Matt 3:2-12 John the Baptist CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
John the Baptist was first and foremost a preacher, with a very specific call upon his life. When you examine the prophecy that John the Baptist fulfilled, the raiment he wore, and the ministry he had, you realize that he was very similar to Elijah. The reason is that John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus at his first coming just like Elijah will be the forerunner of Jesus Christ at his second coming (Jn 1:22-23; Mal 4:5-6; Matt 11:11-15).
When you examine the preaching of John the Baptist, you detect a strange lack of similarity between him and modern preachers. Modern preachers are more like politicians, saying just what the people want them to say, rather than what God wants them to say (Jer 5:30-31; Jer 23:16-1). John the Baptist, on the other hand, was a tough preacher who told the truth plainly so that there was no doubt about what he meant when he preached.
In this study, notice John the Baptist’s:
1. Fulfillment of prophecy (v. 3) – Is 40:3. He fulfills a prophecy that is in the context of the Second Advent. Therefore, Israel was supposed to accept Jesus as their Messiah at the 1st Advent. They neglected to do this even under the preaching of Stephen in Acts 7, and therefore, the gospel went to the Gentiles (Acts 10; Acts 28:25-28).
2. Food & Raiment (4.4) – Matches Elijah 2 Ki 1:8. Locusts are clean Lev 11:22. Honey enlightens the eyes 1 Sam 14:26-29.
3. Ministry (5-6) – Jn 1:31 to manifest Jesus to Israel
4. Preaching (v. 7-12) – it was: Negative (v.7) – just like Jesus preached Matt 12:34; 23:33; Forceful (v. 8) – you must repent Lk 13:3, 5; Acts 20:20-21; 26:20; Perceptive (v. 9) – he knew what they thinking Jn 2:24-25; Heb 4:12-13; Doctrinal (v. 10-12) – he preached the truth about salvation and hell 2 Tim 4:2-4
When John preached “the axe is laid unto the root of the trees,” he was referring to God cutting down men (Mk 8:24) and throwing them into the unquenchable fires of hell, (Eze 20:45-49).
When he preached, “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost,” he was referring to New Testament salvation, where a person is baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). Therefore, the statement, “and with fire,” is not a reference to some spiritual power or cleansing within Christians. The “and with fire” is a reference to hell, where men who are not baptized with the Holy Ghost go because they are lost.
When he preached that Christ will “gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire,” he was preaching about Christians being gathered into heaven and the lost being burned in hell (Matt 13:30, 38-43).
Obviously, notwithstanding John’s very specific calling, modern day preachers are nothing like this old man of God!! He’s the kind of preacher we need today.