Increasing Christ

03/05/2020 09:14

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Date: 27 April, 2020

Text: John 3:22-36

Title: Increasing Christ

 

 

Introduction:

 

Our text this morning (John 3:22-36) is a story from a day in the life of John the Baptist.

 

- John the Baptist was a second cousin of the Lord Jesus. 

- They were very close in age with John the Baptist just 6 months older than Jesus.

exp. Their mums, Mary and Elisabeth, were first cousins. Mary was told by Gabriel....

Luk 1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

 

note: John the Baptist was an unusual preacher.

- He preached in the wilderness.

Mar 1:4  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

- He had unusual clothes and an unusual diet.

Mark 1:6  And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

exp. He wore rough clothes and ate what was provided by the insects - honey and insects themselves - locusts.

  - He prepared the way for the coming of Christ.

 exp. In the area where Jesus would minister - John the Baptist preached his coming and announced when He came.

Mark 1:7  And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

8  I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

quote - Luke Wayne - "The public ministry of the prophet John the Baptist began somewhere between the years AD 27-29. Scholars base these dates on the detailed information in Luke 3:1-2, where Luke tells us that John's ministry began in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, during the time when Herod Antipas and his brother Phillip were tetrarchs, and while Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests. Tiberius Caesar began his reign in AD 14 (though certain factors in the transition of leadership during the last years of Caesar Augustus prompt some scholars to contend that Tiberius' reign can be counted from as early as AD 12). This would put his fifteenth year at AD 29 (or possibly 27)."

- He was a great preacher.

exp. Jesus testified of this.

Luk 7:28  For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:

 

our story: John 3

22  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

23  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

24  For John was not yet cast into prison.

25  Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

 note: The term purifying has to do with the cleansing - the Jews had ceremonial cleansing which they did before entering the temple - Mikvah - dip under the water.

ill. As the Jews consdidered Jesus and John's baptism, perhaps they had started a dispute about which was better.

exp. Baptism was a big part of John's ministry. He is called JOHN, THE BAPTIST. He had even baptised the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

 

John's disciples were jealous that their preacher was losing out to another preacher. But, John knew what they needed to know.... His ministry was all about increasing Christ. If Christ was enlarged then he had succeeded in doing what He needed to do.

 

I want to bring John's lesson to His disciples before us this morning.

His lesson to them was....

We need to increase Christ. 

 ill. Like a magnifying glass that makes the object viewed through it bigger.

Is your life making Jesus bigger to the world?

 

Prayer

 

I. By learning the lessons of Humility: 

exp. John the Baptist increased Christ, because John the Baptist was decreased.

ill. Before the lockdown, we took Blake to Tantallon Castle - 

2 kilometers from the shores of Scotland stands Bass Rock rising to 330 feet (more than 100 meters) out of the North Sea. (Seabird sanctuary)

- You can create some fun illusions by being right by the camera.

- Pretend to hold it in your hand.

- You can pretend to eat it.

exp. But, if you go back in the picture (two kilometers) the rock is suddenly viewed in all it's glory and you can no longer be seen.

note: With humility John would teach his men to step back and let JESUS be seen in His glory.

A. Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.

26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

ill. Jesus is just beginning his earthly ministry. These disciples don't fully grasp the significance of WHO He is. John knows - Jesus is the Christ. John the Baptist had identified Him before the multitude.

John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

exp.  The disciples of John were jealous of the former glory of their preacher. But, John reminds them HE PREACHED TRUTH, but Jesus is the truth.

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:

ill. Orville and Wilbur Wright suceeded in the first successful powered flight 12 seconds, fying 120 feet before coming back down. The day was 17 December, 1903.

exp. If on the 1st of January 1904, You had the opportunity to listen to these men who had flown or those who taught the theory of flight - you'd rather hear from those who had done rather than hear from those who preached it.

ill. People should rightly want to hear from Jesus when they come to church. (Good old preachers have rightly prayed - "Lord hide me behind the cross.")

Old Brooklyn Church - leather theatre seating, round balcony, pulpit with ....

