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The Herald

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2021 6:00 pm

The Herald

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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November 7, 2021 6:00 pm

Join us for worship- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisuburg.org.

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Have your Bibles with you turn with me if you would to the gospel of Mark chapter 1 were looking today at verses one through eight the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord make his paths straight.

John appeared baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and all the country of Judea and Jerusalem are going out to him they were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins that John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locust and wild honey.

And he preached saying after me comes he was mightier than the strap of the sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.

I baptized you with water.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit that with music at our Lord in prayer. Heavenly father. What a privilege we have today as we start in the first verse of the first gospel that was ever written. Make this study humble us, convict us and aid in our sanctification as believers we pray for those who are not yet believers that will be broken by your word and would run to Christ for salvation. Thank you Lord for loving us enough to give us a precious gospel like Mark a gospel that teaches us the life of Christ, the ministry of Christ in the heart of Christ.

May Mark's gospel have a profound effect on our daily lives. May God use it to make us like Jesus, may we keep Martin 45 fresh on our minds as we work our way through the 16 chapters Jesus as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. Jesus is our servant Savior, may we be privilege to be his servant. People 40 is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen. You may be seated. If you remember from our last week's sermon we were looking that they for targeted audiences of the four Gospel writers. What we saw that Matthew wrote primarily to the Jews and portray Jesus as the King of Kings.

Mark wrote primarily to the Romans and portray Jesus as the perfect servant. Luke wrote primarily to the Greeks and he portray Jesus as the perfect man. John wrote specifically to everybody and he portray Jesus as the son of God. I shared with you. Also last week that I believe that the gospel of Mark was written probably in the mid 60s and 64 A.D. there was a terrible fire that broke out in the city of Rome and destroyed 80% of the of the city. I mean absolutely wipe that out now. We don't have proof of the us, but most of the city fathers at that time believed that it was near Road that started that fire Nero needed to to get some of the blame put off him so he shifted the blame and he told the Roman citizenry that it was the Christians who started the fire that they didn't purposely and after the end the persecution in Rome became extremely heavy. Most of the Christians had to leave and they went underground into the catacombs to live for. They were trying everything they could to get away from the heavy persecution. Nero, who arrested many of these Christians. He took some of them into his garden and at night he would take some of these Christians he would tie them to a post he would take hot tar and covered their bodies and then he would set it on fire and they would be like lanterns that would burn all night long so they could party and have their good time.

Other Christians would be handcuffed and they would take Leroy would take animal skins and cover over their bodies and then he would rule release these wild feral dogs who had not been fed in days and the dogs would see these animals they would run over to them jump on these Christians with animal skins on their backs and absolutely shred them to pieces take their lives and just devour their flesh.

It was during this time that Peter was thrown in prison, and Mark would go to the prison sale of Peter almost on a daily basis and he would talk to Peter and Peter would teach him about the life of Jesus and the ministry of Christ he would teach him about the miracles that Jesus did, he would teach him about the teaching of Jesus and in I believe that it was during this time that Mark actually wrote the gospel. So the very first ones that that heard the gospel of Mark were the suffering Roman Christians. RC Sproul described in this way. He said this gospel reminded them of their salvation in Christ taught them about the suffering that Jesus himself experienced and even reveal that Jesus was driven into the wilderness and was under the threat of wild beast.

So imagine yourself in the catacombs worshiping with the little band of believers on this Lord's day.

However, the pastor of your congregation comes with the new document is the newly written Gospel of Mark.

You're about to hear the word of God in the first reading of the gospel. How does the gospel start with these words, the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God while go back to the other Gospels for just a minute.

As I said Matthew wrote primarily to the Jewish people he proclaiming Jesus to be the king had his Matthew start his gospel. He starts it off of the genealogy of Jesus that genealogy of Jesus because all the way back to David and why does he do that because he wants to show that Jesus Christ is a legal ire to the throne of David. He doesn't stop there with David because all the way back to Abraham showing that Jesus had Jewish heritage.

