Summary: 1 of 8. John the Baptist pointed out the weakness/detriment/absurdity/incompatibility of competitive ministry. A competitive spirit can be detrimental to Christian ministry. But when? A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
DETRIMENTAL COMPETITION-I—John 3:22-36
A DETRIMENTAL SPIRIT
Humility in competition seems somewhat rare.
I can remember seeing & hearing an American long-jumper & runner--Carl Lewis--in the Olympics(1988 Summer?) who just ‘tore-up’ his competition. He outran & out-jumped everybody! In his heyday Carl Lewis won a gold medal in the same event in four consecutive Olympic Games. He set world records in the 100m, 4-man 100m, & 4-man 200m relays. On top of that, his world record in the indoor long jump has stood since 1984.
Mr. Lewis was voted "World Athlete of the Century" by the International Association of Athletics Federations & "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee, "Olympian of the Century" by Sports Illustrated, & "Athlete of the Year" by Track & Field News in 1982, 1983, & 1984.
America was so proud of their runner...Sort of. You see, on the outset of all the achievements, Carl Lewis was noted for ‘his self-congratulatory conduct.’ That attitude caused him to be passed over by potential endorsers! And his attitude caused me to distance myself from any national pride or congratulations that involved Carl Lewis.
Mr. Lewis undid his own success thru his boastful attitude!
While empowered & triumphant in Christ, the Church & individual Christians within the church, can allow their privilege in Christ to turn into entitlement & deserving. Such a Competitive spirit is Detrimental to the Christian faith.
Likewise, biblically doctrinal(truth) understanding is vital to your growth as a Christian!
*Verses :25 & 26 form the hinge/focus around which this passage flows.
John the Baptist pointed out the weakness/detriments/absurdities/incompatibilities of competitive ministry.
A competitive spirit can be detrimental to Christian ministry.
cf.—Php. 1:15-18—“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy & strife, & some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; & in this I rejoice, yes, & will rejoice.”
“The last thing...Jonah wanted...was for" -(the city of)- "Nineveh to repent at his preaching; but” his... “message)(from God)-...produced repentance in spite of his ill intentions.”—MNTC
Local churches can operate & function as if they are in competition with other churches in the area. Any true church’s ‘competitive edge’ is supplied by Christ Jesus Himself! You do not need to protect Jesus!(cf.-Jud. 6:25-32). You need to be a defender of the faith(1Pet. 3:14-16; Jude :3-5) but not a guardian of Jesus Himself.
We are always best served, & the Good News is best served, & the Kingdom of God is best served, by those who preach Christ from good will, rather than from envy & strife.
When is a competitive spirit detrimental to Christian ministry?
9 detriments of a competitive spirit to Christian ministry.
(And these all center around ‘me,’ ‘my,’ ‘mine’!)
1—A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
Your LAND/AREA is Best(:22-23)
:22—“After these things Jesus & His disciples came into the land of Judea, & there He remained with them & baptized.”
“After” cleansing the temple(2:13-22) & immediately “after” Jesus’ exhortative ministry to Nicodemus(3:1-21),...
...Then “Jesus & His disciples” entered “the land of Judea.”
He was most probably in Jerusalem when approached by Nicodemus(2:23). “...So “they entered the countryside of Judea in distinction from the city of Jerusalem.”—NAC/Carson.
While in the countryside, Jesus stayed with them(His disciples). Thus they were indeed “His disciples,” staying with their teacher & vice-versa. They were “His” disciples—followers & students.
Not only did Jesus “remain” with His disciples, but while they were there in the countryside together, Jesus also “baptized” people. What was the purpose of the baptism? We are not told. No doubt to overall confront earthly sinners with God’s heavenly holiness & their responsibility with it. Jesus’ pre-Cross baptism foreshadowed Jesus’ Cross-work of redemption for mankind in individuals, & our justification(by faith—Rom. 5:1-2) which would be established thru Jesus’ resurrection & ascension into heaven.
Judging from the statement of Jn. 4:2, it is probable that ‘Jesus baptized’ ‘thru’ His disciples, placing His authority upon them. Thus Jesus Himself probably did not actually/technically/physically/personally baptize any.
“& baptized”—not he himself, but his disciples, by his orders, & in his name...”—John Gill
cf.—Jn. 4:1-3—“Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made & baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea & departed again to Galilee.”
On the importance of one’s role regarding baptism. One’s ‘temporary’ event-related role as baptize-er is not nearly as important as fulfilling the permanent role that God has ordained a person to...whether as Messiah, Apostle, or various ministers such as you & me. But all these see fit to encourage that baptisms are accomplished.