Summary: 4 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-IV—John 3:22-36
Another Pizza Please:
Deciding to have pizza for dinner, Mr. Collins called one of the pizza houses in the neighborhood & ordered a jumbo deluxe. He told the person on the other end of the line that He’d pick it up in 30 minutes. When Mr. Collins arrived, his mouth watering for hot pizza, he was told that his order had never been received. Furious, he lectured the young clerk on the poor service before storming out. On the way home, Mr. Collins, still hungry for pizza, stopped at a competing pizza shop & requested a jumbo deluxe.
“That's funny,” the young man said as he took his order. “You're the second person named Collins to order the same pizza in the last 45 minutes. I don't think the other guy is going to show.”
Mr. Collins was in competition with himself!
A person who undoes their own success thru their prideful attitude!
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:—Any Christian ministry(VBS/Missions/Worship) 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)
3. Your PURITY is Best(:25-26)
Our concern at FBCC is that you leave the ‘land’ of YOUR’ for the ‘land of the LORD!’
4—A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
Your PLAN is Best(:27-28)
:27—“John answered & said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.”
John answered the competitive fears of his disciples by reiterating Jesus’ place in God’s plan/history. He called attention to the fact that no man can accomplish anything in God’s will unless God’s “heaven” itself allows it.
In other words, John was commending Jesus’ ministry as being from God, & thereby being worthy of the attention & devotion of others(:26), even if those others were John’s former disciples.
“Answered”—apokrinomai—Verb—1) To give an answer to a question proposed, to answer; 2) To begin to speak, but always where something has preceded(either said or done) to which the remarks refer. Strong—To conclude for oneself, i.e. by implication--To respond; by Hebraism[compare hne[To eye, heed, respond; speak; sing, shout, announce]--To begin to speak(where an address is expected).
From—apo—a primary particle; “Off,” i.e. Away(from something near), in various senses(of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative)—&—krinw—properly--To distinguish, i.e. Decide(mentally or judicially); by implication--To try, condemn, punish.
“Can”—dunamai—Verb—1) To be able, have power whether by virtue of one's own ability & resources, or of a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; 2) To be able to do something; 3) To be capable, strong & powerful. Strong—To be able or possible.