Then Luke wrote his gospel primarily to the Greeks showing that Jesus was the perfect man. He starts off with the birth of Jesus and then he goes on to share that that genealogy in his genealogy done. Go back to just Abraham who goes all the way back to Adam himself proving Jesus to be the first perfect man. John is portraying Jesus as the son of God. John does not give us genealogies and go back to Abraham.

He doesn't go back to just Adam because all the way back to creation is proving that Jesus Christ is the creator that he is God himself.

He is showing us that Jesus has an eternal nature that he is been here forever.

I was the gospel of John start in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God the same was in the beginning with God all things were made by him and without him was not made anything that was made but Mark starts out queer with the herald of Jesus, the forerunner John the Baptist. So we skip eternity past, and we skip the genealogies going back to Adam and going back to Abraham, and what we do we go right to the public ministry of Jesus. In other words, is Mark starts his gospel, he makes a beeline to the gospel. That's what he does look at. We started the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God and what is the word gospel means to record one deli on and it means good news in first Corinthians chapter 15 verses 134 Peter breaks that downforce and he says this. Now I would remind you, brothers of the gospel I preached to you, which you received in which you stand and by what you're being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as a first importance what I also received, listen, that Christ died for our sins and according with the Scripture that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scripture folks don't ever be little the gospel. Yes, Jesus was a great teacher. Yes, Jesus was a great leader. Yes, Jesus was a great example. But over and above all of that Jesus is Almighty God, who left his throne in glory who came to this earth who came to this earth and live the perfect sinless life for 33 years and then went to the cross in order that he might die for what purpose to be the propitiation for our sins and to be our substitutionary atonement and then what happened on the third day he was resurrected from the dead to break the power of death, brothers and sisters that is the gospel that's the gospel that the that the early Roman suffering Christians needed to hear. And that is the gospel that you and I need to hear today the gospel is not what I do for God. The gospel is what God did for me through his son Jesus Christ. I did not merit or earn or deserve my salvation. It was a free gift of God. For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast. So Mark takes us first to the man who pointed us to the glorious Savior we calling John the Baptist three-point someone share with you this morning .1, the promised Messiah. Look at verses 1 to 2 with me as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, behold, I see in my messengers before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord make his paths straight.

In verse two a in the ESV, it says the us as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, the King James says it this way, as it is written in the prophets, so verse two and three are what their quotes their Old Testament quotes one from Isaiah and one from Malachi.

So I think the King James version is a little clearer here ESV is not wrong. The thing the King James version lets us know that's coming from more than one. One source so John was the herald the voice announcing the coming of the King now. Luke tells us that John the Baptist was a was a miracle baby was born to Zechariah the priest and his elderly wife Elizabeth. She was way beyond childbearing years and we are told that the angel Gabriel came to Zechariah and prophesied to him that Zechariah and his wife are going to have a baby and that baby would be a miracle baby and that he would be the forerunner of the Messiah.

John was a cousin of Jesus.

John was born six months before Jesus was born when Mary found out that she was expecting Jesus. She went to visit her aunt Elizabeth and when she got there and they were meeting together.

Elizabeth still expecting as well.

They Clay started coming to together, probably to hug each other in the Scripture tells us that John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth since the very presence of Jesus in the womb of Mary and John the Baptist leapt in his womb in her womb for joy. I don't know about you but that makes me wonder about abortion folks if he if somebody tells you that they think abortions all right and the fat blob in the in the womb of the mother is nothing but just some some just human sales that don't don't really matter. Then point them to this this passage right here pointed to Luke chapter 1 and only tell you something that when when God anointed and empowered in field John the Baptist in the womb with the spirit of God and John the Baptist leapt at the for joy over Jesus, you can rest assured that was a baby and that was not just a blob of human tissue.

30 years have passed by John's out in the wilderness, preaching and what was the purpose of his preaching to get the world ready for their promised Messiah. That was the purpose book of Malachi into the Old Testament when Malachi chapter 4 verse five and six were were written that closed the Canon of the Scripture in the Old Testament, and after that there was a 400 year period of prophetic silence. The last two verses of Malachi verses five and six ideas.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes and he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children in the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with the decree of other destruction.

