John 3:22-26 cf. 4:1-2
A controversy had arisen about the ministries of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus. It appears that there was a spirit of competition between John's disciples and Jesus (4:1).
Verse 25-- Some people look for points of disagreement so they can sow seeds of discord, discontent and doubt.
Rivalry is an age old problem. Jacob and Esau were in competition (Gen. 25:22-26).
Spiritual success cannot be measured by external means or results: Emotionalism; Sensationalism (man-made manufactured); Pietism; Talent (talent does not make a person better than another); Activity (busy-ness); Buildings, Buses, Baptisms, Budgets.
What was John's answer to the spirit of competition?
I. (v. 27)--We need to EXEMPLIFY OUR MATURITY. Maturity leaves the results with God. Results
is God's business. My job is to be faithful.
A. A true and faithful servant of God does not grumble if his popularity wanes while the popularity of another servant increases. "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Ps. 75:6-7).
1. Immature people compare themselves against others. King Saul was consumed with the spirit of jealousy and competition against David.
2. Guilty of the same "party spirit" that Paul rebuked in the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. 3:1-8).
3. Verse 27 is a great cure for JEALOUSY. We should rejoice when another prospers in his labors for the Lord (ILLUS-- Num. 11:26-27).
B. Whatever we have, God gave it to us. (Rom. 12:3).
1. Example to the Corinthians--(1 Cor. 4:6-7).
2. If God wants us to have more, He will give us more.
II. (vs. 28-29)--We need to EMPHASIZE OUR MISSION.
A. John was not the Anointed One. John's mission was to prepare the way for the Anointed One. He was sent to manifest the Anointed One to Israel.
B. We need to remind ourselves who is the Anointed One.
1. We are to influence people to follow Christ, not us.
2. An elderly man gave some good advice-- "Brother, don't ever try to be a big preacher. Instead, preach a big Savior."
C. Did John become discouraged and quit because of the dwindling crowds? No! He continued on.
D. Verse 29-- Who is more important, "the bridegroom" or "the best man?" Does "the best man" complain because the bridegroom is getting more attention than he is? John recognized that Israel belonged to Christ, NOT to himself!
III. (v. 30)--We need to EXAMINE OUR MOTIVATION. What motivates us? Why do we do what we do?
A. Not self-promotion. Paul left nothing behind in the way of monuments, possessions, etc. His ministry was built into living stones (Eph. 2:19-22). The only tangible thing he left behind were his inspired and preserved epistles.
B. The spirit of competition is steeped in pride, not humility! A spirit of competition is the spirit of self.
A father and his small
son strolled down the street in Chicago past the place where
a skyscraper was being constructed. Glancing up, they saw men
at work on a high story of the building. "Father,"
said the little boy, "What are those little boys doing up
"Those are not little boys, son. They're grown men."
"But why do they look so small?"
"Because they're so high," his father answered.
After a pause the boy asked, "Then, Father, when they get to heaven there won't be anything left of them, will there?"
It's so true. The nearer we come to Christ the less others see of us and the more they see of Christ.