John 12:21  Sir, we would see Jesus.

 note: And so John's life teaches us humility - 

app. Humility lesson 1 - we preach truth about Jesus - but JESUS IS THE TRUTH.

B. Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.

27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

 exp. The disciples of John here get a very simple lesson.  (We do what God wants us to do - others do what God wants them to do.)

ill. Jesus gave this lesson to Peter at the Sea of Galilee. 

- Israel tour near Peter's home town of Capernaum.

- Peter has been told three times by Jesus - Feed my lambs - feed my sheep (x2) Follow me.

exp. Peter thankfully opens his mouth often in the Bible to express Himself - and we often see ourselves in his words. (Rather than looking at what God wants him to do, he's concerned about what others are doing.) 

20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

exp. Jesus said it so strongly, some thought Jesus had said John would not die. (But what God did with John didn't matter for Peter. Peter just needed to do what God wanted him to do.)

note: Even though John the Baptist's disciples didn't fully understand who Jesus was - THEY JUST NEEDED TO DO WHAT GOD WANTED THEM TO DO. 

app. God has something for you to do and something for me to do. (What someone else does doesn't matter.....)

Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.

Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth but Jesus is the TRUTH.

C. Lesson 3 in humility - It's not about us, it is about Jesus.

28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

exp. John wasn't the Christ, he was just a preacher preparing for the Christ.

ill. The Pharisees thought John the Baptist might be the Messiah and so they asked him. 

John 1:20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

exp. John's job was only preparatory for the great work of Jesus.

ill. Several years ago - watched a dvd about Air Force One - what goes into a presidential visit.

- Planning room.

- Motorcade flown in, fuel flown in.

- Several hundred going before and securing the area.

- Everything planned for the moment the plane arrives with the President.

exp. Preparatory work is great - but the red carpet is not for the ground crew. It's for the President.

app. Are you upset because we aren't in the lime light? We ought not expect the red carpet. It's not about us - it's about Jesus.

Lesson 3 in humility - It's not about us. It's about Jesus.

Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.

Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth but Jesus is the TRUTH.

D. Lesson 4 in humility - We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.

29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, 

ill. John shares an illustration to help his men understand the feelings of his humble position. 

- He was like a close friend of a bridegroom. 

- He's is honoured to stand outside the limelight in the shadows on his friends big day.

1. We should delight to stand in the shadows and listen to Jesus.

....which standeth and heareth him,.... 

 ill. Several in our church were with Jamie and Rebekah Cooling on their wedding day. 

- I was with Jamie in the room just before walking out. 

(Nervous groom before the ceremony)

- I had a front row seat as they confessed their love for one another and took their vows.

exp. As we witnessed that event, we couldn't have been happier for these that we love.

note: John's joy was in Jesus. 

He had his own ministry to attend to, but to hear that Jesus was prospering DELIGHTED HIM. 

2. We shoud find fulfilment and joy in Jesus pleasure.

....rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

ill. Our church family smiled a lot at the Cooling's wedding as we saw the joy of this couple united in marriage. 

app. Are you happy to take a position out of the limelight. Are you fulfilled as long as the work of Jesus is prospering?

Lesson 4 in humility - We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.

E. Lesson 5 in humility 

- We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.

30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

exp. What was taking place was exactly what ought to take place. John HAD TO, "MUST," DECREASE. JESUS HAD TO, "MUST," INCREASE.

exp. John's disciples were envious for his sake - but John was delighted.

ill. Moses felt the same way - As long as God's work was going forward he didn't care about himself.

Numbers 11:27  And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

28  And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

29  And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

exp. Moses had asked God for help and God had Spirit enabled 70 men to help Moses. Moses didn't care who God used as long as God's work was done for God's glory.

app.

 

transition: We need to increase Christ by learning John's lessons of humility.

1.) We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.

2.) We do what God wants us to do, others do the same

3.) It's not about us, it is about JESUS.

4.) We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.

5.) We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.

 

II. By Honour: 

exp. John has some lessons now on honouring your Superior, Jesus Christ.

A. Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is higher. 

exp. Jesus has superior rank.

31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

exp. John's rank was earthly prophet. Jesus rank was heavenly Messiah.

 ill. Earthly militaries have ranks of authority. The higher the rank the more authority.

Captain Tom's fund raiser for NHS (raised millions (over 30) by walking laps 100 around his garden). RAF flypast honouring him. He was given the rank of colonel on his 100th b-day this past Thursday. "Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming," he said.

"People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it's actually what you have done for me which is remarkable."

(He set out initially to raise 1000 pounds. He received 140,000 birthday cards including a personal one from the queen.) (Most read article on BBC on his birthday.)

Capt Tom said he was "very moved" by the honour because to get that honorary rank in his regiment is "something we would never, ever anticipate".

"I really am honoured by that and although I can't use it in public it really is something special to be able to say honorary colonel," he said.

"I'm still Captain Tom, that's who I really am but if people choose to call me colonel, well, thank you very much!"

exp. It is fun to see honour given to someone who is worthy like Captain Tom.

note: I would imagine some enlisted soldiers will honour Captain Tom with his new title of higher rank. But, these soldiers must bow before the queen who is of highest rank as Commander-in-chief.

note: Jesus was no ordinary preacher. Jesus is the highest ranking officer in God's army. He is the King of Kings. Every knee of every man from every age will someday bow before him.

 exp. John wasn't just speaking humbly. He knew that JESUS WAS SUPERIOR IN RANK.

app. Do you know your place today to Increase Christ? Jesus is of superior rank. "above all"

1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.

B. Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is brighter. 

exp. Jesus has superior revelation. 

HE IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL.

32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

exp. John knew what he had learned by revelation from God's Spirit. Jesus spoke about Heaven which he knew.

ill. The man Jesus knew Abraham.

John 8:

53  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

54  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

55  Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

57  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

59  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

note: They hated his perfect knowledge. He could have told them so much more, but they wouldn't have received it.

Joh 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

ill. Doing evangelism and hearing some say, "I'll have to wait and see since nobody has gone there and come back and told me about it."

app. The book of truth, the written word, which we have is from Heaven and the Son of God, the living word, came from Heaven to verify it. Don't try to argue with Jesus and His Word. He's the Creator from Heaven, we are his creation upon earth. John woud increase Christ by honouring his superior.

2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.

1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.

C. Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is purer. 

exp. Jesus is superior in righteousness.

33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

exp. Trusting in Jesus reveals the purity of God's truth.

- Before someone get's saved - they feel pretty good about their righteousness.

Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

exp.  It sounds like - I'm a good person. I don't do anything that bad. I only tell white lies. I don't hurt anyone, I live by the golden rule.

Those who believe that believe a lie - Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

note: But Jesus is sinless!

Heb 4:15  .....but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

ill. We like to brag. I golfed  when I was in highschool and college. I could drive a ball pretty far. 240 yards. My cousin, who got PGA certification humbled me. We played a par 4 that was 340 yards and his ball was on the fringe.

app. If you feel good about your righteousness - take a good look at your superiour Jesus. He is sinsless. You have to humble your heart and take His righteousness as a gift if you want to enter into His kingdom.

Romans 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

2 Peter 1:1  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

app. Have you increased Christ by submitting to your superior? Lesson 3 - Jesus is purer.

3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.

2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.

1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.

D. Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is dearer. 

exp. Jesus is superior in relationship.

34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: 

exp. We are adopted sons, but Jesus is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

ill. Up to this point in human history - God sent prophets and preachers. But, the time had come for him to send His Son.

ill. transfiguration

Mat 17:5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

app. John increased Christ becuse John knew that none was more precious to God the Father. Are you lifting up Him whom the Father loves more than all?

4.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is dearer.

3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.

2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.

1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.

E. Lesson 5 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is greater. 

....for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

exp.  John the Baptist had spiritual power.

Luk 1:15  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Luk 1:41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

exp. But, the love of God put the Spirit of God without measure upon Jesus and put all things under Him.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

app. John let Christ increase, because Christ will increase because He is greater.

