Pastor Sur del Rosario
John 3: 22-36
November 18, 2012
Last of the “Enlarge My Territory” Series
Whenever we think about enlarging our territories, we tend to think only in terms of material possessions. Often, we forget that life’s greatest blessing is always our relationship with God. In John 3: 30, John the Baptist’s affirmation of Christ reminds that the best increase that could happen in us is when Christ increases in our lives.
GOD THE GREATEST REWARD
In the Bible, it is clear that God is treated as life’s greatest reward. Consider these verses:
God is the greatest reward: Affter this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Gen 15:1)
God is our strength and our portion forever. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:25-26)
God is life’s greatest gain. “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil 3:7-9)
God is our greatest security. “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”(Rom 8:31-32)
JESUS MUST INCREASE
John was in a very odd situation. His disciples came to him and reported that Jesus, who John testified about, was already baptizing. In essence, somebody else is doing what he was previously doing alone. Baptism then was known to be a purification rite through which people during that time go through as expression of their desire to be cleansed from their sins. The fact that both Jesus and John were baptizing that time suggests that people now have a choice whether to go to Jesus or to John to be baptized.
As soon as his disciples expressed concerned about John’s losing his disciples over to Jesus, John told them: “ He must become greater; I must become less.”
If caught in the same situation, do we have what it takes to remove the limelight from us and focus it to Jesus only! Are we willing to be insignificant, be obscured and be in the sideline so that people can really see God? Are we willing to stop insisting on our will so that Jesus can really have his throne in our life?
What does it really take to see that Jesus is increasing in our life? Reflecting on the response of John, we can learn several attitudes we must have to see Jesus increase in our life:
1. Humility: An honest and healthy assessment of self
a. “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven”. John knows that he only receives an assignment from God.
b. ‘I am not the Christ j but am sent ahead of him.’ John did not assume a position that doesn’t belong to Him. He never thought of himself higher than he ought to .
c. “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.” John shares in the joy of Christ, that is, people coming to Him.
2. Honoring Christ. A firm resolve to magnify Christ at all times.
a. Christ is from above and is, therefore, above all (v.31). John places himself under the authority of Christ.
b. Christ testifies about God and speaks the words of God (v.34). John points to him as truthful.
c. Christ has everything in his hands, including eternal life. John prods the people to believe in Him.
JESUS IN ME. JESUS AND ME. JESUS, END ME.
Asking for Jesus to be increased in our life isn’t as easy as it sounds. Anyone who asks such should be willing to surrender his will to Jesus. Below is a pattern of progression that should describe how we decrease as Jesus increases in our lives.
1. Jesus in Me. We invite Jesus in our heart and His Spirit to dwell in our life. (see Ephesians 3:17)
2. Jesus and Me. We walk in fellowship with Jesus and grow in our understanding of what He really means in our life. (see 1 John 1:7)
3. Jesus, End “Me”. We are willing to just let Jesus be seen in and through us at the expense of losing our will to His.
WHEN CHRIST INCREASES
The following conditions will be true once we ask Jesus to really increase in us
1. Christ increases only when we decrease.
a. Decrease in our old self, more of the life of Christ in us
b. Increase in dependence to God as we decrease reliance on self
c. Increase in favor and blessings as Christ is revealed more in and through us.
2. Joy increases as Christ increases.
a. Joy from having a sense of fulfillment
b. Joy from making him known.
Jesus is Greater than Us. He must increase, we must decrease.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
- Do you really consider that God is your greatest reward in life? What evidences prove that this is really true?
- Why do you think people often forget that the greatest blessing in life is to have a relationship with God? Envision how your life would look like if God really increases in your life.
- If you were John, how would you feel if Jesus is also doing what you are doing? A lot of people based their self-worth on their work. Where do you think John based his self-worth on? How are you similar or different to John who is able to take a back step so that the limelight would be focused on Christ?
- Do you make conscious efforts to make the attitudes of Christ be seen in your life?
- Would you consider yourself humble? Why should we not consider ourselves higher than we ought to?
- Do you share in the joy of Christ? Do you think people are attracted to you because they see Christ in you? What changes should you undertake in order in order to lead people to Christ through your life?
- Do you seek to honor God in all you do? Do you seek to magnify God’s work in your life rather than boast in your own ability?
- Review the phases Jesus in Me; Jesus And Me; and Jesus, End “Me”. Where do you think you are at in your Christian walk? What do you need to surrender or end in order to see Christ increased in your life?
- React: Christ increases when we decrease.
- React: Joy increases as Christ increases.