Sermon – I Am Not (John 1:19 – 1:28) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 4 of 58

I Am Not

Ben Read, John 1:19 - 1:28, 9 January 2022

Ben continues our series in John’s gospel by preaching to us from John 1:19-28. In this passage we see John’s response to the religious leaders of the day when they ask him who he is, and the importance of where we look as people searching for God.

John 1:19 - 1:28

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

John chapter 1 versus 19 to 28.

Now, this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess but confessed freely. I am not the Messiah. They asked him then who are you? Are you Elijah?

He said, I am not. Are you the prophet? He answered, no. Finally, they said, Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us.

What do you say about yourself? John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet. I am the voice of 1 calling in the wilderness. Make straight the way for the lord. Now, the pharisees who had been sent to question him, Why then?

Do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophets, I baptized with water. John replied. But among you stands 1, you do not know. He is the 1 who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals, I am not worthy to untie. This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

So it's useful to keep the Bible in front of you. And I'm just going to pray again for the Lord's help to give us eyes to see the Lord Jesus Christ in this passage. Father, thank you for bringing us here tonight. In your sovereignty, you've gathered us here under this under this roof that we would listen now to the words that you have to speak to us. Please keep us from hearing but just not taking it in and seeing but not paying attention.

Give us eyes and ears to see and hear the lord Jesus Christ we we pray, that we might love him and follow him and live for him. We ask in his name, amen. Right. Do you know how to spot a false prophet? This 1?

Do you know how to spot a false prophet or a false preacher even? Because there are a lot of them in this world. It's quite a useful thing, actually. Particularly if you're younger here. It's a useful thing to know that not everyone who talks about Jesus or talks about God is saying the right things about Jesus or about God.

It's a useful thing to be able to spot 1 and identify them. And I've got a fairly extreme example of a false preacher to to tell you about this morning. And it is an extreme example, but it illustrates a really particular point that I want us to see. And it's in his testimony. It's in the false preaches testimony about who he is, and that's how we're gonna spot whether he's a good preacher or not.

Todd Coontz, I don't know if you've heard of him before. He is an American televangelist, who bet already bad start, who basically Although, I'm a televangelist now. This is yeah. This has really This has changed everything. He's an American.

I'm not American. There you go. He prays on the poor and the desperate. He really does. By getting them to donate money to him and to his ministry.

And his ministry is called rock wealth international ministries. Which if you just heard that by itself, Alarmbel should be ringing wealth ministries. Rock wealth ministries, and he particularly targets people who are going through some kind of crisis. So any kind of life crisis, so financial, He'll try to speak to those people. He'll say, I know you're going through.

I know you're having a really tough time. People who are having marital issues, People who want their lives to be turned around or whether it's at work. He he'll look through the camera. So I'm doing this to the people at home. He'll look at the camera and he'll say, god has spoke God has sent me to speak to you, and he's got a message for you to change your life tonight.

I mean, that sounds quite good first of all, doesn't it? Sounds good so far, but but but but we'll we'll get to the dodgy bits. There isn't even a hint. He's not even trying to to try and get his financial stuff under the message. You know, it's not like I'm gonna preach the gospel and then it'd be really helpful if you could donate to the ministry.

There's none of that. It's just It's just give money, and he he calls money a seed. So he says plant a seed, and God will give you your seed back and more. There's gonna be a harvest. So you're gonna have your seed multiplied is how he talks about, and he loves the word harvest, And it's like if you're going through a problem, plant a seed, and God's gonna give you a harvest.

Sounds pretty good. You can sow a 1000 dollar turnaround seed. It's on his website. If your life needs to be turned around tonight, who whose life needs to be turned around tonight? Amen, man.

Yeah. Give me a thousand dollars. God's gonna turn your life around tonight. Tonight. You can yeah.

You can sow a 200 dollar seed of refreshing. Who needs to be refreshed tonight? 200 dollars Okay. You can sow a 25 dollar surprise seed and see how god surprises you. You can sow a hundred dollar Abrahamic covenant seed.

I have no idea what that's about. But this is the best 1. 20 20, you can sow a 2020 dollar clarity and exuberant praise seed. Oh. And if you're not convinced yet, just listen to what he says, he says, I understand the laws that govern insurance.

