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Lesson # Mark 1:4-8
Study Material - Mark 1:4-8
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was preaching, and saying, 'After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 'I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'
John appeared, as in out of no where. To those who had not followed or pursued doctrine much in their life, this would have seemed like John came out of no where. But we know that John has been around for 30 years. We will see Jesus' age in Luke 3:23, and we already know that John was born 6 months before Christ. So John's ministry started 6 months prior to that of Jesus.
He came preaching and preparing the way for Christ. We all have to be prepared in salvation before we can receive Christ. Christ is the Word and the Word of God is where we receive spiritual food for our individual souls. But that food is not available to those who reject Christ, to those who are categorized as unbelievers. In order to receive Gods Word you must be born again and that is the message of John the Baptist - repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance is the changing of ones mind, changing ones attitude toward God in general, and a changing of ones attitude toward Jesus Christ specifically. Repentance, or the changing of ones mind results in belief in Christ from ones positive volition decision toward Christ. Belief results in being reborn, or receiving a regenerated human spirit with eternal life imputed in it from God. This is the result of faith in Christ, being born anew spiritually. You do not feel anything. You don't sense anything, you just know that you are now saved. Or you think you know it. Possibly you have your doubts at first, which is only reasonable because young people have doubts where there is no knowledge or basis for confidence. But that changes with time and doctrine learned subsequent to your moment of salvation. This is the forgiveness of sins function.
After you are saved you are not automatically perfect, or even angelic like. No hallows over your head. You are the same as you were just before salvation. You look in the mirror and, yep, that's you, nothing changed. You wake up in the morning and still no change. You still get the same heartburn, headaches, cramps. Still have those bills in the mail. So how do you like Royal life? As w believer in Christ you are born into the Royal Family of God. One decision placed you in the elite of this universe. So how do you feel? Just the same. Your soul hasn't changed at all, at least not yet. Not until you learn Bible doctrine and begin to fill your soul with Gods Word and then your eyes will be opened to the realities all around you.
People came from all over to see John. They came out of a need for their spiritual growth. They came out of curiosity. People talked and the word spread. Have you heard about that guy in the desert preaching the kingdom of God? So the news got around, and now people came. Thirty years earlier the news was there about the birth of the king, but no one paid attention to it. Now something has changed, or has it. Too often people will get in the religious frame of mind just because they are down or in trouble, or have problems that seem to be overwhelming to them for the moment. So they seek out a genie. Someone to say or do the right thing to make them feel better, at least for now. But their problems will return sooner or later. The solution to problems is not someone else doing something for you, but you doing something for yourself. And that something is growing up spiritually, so you can become independent from this world and its traps. And your weopon is Gods Word in your soul. Actually you do not do anything really, you just learn to rely on God to do the work, just as He has been doing for you all of your life. Only you did not even know it. You are still alive and breathing aren't you, and you did not accomplish it on your own.
John was in a simple mans clothes, and ate a simple mans food. He spent all his time in the study of Gods Word. He did not have time in his life for parties or banquets and such. He came preaching humility, not high society. When you open your eyes to God you need to first open your eyes to yourself. You are or can be your own worst enemy. Trapped by peer pressure, or pressures from work, or the club, or from society, or friends, or family, or where ever. You study the Bible where??? Laugh. Laugh. You went out to the desert and were baptized in the river? That filthy old place!! You have to get yourself free from the trap that people or this world puts you in. You need to be able to think on your own, and not have your thoughts made for you by others. They do not look out for your best interests. And when you fail, will they take the punishment for you? Nope. You are on your own, and the friends are not around.
After John, comes one that is mightier. Mightier than anything in this universe. Actually the creator of this universe is the one referenced here, Jesus Christ. John only gives the gospel. John is not the Christ. Christ is the Word and the power from the Word. You have two choices in life. Pursue that which the world tries to convince you of, or pursue God because you believe there is more to life than just a job and retirement, or a vacation each year, or whatever your repetitious routine is in life.
None of us are worthy to tie even the sandals of Christ. But God made a way for us to re-approach him. In this world we are lost to death, from which there is no escape. We do not have the 900 year life spans that the first generations had, but they too died. We think it a great success if we make it to 100, but not many achieve that. And even so, nothing magic happens. We all still die. The question is, what happens after death - heaven or hell? Or something else for those who think they can have some other option. But the Bible paints a black and white picture. One or the other. No third choice. Believe in Christ and receive eternal life, or reject Christ and receive eternal condemnation.
So we rise above our traps in this life and we make the decision for Christ. We believe. Then we begin our spiritual life from square 1. Most people stay ion that square for most of their lives. Some get off that square and advance in their spiritual life toward maturity. That is our goal in life, our objective, because with it comes great reward from God, which we would otherwise lose if we choose not to advance in our spiritual lives. Only a fool chooses not to advance.
John only teaches salvation and teaches the mechanics of the Cross by means of the water baptism in the Jordan river. Christ baptizes with the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, which is the true baptism of the soul, the regenerated human spirit. Water does nothing to you but get you wet. Nobody gets saved by getting wet. You only get saved by believing in Christ. Whether it is in the middle of the ocean or in the middle of the desert makes no difference. What goes on in your soul makes all the difference. Beginning with salvation and then advancing to spiritual maturity. It all takes place in your soul, and your daily decisions for learning Gods Word.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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