John 3:22-36; Genesis 24:27,34; 1 Cor. 4:17
John the Baptist’s disciples had a problem. Their boss was getting quite a lot of notoriety with his powerful message. Wherever he went, crowds gathered to listen to him challenge them to repent of their sins and look for the Messiah. But now, Jesus was beginning to get more attention than John, and they didn’t like it. John gives a much kinder response than they deserved, and helped them understand why Jesus>John. Join Brett Clemmer as he explores how our role is to point others towards Christ. He’s the headline act—we’re just the opening band.
Session 9: Jesus is the Headliner
Well, good morning guys. It is great to see you this morning. We are continuing in our Jesus Unfiltered series, but I just feel like, sometimes there’s stuff that you can’t avoid talking about, and there’s a banana in the room. You’d think there’d be an elephant but today there’s just a banana in the room. So everybody look back at Michael. Let’s just all get this out of the way. Hey Michael. Maybe you can pop up a picture of yourself at this point in the video online so people can see.
So Michael’s raising money for missions, and this is what children’s pastors do when they … He said to me, sometimes I agree to things before I really think them through. We all do that, right? That’s like a guy thing. That’s not a children’s pastor thing. So give Michael a hand for being willing to go all out. Man.
We’re continuing our Jesus Unfiltered series. Before we get into it, let’s give a shout out to Brian Riley and the men in motion, in Brooksville, Florida. These guys are a pretty, a relatively new group, and they want to get together and they want to be leaders and examples to others of what it means to lead in the area of their faith and their family, their church involvement, the fruits of the Spirit, love, obedience, because they know if they will live that out, other people will follow them. Their key bible passage there is James 2:14-26. Let’s give these guys a round of applause. One, two, three. (Hoo-ah) All right. Thanks guys. We’re glad to have you guys with us again today. Jesus Unfiltered, we’ve been walking our way through John, through the book of John and really figuring out who Jesus is. Today, we’re going to talk about the idea that Jesus is the headliner. We’re just the opening act.
We’re looking at John chapter 3. We’re looking at the second half of the chapter. In the first half of the chapter is the famous nighttime visit of a Pharisee, Nicodemus, to go see Jesus. We have probably one of those more famous verses in the bible, John 3:16, as we talked about last week. A very good overview of the gospel.
Today we’re going to talk about some of the events that happened immediately after this. John the Baptist and Jesus and John the Baptist’s disciples and sort of the reaction to Jesus’ rise and then John the Baptist, his ministry beginning to recede and how they handle that. This is our title, “Jesus is the Headliner, We’re Just the Opening Act,” and we’re going to talk about the idea that he is greater than I am. Jesus is greater than I am. We’ll talk about why he’s greater than I am, and then we’ll talk about how does this affect us? How can we be the opening act?
If you think about this idea of Jesus is the headliner. He’s the reason, he’s the purpose, he’s what everything else is supposed to point to. How many of you have heard of Isaac Newton? You’ve heard of Isaac. What did Isaac Newton do? He was a rockstar. Of the like 1700s or 1600s, yeah. So Isaac Newton discovered the laws of … Gravity, right? What’s the famous story, is that he was sitting under a tree and an apple fell on his head. I don’t think, I think that’s a … I don’t think that’s real, and so Isaac Newton sort of is the first person to write out the laws of gravitation. Now what you don’t know is that Isaac Newton wasn’t going to publish anything. He had sort of discovered this. He was an academic, and he was a scientist, and he figured out these laws.
But there was another man who used his gravitational laws to figure out the path of a comet. Anybody guess what that guy’s name was? Yeah, Haley. Let’s bring it up a level here. It’s not Haley. That’s what they called him in elementary school. His name was Haley. So Haley, Haley’s Comet is very famous. Now the interesting thing though is that, Isaac Newton is way more famous than Haley, except for the comet that goes around. I mean, we don’t even know how to pronounce his name, that’s how famous he is, right?
So Haley’s Comet goes around, but it was Haley that convinced Isaac Newton to publish his work. Even more interesting, it’s Haley that found the mistakes in Newton’s math, and edited his manuscript and helped get it published. We all, when you think of gravity though, you don’t think of Haley. You think of Newton. Newton is the one that got the credit. Haley’s the one that pushed him along, that motivated him and that pointed everybody towards Newton’s physical laws of gravitation. In a way, Haley was kind of the opening act. He pointed and pushed and prodded Newton. When you think of gravity, you think of Isaac Newton. You don’t think of Haley. You think of Newton.