Stocks and bonds and all that is involved with Wall Street. I mean, what? No 1 understands all that's involved in Wall Street, not even the people who work in Wall Street understand all that's involved in Wall Street, you understand global international economies. You understand like inflation theory. You understand the economy of normal everyday interactions.

No, you don't. What the heck are you talking about? But this is the pinnacle. He'll look at the camera and he'll say, God has called me as a financial deliverer. God has called me as a financial deliverer.

Except in 2019, Todd was found guilty of tax fraud invasion for hiding 1700000.0 dollars from the government while living a lavish lifestyle fleet of sports cars, exuberant, clarity, holidays. He's in France. Yeah. And he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was also discovered to have been overcharging churches.

So churches would invite him to speak. He would fly economy and then fake a first class ticket and send them that to be invoiced to him, and he would pocket the difference. God has called me as a financial deliverer. That is Todd's testimony about who he is. I am a financial deliverer.

And Todd isn't alone. If you start listening to people's testimonies about themselves, who they are, you'll learn a lot about them, actually. Mark Driscoll, former pastor of Mega Church, Mars Hill. He once infamously said, I am the brand. People come to church because of me.

People buy books because of me. We are successful because of me. I am the brand. Now in John chapter 1, we meet John the Baptist, who also has a testimony about himself and this is my first point tonight, John's testimony. If you look down at verse 19, now this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and levites to ask him who he was.

This is setting the scene of this passage that we're that we're looking at tonight. This is what's going on. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have heard things and seen things about John the back that make them really uncomfortable. We'll get to that later. And they are so uncomfortable by it that they're sending priests and levites to go to him.

To ask him who he is, to find out what it's all about, and actually to try and shut him down. And they send them all the way from Jerusalem, to the Jordan, so it's quite a little trick. So it's serious, and that's what's going on. And John, like Todd Coops, he's not embarrassed by his testimony. In verse 20, it says he did not fail to confess, but he confessed freely.

If if John the Baptist had a camera to look down, he would look straight down it and he would confess. And what is his testimony? He's who who is who is he, according to to who to who they're asking him? Makes sense. Who is he?

Verse 20? He says, I am not the Messiah. I am not the Messiah. What's strange about that as a testimony? When people who've come to him to ask him, who are you?

He says, I am not the Messiah. Who am I? I am not the Messiah. I see who I am. I am not Messiah.

You could call me. Hello, not Messiah. I am a levite. And that, actually, that is in direct accordance who he is called to be by God. If you look back at verse 6 of chapter 1, you'll see this.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning, what, himself, his financial deliverance for people. His brand? No. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light.

And that light is of the word which is is talked about in verses 4 and 5. Or if Jesus Christ in other words, He's the word of the father, he's the word who was with God and is God, and was and was with God in the beginning. So John is a witness. He's a testimony concerning Jesus. And then, just in case you didn't get that, look at verse 8.

It says to clarify, he himself was not the light. He's not light, not Messiah, he came only as a witness to the light. So John is like a night watchman in the thick blanket darkness of night. And it's his job to look out eastward and to to stare and strain his eyes at the darkness of the night looking for the first smudge of grayness, the first flicker of light coming over the horizon. And then when he sees it, it's his job to run back to the people and say wake up.

The day's coming. The light's coming. The dawn is coming. It's already happening. You're already late.

The day is is almost upon us, so wake up, get ready. That's his message. That's his purpose. Light is coming, he says, wake up, And then the people in this town that he's run back to, they're very bleary eyed, they're sort of robbing their eyes, waking up, bit like Kerry in the morning. She's like a mole.

Sort of struggling to see the light like this. They they go, oh, they're really confused like, oh, are you are you the sun? Are are you the light? Are you the the the the morning day? And he says, no.

Of course, I'm not the morning light. I'm just the watchman, but the lights come in. So wake up and be ready. That is so ingrained as the purpose of John's life and who God has sent him to be, that when the priests and the levites get to him and they ask him who he is, His answer is I am not 3 times before it is I am. Who are you?

I'm not. Who are you? I'm not. Who are you? I am not and you can trust that with the testimonies.

I am a financial deliverer, and I am the brand. Big difference. The false preacher says of themselves, I am the true preacher says of themselves, I am not. Yawei is the only great I am. Everything else in all of creation can only be called, I am not.

