the Baptist didn’t beat around the bush – No! He was straight forward. He spoke the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love isn’t always done with flowery speech.

  • John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees a Brood of vipers.
  • He asked them, Who warned you?
  • He told them to “therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”
  • He told them not to think they were secure just because they could say that Abraham was their father.
  • He told them that even “now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.”
  • Finally he said, “every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

   Does that sound like a popular sermon? It’s a sermon about getting right, or getting judged.  

  1. The Mightier – vs. 11-12

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.”

   John the Baptist came to be the announcer of the mightier – Jesus Christ.

   John the Baptist baptized 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.

   What happened on the Day of Pentecost? There was a baptism of the Holy Spirit and cloven tongues of fire fell upon the 120 disciples in the Upper Room.

  John the Baptist said that Jesus Christ will gather His own. He will separate the wheat from the chaff, and the wheat will be placed in the barn, and the chaff will be burned up with unquenchable fire. This is speaking about hell.

Lessons for us Learners:

  1. God always has an announcer to announce important truth. We see this throughout the Scripture. Today, you and I are the announcers. We are Christ’s Ambassadors.
  1. The message we share is the same as John the Baptist. We too call people to repentance, and we tell them about the Kingdom of God. 
  1. The Church is On Mission – The Great Commission. 
  1. God’s people are recognizable.
  1. Be faithful like John the Baptist. Carry on your ministry.
  1. Reach those who will repent, and warn those who refuse to repent.
  2. Always tell of Jesus. He is CENTRAL to everything.

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, Dr. Robert Cook used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 3:1–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Ki 1:8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.