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Lesson # Matthew 3:1-4
Study Material - Matthew 3:1-4
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.
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!' 4 Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
'In those days', speaks of the time which is now about 30 years later. At the time prior to and during the birth of Jesus and John, they were spoken of highly, and even celebrated by some. Yet their lives during those intervening years are shrouded in darkness and obscurity. Because doctrine was obscure to the greater percentage of the masses? Who was studying the scriptures? Who was seeking after the savior whose birth and ministry was even dated by Daniel, and in detail. It would seem that none, is the answer.
From out of the desert comes John, not led by fanfare, not into the city where all could notice, but in a place of obscurity and near the Jordan where Joshua led the initial advance in conquering the land. Now a different conqueror was on the horizon, but not coming with sword or army, but with truth and humbleness.
Isa. 45:15, God is always present but always hidden to those who ignore him. Gen. 28:16, God was there but they didn't even know it. In most cities, when a celebrity comes to town, everyone knows of it. You can't keep the press from it, but here Christ has lived among the people for 30 years and they did not even know it, because they did not look. They were not interested. If you are not interested in God, you will not find Him. If you are impatient, you will lose anything you have gained. Be consistent and study His Word. Be patient and you will attain the goal of spiritual maturity in due course. God is not in any hurry, why should we be.
Mal. 3:1, God will send a messenger, who is now identified, John the Baptist. For some 400 years the world has been without a prophet, and now a great man steps out from obscurity to lead the way of someone greater than he. John was clear as to his mission and purpose in life. He did not rush the timing of God but waited until the appointed hour. Many a young man rushes to success because they are impatient, and they may find some degree of success but never the degree of success they might have had if they had waited on God. Young people should wait and listen and learn. They should advance in their spiritual life and at the appropriate time God will lead them to the purpose they were meant for. Often times that purpose will be far different than what you originally imagined. But Gods plan is error free and perfect for each of us. Patience is difficult to command when you are young and enthusiastic, but Bible doctrine and spiritual growth gives you command over the knee jerk desires you otherwise might have in life.
In the wilderness came the Law to Moses. In the wilderness David wrote the 63rd psalms. In the wilderness Joshua began the conquest. So now John begins preaching to any who might be interested. In the wilderness where there is absence of the hubbub of city life, absence of distractions, a place for focus and concentration. We have to let go of our daily lives in order to focus on the study of Bible doctrine. This is one of the reasons that fellowship is so important. To focus your thoughts as well as following Gods command to be in fellowship, to clear your mind as well as your soul for residing in His presence. And it is not an emotional or ecstatic experience, but merely compliance with Gods command.
Repent does not mean feeling sorry, but means to change ones mind, to change ones attitude toward God. If you are negative or indifferent, then you will not get anywhere in your spiritual life. You have to humble yourself, step down from your pedestal of arrogance and become teachable.
John came teaching in the desert, not in a beautiful church with gold and stain glass. He wore camels hides, not a tux, or silk robes. His message was not for himself, nor to promote himself, but people had to listen to what he had to say. Superficial people look at his dress and would not want to associate with such a man. Heaven forbid that we get our clothes dirty while walking out in the desert. Too far from the nearest fine restaurants, you know.
But John was the one crying in the wilderness and he will identify himself as such in John 1:23. But people have to be prepared for Christ in their souls by first believing in Him and then studying His word. Salvation precedes spiritual growth. Without salvation there is no spiritual growth. Without spiritual growth there is no straight path to follow. Simply believing in Christ does not end ones spiritual responsibilities, it is merely the beginning. Certainly you will be saved and go to heaven regardless of what you do after salvation, but your whole eternal status depends on your spiritual growth accomplishments after salvation. As Paul states, win the race and attain the prize. God gives each of us three capital items to invest in our lives, and those are time, volition and doctrine. If we invest wisely, then we will be richly rewarded, and if not, then we lose out on the may things that could have been ours in eternity.
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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