He Must Increase, but I Must Decrease (John 3:22-30)
First Scripture Reading: Exodus 20:1-17; Romans 13:8-10
Second Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Sermon Text: John 3:22-30
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism helps us frame the purpose of our existence: What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. We learn from this question and answer and from the Bible that this is not just a purpose we must fulfill, but we will only enjoy life when we make much of God. We were designed to worship God and to enjoy him forever; anything that falls short of that leads to frustration and ruin. John the Baptist had the correct view when he was confronted by some envious followers. John insisted that the focus needed to be taken off of him and placed on Christ; Christ needed to increase, but John needed to decrease.
Much of our culture is “me-centered.” Through the use of social media, people are seeking attention and fame. The Christian life, however, requires a completely different perspective. We live to put the focus on Christ and not on ourselves. William Carey (born in 1761) was a missionary to India. As he lay dying, he turned to a friend and said, “When I am gone, don’t talk about William Carey; talk about William Carey’s Savior. I desire that Christ alone might be magnified.”
- For review, read John 3:1-21. How would you summarize what Jesus taught Nicodemus about regeneration? About God’s love?
- Read John 3:22-26. Why were John’s disciples envious? Why is envy such a dangerous sin?
- Read John 3:27-28. What does John the Baptist reveal by his response? According to John 1:19-34, what did John the Baptist understand his role to be in redemptive history?
- Read John 3:29. What does John the Baptist teach his disciples through this illustration?
- Read John 3:30. How do you think John’s disciples reacted to these words? Why is this saying so contrary to our sinful nature?
- In preparation for our next study through this gospel, read John 3:31-36. What do you think these verses teach in the context of chapter 3?
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