I am not. Some days, you might feel like you can take on the world. Is anyone here like listen to the kind of affirmation soundtracks? 1 hour of repeated going, I am beautiful. I am strong.

I am successful. No. You can do that. There are videos on YouTube where it's just for hours, people repeating those same things, and you're meant to get up every day, look in the mirror and go, I see pride. Or not that.

You go, I am powerful. I am beautiful. People do that. They manifest it. You speak it.

And it's meant to come true. But actually, it it really isn't long in this life before you realize, I'm not as powerful as I think I am. Or I'd like to be. I am not as beautiful inside as I want people to think I am. I am not a success.

I am a big mess up all of the time. In fact, I am I am utterly weak. That would be a good mantra to get up and and say to yourself every morning. I don't see pride. Well, I do because pride's bad.

But I don't see power. I don't see someone beautiful, Actually, I'm quite ugly inside. I need constant grace. And if I've got a hope in hell of reaching heaven, then it's going to have to be all of God. And none of me.

And so John's testimony, before anything else about who he is, before anything he could say that is of any significance about who he is is I am not. That's John's testimony. I'm not. I'm not. Secondly, second point, look through John.

Look through John. If you look at verse 7 verse 7 says, John the Baptist came as a witness to testify concerning that light, Jesus, so that through him, all might believe. Not in him, all might believe, but through him, all might believe. So when we look at John, we actually aren't meant to stop there. He's meant to be like a mirror you never actually look at Amera, do you?

You only ever look at what it's reflecting, and that's the same thing with John. When we see him, we're not meant to land on him, we're meant to see through him, to what he's witnessing to. Actually, the priests who've come to question him have a really hard time doing this. They keep looking at him, not through him. And actually, I wanna say, to be fair to them, I kind of I I don't I don't blame them at this point.

I don't blame them. They keep looking at him because John was something of an anomaly during this time. K? If if we walked him now, we would take our phones out and start taking pictures of him. And we would start tweeting and going, who the heck is this guy?

What is he doing? Why is he dressed like that? Why is he eating weird food? He is someone who looks very strange. And in Matthew's Gospel, we read that John's clothes were made of camel's hair.

He must have stunk. He's wearing camel's hair. He's very hairy, and he's got a leather belt around his waist. And he's living off a diet of locusts and wild honey. So it sounds strange to us.

He's wearing camel's hair, and he's got a leather belt when he's eating weird things. But to a first century Jew, even though that is a bit weird, it was instantly recognizable, instantly recognizable, a garment of hair and a leather belt. A garment of hair and a leather belt. I recognize that. It would actually be like someone now now put your hand up if you get if you get this.

I I always had Steve Sims in mind when I thought about this for some reason. Okay. If I if I describe someone to use wearing jeans and a black turtleneck jumper, Does anyone already know who I'm talking about? Yeah. Dan Collins, I should have thought of you.

Sorry. Okay. Gene's black turtleneck sweatshirt, round glasses, and holding aloft a bit of technology. Who is it? Steve.

Steve Jobs. Okay? So if I came to you dressed like tonight, you would go Steve Jobs. What? Alex Divain.

Alex Divain. Have you got round glasses by then? Can you hold a loft a piece of technology for us? Oh, look at that. It's an iPhone as well.

Brilliant. Fantastic. Alright. Okay. Fair enough.

Steve Jobs or Alex DeVain. He went to a Cornerstone fancy dress party and came dressed as Alex DeVain. That'd be fantastic. It's a good look, brother. It's a good look.

Okay. So when you think of that, you think of Steve Jobs. When you looked at John, in those days, people saw Elijah. That was what was going on. That was the connection.

In 2 kings, we're told that Elijah wore a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist. So if you were going to a fancy dress party in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, and you were wearing camel hair and a leather belt, people would say, oh, you're dressed as Elijah. There's a bloke with a PVA boat. He's nowhere. There's a bloke with a fig leaf.

That's Adam. And you are you are Elijah, you're dressed in camel's hair, and you're wearing a bell. It's iconic. So that's what's going on with John The Baptist. He's dressed like Elijah.

But then, actually, what he's doing makes him even stranger. You definitely take your phone out and and photograph him or film him. Because he's baptizing people on the far side of the Jordan we're told in verse 28. This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan where John was baptizing. Now guess where Elijah was taken up by chariots of fire, on the other side of the Jordan.

On the far side of the Jordan. So here is a bloke who's dressed in Elijah fancy dress costume in the exact same spot that Elijah was taken up to Heaven. This bloke has appeared looking like Elijah in the same place where Elijah disappeared. So verse 21, they asked him, then who are you? Are you elijah?

Because you look like him, and you're in his neck of the woods. I think that's pretty forgivable to us, but he says, I am not. Again, I am not. And I think they're running out of ideas by this point. So they say to him, are you the prophet?

And that's referring to the prophet that Moses records God speaking about in deuteronomy. God says, I will raise up for them a prophet like you, talking to Moses, from among their fellow Israelites. So these levites in these priests have been sent to John, like, you have to be someone. When we hold the the What's it called? Called the metal detector of God's handiwork over you, just beeping like crazy.

The sensors are going nuts God is doing something, you have to be someone of significance. You must be someone important, but he answers them again. No. 3 times the same answer. I am not.

I'm not. I'm not. He doesn't give them any further explanation either. You're like, oh, I can see I can see why you would think Elijah, but let me tell you who I really am. He just says, I am not.

Verse 22. Finally, they said, who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. It would be an embarrassing report to go back to the in Jerusalem and say, well, we know who's not. He's not Elijah.

Okay? But who is he? Well, he's not the Messiah. Okay. But fine.

But who is he? It's not the prophet. Who is he? So they say, what do you say about yourself? First 23, John finally replied in the words of Isaiah, the prophet.

I am the voice of 1 calling in the wilderness, make straight the way for the lord. If I am anything, which I'm not, I am merely a voice of 1 calling in the wilderness. I'm an unnamed anonymous, barely embodied voice. And even my voice is not crying out or saying anything to draw attention to myself, But it is a cool to make straight the way for the Lord. He is the named 1.

He is the important 1. He is the 1 that you should pay attention to and look at because he's coming. Make way for him. Don't look at me. Don't try and find the author of this voice.

Look through me to him. Make the way straight for him. It's amazing John doesn't even use his own words to describe himself. That's how sort of unself defined he is because he quotes Isaiah chapter 40. And the priests would have known the chapter that he was quoting.

So when John says I am the voice of 1 calling in the wilderness, make straight away for the lord. They would have gone, ah, that's Isaiah chapter 40, and they would have known the rest of that chapter. So let's turn to it now. If you turn to Isaiah chapter 40, I think it's page 7 24 in the Church Bible, will see the rest of of this chapter and the things that John the BAT would have been conjuring up in their minds by saying this. So page 724, Isaiah chapter 40.

Verse 1, comfort comfort my people. Says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the lord's hand double for all her sins. So John is a voice crying out in the wilderness, and what is he doing? He's heralding the arrival of the lord who is coming with comfort.

He's coming with comfort because he's coming to pay for his people's sins. That is the message that this voice is heralding. In fact, God isn't just gonna settle people sins. It's gonna he's gonna do it in such a way that it's as if he's paid for them double. Look at look at it says, she has received from the lord's hand double for all her sins.

Her sins haven't just been paid for once. They've been paid for 200 percent It's not a single sin that hasn't been paid for. Everything's been overpaid twice, so the debt isn't on his people anymore. That's an amazing thing, but it doesn't stop there. The chapter goes on.

Verse 3, a voice of 1 calling in the wilderness, prepare the way for the lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places are plain, and the glory of the lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together for the mouth of the lord has spoken. The glory of the lord is coming to be revealed. For the mouth of the lord has spoken.

So here comes the word of the lord, and he's bringing comfort with the forgiveness of sins, and he's dealing with them in such a way, you'll never have to worry about them again because he's paid for them as if he's paid for them twice over. So look, priests' levites. This is what John the Baptist would want you to hear. Okay? You've thought of Isaiah chapter 40, This is what you've been waiting for your whole life, isn't it?

Isn't this the good news that you've been you've been living for? So priests, every levitical law that you've been following, this is what it's all ultimately about. This is what the entire priesthood points towards the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. So every lamb, levites, and priests that you've sacrificed, that you've slaughtered. Every single 1 that you've done, the 1 that you did yesterday, 1 that you did last week.

