Salvation and the Church: I Must Decrease

A message summary of November 11, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

To serve Jesus Christ, it must be about less of you and more of Jesus in your life.

If we don’t understand this principle, it is the ministry that suffers.

Matthew 16:24-25

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.

You will find your life when you decide to humble yourself and accept what God has for you.

John understood all of this.

John 3:27-28

John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it is given to him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of Him.'”

Many people work hard to build their name and reputation only to discover that they have to decrease. Each U.S. president has watched a newly elected president increase as he began to decrease in his role.  It’s part of life. You ride high for a moment and eventually you slowly fade to the background (John 3:30).

A person of wisdom understands that ‘this, too, shall pass.’ John the Baptist understood that another person was coming that would take his place. Jesus was to eventually take over.

John knew his purpose and chose to live within the place and position that God had given him.

What we have is what is given to us by God.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten.

Psalm 31:14-15

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” The course of life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.

Ephesians 5:15-16

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise–making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

What is it that helps John to understand that he must decrease?

  1. Seeing Jesus as more than a mere man.

2 Corinthians 5:16

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.

John declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

  1. That Jesus was before him. John is dealing with Jesus’ pre-existence.

John 1:30

This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’

Jesus was more important because he came before John.

  1. Before Jesus took on his own human body, He existed.

How can Jesus be before John if John is the oldest? The people and disciples who heard this had to wrestle with it.

  1. John said in verse 31 that “I didn’t know Him.”

It is possible that John may not have known his cousin? Is John referring to who Jesus was before He took on his body?

John 1:32-34

And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on–He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!”

John dealt with the confession of sin and forgiveness of sin. John declared that Jesus would be the one to deal with the taking away or removal of sin (John 1:29).

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