WHO I AM. WHO I AIN’T. AUGUST 7, 2022
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified concerning (Jesus). He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’” Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him know. Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A Man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.”
John 1:14-31, ESV
This is John the Beloved writing about the John the Baptizer.
John was born miraculously to Zacharias (Levite) and Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin). He was raised in the wilderness, perhaps educated by the Essenes. He was a bit odd in his dress, diet, and behavior.
“…of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist.” Matthew 11:11
John knew who he was, who he wasn’t, and this knowledge influenced how he lived.
In order to thrive in this new world, it is necessary I know who I am, who I am not, and live accordingly.
JOHN KNEW WHO HE WASN’T
“I am not the Messiah.”
“There were some of John’s disciples who preached about him as if their master was the Messiah.” Clementine
“If God has called you to be His servant, don’t stoop to be king.” Spurgeon
JOHN KNEW WHO HE WASN’T
“I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
This prophetic call is found in Isaiah 40:30 and Malachi 3:1.
This idea comes from the Palestinian roads being smoothed for the arrival of a king. For the King’s arrival, John prepared hearts not highways.
“Until Elijah Comes…”
John denied being Elijah, but Jesus said John was a type of Elijah in Matthew 17.
THIS UNDERSTANDING IMPACTED HOW JOHN LIVED.
1/ John released the desire to be known. He deflected attention to Jesus.
2/ John released the desire to be secure. He let his disciples follow Jesus.
3/ John released the desire for worldly things. He lived humbly.
4/ John released the desire to fit into this world. He spoke against evil.
5/ John released the desire to achieve more than appointed. He focused on God’s will.
6/ John released the desire to walk in unbelief. He believed even in doubt.
I SHOULD KNOW WHO I’M NOT.
1/ If in Christ, I’m no longer under God’s wrath. (John 3:36)
2/ If in Christ, I’m no longer in the kingdom of darkness. (Colossians 1:13)
3/ If in Christ, I’m no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:18)
4/ If in Christ, I’m no longer separated from God. (Colossians 1:22)
I SHOULD KNOW WHO I AM
1/ If in Christ, I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
2/ If in Christ, I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
3/ If in Christ, I am forgiven. (Psalm 103:12; Ephesians 1:7)
4/ If in Christ, I am victorious. (Romans 8:37; Revelation 12:11)
5/ If in Christ, I am free. (Galatians 5:1)
6/ If in Christ, I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
7/ If in Christ, I am blessed (Ephesians 1:3).
8/ If in Christ, I am free from guilt & shame (Romans 8:1)
9/ If in Christ, I am loved. (Romans 8:39)
10/ If in Christ, I am not finished. (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
11/ If in Christ, I am of high value (1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
12/ If in Christ, I am cared for. (Matthew 11:28)
13/ If in Christ, I am an ambassador of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
14/ If in Christ, I am secure. (John 10:28-29)
THIS UNDERSTANDING SHOULD IMPACT HOW I LIVE.
As a Christian, my earthly living should align with my spiritual standing.
I cannot allow “nuances” to detour me from clear Scriptural instruction.
I cannot allow “culture” to divert me from clear Scriptural instruction.
“What a difference it would be if our morality were based on the Bible instead of the standards devised by cultural Christians.” William Wilberforce
As a priest, culture said John should live a certain way; Scripture said otherwise.
I cannot allow what others do (or don’t do) to derail me from clear Scriptural instruction.
Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.” John 21:21-22
1/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a spouse.
The fundamental element sealing Jesus’ relationship with John was mutual humility and submission. (Matthew 3:13-15)
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
Even in the social dynamic of the Trinity, there is order and roles and responsibilities.
2/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a parent.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24
3/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a child, adult child, and grandchild.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 1 Timothy 5:4
4/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a sibling.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
5/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a widow.
1 Timothy 5
6/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as an employer.
Masters (employers), provide your slaves (employees) with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. Colossians 4:1
7/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as an employee.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
8/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a young woman.
The younger women (are) to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5
9/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as an older woman.
Likewise, teach older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women (how to live)… Titus 2:3-5
10/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a young man.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Titus 2:6
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 1 Timothy 5:1-2
11/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as an older man.
Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Titus 2:2
12/ Who I am in Christ should impact me as a citizen.
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 3:1-2
A Letter Between Trajan and Pliny the Younger
“The command of Christ is impossible, but it is not insane; it is rather sanity preached to a planet of lunatics.” G.K. Chesterton