Joh 3:14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

5.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is greater.

4.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is dearer.

3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.

2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.

1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.

F. Lesson 6 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is everything. 

exp. Jesus is superior in reality. 

36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

 exp. If you didn't like John, (despised his camels hair and his diet) you could do without him and be ok. But, if you didn't like Jesus, you would never see eternal life and would face the wrath of God. JESUS IS GREATER THAN ALL PREACHERS IN REALITY. HE IS EVERYTHING.

exp. Someone could not like Ben Shore or his preaching and it be ok - if he would listen to Jesus. But to reject Jesus is to reject life. JESUS IS EVERYTHING. 

app. That is why we don't preach ourselves....

2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (Jesus is everything.)

note: Don't let anything - tradition, church, people, keep you from Jesus. HE NEEDS TO INCREASE IN YOUR LIFE. He is everything.

 

conclusion:

 

John the Baptist was a great preacher. John's ministry had a single focus - to increase Christ.

 

We need to increase Christ. Does your life increase Christ?

 

We increase Christ by humility.

1.) We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.

2.) We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.

3.) It's not about us, it is about JESUS.

4.) We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.

5.) We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.

 

We increase Christ by honour.

1.) Jesus is higher. (above all)

2.) Jesus is brighter. (perfect revelation - the living Word.)

3.) Jesus is purer. (perfect righteousness)

4.) Jesus is dearer. (to God the Father)

5.) Jesus is greater. (given all power, all things)

6.) Jesus is everything. (HE IS LIFE.)

 

 

final application:

Unsaved friend - INCREASE CHRIST by receiving Him into your heart.

Believer friend - We need to live like John the Baptist - INCREASING CHRIST.

Date: 27 April, 2020
Text: John 3:22-36
Title: Increasing Christ
 
 
Introduction:
 
Our text this morning (John 3:22-36) is a story from a day in the life of John the Baptist.
 
- John the Baptist was a second cousin of the Lord Jesus. 
- They were very close in age with John the Baptist just 6 months older than Jesus.
exp. Their mums, Mary and Elisabeth, were first cousins. Mary was told by Gabriel....
Luk 1:36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
 
note: John the Baptist was an unusual preacher.
- He preached in the wilderness.
Mar 1:4  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5  And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
- He had unusual clothes and an unusual diet.
Mark 1:6  And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
exp. He wore rough clothes and ate what was provided by the insects - honey and insects themselves - locusts.
  - He prepared the way for the coming of Christ.
 exp. In the area where Jesus would minister - John the Baptist preached his coming and announced when He came.
Mark 1:7  And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8  I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
quote - Luke Wayne - "The public ministry of the prophet John the Baptist began somewhere between the years AD 27-29. Scholars base these dates on the detailed information in Luke 3:1-2, where Luke tells us that John's ministry began in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, during the time when Herod Antipas and his brother Phillip were tetrarchs, and while Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests. Tiberius Caesar began his reign in AD 14 (though certain factors in the transition of leadership during the last years of Caesar Augustus prompt some scholars to contend that Tiberius' reign can be counted from as early as AD 12). This would put his fifteenth year at AD 29 (or possibly 27)."
- He was a great preacher.
exp. Jesus testified of this.
Luk 7:28  For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:
 
our story: John 3
22  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
23  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
24  For John was not yet cast into prison.
25  Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
 note: The term purifying has to do with the cleansing - the Jews had ceremonial cleansing which they did before entering the temple - Mikvah - dip under the water.
ill. As the Jews consdidered Jesus and John's baptism, perhaps they had started a dispute about which was better.
exp. Baptism was a big part of John's ministry. He is called JOHN, THE BAPTIST. He had even baptised the Lord Jesus.
Matthew 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
 
John's disciples were jealous that their preacher was losing out to another preacher. But, John knew what they needed to know.... His ministry was all about increasing Christ. If Christ was enlarged then he had succeeded in doing what He needed to do.
 