They can't take away the sins of the world, but behold. Here comes the lamb of God. Who's not just gonna take away the sins of the world, but take them away as if he's dealing with them twice over. He comes as a lamb himself to take away the sins of the world. And so make yourselves ready to receive him.

Every hidden valley in your heart is gonna be raised up and exposed. Every mountain, every proud mountain in your life is gonna be bought low. Things in the dark and in the secrets of your lives are gonna be exposed, so get ready. Make straight the paths. That's what Isaiah chapter 40 is about, and it's happening before the very eyes of these priests and levites who have come to John.

To ask him who he is. The light is dawning, John says. Light is coming into the world. The new day is approaching. Make yourself ready.

But as soon as John finishes talking about Isaiah, and he turns back to the priests and the levites. He sees that they're still looking at him. And not through him to what he's just been talking about. Verse 24. Now the pharisees who'd been sent questioned him, Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or elijah nor the prophet?

You think, what? Haven't you heard what I just said? Aren't you taken up with that incredible, magnificent news that all these things that you've ever hoped for they're coming to fruition. He's coming. The Lord himself is coming.

Your sins are gonna be dealt with twice over. Haven't you heard all of that? You just you have a question about the technicality of who I'm back sizing? I think this totally gives away the agenda of these priests and levites coming to John. They did not come to learn or to listen to John The Baptist.

They didn't come to see what he was all about. If they had, they would have heard the news and they would have gone back with the message. The king is coming. Make way. Get yourselves ready.

And it's good news. He comes with comfort. Our hard services been completed, but instead of of that incredible news and taking it back, instead of taking it back, they they ask him a question. To silence him, to question him, to accuse him, to say you shouldn't be saying these things or doing these things. They wanna hear a technical explanation of why he's baptizing.

They say to him, why are you doing these things if you're not the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet? They didn't have eyes to see that he was testifying to the Messiah, that he was the not the Elijah they were expecting. But but the an Elijah that is coming to prepare the way, and he is a prophet as Jesus calls them later on. They say, Why are you doing this if you look the Messiah, Elijah or the prophet? He's talking about the Messiah.

He's a type of Elijah, and he is a prophet. But they don't have eyes to see those things. So John has 1 final go at them, 1 final go before we get to the end of this interaction between them. He, again, he doesn't really answer their question. He pivots away from himself, and he and he puts a spotlight back on Jesus.

As he does again and again and again. So they say to him, why do you baptize? Verse 26, he says, I baptized with water, but among you stands 1, you do not know. Here is this prophet raised up from God among you that you were asking about. He's standing among you.

He stands among your very people. You're asking about him, well, here he is. And yet you don't know him. Though the whole world was made through him, And though the whole world bears his fingerprints, every tree you see, every stone you walk across, every heartbeat of your very heart bears his fingerprint, Though he made you, Leviites and priests, and he formed you in your mother's womb, and he brought you to life. Though he is the very light of life inside you, You don't recognize him, and you don't receive him.

Among you stands 1, you do not know. That to a priest is a devastating, devastating statement. They're saying to the people who ought to be the representatives of God himself, you don't know God. Because he stands among you, and you don't recognize him. Verse 27, he is the 1 who comes after me the straps of Whose sandals, I am not worthy to untie.

Now, untying the straps of sandals in order to clean feet was a servant's job It's the lowest position in all of society. It was like a slaves job. And John is saying, I am not worthy even to be his slave. I aren't I'm not worthy even to be the lowest thing in relation to Jesus. That's still too high a position for me.

And he's the 1 who comes after me. He's on his way. John is being the watchman. He's having an argument with the townspeople. The sun's not rising.

Yes, it is. I've seen the light. No, it's not. Are you the sun? No.

Listen to me. The sun is rising. Open your eyes. You're closed in sleep. You've slept walked from Jerusalem to hear, but the new day is coming.

And so the conversation between these priests and John finishes there, that's the end of the record in the gospel. So we don't actually know what they did with all of that information. But we know that John continues to point people to the lord Jesus. In fact, Over the next few days, Jesus appears twice, and both times John is really quick to say, look, behold, the lamb of God. Both times.

He was a good watchman. When he saw the light, he proclaimed it to the people. He didn't take any glory for himself. He pointed people faithfully to Jesus. He is a true prophet.

I am not Messiah, but behold the Messiah. If you look back at verse 12, we'll see what happens to those who did receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of god. So those who looked through John, as he was pointing and believed in the 1 he was heralding, They had their sins paid over twice, and they became children of God. So verse 28 says, this all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Now this is the other side of the Jordan, He's dressed like Elijah, he's just a voice calling out in the wilderness. The imagery and the pictures in this little scene are just laden with biblical meaning and history. After Elijah came Elijah, and Elijah means God is salvation. Now after John comes Jesus or Joshua in Hebrew, which means God is salvation. And another Joshua stood at the very same spot hundreds of years earlier, ready to lead God's across the Jordan into the promised land.

So if you have eyes to see it, you see that the Lord himself is coming to bring his people out of the wilderness into the promised land. And here he comes, Jesus, Joshua, God is salvation. He is here, and it's just an amazing picture, isn't it? But the levites and the priests couldn't look through John. They got stuck looking at him, and they were blind.

So I just wanna finish by asking the question. What are you looking at? What are you looking at? Because tonight, we've all been on the same journey as these priests. We've come from Jerusalem.

We've heard about this weird elijah looking dressing man named John. We've traveled to the Jordan. We've asked him who he is. He said, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. Now we don't get to see the priest's response to this final answer.

But that's not important, because all of this is written that you might believe. So the question is, What is your response to these things? What are you gonna do? Have you got eyes to see Jesus So do you come to him and his word with an agenda like the Leviites? Are you sat here ready with your arguments?

And your objections? Have you got sort of technical questions you want to ask about God and about why does God do this? Or why doesn't God do that? Why is God doing this in my life? Why is he not doing that?

Is your mind already made up? Maybe you even know how you should be living, I was thinking. Maybe there's some people here who know I know what I should be doing, but I'm not gonna listen to the word. I'm gonna just ask technical questions to avoid having to do what it says. Is that you?

Are you like the levites and the priests, or do you come ready to listen? You come ready to see the 1 that we're heralding when we open up God's word, to see the lord Jesus Christ, who comes to pay for your sins, as if it's paid for twice over. Jesus often said, those with ears to hear, let them hear You've got ears to hear. Secondly, who are you looking at? Who are you looking at?

Are you in inspired by people, taken up by people. This used to be me, by the way. Are you inspired by people who claim I am x y z. Will Smith says, I am a master storyteller. Is what he says.

Wow. You're gonna be taken up by him? Or are you gonna be taken up by the person who says, I'm not. Don't look at me. Don't listen to me, but look at Christ.

Be taken up with him instead. He's the master storyteller. Will Smith, you're a rubbish storyteller. He's the real author. You're just but a character in his story.

So who are you more impressed by? Are you more impressed by people who are impressive? Or people who are unimpressive. And thirdly, what does your own heart say about you? Is your own heart a false preacher?

What's your testimony about yourself? Is your testimony about yourself when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror? I am something? Or is your testimony I am not worthy to untie his sandals? I am or I am not.

If your heart is a false preacher, then listen to John, see Jesus, the lamb of God, and the glorious news of comfort that he brings. This is just amazing from Isaiah 40. Your hard service has been completed. Your sin has been paid for. You have received from the lord's hand double for your sins.

See that. Have eyes to see that. Let's pray. Father we thank you so much for sending the lord Jesus Christ to to pay for sin, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Thank you that he gives us the right to become your children, though we aren't even worthy to be your slaves.

Further, forgive us when we think of ourselves as more than we are. Forgive us when we admire and are inspired by those who bring glory to themselves, and we want to emulate and live and be like them. Help us please to be like John, to become less and lesser that he might become greater. When people look at us, would they not just land on us, but would they see through us to the great 1 that we're pointing to. And father, give us eyes to see.

I pray, please. Those who are blind in this room or who have ears that can't hear, would you be merciful to us and gracious towards us? Help us to look through John to this wonderful savior, the lord Jesus Christ. We pray in his name, amen.

Preached by Ben Read
Ben Read photo

Ben is a Trainee Pastor at Cornerstone and lives with his wife Ceri who is a youth leader and helps run the women’s ministry in the church.

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