Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: The Strong One is going to repair His creation by reinstituting the fundamental principle of the unity of love and faith.
Introduction: Throughout the history of post-Genesis-Three man, one fundamental vision of final reality has been lionized in the minds of men and enthroned in the hearts of men. It is a vision of every man being strong enough and free enough to live his life according to the dictates of his own loves and beliefs. In absolute and direct contradiction to this fundamental vision of final reality is the Truth about God as a Trinity Who is strong enough and bound enough to live according to the dictates of the loves and beliefs of Others Who are strong enough and bound enough to live under the dictates of the Loves and Beliefs of Omniscient Wisdom.
It was into this contradiction of fundamental visions that John stepped when he came on the scene with his message of "reconciliation" through "redemption" by means of a Redeemer Whose death to His own interests would provide a "fix" for a creation gone astray in its headlong pursuit of its own interests.
But, Luke tells us that John's "message" was very much "about" a Coming One Who would be characterized by "Power". This is a very dangerous message, given the propensity of man to view power as the way to enforce his own loves and beliefs. In fact, next weekend is scheduled by the "Church" to be a celebration of the most powerful demonstration of power that man has ever seen. And, it will be celebrated by a vast host of people who have never stopped long enough to ask themselves "Why does power have such an attraction to me?".
So, this morning we are going to stop long enough to take some time and ask this question. Why did John present Jesus as the Powerful One?
April 9, 2006
- I. The Presentation.
- A. It was a presentation that was set in a context of a completely misguided way of thinking [see last week's study notes <238> and message outline <239>].
- 1. That the people could even begin to think that John might be the Christ is an indicator of just how badly off track they were.
- 2. That their perception of the meaning of divinely inspired revelation from God through prophets allowed them to think that John might be the Christ is an indicator of how desperately corrupted mankind is. When true revelation is put into the service of the agendas of desperately corrupt men, something is terribly wrong.
- B. It was a presentation that was set in a context of an enormous contrast.
- 1. John deliberately contrasts his baptism with the baptism of the Coming One.
- 2. The contrast is a contrast of "effective agents".
- a. John's baptism was an immersion into water.
- 1) This baptism was an action that could "guarantee" nothing.
- a) Since John could not read the hearts of those professing to believe in "forgiveness through repentance", he could not guarantee that anyone he baptized was forgiven.
- b) Since water is water, John's baptism imparted nothing to the people who professed to believe his message that would empower them for a new life: thus, he could not guarantee that anyone who was baptized would have any power to live any differently than they had been.
- 2) This baptism was, at its very greatest, nothing more than a shadow of reality.
- a) Shadows do have some power.
- b) Shadow power is the ability to illustrate Truth for true seekers of the Truth.
- b. The Strong One's baptism was to be an immersion into the Spirit or fire.
- 1) This baptism was an absolute guarantee.
- a) The baptism into the Spirit guaranteed both an immediate and an enduring connection to, and participation in, Life.
- b) The baptism into fire guaranteed that the Life would not be corrupted by any who resisted the baptism into the Spirit.
- 2) This baptism was, at its very least, the impartation of a genuine participation in final reality.
- C. It was a presentation that had its essence in the issue of "power".
- 1. The baptism of the Coming One was finally effective...it was very powerful.
- 2. The person of the Coming One was absolutely focused upon one issue: Power.
- a. He was to be The Ischuroteros.
- b. His was a power that was inherent to His glory.
- II. The Impact of the Presentation.
- A. It was going to be directly determined by the perspective of the recipient.
- 1. For those who sought power to enhance their ability to enforce their own interests, a Coming Powerful One was going to be very useful if there was a way to get Him to share His power without "strings" (see Mark 10:35-45).
- 2. For those who sought power to enhance their ability to meet the true needs of the interests of others, a Coming Powerful One was going to be very useful if His sharing of His power was absolutely tied to the accomplishment of righteousness [if there was no real commitment to true righteousness, there would be no power and if there was a real commitment to true righteousness, there would be no limit to power].
- B. It was going to play out according to the real objectives of the recipients.
- 1. The Coming One would force the issue of ultimate objectives.
- 2. Men would react to the Coming One on the basis of this force.
- III. The Claim of the Presentation.
- A. He was going to absolutely divide men into their respective "attitude-camps".
- 1. Those whose impenitence was maintained would be placed into the fire as the chaff.
- 2. Those who repented would be placed into the Spirit as the wheat gathered into the barn.
- B. He was going to exercise His power until the task was finally fully accomplished.
- 1. For those who have any commitment at all to being reconciled to the Servant God, He was going to begin to develop that commitment through redemption and bring it to a fully developed realization through final regeneration.
- 2. For those who refuse to embrace the Servanthood of God, He was going to gradually harden them by confrontation until their final corruption was complete.