As we start to look at the opening of Jesus’ earthly ministry and read these few verses, there are some questions, which are asked in this section, that are worth asking today and deserve our thoughtful response.
Who are you? John 1:22
As born-again believers we can know who we are in Jesus Christ and this can give us a deep confidence that, whatever the world may throw against us, we know that we are right in the centre of God’s will, so we can have a heart full of rejoicing. For encouragement, look up the list: “Who I am in Christ” and also “How does God see me?” If you have done “The Joyful Woman”, you will find it helpful to review the second module, “How much are you worth?” After seeing these notes you will certainly be able to answer when asked: ‘Who do you think you are?’
What do you say? John 1:22
Out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks, so all your family and friends know what is in your heart in abundance! We have a daily, moment-by-moment choice of what to say in every situation, but this is talking about what we say about ourselves. We often curse ourselves with what comes out of our mouths. The only way to change this is to make a decision to think before we speak and then only to say what the Word says about ourselves or the situation.
As we say silly things, we are agreeing with what God’s enemy says about us and it certainly doesn’t make us feel any better. So make a decision today to speak only what the Word says. You may be quiet for a short time until your knowledge of the Word increases. Start with the sheet, “My confession of who I am in Christ.” Ask God to take control of your tongue.
Prayer: “Father, in the name of Jesus, I make the decision to take control of my tongue. I get rid of and repent of every word I have spoken against You and Your operation in my life. I cancel the power of those words and dedicate my mouth to speaking Your Word. Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth will speak; so I set myself to fill my heart with Your Word. Put a watch, Lord, over my lips. I set myself to speak in line with the Word. I confess that You are my healer and my provider. I am filled with Your mighty Holy Spirit. I am in a right standing with God because of Jesus Christ. I am victorious in every area of my life, because You have made me free.”
“Father, I thank You that I will no longer be double-minded in the words of my mouth. I shall let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly with all wisdom. Everything I do, whether in word or deed, I do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks unto You, Amen.” Colossians 3:16, 17. Put this into your own words and write it down on paper for your pocket or wall.
What do you want? John 1:37
Jesus asked this question on many occasions. He really wanted those who were going to follow Him seriously to consider what they were doing. He knew what was ahead and He needed them to be strong in order to fulfil their destinies. To follow Christ for our own personal needs brings Him down to our level and expects Him to advance our purposes. The best motive for following Christ is a desire to see His Kingdom come and His will being done on this earth – and to be willing to do anything to bring it about.
What do you see? John 1:50
As we follow the living Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have to allow God to plant the seeds of a vision in the womb of our spirits. We must then feed it on the Word and on prayer, using challenging books, and teaching materials. We need to do all we can to feed our baby vision as it grows and we start to see ourselves being used by God, in an amazing, supernatural way, being changed to become more and more like Jesus. God needs each one of us to do a big job on the earth to get the Gospel preached to every nation. Then His Son can come back and claim His rightful possession of the earth that He paid for on the Cross. We need to see this earth from God’s perspective. We need to see people as very precious to Him and, therefore, to us also. Then we shall see amazing things happen before our own eyes. Our faith will rise and what we think of as amazing today will be an everyday occurrence. As each day goes past, greater things WILL happen, John 14:12.
God has given each of us a purpose for living and we can trust Him to guide us. John focused his life on the truth, which he knew from the available Old Testament Scriptures. Likewise, we can discover in God’s Word the truths He wants us to know. As these truths work in us, other people will be drawn to Him. God can use you unlike any other person. Let Him know your willingness to follow Him wholeheartedly today.
What are you about?
John the Baptist was unique. He wore odd clothes and ate strange food and preached an unusual message to the Judeans who went into the wastelands to see him.
But John did not aim at uniqueness for its own sake. Instead, he aimed at obedience. He knew he had a specific role to play in the world – announcing the coming of the Saviour – and he put all his energies into this task. Luke tells us that John was in the desert when God’s word of direction came to him. John was ready and waiting. The angel who had announced John’s birth to Zacharias had made it clear that this child was to be a Nazirite – one set apart for God’s service. John remained faithful to that description.
This wild-looking man had no power or position in the Jewish political system, but he spoke with irresistible authority. He spoke the truth, challenging people to turn from their sins and baptising them as a symbol of their repentance. They responded in their hundreds but, even as people crowded to him, he pointed beyond himself, never forgetting that his main role was to announce the coming of the Saviour.
