Summary: 5 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-V—John 3:22-36
A 92 year old man went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw the man walking down the street with a gorgeous young lady on his arm.
At his follow up visit, the doctor talked to the man & said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"
The man replied, "Just doing what you said Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma & be cheerful.’”
The Doctor said, “I didn't say that. I said ‘You’ve got a heart murmur, Be careful!’”
There was a competition between the doctor's advice & the patient's follow-thru, which was detrimental to the patient’s health!
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)
3. Your PURITY is Best(:25-26)
4. Your PLAN is Best(:27-28)
Our concern at FBCC is that you leave the ‘land’ of YOUR’ for the ‘land of the LORD!’
5—A competitive spirit is detrimental to Christian ministry when...
Your FULFILLMENT is Best(:29-30)
:29—“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands & hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.”
Here John presents himself as the “friend of the bridegroom,” whereas Jesus is “the bridegroom.”
“The friend of the bridegroom” “both stands & hears” the “bridegroom”(cf.—‘c.’ below). The “friend” is in the “bridegroom’s” presence during the entire wedding ceremony.
It is the friend’s” great “joy” when he discerns the “bridegroom’s voice. John has indeed heard the “bridegroom’s”(Jesus’).
a. The friend of the bridegroom served in a similar capacity as does a ‘Master of Ceremonies.’—D.A. Carson/MNTC
“The friend of the bridegroom” “found his greatest joy in watching the ceremony proceed without a problem.”(D.A. Carson), without detriment to the bridegroom’s character & purpose.
b. The friend of the bridegroom would actually wait outside the bedroom door or tent of the newly wedded couple(chamber) on the wedding night. To put it delicately, there would be communication with the “friend” immediately following sexual consummation of the marriage. Following such, the festivities would continue.—NAC
c. Thus the “friend” & the “bridegroom” interacted with each other, as loving close friends do.
*Perhaps something should be stated here due to our times & culture...That just because you have a best friend or many ‘best friends’ or ‘best buds’...Because you are close to one another & of the same mind, & enjoy one another’s company, does not mean that you are gay, or weird, or have emotional or mental issues...It means that you are simply & uncomplicatedly, best friends.