Today’s message summary of November 25, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
John was chosen by God to be the one to set up the coming of Jesus Christ. He knew his role. He knew his ministry.
John realized that his ministry was unique, but Jesus’ ministry would be much different. He also realized that he only received what God had given him (John 3:27). He was to remain faithful in his role.
Exaltation does not come from the east, the west, or the desert, for God is the judge: He brings down one and exalts another.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will leave this life.
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside, where he spent time with them and baptized. John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were coming and being baptized.
Both Jesus and John were baptizing. There was no competition between the two, but their ministries were different.
There is a lot of emphasis within the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) about going out into the world, but the important element of the going out is the teaching and preaching of the gospel message.
God, in His own way, will bring people to Himself. The church does not need gimmicks to bring people into it. The Lord is the one who draws people to Him (John 12:32).
John the Baptist’s ministry differed from Jesus in that he brought people to think about their sin and the need to repent. He also asked the question himself as to whether or not Jesus was “the One.”
Some people in John’s ministry were stirring discord. The argument was over ceremonial washing or baptism. They had observed how Jesus was baptizing people just as John was. They look for points of disagreement not to be helpful but instead to raise discontentment and doubt.
John the Baptist responded by showing others that he was keeping his eyes of Jesus.
Then a dispute arose between John’s disciples and a Jew about purification. So they came to John and told him, “Rabbi, the one you testified about, and who was with you across the Jordan, is baptizing—and everyone is going to him.”
John responded, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven.
John knew how to keep his eyes on his own ministry. He fulfilled what God had called him to do, and he remained focused on it.
In ministry, we are all influencers for the kingdom. We are to perform the individual ministries that God has selected for us.
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
This was John’s testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”
He didn’t deny it but confessed: “I am not the Messiah.”
“What then?” they asked him. “Are you Elijah?”
“I am not,” he said.
“Are you the Prophet?”
“No,” he answered.
“Who are you, then?” they asked. “We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself?”
He said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord—just as Isaiah the prophet said.”
“See, I am going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way before me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple, the Messenger of the covenant you delight in—see, he is coming,” says the Lord of Armies.
Our true mission is to influence people to follow Jesus and not us.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John himself was not the light. While he was in ministry, he asked if Jesus was the Messiah that he was preparing for. He would learn that Jesus was indeed the One to follow him, and he lived in such a way that he would honor Christ in his role. He remained loyal to his position and was joyful in the emergence of Jesus Christ.
Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us.
John reveals that he knows his position by the story that he shares:
He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.
John speaks more directly in vv. 31-36 for further clarity:
The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, and yet no one accepts his testimony. The one who has accepted his testimony has affirmed that God is true. For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
John knows he is not the Christ, but he is the messenger–the forerunner of the One to come.
Jesus followed John, and He will return again one day to be the Judge of all mankind.
You and I are the forerunners of the One who is coming back.