The question for us, I think, is when people see us or when they think of Jesus, are we pointing people towards Jesus? Is he the purpose? Is he the one that’s getting the credit and the notoriety based on the work that he’s done, or are we trying to hold on to some of that glory? Let’s look at this passage, John 3, John 3 … We’ll come back to that. John 3.
“After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them, and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Anon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized, for John had not yet been put in prison. Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification, and they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, look, he is baptizing and all are going to him.”
“John answered, a person cannot receive even one thing, unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said I am not the Christ but I have been sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and hear, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent, utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Let’s pray and pray that God would show us the meaning and the purpose of these words in our lives today. Father thank you so much for these men. Thank you for the opportunity to gather, wherever we are, here in Orlando or around the world, people watching this video. Lord I pray that you would use this passage, that you would use this part of your life story, Jesus, to show us who you want us to be and how the world works. Lord, that you would use it to motivate us to raise you up, to give you glory and to see ourselves in a right light, when it comes to how we should live our lives, and what the purpose and focus of our lives should be. So Father, guide us over the next few minutes here, to understand the wisdom and the purpose of these words, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
So John 3:30 is a pretty famous verse, right? He must increase and I must decrease. In fact, if you were to look at Steph Curry, this is a picture of Steph Curry’s bicep. You would see this greater than sign, less than sign (<>). This is one of the symbols that is sometimes used to illustrate this concept of he must increase, I must decrease. Steph is a believer.
I found another tattoo, and that’s pretty big, right? That’s on the inside of a guy’s bicep. He is greater than I. That’s the phrase I’m using even for the point today. He is greater than I. What I thought we would do is really quick, we’re going to have a little contest, all right? We’re going to have a little contest. So at your tables, here’s what I want you to do. Grab one of your pieces of paper, maybe an extra one, and as a table, I’m going to give you about three minutes. I want you to design a tattoo at your table, for he is greater than I. For he must increase and I must decrease, and the winning table, Michael Lenahan, will get this tattooed on the inside of his arm. Well he wore a banana suit. I figured a tattoo’s nothing, right?
Well, no. Whoever at your table sort of is the lead designer, we’ll have a gift for him at the end of the bible study, all right. So take a couple minutes, get your creative juices flowing, at your table. Come up with a table that represents he must increase, I must decrease. Okay. Here we go. Send your artist up here. Send your artist up here with their paper. Come on up. Send your artist up here with their paper. Come on, all the artists, bring your papers up.
Come on, we’re on a time table here. Let’s go. All right, just line up right across here with your papers. That’s good. All right. Go ahead and line up down at that end. Good job. Wow, look at all … This is great. This is nice participation, isn’t it? I was worried that you guys would think this was dumb and not do it. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not … That doesn’t mean you don’t think it’s dumb. All right, so, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to have each guy introduce themselves, first and last name, and you get to tell everybody what your tattoo is really quick, because people back there are never going to see this, but we’re getting it on … Oh yeah, we’re getting it on the video, right? You can zoom in enough? Michael’s going to have fun editing all this. You can zoom in enough? Okay.
All right, now I just want you to know that we’re going to put this out on the internet. This is going to be on video on the internet, and so I just want you … You cannot copyright your tattoo designs, because it’s just too big. It’s too big. Okay. The bible study is too big. So Andy we’ll start with you. Just real, quick explain yours and pass the mic down.
Andy Corley: Check check.
Brett Clemmer: Yeah, there you go.
Andy Corley: Okay. Andy Corley. We have two designs here. One is he, sorry, with an up arrow and I with a down arrow, so you know, showing greater, decreasing. Then the next one is more of a cross, just to exemplify who he is, really we’re talking about Christ is the greater than I am.
Brett Clemmer: Awesome.
Sam Reynolds: Sam Reynolds. Mine is just a cross, the greater than and I.
Brett Clemmer: Good.
Sam Reynolds: Then, draw an I.
Brett Clemmer: Awesome.
Jonathan Cook: Hey, Jonathan Cook. A collaborative effort from our team, our table. The cross, and it’s covering the I.
Brett Clemmer: Very good.
Jonathan Cook: The cross is greater than I.
Brett Clemmer: Good.
David Holbrook: My name is David Holbrook. I was doodling. I have a, you can’t see it, a greater arrowhead, and the sign of a cross and the lesser arrowhead.
