John 3:22-36 – Great in God’s eyes.
When the Head, Heart and Hands are involved we really begin to “Minister” to other people. And today message is about Ministry and how we can be ‘great’ in God’s eyes.
John 3:22-36 CSB – 22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside, where he spent time with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing in Aenon (ENON) near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were coming and being baptized, 24 since John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Then a dispute arose between John’s disciples and a Jew about purification. 26 So they came to John and told him, “Rabbi, the one you testified about, and who was with you across the Jordan, is baptizing—and everyone is going to him.”
27 John responded, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, and yet no one accepts his testimony. 33 The one who has accepted his testimony has affirmed that God is true. 34 For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he[d] gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands.36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son[e] will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
Point # 1: To be great in God’s eyes we have to spend time with Jesus! To be a “Disciple of Christ” means you spend time with Christ!
Jesus and His Disciples get out of Jerusalem… out into the countryside. They’re spending time together. (Out there for up to 6 months.)
- 4:19 – Follow Me, I will make you…
- John 15:5 – 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
Spending time with Christ means we also spend time with one another. We are the “BODY” of Christ. Body parts don’t act independently of one another! The Body functions in harmony, in unity… as ONE!
2nd Point: To be great in God’s eyes: We Compliment instead of Competing, Comparing and Complaining!
- 25-26 – 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.
A “certain Jew” (leads me to believe that this wasn’t the first time this guy had started something with John’s Disciples. This time it’s over ceremonial washing or Baptizing.
Remember the Verse Bill shared last week! 2 Timothy 2:23-25 – Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.
Vs. 26 – “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about – look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
You can sense the Jealousy, Envy…
- They don’t even mention Jesus by name!
- Look, He is Baptizing. What’s HE Baptizing people for! That’s OUR Ministry!
- And everyone is going to Him!
1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT – 10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
Ephesians 4:2-6 – 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Romans 15:5-6 ESV – May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 17:20-23 NLT – 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
To compliment we must be content with where God has us and where he has others! When we’re content with God and what God’s doing we don’t Compete, Compare and Complain!
Some people who want to be great in God’s eyes aren’t motivated to please God… the motivation is to make a name for themselves.
You may be thinking… JD, I’m not in Ministry… If you’re a Believer, a Follower of Jesus Christ you are… AND, you DO have a ministry.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
We are HIS Ambassadors, His representatives on Earth… God making his appeal through us… to others so they may be reconciled to Him!
Paul addressed this issue of Competition – 1 Corinthians 3:1-11 – Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 4 When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?
5 After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
Point 3: Who are we really following?
John the Baptist’s Disciples were so attached to Him and his ministry and the success of his Ministry that they missed Jesus!
His Disciples were no different than Nicodemus… They were comfortable, content in their Religion, Religious institution, Religious ways and their methods. The Ministry had become their god – little g.
Their identity was in their Ministry… in John the Baptist… in His calling, His ministry, in Baptism, their work, their success…
Be careful NOT to get so attached to Men, Ministry, Methods, even the Message that we miss Jesus!
John Responds to his Disciples…
John 3:27-30 – 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” (He must increase – I must decrease.)
Everything we get comes from God. You did nothing for this Ministry… for the success of this Ministry… It’s all from God!
NOTE: As we live and Minister with our Hands there’s a certain posture we ‘must’ keep at all times. OPEN ARMS AND HANDS… Why? Because once you start hanging on to things you stop the flow from Heaven!
The last point, Point 4… Verse 30 – Who are we Elevating? (Who or what is increasing in our life and Ministry!?)
John 3:30 – He must become greater; I must become less.” (He must increase – I must decrease.) He must become greater, and I must become less important.
James 4:6 – God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Jesus said, in Luke 14:11 – For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
1 Peter 5:5b-7 – … And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Philippians 2:3-4 NCV – 3 When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. 4 Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.
Humility is constantly, consistently dying to self and living for Christ.
He MUST increase and I MUST decrease! He MUST become greater and greater and I MUST become less and less important.
Notice the word, “Must.” It’s not going to happen unless we’re intentional about it! Pride is the root of all sin! Like a cancer, it eats away at our belief (Head, Heart, Hands) and our obedience until we’re dead to the things of God!
NOTE: Nothing wrong with taking pride in what God is doing in our life but make sure… make certain that GOD gets the glory! Our pride should be in Christ and what HE is doing in us and through us. NEVER make it about a man, a ministry, a method or a message… it’s always about HIM (Jesus Christ!)
John 3:31-36 – 31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
That last verse was the real issue… Instead of Believing in Jesus… they had rejected Him. (They Knew about him… had a Head knowledge. They even preaching the same message however, their Heart and Hands were far from being involved and engaged with Jesus!)
- They had spent NO time with Jesus. They saw no need, no value in spending time with Jesus. They were ok with their ministry… their “religion” or religious ways.
- Instead of Complimenting the work of God in Jesus Christ… they were Competing, Comparing, complaining… and really they were creating a barrier for people to come to know Christ and be saved!
- Instead of following Christ they were continuing to follow John the Baptist. (They were preaching, proclaiming God and Repentance but when Christ was revealed they refused to follow Him!)
- Instead of Elevating Christ they were really elevating themselves.