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We continue the Bible study on John The Baptist with his methods and message. His purpose was to replace religion with the direct relationship of the living, loving God. 

The Life Of John The Baptist-2

Continued from Life Of John The Baptist

2. Methods: Opposite of Tradition Mt 3:1-4 "In those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the desert of Judea…John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey…"

a. Dress: John's dress was the same as Elijah's. It was course, not fine. You see, at that time, as now, the religious leaders wore the finest clothing. Jesus criticized them for their soft lifestyle, taking the seats of honor at all occasions, making a big show of their religiousness, getting special treatment by everyone. What they didn't know then and don't seem to know now is, the word for minister in their language actually means to serve…not to be served. John expected no honor or gifts. He ate what God gave him…bugs and honey. By the way,  "Are you supposed to cook grasshoppers before you eat them?"  John hadn't read "Dress for Success". His dress was the opposite of tradition.

b. Location: The location of John's ministry was the same as Elijah's. It was desolate, not desirable. He preached in the wilderness and baptized people in the river. As we've discussed, Jerusalem was the center of the religious world. No one did it any finer than at the holy temple in the holy city, in the holy country. The walls were ornate, carved stone, with gold decorations. The hangings were of the finest materials. All of the utensils for worship were made of gold. When you visited the city to worship, you could get comfortable accommodations; you could eat the finest foods from around the world. Yet the Bible says all the people of this city flocked to see John in the wilderness where neither restaurant nor toilet were provided. They came because they knew he was sent by God…and they were starving for God while living in the holy city, steeped in religion.

c. Traditions and Web-Church: The religious traditions surrounding Christianity today are strangling the life out of it. You go to an ornate building with a cross or a spire or a dove or a statue. Leave your kids with a stranger in one room while you go into another. Most people have little idea what happens to their children during this time. A ritual of singing, offering, sitting, standing, preaching and praying ensues (of course, it must be the same every week). You're expected to swallow, without question or challenge, whatever it is they're saying this week. Each, in addition to the Gospel message, has it's own dogma that must be agreed to. Many don't bother with the Gospel message any more. Most have subtle ways to exclude people who believe in Christ but don't swallow their dogma.

At we've chosen to abandon those traditions. We don't have and won't have buildings for you to worship in. Your house will do nicely. Jesus said worship isn't done in a location, but in spirit and in truth. Parents, we have a Biblical children's program led by a highly trained Director…you. Who better to talk to your kids about God? We have music, but it's from all different styles, to celebrate diversity of location, age and ethnicity. Play what you like, or none at all, it's your worship. We don't take offering. Don't get me wrong! We'll accept donations. We need money to pay our bills and continue in ministry.  What we don't do is engage in the tradition of pressuring one person to give because the one next to them is giving.  We have chosen to treat as doctrine only the essentials of Christianity (see Christian Belief Statement, leaving everything else up to individual interpretation, so no one is excluded. We're trying to eliminate the unnecessary traditions so the message of the love of Jesus rings loud and clear.

Concluded at Life Of John The Baptist-3

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