I want to bring John's lesson to His disciples before us this morning.
His lesson to them was....
We need to increase Christ. 
 ill. Like a magnifying glass that makes the object viewed through it bigger.
Is your life making Jesus bigger to the world?
 
Prayer
 
I. By learning the lessons of Humility: 
exp. John the Baptist increased Christ, because John the Baptist was decreased.
ill. Before the lockdown, we took Blake to Tantallon Castle - 
2 kilometers from the shores of Scotland stands Bass Rock rising to 330 feet (more than 100 meters) out of the North Sea. (Seabird sanctuary)
- You can create some fun illusions by being right by the camera.
- Pretend to hold it in your hand.
- You can pretend to eat it.
exp. But, if you go back in the picture (two kilometers) the rock is suddenly viewed in all it's glory and you can no longer be seen.
note: With humility John would teach his men to step back and let JESUS be seen in His glory.
A. Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.
26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
ill. Jesus is just beginning his earthly ministry. These disciples don't fully grasp the significance of WHO He is. John knows - Jesus is the Christ. John the Baptist had identified Him before the multitude.
John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Joh 1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
exp.  The disciples of John were jealous of the former glory of their preacher. But, John reminds them HE PREACHED TRUTH, but Jesus is the truth.
Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
ill. Orville and Wilbur Wright suceeded in the first successful powered flight 12 seconds, fying 120 feet before coming back down. The day was 17 December, 1903.
exp. If on the 1st of January 1904, You had the opportunity to listen to these men who had flown or those who taught the theory of flight - you'd rather hear from those who had done rather than hear from those who preached it.
ill. People should rightly want to hear from Jesus when they come to church. (Good old preachers have rightly prayed - "Lord hide me behind the cross.")
Old Brooklyn Church - leather theatre seating, round balcony, pulpit with ....
John 12:21  Sir, we would see Jesus.
 note: And so John's life teaches us humility - 
app. Humility lesson 1 - we preach truth about Jesus - but JESUS IS THE TRUTH.
B. Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.
27  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
 exp. The disciples of John here get a very simple lesson.  (We do what God wants us to do - others do what God wants them to do.)
ill. Jesus gave this lesson to Peter at the Sea of Galilee. 
- Israel tour near Peter's home town of Capernaum.
- Peter has been told three times by Jesus - Feed my lambs - feed my sheep (x2) Follow me.
exp. Peter thankfully opens his mouth often in the Bible to express Himself - and we often see ourselves in his words. (Rather than looking at what God wants him to do, he's concerned about what others are doing.) 
20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
exp. Jesus said it so strongly, some thought Jesus had said John would not die. (But what God did with John didn't matter for Peter. Peter just needed to do what God wanted him to do.)
note: Even though John the Baptist's disciples didn't fully understand who Jesus was - THEY JUST NEEDED TO DO WHAT GOD WANTED THEM TO DO. 
app. God has something for you to do and something for me to do. (What someone else does doesn't matter.....)
Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.
Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth but Jesus is the TRUTH.
C. Lesson 3 in humility - It's not about us, it is about Jesus.
28  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
exp. John wasn't the Christ, he was just a preacher preparing for the Christ.
ill. The Pharisees thought John the Baptist might be the Messiah and so they asked him. 
John 1:20  And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
exp. John's job was only preparatory for the great work of Jesus.
ill. Several years ago - watched a dvd about Air Force One - what goes into a presidential visit.
- Planning room.
- Motorcade flown in, fuel flown in.
- Several hundred going before and securing the area.
- Everything planned for the moment the plane arrives with the President.
exp. Preparatory work is great - but the red carpet is not for the ground crew. It's for the President.
app. Are you upset because we aren't in the lime light? We ought not expect the red carpet. It's not about us - it's about Jesus.
Lesson 3 in humility - It's not about us. It's about Jesus.
Lesson 2 in humility - We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.
Lesson 1 in humility - We preach truth but Jesus is the TRUTH.
D. Lesson 4 in humility - We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.
29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, 
ill. John shares an illustration to help his men understand the feelings of his humble position. 
- He was like a close friend of a bridegroom. 
- He's is honoured to stand outside the limelight in the shadows on his friends big day.
1. We should delight to stand in the shadows and listen to Jesus.
....which standeth and heareth him,.... 
 ill. Several in our church were with Jamie and Rebekah Cooling on their wedding day. 
- I was with Jamie in the room just before walking out. 
(Nervous groom before the ceremony)
- I had a front row seat as they confessed their love for one another and took their vows.
exp. As we witnessed that event, we couldn't have been happier for these that we love.
note: John's joy was in Jesus. 
He had his own ministry to attend to, but to hear that Jesus was prospering DELIGHTED HIM. 
2. We shoud find fulfilment and joy in Jesus pleasure.
....rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
ill. Our church family smiled a lot at the Cooling's wedding as we saw the joy of this couple united in marriage. 
app. Are you happy to take a position out of the limelight. Are you fulfilled as long as the work of Jesus is prospering?
Lesson 4 in humility - We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.
E. Lesson 5 in humility 
- We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.
30  He must increase, but I must decrease.
exp. What was taking place was exactly what ought to take place. John HAD TO, "MUST," DECREASE. JESUS HAD TO, "MUST," INCREASE.
exp. John's disciples were envious for his sake - but John was delighted.
ill. Moses felt the same way - As long as God's work was going forward he didn't care about himself.
Numbers 11:27  And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28  And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29  And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
exp. Moses had asked God for help and God had Spirit enabled 70 men to help Moses. Moses didn't care who God used as long as God's work was done for God's glory.
app.
 
