Summary: Everything falls into place when we realize that Jesus is First and we are second.
Text: John 3:22-36
1. Illustration: I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me…my banner will be clear!"
— by Dr. Robert Moorehead (pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Washington for 29 years).
2. Unfortunately, there aren't nearly enough Robert Moorehead's in our world today. We live in a world that would rather exalt self rather than Jesus.
3. When it comes to exalting Jesus...
a. Ego Gets In The Way
b. Humility Looks To The Greater Good
c. Benefits And Disadvantages
4. Let's stand together as we read John 3:22-36
Proposition: Everything falls into place when we realize that Jesus is First and we are second.
Transition: The problem that we as humans have with exalting Jesus is...
I. Ego Gets In The Way (22-26).
A. Instead Of Coming To Us
1. As we read through John's Gospel we need to take into consideration that he had a specific purpose in mind, and that was to tell the story of Jesus life and ministry from his perspective and to show him to be the unique Son of God, the Savior of the world.
a. However, in doing so he was also dealing with certain challenges that his congregation was dealing with at this particular time.
b. One of those challenges had to do with the disciples of John the Baptist, some of which never quite got the messages that the Baptist taught about Jesus.
c. This section of the Gospel deals with this issue.
2. It starts out with, "Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people."
a. We should notice two things about Jesus here. First, he cared about ordinary people. He didn't stay in the city or at the mega church, but he went into the countryside.
b. Second, he cared about his disciples. He was among other things a mentor, and spent time teaching his disciples.
c. "Spent some time" translates another word that is not very specific, but we get the impression of an unhurried period during which Jesus and his followers got to know each other better.
d. We do not read of Jesus as baptizing in any other Gospel, and from 4:2 we learn that the actual baptizing was carried out by the disciples, not by Jesus in person.
e. It is difficult to think of this as Christian baptism in the later sense. More probably it represents a continuation of the "baptism of repentance" that was characteristic of John the Baptist, though with some implication of adherence to Jesus.
f. Both Jesus and his first disciples had come from the circle around John, and it may well be that for some time they continued to urge people to submit to the baptism that symbolized repentance.
g. We know that Jesus' first preaching was the same as that of John, "Repent" (Morris, New International Commentary, The - The New International Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John).
3. This is where the problem comes in. In v. 23 we read, "At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism."