Summary: Our focus must always be on what Christ offers, and what Christ has done. Will we focus on what Christ has done; or still desire our own recognition? It really is a challenge that each of us has to choose … and then follow for life!

What’s wrong with arguing over ministry importance?

John 3:22-36


- The gospel of John screams of the faith that we should have in Christ

-- It is the clearest example of living life FOR the one who redeemed you and I

- Re: The prophet Isaiah already laid out our condition for the OT reader

-- Isaiah 64:6-7, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.”

- IMP: God is not going to force you to accept His gift of salvation

-- We may give others an invitation … but God demands REPENTANCE

-- This is why in context, we see that John 3:16 is more than just “feel good”

- This is why, in context, v16 is SO convicting … it shows us who we are

-- In it we see where we’ve failed and God MUST rescue us; there’s no other way

- Today we will see more of the testimony of JTB; and how it relates to us today

- Read John 3:22-36 / Pray

∆ Point 1 – Down by the river …

- The story now turns back to John the Baptist’s ministry

-- The final section of John 3 relates to his committed testimony about Christ

-- But also, to how the events of these chapters was seen through the eyes of John

- At the river side, where people are repenting and God is being exalted …

-- People begin to get silly …

-- We see Jesus teaching, and baptizing (v22)

-- And also, John is teaching and baptizing a short distance away (v23)

-- And on cue … “we” insert our doctrines and preferences and miss God! (v25)

- However, there is something critical to see … look at the focus of John:

-- John is still proclaiming Christ; his ministry is still focused on Jesus

-- It is not about himself or what he can get … but on the promised Messiah

- APP: What a great lesson for all churches

-- If the church would focus on Christ, I believe our competition would cease

-- This is a tremendous example of how we separate ourselves (not the devil)

-- We cause these divisions in the faith … and we allow them to continue

- Caveat: Now, if it is a false teaching that needs to be corrected immediately

-- However, in these verses they are both preaching the same thing!

- What an opportunity to see ourselves in the Bible here

-- Challenge: Do we argue about the simplest things and miss the main thing?

- TRANS: Let’s continue the story …

∆ Point 2 – What is the argument about?

- We see that John does not really discuss JTB’s imprisonment (v24)

-- This could be for several reasons, but primarily it doesn’t add to this story

-- It’s just a nod to the timeline that this is before he is arrested

- However, the argument between the people is very real and prob. heated

-- See, they would’ve been very concerned about ceremonial washing here

- HUGE: More focused on what it takes to “be” clean than “who” cleanses

-- It is the whole “works are greater than faith” argument … in living color!

- Their religious structure of the day would’ve stressed all the rules/regulation

-- They would’ve heard every story of what one must do to be clean

-- And here, they totally miss the NEW covenant being established before them

-- They are not focused on the ceremonial stuff; but on God’s renewal in Christ

- It’s important to note that this ministry competition is not endorsed by Jesus

-- It is also not encouraged by JTB – it’s not about who is “more popular”

-- However, the comment from the crowd is exactly based in that silliness

- They even refer to JTB as “Rabbi” … and then begin to complain:

-- “Look, they are going over to THAT ministry who does THOSE things …”

- IMP: If ever we should take note about competing churches, it’s here

-- Even JTB does not play into this nonsense and we should not do it either

- TRANS: John’s answer to their whining is, in a word, superb: (v27-30)

∆ Point 3 – John’s Response

- John understands his own worthiness in the presence of a holy God

-- His humbleness is not an act, but a realization of who Jesus is to Him

-- He is more than the promised Messiah … but Jesus is His Lord; His everything

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