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2011-02-13 I'm not Worthy

Time: 2011-02-24 Click:

By Pastor Wu
13 Feb 2011 Sunday

Bible verses: 
John 1:21-22 (NIV)
 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
   He said, “I am not.”
   “Are you the Prophet?”
   He answered, “No.”
 22 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 1:27 (NIV)
27 “ He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
Dear brothers and sisters, greetings in the name of our Lord, a warm welcome to those of you who are back from the long holiday to our church fellowship again.
During the Spring Festival holiday, like many bothers and sister, I did some travel too. I travelled  to Hong Kong and Macao, as they are located very close.  I visited some local theological seminary and spent some time with a church on Sunday. It was a small church I attended with about ten people, not as big as Haidian church with more than 6000 attendance on a single Sunday.
I had wonderful time with the church congregation though, I shared my testimony and about myself with brothers and sisters there, and I told them about how I became Christian, we were all moved by the Holy Spirit. In the end they told me to forward the message to all of you here, brothers and sisters, please pray for them, for the revival of the church, pray for their small congregation to grow with more attendance like here in Haidian church.
Now let’s look at John 1: 19-27, this is John’s testimony, - John the baptist denies being the Messiah,  Elijah or the Prophet (Moses): 
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
     He said, “I am not.”
   “Are you the Prophet?”
     He answered, “No.”
 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
 26 “I baptize with[ water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
Brothers and sister, I want to ask you, who is John the baptist?  Why did he attract so much attention when he was baptizing people? The Jews in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites  all the way from the city of Jerusalem to the desert to investigate, finding out who this John was. In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we know that John is the one who comes before Jesus. He said,” I’m not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals of Jesus, who comes after me.” (John 1:27) That was the identity John told people about himself. But still, he attracted lots of attention. Why is that?  because John the baptist did three very powerful and meaningful things:
1)     The first thing of what he was doing, he was preparing for the Gospel. John the baptist was preaching the message in the desert, and saying,  “I’m not the true light, Jesus Christ is the true light, even though He comes after me, I’m not worthy to untie the straps of His sandals.”  That’s why he attracted so many people to him, in order for him to transfer those people and their attention to the Lord later.  
2)     Secondly, John the baptist did water baptisms.   He was laying the foundation for the coming of Jesus, and Jesus later taught His disciples about Holy Spirit baptism. Now pastors in churches all over the world do Holy Spirit baptisms, that is what Jesus tells us to do - the great commission, so that more and more souls can be saved, and we are preparing for the second coming of the Lord.   
3)     Thirdly, John the baptist was training disciples for the Gospel. So when the Lord comes, John could transfer his disciples to Jesus, for the Lord to use and send out to people, and preach the Gospel.   
Many Jews, Levites, and priests from Jerusalem, came all the way to the desert to do investigation finding out exactly who John the baptist was.   And the answer they got from John was three “No”s.   “I’m not the Messiah.”  John the Baptist knew even though that he had many disciples, did lots of baptisms, and did many trainings for his disciples, but the power with which he did those things was from God, he knew it clearly not from himself. That is the message he wanted to share with people who came to him, and to share with us here today.  
So the Jews, Levites , and priests from Jerusalem, still puzzled about John the baptist’s identity after John denying him being the Christ, they didn’t give up, continued asking if he was Elijah, or the prophet.  “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 1:21-22.   
We know many mighty deeds about Elijah in the Bible: he was a prophet in the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab, in those days, Elijah defended the worship of God over the popular god Baal in that region, he brought fire down from the sky which killed false prophets for Baal; he performed many miracles, raised the dead;  and it didn’t rain for three years when he prayed to God; he helped training his disciple Elisha to succeed him as a prophet and servant of God, and later he ascended into heaven, riding a chariot with horses of flame…  
And "The prophet " here the Jews refer, in talking with John the baptist, was to Moses. In Deuteronomy 19:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” It is said, Moses is the greatest spiritual leader of all times, he is also known as lawgiver, prophet, historian, and founder of Israel. According to the Bible, Moses led the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt and into the desert at the age of 80, he wrote the Torah - the first five books of The Old Testamenthe went up to the Mount Sinai, personally and directly, he was given The Ten Commandments by God... And John the baptist denied himself of being Elijah or the prophet as well, he turned people's attention to the Christ, "John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.' ”. John1:23.
Let's all turn our eyes upon Jesus, dear brothers and sisters, as the New Year has come, let’s review the year 2010, look at the things you did wonderfully last year. Maybe due to your help or because of your prayer, a broken family reunited; because of your prayer, a patient who had been hospitalised got recovered, came out healthy;  or because of your powerful prayer, a student who was struggling with exams at school, did well with great results... 
Looking back on those wonderful things, have you ever become proud about yourself? Have you ever tempted to think that your prayer is so powerful?  You may think that you are really somebody, “I have the closest relationship with God, He listens to me whenever I pray to Him, and He does what I want Him to do”.   If you ever hold that in your heart, you are in danger of thinking so closely that you were in the place of Christ, and God were your servant.  Apostle Paul says in Romans 1:28, “ Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
Let’s learn from John’s humble heart, his good example and attitude, “No, I’m not worthy to untie the straps of His sandals.” Right, we are not the Christ, we are not worthy to untie the straps of Jesus’ sandals. Jesus Christ is our master, our Lord, if we have ever done anything miraculously, that’s the power of God that makes them possible. So brothers and sisters in Jesus, as we have come to this new year, let’s purify our hearts, live a holy life to glorify the name of Jesus. We can do mighty things,  because all come in the power of our Holy God. Amen!
Summary by Claire
Worship Song: In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand



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