So when John came on the scene. 400 years after Malachi's prophecy. John preach with such power that people came to him and said while are you the one that allowed you that that Malachi was telling us about our UV Elijah to come in John chapter 1 and we are told that that John the Baptist said no I am not Elijah is very interesting in Matthew chapter 17 they came to Jesus with the same question is John the Baptist, Elijah and Jesus said yes Jesus said yes.

He is the came in the spirit in the power of Elijah. Is there a contradiction in Scripture and the answer that is no is a difference between being a Lodge of the person and come in in the spirit and power of Elijah, and that's important to see RC Sproul said it this way. If we look at the whole picture.

That conundrum is explained, we are told that John came in the spirit and power of Elijah and Jesus affirms the ministry of Elijah was fulfilled in the work of John the Baptist was not that Elijah himself came back so John was speaking the truth by saying no I am not Elijah every Jesus explained that John ministered in the spirit in the power of Elijah right .2 is the prophet of the Messiah. Verses four through six. John appeared baptizing in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins that John was close with camel hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locust and while honey January 2000 Cindy and I went to Minneapolis Minnesota for the John Piper pastors conference. The keynote speaker that week was James Montgomery Boyce.

He was preaching to us preachers on the subject of preaching. James Boyce did not know it at that point time but his whole body was riddled with cancer six months after that, they laid his body to rest in a cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. He is now with the Lord and has been there for about 21 years. That conference was the last conference that just James Montgomery.

Boyce ever preached any price that that conference is a dying man to dying man he preached on preaching.

I will never forget it. He told us his preachers to study hard to learn the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew to learn how to preach expository leave verse by verse to learn how to use illustrations to the glory of God.

Her memory and sandal. Never use yourself as a hero of your own story and then he came to his last day. The last sermon that he preached. He said if you did hear anything else. I said this week. He said here. This preachers preach Jesus preach Jesus preach Jesus and the cross June 15, 2006 months later was ride in my car was in a Christian radio. The DJ came in and and broke into the regular programming and he said I need to bring you some news that we have just received Dr. James Montgomery Boyce. The pastorate 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has lost his battle with lung cancer and he is with the Lord.

I remember a tear well enough in my member just pray and very quick prayer for his family and then my mind went back to that conference that Cindy and I were in that pastors conference and I remember how we looked at each one of us 900 preachers and a plan with us and he said preach Jesus and the cross preach Jesus and the cross first Corinthians chapter 2, verse two, apostle Paul said front determined not to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified. John the Baptist was a preacher who did exactly what James Montgomery Boyce was calling us to do. He preached Jesus. That's what he did that and now he did have the full revelation of Jesus, like we did today. He didn't know about the three years of public ministry that Jesus did, he died before that he even know about the crucifixion, the resurrection of the ascension. So what did he preached he preached the coming Messiah know Mark gives us a little insight into the heart and life of John the Baptist, and he tells us that he was the forerunner he tells us that he was there in the wilderness, John the Baptist lived in the wilderness he lives in a place called very close to what we call in Guinea today is the place where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls back in the 1940s. It was also a place where there is a a mountain is a very tall mountain that goes is very steep because almost right up on the top of that mountain.

It is propped off flat as a pancake on the top in 70 A.D. Titus of Rome came into Jerusalem and came into Jerusalem and he leveled the city absolutely leveled it, not down the walls, not down the temple he killed 1.2 million Jews. There were 967 men, women, and Boys and Girls Club all Jews who fled the city of Jerusalem. At that point in time and they went to Masada. They climbed up on the top of Masada.

They said this is where we will live.

Roman soldiers found out about it. They went to arrest him and that the. The thing is, the Mount is so steep that that when they tried to climb up the mountain to the Jews just took rock 'n' roll down on him kill some of the soldiers says that we can't do this if it were to build a sand wrap all the way up the side of the mountain and I built that sand wrap using Jewish labor because I knew that they wouldn't throw rocks down on their own people and took him several years to do it. Finally they got that sand rail ramp built. They went up on the top of that mountain when they stepped own to the top of that mountain, they fail 967 Jewish men, women, boys and girls, all of them dead. They every one of them committed suicide rather than be taken captive by the Romans, 1976 I the privilege of going and visiting in Israel and they took us up to mount Masada. We went up to the top of it and they retold the story to us and they told us when they are inducting soldiers Israeli soldiers into the Israeli army. They retell that story of Masada and then all those new soldiers shout out in unison. There will never be another Masada. That is the area in which John the Baptist lived the area Masada around in Guinea is close to the Dead Sea for the rest of the river Jordan runs into it and that's where they where he was raised. So John lived in somewhat of a commune situation much like the Amish, John's dad. Zechariah was a priest and so while he was a priest. He worked at the temple he had to live in Jerusalem but infant when he was 50 years old. They force you out of the priesthood and so is a forced retirement and he decided not to live in Jerusalem anymore.

