Let me ask you a question. What do you think is required of a person for others to believe in Jesus through him? Does it mean that the person will have the most pleasant personality of anyone you have ever met? Does it require that the person compromise the truth in order to show compassion? Is it required of a person for others to believe in Jesus Christ through him that he never have conflict with others; never call for repentance; never challenge the false assurance of salvation of others; or never question a person’s commitment to Christ?
Let me ask you another question. What does the Bible say is required of a person for others to believe in Jesus through him? We will answer that question through looking at the ministry of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was sent from God (John 1:6) – he had a mission. As we read the prologue to the Gospel of John, at first it seems strange that the flow of the prologue is interrupted with the introduction of John the Baptist. However, as we consider what might be the reason for this interruption we can learn a couple of truths from it. First, God had promised in His Word that there would be a forerunner to the coming of the Christ to prepare people for His arrival (see Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). Second, this is God’s way – He entrusts the Gospel to men. So actually there is nothing strange about the flow of the prologue – it is perfectly in line with the Word of God and the ways of God.
The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord (John ). This means that the Baptist was to clear the way, make a straight highway, for the reception of the King. When clearing the way to make a straight highway there are obstacles that have to be removed. Trees will need to be cut down, stumps removed, holes filled in and hills lowered. The Baptist was to clear the way for the reception of the Lord.
There are obstacles and stumbling blocks that keep people from receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. One obstacle that keeps people from receiving Christ is their love for their sin (John ). That is why the first word of the Gospel is “Repent.”
Another obstacle that keeps people from receiving Christ is religious phonies – children of the devil who disguise themselves as children of God (Matthew 3:7-8). One of the characteristics of religious phonies is that they claim to be sent from God but God says that He did not send them and that they are not proclaiming His truth but instead are deceiving others (Jeremiah 23:21-22). There are more religious phonies in the world proclaiming false gospels than there are true preachers (1 John 4:1). That is why we must protest against religious phonies.
A major obstacle that keeps people from receiving Christ is their false profession of faith and false assurance of salvation (Matthew 3:9-10). This is why we must be sure that others are not depending upon anything other than grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for salvation.
The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord and that entailed being sent by God to confront men in their sin and to confront those not sent by God but claiming to be His servants.
John the Baptist came so that all might believe through him (John 1:7) – he had a message. The message of John the Baptist was not his own but came from God. The Baptist did not manufacture the message but repeated only what God said (see 1 John 4:5 concerning the message of false teachers and 1 John 4:6 concerning the message of true teachers).
The message of John the Baptist was Jesus Christ as the innocent, spotless, blameless lamb who would be slaughtered as an offering for sin in the place of death deserving sinners which of necessity requires repentance from the sinner. The sinner is to be sorry for his sin and turn from his sin because of the high cost and wickedness of sin. Our sin required the incarnation of the Son of God to live a perfectly flawless life of obedience so that He would be qualified to die as a substitute to satisfy the wrath of the Father against sinners. So not only did our sin require the incarnation of the Son of God (God became a man), it also required His crucifixion (the living one died). God raised Him from the dead because He had done no wrong and so that He could justify us on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.
The message of John the Baptist then was, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John ) and “Repent” (Matthew 3:2). The truth that Jesus is the Lamb of God implies not only His deity (John ) and Lordship (John ) but also the truth that eternal life is in Him alone (John ). The Baptist testified of these things and more about Jesus Christ and we read, “Everything John said about this man was true” (John ).
Others don’t believe in Jesus Christ through us when we are not being true to the message about Him. The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord and the message of John the Baptist was to proclaim the Word of the Lord.
John the Baptist was not the Light but testified about the Light (John 1:8) – he had a method. The method of John the Baptist was to point to the worth of the Lord. This entailed that the Baptist be careful that he not become guilty of either having a Messiah complex or robbing the Lord Jesus of His glory. For the Baptist it was all about Jesus and not about himself.
John the Baptist confessed that he was not the Christ (John 1:20), that he was not Elijah nor the Prophet (John 1:21), that he was only the herald of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:23), that he was not worthy to untie the Lord’s sandal (John 1:27), that the Lord was the preeminent one (John 1:30), and that the Lord’s ministry was the one that mattered (John 1:33; 3:30). John was constantly pointing people to the worth of the Lord – that was his method.
What does the Bible say is required of a person for others to believe in Jesus through him? (1) We have learned that our mission must be preparing the way of the Lord by confronting men in their sin and by protesting against religious phonies. (2) We have learned that our message must be proclaiming the Word of the Lord by preaching only that which is true about Jesus as revealed in the Word of God. (3) We have learned that our method must be pointing to the worth of the Lord by confessing the superiority of His Person.