transition: We need to increase Christ by learning John's lessons of humility.
1.) We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.
2.) We do what God wants us to do, others do the same
3.) It's not about us, it is about JESUS.
4.) We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.
5.) We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.
 
II. By Honour: 
exp. John has some lessons now on honouring your Superior, Jesus Christ.
A. Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is higher. 
exp. Jesus has superior rank.
31  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
exp. John's rank was earthly prophet. Jesus rank was heavenly Messiah.
 ill. Earthly militaries have ranks of authority. The higher the rank the more authority.
Captain Tom's fund raiser for NHS (raised millions (over 30) by walking laps 100 around his garden). RAF flypast honouring him. He was given the rank of colonel on his 100th b-day this past Thursday. "Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming," he said.
"People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it's actually what you have done for me which is remarkable."
(He set out initially to raise 1000 pounds. He received 140,000 birthday cards including a personal one from the queen.) (Most read article on BBC on his birthday.)
Capt Tom said he was "very moved" by the honour because to get that honorary rank in his regiment is "something we would never, ever anticipate".
"I really am honoured by that and although I can't use it in public it really is something special to be able to say honorary colonel," he said.
"I'm still Captain Tom, that's who I really am but if people choose to call me colonel, well, thank you very much!"
exp. It is fun to see honour given to someone who is worthy like Captain Tom.
note: I would imagine some enlisted soldiers will honour Captain Tom with his new title of higher rank. But, these soldiers must bow before the queen who is of highest rank as Commander-in-chief.
note: Jesus was no ordinary preacher. Jesus is the highest ranking officer in God's army. He is the King of Kings. Every knee of every man from every age will someday bow before him.
 exp. John wasn't just speaking humbly. He knew that JESUS WAS SUPERIOR IN RANK.
app. Do you know your place today to Increase Christ? Jesus is of superior rank. "above all"
1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.
B. Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is brighter. 
exp. Jesus has superior revelation. 
HE IS LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL.
32  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
exp. John knew what he had learned by revelation from God's Spirit. Jesus spoke about Heaven which he knew.
ill. The man Jesus knew Abraham.
John 8:
53  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
54  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55  Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
note: They hated his perfect knowledge. He could have told them so much more, but they wouldn't have received it.
Joh 3:12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
ill. Doing evangelism and hearing some say, "I'll have to wait and see since nobody has gone there and come back and told me about it."
app. The book of truth, the written word, which we have is from Heaven and the Son of God, the living word, came from Heaven to verify it. Don't try to argue with Jesus and His Word. He's the Creator from Heaven, we are his creation upon earth. John woud increase Christ by honouring his superior.
2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.
1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.
C. Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is purer. 
exp. Jesus is superior in righteousness.
33  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
exp. Trusting in Jesus reveals the purity of God's truth.
- Before someone get's saved - they feel pretty good about their righteousness.
Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
exp.  It sounds like - I'm a good person. I don't do anything that bad. I only tell white lies. I don't hurt anyone, I live by the golden rule.
Those who believe that believe a lie - Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
note: But Jesus is sinless!
Heb 4:15  .....but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