He moved out into this area around and getting in Masada.

John the Baptist was reared they are. That's where he grew up he was good. He grew up away from the busyness and the sin of the city of Jerusalem. He grew up in a place that was way out away from everybody else, where he could study the word of God where he could pray we could prepare for preaching the ministry that God gave when he reached age 30, John the Baptist started his prophetic ministry, there had not been a prophet in Israel for 400 years, and Jesus himself said that John was the greatest prophet of all. And when John preached everybody listened who listened. The peasants listened. The soldiers listened.

The businessmen listened and the religious leaders even listened. Now why did they listen. Was it a a feel good message.

Not hardly.

What was it a message where he was just kinda tickling their ears and given everybody the warm fuzzies 09. It was a God saturated message he preached the truth and when he preached everybody knew that God was speaking through him.

Think about it, these multitudes of people came to hear John preach where they come from. I just had to walk down the road. Now this is the wilderness they came from Jerusalem is over 40 miles away that they came from northern Israel. I could be 90 miles away. I came from long distances. And what did what did he preach verse four tells us that he preach repentance. Listen to this. In ancient times, the envoy of the arriving team would go before that came removing all obstacles in his path to make sure the people were ready to receive the king is what John the Baptist was doing. It was plowing up the fertile ground. Hey, was that he was sowing seed in the soil of people's hearts to get them ready for the Messiah. John was at the river Jordan. He was baptizing them and and and he was baptizing them because they would get under great conviction of sin, and they would come the John under this deep conviction, and they would cite we are repenting returning from the sin in our life and we want you to baptize us in the word repentance is a Greek word met Inouye and that word means you turn, it's the idea you're going in the wrong direction. All of a sudden you slam on brakes. You make 180 turn and you had back in the right direction is a change in your mind and your heart in your attitude that leads to a change in your behavior and change in your actions verse five tells us in his John preach to the people came forward to to confess their sins to him. I think about the diversity of of different types of groups of people that were there and they came they all were were just deeply burdened over their sin and they cried at the John John what we do, how we handle this and were not told here in Martin over Luke's gospel chapter 3 were given some insight. I will read that to you. Versus seven 314 and Luke three he said, therefore, to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him. You brood of vipers can imagine a preacher doing that today. Standing up in his pulpit over his congregation as audience may be in a crusade. He looks at everybody send you bunch of snakes. You brood of vipers man he get canceled out with. I said get him off the Internet.

Men don't let him talk. When I got here him anymore didn't stop John he went right on.

Listen to what he said, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance and did not begin to save yourself.

We have Abraham as our father brought to you God is able from these stones to raise up children from Abraham. Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

The crowds asking what then shall we do, and he answered them. Whoever has two tunics to share with him who has none. Whoever is food do likewise. Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, teacher, what shall we do, and he said to them, collect no more than you are also authorized to do soldiers also asking and we, what shall we do, says of them do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages we have here we have a holy man is anointed with the Holy Spirit who is calling Israel to a holy life who is preparing Israel for a holy Messiah and notice the simplicity of John the Baptist, interesting to compare him with the with the other religious leaders, religious leaders in Israel were these long flowing robes had these long, elaborate tassels that went all the way to the ground and hold Scripture up under their arm they walk around this pious look on their face and they they were so proud that eight have their nose stuck up so high in the air if it would rain. They drowned John on the other hand, is close with camel hair and leather clothing is a simple man but he radiates godliness. He loves God he hates sin, and he knows what is calling is he's been called to preach the word he's been called to be faithful with the truth. He is been called to us, not soft peddled the truth and not let up even if it meant his life and it did finally mean his life. John did not just preach repentance from sin.

