The War Plan
John 1:19 "And this is the record of
John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from
Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing."
In 1 Samuel 18:9 we have this; “And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.”
The Jews have an axe to grind.
Funny thing about human nature, those who are steeped in religion will keep a strong eye on a bible believer. They will EYE you as Saul did David.
[1 Samuel 18:9] “And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.”
Whenever the bible-believing Christian runs afoul of the Pharisees [which he will because of his salt] he will be dogged with questions about WHO is his authority, or who does he think he is, or why is he doing the things he does. Can you see it brethren? Look at the text. The Jewish authorities of the supreme headquarters in Jerusalem have learned they have a major problem out there in the wilderness. They have concluded John the Baptist as a real aberrant preacher running amuck of all the rules and traditions.
They found something else about John. They found
him to be particularly guilty in being most
peculiar, and as unlearned, as they come! Amen!
[Remember John was dressed in camel's hair with a
leather girdle, and eating locusts and wild honey.]
Furthermore, they felt John was crude, both … in his
manner of life, and … in his message. Indeed John’s
message was hot stuff … controversial, and
politically incorrect. [“The voice of one
crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the
Lord, make his paths straight.”]
Now all this IDENTIFIES the problem that the religious authorities had with John the Baptist! Ready?
John did not have a degree from a recognized institution of higher learning. Worse than that, he had not gotten his authority from them [from the Pharisees or the Sadducees]. Action had to be taken to deal with the problem! The religious leaders could not tolerate or permit John the Baptist to go on preaching as an unlicensed itinerant preacher without their tacit sanctioning approval. In their view … their religious authority over the people must be maintained at any cost [the clergy over the laity … Nicolaitans].
[Revelation 2:15] “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” So out they go: the inquisitors to dog John with all manner of questions. They ask John:
1. “Who art thou?” [twice]
2. “What sayest thou of thyself?”
Note: each answer that John gives never satisfies the religious elite. Why? Their motive was this. They had a goal to shut him down. It was never in their heart to listen to his message: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 3:2]
They had no intention to repent! Here are some things to gleen:
1. The Pharisees are the religious fundamentalists of their day.
2. The Sadducees’ are the religious liberals of their day.
3. They are the sons of the Devil, DUPED by the Devil … working for the Devil.
Jesus Christ gave this shot over the bow in his dealing with them. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” [John 8:44-45]
THE WAR PLAN ... as given by the Captain of our salvation.
[Hebrew 2:10] "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
Matthew 12:1 “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.”
The Pharisees were “eyeing” Jesus Christ, just like the religious crowd will eye you!
"But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day." [Matthew 12:2]
Here is a lesson for the believer in Jesus Christ to learn from Matthew 10:25. [A PRINCIPLE] “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”
If they ragged on Jesus they will rag on you.
Note the SON of GOD gives a seasoned explanation to his enemies! [Seasoned with salt and designed to provide light with the SCRIPTURE!]
Name-calling is going to happen!
Read with me in Matthew twelve, starting at verse three: “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” [Matthew 12:3-8]
We need to follow the LORD in this thing. Listen to the BIBLE! “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”
Do not my brother or sister render evil for evil.
Yes, they will dog you, and be mean spirited with you but we are listening to a different drum! [The HOLY SPIRIT witnessing to the WORD of GOD.] “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
Brethren, they [THE RELIGIOUS] may follow you in to the very assembly of the local Bible-believing Baptist church and EYE your speech and actions from there! “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.” [Matthew 12:9-10]
Why, so that is the motive! So that they might ACCUSE Jesus Christ! They wanted to be able to gather up accusations and file them for future reference! There you go! The heart’s motive is revealed.
Now … in the face of accusations is the patience of the captain of our salvation shown. The true Christian, likewise, has to follow in example as an ambassador representing Jesus Christ. “And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.” [Matthew 12:11-13]
Can you see them eyeing him? “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.” [Matthew 12:14]
Friend it often can get to the point where the religious crowd may take counsel in order to kill you. They have done it before [THE RELIGIOUS CROWD]. They did it in England to Lady Jane Grey. She, just as a young believer in Christ, was called to give up her life as a martyr. [See Foxes Book of Martyrs]
Lessons to be drawn [from John the Baptist] to help the Bible-believer
1. The source of the biggest trouble, or opposition, for the believer in Jesus Christ will be from religious people.
2. The scholars, the priests, and the religious machines of men want rule over men [the mass humanity]. They want to be the authority over you!
3. God has ordained that The Word … Jesus Christ, and the BOOK he wrote will be the AUTHORITY over man.
4. The Bible-believing Christian needs to be prepared and equipped … to RUN his course in life in OPPOSITION to the religious elite in OBEDIENCE to GOD and the BOOK.
5. John ran well! Amen!