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THE UNKNOWN JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, May 16, 2004
at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not" (John 1:26).


Dr. Gill points out that John was baptizing people in the river Jordan, about 26 miles from Jerusalem. Many people thought of John the Baptist as a prophet. They were coming to hear him preach in great crowds. He called upon them to repent and be baptized. The great Sanhedrin sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to question John. They wanted to know who he was, and by what authority he was preaching and baptizing. You can sense the hostility they had toward him by the way they questioned him. John told them plainly that he was not the Messiah, not the Christ (John 1:20).

"And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]" (John 1:21-23).

Some of those questioning John were Pharisees, from the strictest sect of Judaism.

They wanted to know from where John the Baptist got his authority to baptize. It was a common practice for the Jews to baptize Gentiles who wanted to become followers of the Jewish religion, but nobody baptized Jews. "We don't need to be baptized," [they] thought. "We are not sinners like the Gentiles." Therefore, they wanted to know who was this John who was baptizing Jews (The Applied New Testament Commentary, Kingsway Publications, 1997, p. 361).

John knew that these Pharisees were against him! Therefore he did not give them a direct answer. He simply said

"I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not" (John 1:26).

John pointed them to Jesus, who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (cf. John 1:33). John said that he was only baptizing with water, but Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit.

But I draw your attention to the second half of verse twenty-six,

"…there standeth one among you, whom ye know not" 
      (John 1:26).

Albert Barnes says,

There is one among you. In the midst of you. He is undistinguished among the multitude. The Messiah had already come, and was about to be manifested to the people. It was not until the next day (verse 29) that Jesus was manifested or proclaimed as the Messiah…though it is probable that he was among the multitude, yet he was not known as the Messiah…Jesus was near to all that people, but they were unconscious of his presence…Jesus may be near to men of the world, and yet they know him not (Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, Baker Book House, 1983 reprint, note on John 1:26).

John the Baptist said,

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
      (John 1:26).

That is still true today, and we can draw three lessons from this text,

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
       (John 1:26).

I. First, this text speaks of the Christless condition of most people.

The average person does not know Jesus Christ. A few years ago George Gallup's Princeton Religious Research Center released a poll which indicated that 76% of Americans agreed with this statement: "The only assurance of eternal life is personal faith in Jesus Christ." But that same poll indicated that only 10% agreed with such statements as, "I believe that Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine."

That Gallup poll showed how few people in America actually know Jesus Christ.

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
      (John 1:26).

Do you know Jesus? I am not asking you if you know about Him. I am asking you if you know Him personally. Have you experienced Christ? Is He a real, living person in your life?

You can be familiar with Jesus, and yet not know Him. Philip had been with Jesus. Philip had heard His teachings. But one day Jesus said to him,

"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" (John 14:9).

Philip had been familiar with Jesus for a long time, but he still did not know Him! How about you?

You can come to church for years without really knowing Christ. Philip Yancey has written a book with an interesting title, "The Jesus I Never Knew." I am not delving into what Philip Yancey wrote. I'm simply quoting that provocative title - "The Jesus I Never Knew." Do you know Him? The Apostle Paul said,

"I know whom I have believed" (II Timothy 1:12).

Jesus said,

"I…know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:14).

Again, Jesus said,

"This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

To have eternal life, you must know Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
      (John 1:26).

II. Second, this text speaks of knowing the true Christ from the false Christs.

Notice that John the Baptist said, "There standeth one among you, whom ye know not." There is only one true Christ. The Apostle Paul spoke of the possibility of believing in "another Jesus" in II Corinthians 11:4.

"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached…" (II Corinthians 11:4).

A book called The Counterfeit Christ points out that, "Now we are confronted with the new age Cosmic Christ." I can think of several false "Christs" that people experience today.

1. Christ as a cosmic force. This is the new age "Christ," who is believed in by many.

2. Christ who is the same person as God the Father. This "Christ" is not the Second Person of the Trinity.

3. Christ who is the same person as the Holy Spirit. This "Christ" is not the Second Person of the Trinity.

4. Christ as a great prophet or teacher. This is not the Christ of the New Testament.

5. Christ as an angry judge. This is not the Saviour of the New Testament.


Jesus said,

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and…if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect"
      (Matthew 24:24).

How can you tell which Christ to believe in? Jesus Himself gave us the answer. He said,

"If any man will [willeth to] do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17).

Charles John Ellicott gives this comment on John 7:17,

The human will to do the divine will is the condition of knowing it. The words are unlimited and far-reaching in their meaning…The "any man" of Christ's own words excludes none from its reach…he who…[is willing] to do God's will, shall not fail to know…of the teaching whether it be of God (Charles John Ellicott, Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Zondervan, 1954 reprint, volume VI, p. 437).

If you are willing to do what God wants you to do, you will know the truth about Christ, whether or not what Christ said in the Bible is true. You will know the true Christ spoken of in the Bible - if you are willing to know Him. The reason that people believe in false Christs is because they are not willing to know the true Christ, spoken of so clearly in the Bible. John Wesley said,

This is a universal rule, with regards to all persons and doctrines. He that is thoroughly willing to do it, shall certainly know what the will of God is (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, Baker Book House, 1983 reprint, volume I, note on John 7:17).

If you truly want to know the real Christ, God Himself will make you know the truth about Him.

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
      (John 1:26).

The reason you do not know Christ yet is because you have not been willing to know Him yet. It's as simple as that. When you are willing to know Him, you can come to Him directly and be saved. Jesus said,

"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

Jesus will never cast out anyone who comes to Him by faith.

III. Thirdly, this text speaks of the need for knowing Christ.

The Apostle Paul spoke of this need when he said,

"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).

Knowledge of Christ goes beyond human reason. Knowledge of Christ comes by faith in Him.

Many people are content in knowing the history of Christ's life. They know a great deal about the life of Christ, from His birth in Bethlehem to His death on the Cross. They are satisfied with reading about Christ. They could care less that they have not met Him personally.

My two favorite Presidents were Nixon and Reagan. I read about them, but that didn't satisfy me. I wanted to meet them. I did get to meet President Reagan twice - and President Nixon once. I was not satisfied by reading things about them. I wanted to meet them personally. Are you satisfied with reading about Christ, and hearing about Christ in sermons - or will you go forth and meet Him for yourself?

In a sermon titled, "Do You Know Him?" Spurgeon said,

Many there are who have heard of Christ and read about Christ, and that is enough for them! But it is not enough for me, and it should not be enough for you…To hear about Christ may damn you, it may be a savour of death unto death to you. You have heard of him with the ear; but it is essential that you know him in order that you may be partakers of eternal life (C. H. Spurgeon, "Do You Know Him?" The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1991 reprint, volume X, p. 65).

You can only know Christ by looking to Him. You must look to Christ, and trust him. John the Baptist said,

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

That is the way to be saved from sin and judgment.

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

When you look to Jesus by faith, He will save you and wash your sins away with His precious Blood.

Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. Christ can cleanse your sin by His Blood. Christ rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven. He is there - seated at the right hand of God - waiting for you to trust him and be saved.

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not"
      (John 1:26).

But it does not need to remain that way. You can come to Christ. He is waiting to forgive you and give you eternal life. Will you come to Him? Will you do it now, this very morning?

We are going to sing the last song on the song sheet. If you would like to speak with me, or one of the other counsellors, about salvation in Christ, would you come and stand here in front of the pulpit while we sing. It's hymn number seven on the song sheet. Let's stand and sing it while you come.

Come, every soul by sin oppressed, There's mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest by trusting in His Word.
Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now.
    ("Only Trust Him" by John S. Stockton, 1813-1877).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 1:19-29.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Look to the Lamb of God" (by H. G. Jackson, 19th century).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE UNKNOWN JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"There standeth one among you, whom ye know not" (John 1:26).

(John 1:20-23)

I.   This text speaks of the Christless condition of most people,
John 14:9; II Timothy 1:12; John 10:14; 17:3.

II.  This text speaks of knowing the true Christ from the false Christs,
II Corinthians 11:4; Matthew 24:24; John 7:17; 6:37.

III. This text speaks of the need for knowing Christ, Ephesians 3:19;
John 1:29.

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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."