Brett Clemmer: Here you go.
Rick Hornbeck.: Rick Hornbeck. The minimalist approach. An up arrow and a down arrow.
Brett Clemmer: Very nice.
Harry Toledo: Harry Toledo. We have the cross with a person in front of it, and like real small.
Brett Clemmer: Oh, very nice. A little perspective there, a little 3-D. Nice.
Jim: I’m Jim, and we have an arrow going up and down with J on the top and I on the bottom.
Brett Clemmer: Very good.
Keith: Hey, I’m Keith. We kind of took the light approach, so we had the sun and the moon reflecting the sun.
Brett Clemmer: Oh.
Keith: Just as we are supposed to reflect God’s light.
Brett Clemmer: That’s deep, isn’t it? Very little to do with the bible verse, but deep. Very deep.
Rich Hescoran: Hello. My name is Rich Hescoran. We had a few different designs, but came up with a he, greater than and I below it.
Brett Clemmer: Very nice.
Jim 2: Jim, and we have an alpha and infinity is greater than I.
Brett Clemmer: Very nice.
Alan: Nice. Alan. We just did the cross, greater than, and a little guy, less than.
Tommy Pickering: Tommy Pickering. Just had a mountain here with Jesus on top of the mountain and me at the bottom, in the valley.
Brett Clemmer: Nice.
Craig Rodrieg: My name’s Craig Rodrieg, and actually I was thinking, one of the genius things about the he is greater than I, is that he used the lower case i, which I actually thought was pretty intuitive. What we ended up doing is very similar to what everybody else did. We actually did Jesus on the cross is greater than the lowercase i for the significant …
Brett Clemmer: Very good. All right. Give these guys a hand, and yourselves, really. So, we’re going to have a very subjective judging process. In other words, I’m going to pick a winner. I’m going to pick the three dimensional perspective one. So hold that up for everybody to see. All right. We got this big cross and this little I and it’s in three dimensions and that’s my choice. Michael and I are going to go get that tattoo together. Say that again? Oh yeah. If you’ll give Michael your papers at the end, and then he’ll make sure they get on the video. Here’s your prize. It’s a copy of Man Alive. Are you ready? All right. So if you have a bible that you can actually write in, I would really encourage you to underline that verse, John 3:30, “He must increase. I must decrease.” That is a key verse in this passage, okay?
Let’s talk about what’s going on here. If you look at the first few verses here, Jesus and his disciples, they leave Jerusalem. Jesus has had the conversation with Nicodemus and they go out. An interesting thing here is that Jesus spends time with his disciples. Discipleship takes time. Then they start doing ministry. Jesus finds a place that there’s water, and John the Baptist finds a place that there’s water, basically. If you’re going to dunk people, you have to have water to do it with, right?
People are coming but John the Baptist’s disciples realize that Jesus’ popularity is growing past the popularity of John the Baptist. They whine about it. They’re like, you know, JTB, that’s what they called him, I don’t get it. This guy’s more popular than us now. So John the Baptist, if I was John the Baptist, this would have been my response. You morons. What do you think I’ve been talking about for the last few years? This is the whole purpose of this thing, right? But instead, John is actually very, in my opinion, he’s very nice to them.
He says, so they say a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. This is, probably culturally a context that they would understand a little bit better. There was a baptism before John the Baptist. You would, there was a purification rite in Judaism at this point where there was a baptism that happened to wash you of your sins. It’s one of the things for instance that a convert to Judaism would go through.
John the Baptist has taken this Jewish purification rite, and he sort of expanded the purpose of it, the reason for it, so there’s a Jew that’s probably arguing with John the Baptist’s disciples about what John the Baptist is doing. Then he talks about, now you’ve got this other guy doing it, and that’s when John the Baptist’s disciples come and say, everybody’s going to him. So John gives this wonderful answer.
He says, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it’s given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, I said I am not the Christ, but I’ve been sent before him.” Then he uses this great analogy. He says, “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete.”
So, I want you to imagine … If you have a bible, turn back to Genesis 24. In Genesis 24, we have the story of Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for Isaac, okay. It’s his most trusted servant, his servant that’s been with him the longest, is the oldest in his household. He sends this servant back to their homeland to find a wife for Isaac. He basically, narrowing the story down, he goes to a well, there’s a bunch of women, find the prettiest girl there. Smart servant, right? I don’t know if she’s the prettiest girl there. It’s the one that God said, that’s probably the one though.
She gives him water and then she waters all his camels. She shows herself as a servant to him. He’s the servant of a rich man, so he’s decked out, right? He goes through this process where he tells her, I’ve been sent and I need to talk to your family. Then she goes and gets her family and she takes him to her, where they live, and he says, look at this, Genesis 24, where’d the verse go? 34. 24:34, here’s a very important thing he says, “So he said I am Abraham’s servant.”
Now here’s the interesting thing in this passage. We never know this guy’s name. We never know this guy’s name, because his name in this situation, his name isn’t important. What’s important is what he’s been sent to do. What’s the task that he’s been given, and he faithfully executes it. His job is to point this bride to the actual bridegroom.
Now, let me tell you. This servant, it says he was the oldest in the house, but he had all this stuff. It said he gave her jewelry and bracelets to sort of, that was sort of the custom of the time, but he didn’t claim her for himself, you know. He didn’t say, well you know, Abraham gave me all this stuff. I could probably set myself up nicely here. Here’s this beautiful girl. I don’t have to take her away from her family. Big deal, find a husband for your daughters. He didn’t do that. His purpose was to point the bridegroom, excuse me, the bride to the actual bridegroom.
Imagine if you went to a wedding, and you … This would be a great movie, right? You go to a wedding and they play the music and the bride comes down the aisle, and she gets, and the bridegroom goes out to reach her hand, and she goes, you know what? I’d like to marry the best man instead. All right. How terrible a thing would that … You think the groom and the best man are going to be friends anymore? No. The best man’s job is to do, is to get his groom to the church on time, right? Make sure the ring doesn’t get lost. The whole job of the best man is to prepare and make sure that everything goes smooth at the wedding for the groom. We are the best man.
We are the best man for Jesus. Our job is to make sure that everything is there, everything is ready, so that when the bride comes in, she only has eyes for the groom. The best man may have done all the work, and the maid of honor may have done all the work, but the bride and the bridegroom only have eyes for each other. That’s the purpose. That’s the focus. So what, so John the Baptist then uses this analogy. He must increase. He has to become more and more important and I have to become less and less important. I’ve done my job. I’ve pointed everybody to Jesus. They are ready to hear his message. They’re ready to follow him.
This was my goal all along. John the Baptist’s disciples, they may not, they just don’t seem to get the point, you know. John then sort of explains to them why Jesus is the bridegroom, why he’s the one that he’s been pointing everyone towards. If you look at verses 31 to 36, you see why Jesus is greater and we have to become less.
“He who comes from above is above all.” Now these next few verses, here’s the thing with passages like this. You get to the pithy verse. He must increase, I must decrease, and then your brain sort of goes on hold while you read the next few verses, until you come to the next thing that’s interesting, which is the woman at the well, John 4. So John 3, the last half of John 3, we have this paragraph of verses that describes who Jesus is, gives us some attributes of Jesus and I’m going to read through it really quick and I’m going to ask you to really talk about it more at your tables, but he says this.
“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.” So, you know whenever the bible repeats something, you need to pay attention to it, right? It says twice, he who comes from above is above all. He who comes from heaven is above all. This is book ending this little phrase here of, “He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.” He’s basically going, Jesus, John, Jesus, right? He comes from above. He’s above all. I’m from here, I speak in an earthly way. He’s above all.
Just making sure that the people understand, or that John the Baptist’s disciples understand, this is God. Then he goes on. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard. So, he’s from heaven and he’s talking about what he’s seen and heard, so what Jesus is saying about God the Father is not from learning. He’s been in his presence. Jesus has been in the presence of the Father. He’s talked to the Father. He’s heard from the Father and now he’s coming and telling the people what the Father has sent him to tell them. “Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this.”
What that means is sort of like you agree to it. You put your confidence in it. “Sets his seal to it, that God is true, for he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.” What do we have here now? We have another example of the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Spirit. Right, built within this. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” Again, showing the supremacy of Christ. So, John does this little sort of theological treatise here. Now some people think that this is John the Baptist speaking so in some versions, you’ll see quotation marks around this paragraph, that it’s a continuation of John the Baptist’s speech, and some people think that this John, the Apostle John, the author, his own commentary on what John’s doing.
Most people would say that it’s almost certainly John the Baptist’s words. Now keep in mind, John the Apostle is writing this years later, so it’s going to be his best recollection anyway, but this is probably the continuation of John the Baptist’s speech. It makes more sense that way, as he’s explaining to his disciples why he must increase and I must decrease. So, what we see here is John the Baptist’s disciples, they lost track of what the actual purpose of their ministry was. They got caught up in John the Baptist’s ministry. They got caught up in the fame and in the notoriety of who John the Baptist was.
You can be in ministry, and you can get super caught up in the fame and notoriety of ministry. We lost Billy Graham recently. Billy Graham was a man who never got caught up in his own fame and notoriety. He consistently pointed back to Jesus. That was his job, and over and over again, even though he counseled presidents, he consistently pointed people back to Jesus. We’ve seen, we’ve all … If you haven’t seen him, go the Billy Graham library in Charlotte and lose yourself for a day. They’ve got his sermons playing in different rooms, and you just over and over again, he just clearly points people to Jesus. There’s not anything about Billy Graham’s preaching that is about Billy Graham. It’s about Jesus.
There was a man who pull tens of thousands of people to crusades to come and listen to him, and he kept pointing to Jesus. You know, I think maybe John the Baptist’s disciples maybe even got caught up in the danger of the ministry. There’s a thrill to it, when maybe you’re not, maybe people are arguing with you and maybe you’re going against the establishment. We see this, I think we see this today with some ministries too. Where people get caught up in the counter-culturalism or I the fame and the notoriety or whose ministry’s bigger than whose? We see this organizationally and you even see it in the individual church, where some class or some person in the church sort of has gained notoriety and it’s pulling attention away from Jesus and John the Baptist says that’s not the way it works. I’m the best man. I’m not the bridegroom.
When the ceremony’s over, the best man goes home, alone. The bridegroom goes home with the bride, and John is pointing to that, in this passage. So John, I love this quote from John Bloom. He said, “We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward.” Roles will begin and they will end, and the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus is increased and we have decreased. This is our Big Idea, from John Bloom. Our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward.
Guys, if you’re engaged in ministry, if you’re a leader in ministry, you’re teaching a small group or you’re teaching a class or you’re a pastor, or you’re a ministry leader like I am, it’s so important for us to realize that our ministry is not our purpose. Jesus is our purpose. It doesn’t … Whatever I do, whatever you do in your role in ministry, the role is not the point. The role is a means to an end. Jesus is the end. Jesus is the reward. His salvation, his pleasure in us, that’s our reward, and we shouldn’t care about anybody else’s kudos, anybody else’s praises, anybody else’s acclaim. Only Jesus’ acclaim. He must increase, and we must decrease.
HOW TO BE THE OPENING ACT
So how does that work? How can we be the opening act? I went to a U2 concert last summer. It was great. We sat in really, what my father-in-law, when he took his kids to hockey games, my wife tells me, he used to call the very safe seats, you know the farthest ones away that you can get. We were in safe seats for the U2 concert but it was still amazing. It was still amazing. The sound, I don’t even know how they did this in a football stadium, but the sound was perfect.
They had an opening act, an opening act that I remember enjoying as much as I enjoyed the U2 part of the concert. You know what I had to do, preparing for this? I had to Google who opened for U2 last summer, because I couldn’t remember who it was, even though I enjoyed it just as much, because One Republic, who was the band that opened, they recognized that their goal was to prepare the crowd for U2. How do we, in our roles as leaders, how do we warm up the crowd for Jesus? How do we make sure that we’re preparing the way for Jesus?
My question to you would really be to say, what do people think when they think of you? Do they think about your personality? Do they think about your behavior? Do they think about your job? Certainly, they’re going to think about those things, but the primary thing that you would want people to think about when they think of you is you would want them to think about Jesus. I have, I am blessed with a father and a father-in-law who have given their lives to discipling people. My dad was a layman, is a layman. He’s still alive. Is a layman, and even today, in his mid-80s, he has a couple guys that call him every week for a little mentoring session on the phone. He goes to, my poor father, he’s got this group of younger guys, younger to him. He’s in his 80s so everybody’s younger. They meet at McDonald’s on Thursdays. I remember growing up, my dad hated McDonald’s. He goes there every Thursday and has lunch with those guys, and just pours into them.
My father-in-law, you know, a pastor for 42 years. Loved people and loves people still. When you, when people talk about my father-in-law, the first thing people always say is wow, what a godly man. They’re not talking about … I mean his demeanor is godly, but what they mean is they’ve learned about him about Jesus. He’s consistently pointed them to Jesus. My dad tries in every interaction he has to point people to Jesus, not to himself.
I must confess, when I go … I’ll go to conferences with other ministry leaders, and there’s a little bit of whose ministry’s better than whose. Who’s the guy that wrote the latest books? Who’s guy’s books have sold the most? This happens all the time in ministry. We get caught up in that competition, and we have to put that aside, because if we pay any attention to that at all, any attention to that at all, we are violating John 3:30, we are increasing ourselves. When you increase yourself, when you pull any attention away from Jesus, you’re violating this verse.
As men, we want people that when they see us, we want them to think about Jesus and most importantly, what do you think about yourself? Do you think, how do you define yourself? Do you define yourself by your job? Do you define yourself by your family? Do you define yourself by your hobbies? Or do you define yourself by your relationship with Christ? Because the way that we define ourselves, it will come out in the way we live our lives. If I define myself as the president of Man in the Mirror … Hi, I’m Brett Clemmer. I’m the president of Man in the Mirror, and every interaction that I have, well there’s one thing that people are going to remember when they end that conversation with me, right? Is my job.
We all do that, right? What I really want to have happen is when I, when people see me and when I think of myself, if I think of myself first and foremost as a follower of Christ, as the best man for Jesus, to prepare everybody that I talk to, to have an encounter with him, to follow him, then that’s going to start to permeate the way that I live my life, and it will permeate all my interactions.
How does, I think the question you have to ask is how does my life point people to Christ? How does my life point people to Christ and to remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. On your handout, you’ve got some questions for discussion. Let’s take about 15, 20 minutes for these questions, and then we’ll come back with just a couple minutes at the end and do a little wrap up.
All right, let me pray, and then go to your question time. Father, would you just bless the next few minutes, as we review this passage, as we think about how it applies to our lives, as we realize who your are, and why you are the bridegroom and we are the best man. Lord, just bless our discussion in the next few minutes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Yeah, I would encourage you, if you want a passage to meditate on this week or one morning, take these five verses, 31, it’s six verses, 31 to 36 and really think about who John tells us that Jesus is and the attributes that he has. Anybody come up with a specific thing that you could do this week to increase Jesus and decrease yourself? Anybody come up with anything? Did you … Oh wow. Ask someone for forgiveness. That’s fantastic. That’s really good. Anything else?
One thing I would encourage you to think about is to live sacrificially. It’s funny, I’ve been, I read a lot of books, right, and I have a mentor, a business mentor that helps me. I was talking about there’s some things that a good leaders does that I just don’t do. I don’t want to do them. It’s not … It’s like I don’t want to do them. He said, “Brett, sometimes you have to behave yourself into belief.” Sometimes you have to behave yourself into habits, you know. I think that’s true.
Christianity’s about heart transformation not behavior modification. That’s true, but sometimes the way that we’re wired is, if we will intentionally commit to something, Pat calls it substituting discipline for a lack of natural interest, if we will consistently do something, it will become a habit, and when it becomes a habit, it becomes part of our identity. Sometimes I wish we called them the spiritual habits instead of the spiritual disciplines because sometimes you just have to help make something a habit. How could you live sacrificially? Who’s that person in your life that really annoys you and so you avoid them like the plague so you don’t have to talk to them? How could you show that person the love of Christ?
What’s a project that you know you should be giving to, maybe at church or a ministry, that you’re just so worried about having enough money for next month’s cable bill, that you can’t live sacrificially? What are some ways that you could just intentionally … Look, I’m going to put $100 aside every month, and I’m going to find a place to invest that, every month, in God’s kingdom, and get yourself into the habit of looking how you can … Maybe it’s five bucks to a guy on the side of the road one day, and you hear of some kids going on a mission trip the next week, and you give 50 bucks to that kid. Every month, you just look for a way to habit yourself, to behave yourself in to a habit of living sacrificially, living in a way that increases Christ and decreases you.
The other thing that I wanted to point out to you is the last verse of this passage. That is, is that Jesus, John just says, look. Belief leads to eternal life. Never forget that. Belief leads to eternal life and disobedience leads to God’s wrath. So we want to be, as men, we want to live our life believing in Christ, living that out by increasing him and decreasing ourselves, and helping others find him too.
Let’s take a couple minutes to just close at your tables. If you want to pray around your tables real quick and then we’re dismissed. Guys, have a great weekend. I’ll see you next week.