In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Itureaea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias of Abilene,
during the priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zachariah in the wilderness.
And he went into all the region around the Jordon, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight.
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
John the Baptist is a unique person in all of history. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the time he was in his mother's womb. God would use John to prepare his chosen people, Israel, for the imminent coming of their Messiah.
The message of John's ministry was the call to repentance. The people of Israel had come to have a wrong view of God and of themselves as it pertains to their relationship with that God.
No doubt John used the Law of God to confront the wayward children of Israel with the fact that their sins had alienated them from their God. On this past Friday, I made this quote:
"The road to Mount Calvary must first pass through Mount Sinai. Any road that bypasses Mount Sinai to get to Mount Calvary will have its end in the Valley of Hinnom."
Before a person can be presented to good news of the Gospel (Mount Calvary), they must be confronted with the Law of God (Mount Sinai), that shows that he/she is a sinner who has broken the Law of God, and is deserving of the wrath of God. The biggest problem of a person who does know Christ (or is known by
him [c.f. Matthew 7:23]) is not a bad marriage, rebellious children, or even a bad economy. That person is a sinner who is at this present moment has the wrath of God resting over him/her. (c.f. John 3:36) The person who attempts to come to God without the knowledge that he/she is a sinner who needs to be reconciled with God through the finished work of Christ (Mount Calvary) will in the end find his/herself in Hell (the Valley of Hinnom). Jesus is not to be seen as a kind of life coach, one who can make our lives better, or even as a moral example on how to live for God. He must be seen as our Lord and Savior from the wrath of God.
When we, who are believers in Christ, are witnessing to a person, we can not take for granted that the person knows that he/she is a sinner who is deserving the wrath of God. Actually, most lost people around us believe that on the whole they are good people. Make sure that person is confronted with the Law of God. God uses His Law as a mirror to show a person how that person truly stands before the perfectly holy character of God. The picture is never pretty. (c.f. Romans 3:10-18)
Below is a video from The Way of the Master Ministries on how this can be done.