6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The 12th sermon in our series on John's Gospel. In this sermon we examine the sovereignty of God in salvation

Trusting in the Plans of God (Gospel of John Part 12)

Text: John 3:22 – 36

Let’s go ahead and open up our Bibles to John chapter 3:22- 36… and while you’re turning there, let me just recap what we looked at last week in case you weren’t here, or in case you’ve forgotten. Last week we talked about Jesus’ message to Nicodemus… and to all of us as well… was that we need to be born again. We need to be born again because of the fact that we’re born into sin, and we’re condemned already… In order to do that, we must believe that Jesus is God’s one and only unique son who has come in the flesh, born of a virgin, and that He lived a sinless life. He lived a sinless life so that His obedience and righteousness could be credited to our account. We need to believe that He died on the cross, and by doing that He paid the price for our sins… and we need to believe that He was raised up from the dead on the third day – because that proves we have been justified before God. And then we talked about how sinners outside of Christ, actually love their sin, more than they love Jesus, and they’ll continue to love their sin until God does a work in their heart.

And that brings us to our text this morning. Like I said, it’s John 3:22 – 36 (READ).

So we see what’s happening here. Jesus and His disciples are baptizing people, and John the Baptist is baptizing people, and all of a sudden a Jew – we don’t know who he was, the Bible doesn’t tell us his name… but a Jew comes up to some of John’s disciples and gets into a discussion about purification… or at least, that’s how it originally started. And again; we don’t know exactly what was said in this discussion… but from the context we can tell that it had something to do with the fact that Jesus and His disciples were now baptizing more than John the Baptist was. So in a way; we can infer what the discussion was… it might have gone something like this:

“Hey if John’s baptism is for purification… then what is Jesus’ baptism about? Is Jesus’ baptism better, or is John’s? What’s the difference here?”

Again; we don’t know if this is how it went or not… but what we do know is that John’s disciples come to John and they say, “Hey teacher… you know that one Guy who was with you across the Jordan River... You know… the one you bore witness about? Well… He’s also baptizing people, and more people are going to Him than they are to you.”

And the lesson for us from this passage is found in how John replies to his disciples. Look at verses 27 – 30 (READ). So look at what John does here… “No one can receive anything unless it’s given to him from heaven.” Now that’s trust. That’s faith. That’s John saying, “God is in control here fella’s.” Basically John takes this opportunity to teach his disciples about the sovereignty of God, and how they should trust in that… and in God’s plan… and ultimately in God Himself. And I’ve given you all a hand out in your bulletins - of Scripture references that show God’s sovereignty for your own study. I hope you’ll look them over.

So John’s saying to his disciples… God’s in control, and because I know God is good, I trust Him completely, even if that means his own ministry fades into obscurity.

And then John reminds them that he’s not the Christ… he’s just the forerunner of Christ. He’s been saying that all along. And he’s saying to his disciples here… Not only do we need to trust in the sovereignty of God, and in the goodness of God… but we also need to realize that God doesn’t make mistakes when He gives us our calling. You see; John knows who he is… he knows his job. He knows what God has called him to do, and what God has called him to be, and he’s not trying to be something else. He’s content with what God has gifted him and equipped him and called him to do. Again… all of that comes from trusting in the providence of God. So many people are discontent now days… They’re just miserable… They think “Oh if I can just have that guy’s house, or that guy’s job, or that guy’s income, or that guy’s wife.” They always want to be someone else, rather than who God has created and gifted them to be. And our culture feeds that like no other culture in the world.

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