The he also preached preach the Messiah. He preach Christ that takes us to the third point, that is the preeminence of the Messiah.

Verse seven through eight and he preach, saying, after me comes he was mightier than the strap of the sandals I'm not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. We look up to John, don't we, my goodness, what a man of God. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the mother of his one.

His preaching was so powerful that people came from all over Israel to hear what he had to say. He lived out in the wilderness, so as not to have any distractions all away from the sea and the busyness and all the junk he wanted to be out there alone with God so that he could grow so that he could be what God called him to be any preached hard against sin. No one ever accused John the Baptist of hypocrisy they may have hated doing this I hated him. They hated him because he love God if they hated him. They hated him because he preached against sin, so we look up to John is very interesting when John begins to talk about the Messiah. John gets extremely humble, so humble that I think it was almost like the publican in Luke chapter 18 tax collector who was there in the corner of the temple, and he wouldn't even look up to God. He looked down at his feet and he took his fiesta and he beat his chest and he said oh God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Look at the coming Harrison that John makes with himself and the Messiah. Verse verse seven he says, 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 is describing what a slave does a slave goes to his master gets down on his hands and feet before and he takes his master sandals off Masters theater covered with dust and so he takes water and he pours the water over the man over his master's feet and cleanses the dirt and the grime from between his toes. He said I'm not even worthy to do that with Jesus. He said it would be a privilege for me to be able to wash the dirty feet of my Lord Jesus, but those are the words of a true prophet those the words coming from a man who had understanding and had a right perspective of who Jesus Christ really is a tail looked at television sometime in some of these name it. Claimant prosperity gospel teachers and in they come on TV with such arrogance and they come on TV give you the idea they're telling Jesus what to do is no humility. There's no brokenness there's a sense of sinfulness in their own lives is nothing but pride and the people started showering John the Baptist with complements and kind words. What are you doing, he held his hands up another note, I must decrease that you Jesus might increase would to God that every single person in this congregation, the day would walk out that door saying that same thing. I must decrease that Christ might increase but since not about Doug, you, Doug, Agni is here today gone tomorrow if Doug Agee does anything right, which is seldom then you can rest assure this. Jesus did it, not me.

And John says to this huge crowd, I baptize you with water that he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. John was saying all I can do this is washing with water and water just symbolizes that which the Holy Spirit did in your heart when you repented it was a work of the Holy Spirit of God, and I'm just giving you the symbol here is washing you with water. The baptism of repentance. Jesus is coming, and he will baptize you now with water, but with the Holy Spirit when he baptizes you of the Holy Spirit. What happens you were regenerated, you are transformed you are B and made a new creature in Christ will never be the same again.

He's taken you, who were dead in trespasses and sin, and he's given you life, not physical life. The spiritual life. John MacArthur said that Whalen I'll close with this. He said John statement regarding the Holy Spirit must authority all the hearts of the faithful Jews to hurting preach in keeping with the promises the Old Testament they hope for the day when God would pour out his Spirit on all mankind, when he would sprinkle clean water on them and give them a new heart put a new spirit within them and that day, their hearts would at last be baptized in very power and person of God himself is supernatural power distinguishes the ministry of the new king from any other. John was not able to give the Holy Spirit.

Only God can do that in the coming king is God in human flesh, and he will baptize sinners with the saving power of the Spirit's regenerative work.

A man, a man must pray Lord today. We got the opportunity to gaze at the ministry of your forerunner he was physically your cousin is coming was prophesied by Isaiah in Malachi, you told us that he would have the spirit of Elijah.

He would prepare the world for your coming. John the Baptist was a godly man with an extremely humble man when people try to elevate him.

He just pointed them to Jesus. Or that's hard to do. We love to be praised and flattered. We love the pats on the backs of the Ada boys help us to be appreciative and thankful for the encouragement that our brothers and sisters give us, may we always remember. If we do anything right is just Jesus, help us to live by John's words, that we must decrease so that Jesus might increase ports in the precious holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen


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