Summary: 3 of 8. John the Baptist pointed out the detriments of competitive ministry. But when is competition detrimental to Christian ministry? A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
DETRIMENTAL COMPETITION-III—John 3:22-36
A DETRIMENTAL SPIRIT
Humility in competition seems somewhat rare.
A person who undoes their own success thru their prideful attitude!
A little ‘healthy’ competition is always welcome!
Christians & the Church indeed have ‘the market’ on truth. We are in competition with false doctrine. But the Church invites grave difficulties upon herself when they become competitors among themselves...i.e., When their competition becomes detrimental to God’s desire.
While empowered & triumphant in Christ, individual Christians within the church, & even the local Church, can become a breeding ground for a Competitive spirit, driven by turning privilege in Christ into entitlement & deserving. Such a Competitive spirit is unhealthy & Detrimental to the Christian faith.
A biblically doctrinal(truth) understanding is vital to your growth as a Christian! We must stand firm for the truth, & we must also be certain to avoid standing firm for that which is contrived of man!
*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! Together, we must be defenders of the faith(1Pet. 3:14-16; Jude :3-5).
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.
Jesus said, in Mark 3:24, 25—“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
*Example:—VBS can be an outreach OR a competition between churches.
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’!)
We have already seen that,
A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
1. Your LAND/AREA is Best(:22-23)
2. Your IMMERSION/Baptism is Best(:23-24)
Today, we will also find that,
3—A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
Your PURITY is Best(:25-26)
:25—“Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples & the Jews about purification.”
Seeing as Jesus & John were both baptizing, though in different places (:22-23), John’s disciples became involved in pertinent questions with the Jews. This assumes that “the Jews” held to a differing belief than John’s disciples & thus to that of John himself.
“The Jews” were very concerned about performance(human ability) surrounding ‘ritual’ or ‘ceremonial’ “purification.”
John, & thereby his disciples, evidently had a more ‘function’-driven view rather than “the Jews’” ritual/ceremonial view of “purification.”
*And as such, the prevailing ritual teaching among “the Jews” prevented them from grasping any connection to Jesus’ fulfillment of the law. Because that connection is made from the heart, not from blind performance!
“...the ceremonial purifications, & ablutions commanded in the law of Moses; or concerning the various washings of persons, & vessels, according to the traditions of the elders,” ...“the Jews in common were very tenacious of...”—John Gill
*“Purification” is the key concept here!
There were differing ideas as to how to bring about/achieve “purification” in relation to YaHWeH the One True God. And those differing ideas remain to this day!
*“Purification” involves HOW to appease/propitiate/reach/meet/please God!...*Or knowing what my & your part is in bringing about a right relationship with the God of the Bible.
Their questionings necessarily involved & revolved around Jesus’ identity, purpose, & ministry.
Those who serve God should always be searching for godly insight into their actions. They wisely wanted to ‘get it right’ in relation to God. They probably wrestled with the place/importance of ritual against issues of life, heart & love. If we do NOT do the same, we leave eternal matters to happenstance, which is absolutely foolish!...
Jn. 3:18-20, 16-17—“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, & men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light & does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”...