ill. We like to brag. I golfed  when I was in highschool and college. I could drive a ball pretty far. 240 yards. My cousin, who got PGA certification humbled me. We played a par 4 that was 340 yards and his ball was on the fringe.
app. If you feel good about your righteousness - take a good look at your superiour Jesus. He is sinsless. You have to humble your heart and take His righteousness as a gift if you want to enter into His kingdom.
Romans 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
2 Peter 1:1  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
app. Have you increased Christ by submitting to your superior? Lesson 3 - Jesus is purer.
3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.
2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.
1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.
D. Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is dearer. 
exp. Jesus is superior in relationship.
34  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: 
exp. We are adopted sons, but Jesus is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.
Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
ill. Up to this point in human history - God sent prophets and preachers. But, the time had come for him to send His Son.
ill. transfiguration
Mat 17:5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
app. John increased Christ becuse John knew that none was more precious to God the Father. Are you lifting up Him whom the Father loves more than all?
4.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is dearer.
3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.
2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.
1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.
E. Lesson 5 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is greater. 
....for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
exp.  John the Baptist had spiritual power.
Luk 1:15  For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Luk 1:41  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
exp. But, the love of God put the Spirit of God without measure upon Jesus and put all things under Him.
Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
app. John let Christ increase, because Christ will increase because He is greater.
Joh 3:14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
5.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is greater.
4.) Lesson 4 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is dearer.
3) Lesson 3 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is purer.
2) Lesson 2 in honouring your Superior. Jesus is brighter.
1) Lesson 1 in honouring your Superior - Jesus is higher.
F. Lesson 6 in honouring your Superior: Jesus is everything. 
exp. Jesus is superior in reality. 
36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
 exp. If you didn't like John, (despised his camels hair and his diet) you could do without him and be ok. But, if you didn't like Jesus, you would never see eternal life and would face the wrath of God. JESUS IS GREATER THAN ALL PREACHERS IN REALITY. HE IS EVERYTHING.
exp. Someone could not like Ben Shore or his preaching and it be ok - if he would listen to Jesus. But to reject Jesus is to reject life. JESUS IS EVERYTHING. 
app. That is why we don't preach ourselves....
2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (Jesus is everything.)
note: Don't let anything - tradition, church, people, keep you from Jesus. HE NEEDS TO INCREASE IN YOUR LIFE. He is everything.
 
conclusion:
 
John the Baptist was a great preacher. John's ministry had a single focus - to increase Christ.
 
We need to increase Christ. Does your life increase Christ?
 
We increase Christ by humility.
1.) We preach truth, but Jesus is the TRUTH.
2.) We do what God wants us to do, others do the same.
3.) It's not about us, it is about JESUS.
4.) We stand in the shadows and rejoice in Jesus big day.
5.) We delight in anything that rightly increases Jesus.
 
We increase Christ by honour.
1.) Jesus is higher. (above all)
2.) Jesus is brighter. (perfect revelation - the living Word.)
3.) Jesus is purer. (perfect righteousness)
4.) Jesus is dearer. (to God the Father)
5.) Jesus is greater. (given all power, all things)
6.) Jesus is everything. (HE IS LIFE.)
 
 
final application:
Unsaved friend - INCREASE CHRIST by receiving Him into your heart.
Believer friend - We need to live like John the Baptist - INCREASING CHRIST.