Summary: To cause Christians to think twice about whether they're rooting for their game plan or Christ's.
Title: Are You Rooting for the Right team?
Theme: Rooting for Christ and Christ’s interests instead of our own.
Text: John 3.22-30
Time: February 6, 2011, Communion Sunday
[S] Today is Super bowl Sunday. The Super bowl is the most anticipated and watched sporting event in America. It’s estimated that 130 million people will be watching the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers battle for the coveted Lombardi Trophy and the championship rings. But I won’t be one of them. Because I’m catching a 1:00 o’clock flight for Dallas to attend the Super bowl with my brother thanks to my brother and parents. I’ll be rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers while the majority of my family will root for the losers.
Many people don’t realize it, but there are a couple of other teams playing in a game bigger than any Super bowl ever played and with a lot more at stake than a trophy that goes in some owners case. And interestingly enough, even though most people aren’t even aware of these teams they are rooting for one team or the other. Who are these teams and how do you know if you’re rooting for the right one? Well, let’s open up God’s play book and see what God has to say about rooting for the right team.
[S] “After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon (Enun) near Salim (say-lum), because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ 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. He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV) “He must grow more prominent while I become less so.” (The Amplified Bible) “He must become more important, while I become less important.” (CJB)
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
[S] Like two friendly teams separated by the line of scrimmage, the Jordan River at Aenon and Salim separated John’s team and Jesus’ team. Both squads were at the river baptizing. Up until this time John’s team was the favorite and the most popular. John’s team sold the most jersey’s and game apparel and was the most marketable. Like the Super bowl quarter backs Aaron Rogers and Ben Roethlisberger, John was a household name. When people wanted to confess their sins and be baptized they went to John’s disciples.
[S] It seems to me that his disciples had grown accustomed to being the chosen ones. Whether they meant to or not they probably felt important and needed. John’s popularity fed their popularity and that fed their ego’s and sense of importance. John’s disciples were concerned about how what they saw was going to personally impact them and their Rabbi.
John on the other hand was more concerned about Jesus and Jesus’ ministry than his own. When John’s disciples told him what they saw he basically said, “That’s okay, because it’s not about me. And it’s not about you. It’s not about what is best for us. It’s all about Jesus and what is best for him.” John put the game in proper perspective for us all.
Pastor Dave Johnson told of the time he was preparing a sermon when God spoke to him. God said, “Are you more concerned about saying it well? Or communicating my truth?”—“Is this message about you, and how you come off? Or about Me and how I come off?” (It’s Not About Me, Bret Toman, Sermoncentral.com)
I think this is what God wants us to hear. God wants us to be more concerned about how our decisions and actions make Christ come off instead of how we come off.
[S] For example we will see some players in today’s game who like to draw attention to themselves after making a play. You’ve seen it all season long. A defensive player makes a key quarterback sack and gets up and does his signature dance. What’s he communicating when he does that? “Uh uh, uh huh, look at me. I’m bad. Look what I did.” Or a running back or receiver makes a touchdown and breaks out in some funky chicken like routine. What’s he saying? It’s about me. John is saying, “No, it’s not about you.”