The Fiery Preacher: John the Baptist

God sends a preacher to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ. No other skill set but a preacher.

Preached repentance

Matthew 3:1–2 (CSB) In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

No easy believe-ism. No cheap grace. There must be a break away from sin. A changing of the mind. The turning of the will away from self-righteousness and sin.


To Repent


Matthew 3:3 (CSB) For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!

The voice

Matthew 3:7 (CSB) When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Bold and Fearless

Matthew 3:8–9 (CSB) Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. 9 And don’t presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones.

Called for Fruit

Very discriminating. No assumptions.

When people saw the Pharisees and Saducees, they assume holy men. When John the Baptist saw the religious leaders of their day, he called them to repent!

No one is born in the kingdom of God. You must be born again.

The full council of God

Outside of that, you are under the wrath of God.

Matthew 3:10 (CSB) The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

John 3:36 (CSB) The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.

John 16:8 (CSB) When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment:

Matthew 3:11 (CSB) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Pointed to Christ

We are to always point people away from ourselves and to the Christ who alone saves.

Matthew 3:12 (CSB) His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.”

Revealed Salvation and Judgment

John 1:7–13 (CSB) He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

Preached Evangelistically

Colossians 1:15 (CSB) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

John 1:19–23 (CSB) This was John’s testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He didn’t deny it but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 “What then?” they asked him. “Are you Elijah?” “I am not,” he said. “Are you the Prophet?”1 “No,” he answered. 22 “Who are you, then?” they asked. “We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord—just as Isaiah the prophet said.”

John 1:27 (CSB) He is the one coming after me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to untie.”

Compared himself only to Christ

And found himself wanting-falling short of the glory of Christ.

John 1:29–32 (CSB) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and he rested on him.

Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

1 John 4:10 (NASB95) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Preached Christ and him crucified

1 Corinthians 2:2–3 (CSB) I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

Colossians 1:28 (CSB) We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Exalt Christ not yourselves

John 3:30 (CSB) He must increase, but I must decrease.”

When Christ is exalted, we are made low. When we are exalted and garner and demand attention and talk about ourselves, Christ is made low.

  1. Deuteronomy 18:15 (CSB) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. ↩︎