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?
- 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