The words of truth that moved many to repentance goaded others to resistance and resentment, which is the response all of us can expect at some time. John even challenged King Herod to admit his sin. Herodias, the woman whom Herod had married illegally, decided to get rid of this desert preacher. Although she was able to have him killed, she was not able to stop his message. The One that John had announced was already on the move. John had accomplished his mission. He was primarily a witness to the salvation offered by God through repentance from sin.
First and foremost, we have to be witnesses like John. This comes easiest from a heart full to overflowing with love towards God, which automatically gives us love for other human beings, 1 John 5:1. The important way to share is in a relaxed way and not forced, as all we are asked to do is:
Share Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leave the results to God.
He saves – we don’t! John 6:44,47.
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you. So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39.
As we share our faith in Jesus Christ we will find that our salvation becomes more secure, Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 6:12.
We become more and more like Jesus as we share and obey Jesus’ instructions. Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:5-8.
We have been chosen in Christ Jesus to be fruitful, John 15:16.
God’s Word tells us that each and every believer should be a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our goal should be to win a soul for Jesus ‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise’ Proverbs 11:30.
How do we share?
1. Gossip the Gospel! Sharing the latest answer to prayer that God has provided for you or friends. Never exaggerate. That cuts off the power of the Holy Spirit and brings the answer down to your level and that will never help anyone.
2. Always be ready. Look for opportunities and make them; there are rarely appropriate times.
3. Speak out your testimony with boldness. No one can argue against that!
4. Always show how happy you are to be with other Christians. Remember the world will know that Jesus is alive by the way we love one another. John 17:23.
5. Live the life. You are a living testimony to the grace and mercy of God, 2 Corinthians 3:2.
6. If unsure of how to lead someone to Christ, get hold of a tract that you feel happy with, practise on a Christian friend, and then GO! Never forget you are filled with the Holy Spirit to help you do just that. Let Him work through you and enjoy the thrill of seeing others come to Christ, there is nothing like it.
Lessons from John the Baptist’s life
1. God does not guarantee an easy or safe life to those who serve Him.
2. Doing what God desires is the greatest possible life-investment.
3. Standing for the truth is more important than life itself.
4. He prepared for thirty years for six months ministry!
Home Challenges for Power Up! – No. 3: Who do you think you are?
1. Read the notes “Who do you think you are?” and section “Who are you?”. Also look up past notes as suggested. What did you find encouraging? Do you have the right image of yourself according to the Word of God or according to the world? Choose to think right today!
2. Read “What do you say”. Have you renewed your decision to confess daily who you are in Jesus Christ? Share with a friend and ask that person to help you to keep doing it, even when you feel bad. Your feelings do not change who you are.
3. Read the rest of the notes. How do you see yourself? Is that how God sees you? Do you know what God has called you to do? Ask a friend if you are not sure.
4. Make any improvements to your testimony and be prepared to use it.
5. From the “Lessons from John the Baptist’s Life”. What do you find most challenging?
Read John 2:1-11
6. Which verse really jumps out at you?
7. What did Mary expect Jesus to do?
8. What did Jesus mean by His reply to Mary?
9. What was the action of the servants?
10. What was the attitude of the servants?
11. Is there any area in your life where God is telling you what to do and you require the servant’s attitude?
12. Is there any area of your life where you are looking disaster in the face and you need Jesus to come in and perform a miracle of creation or provision?
13. Are you willing to “do whatever He tells you”? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to obey.
14. What was the reason for the miracle according to John 2:11?
15. What was the disciples’ reaction to the miracle?
Read John 2:12-25
16. Where did Jesus go after the wedding? Who went with Him?
17. Simply put, what was the Jewish Passover? (See Exodus 12:1-13) From what did the Blood of the Lamb have power to save the children of Israel? How does this point to Jesus? (John 1:29-36).
18. Do you claim the protection of the Blood of Jesus daily? Write about a time when you know the Blood worked for you? Remember Rahab. Joshua 2 and Joshua 6.
19. What was Jesus’ response to what He saw going on in the Temple? John 2:14-16
20. What was the reaction of the Jews to Jesus’ response to what He saw going on?
21. What do you think would be Jesus’ reaction to churches today?
22. Does Jesus still feel the same as He did according to John 2:17? How do you feel about your Church? Is there any way you need to change your attitude to anything in your Church?
23. Is God asking you to do something to help in any area of your Church life? Would you like to share what it is?
24. What did Jesus foretell in John 2:19? The disciples saw it and then believed but we can believe now before we see it. Do you really believe?
25. What is your temple according to 1 Corinthians 6:19? Are there any changes needed in your treatment of your temple? Make a decision today and ask for help if you need it.
26. Choose a verse from this chapter to memorise. Try and sum up what you have learned in one short sentence.