He Must Increase, I Must Decrease
Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
“He must increase, but I must decrease…” John 3:30
It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes
Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that humility is an indispensable
virtue of ministry. In the verse above, John the Baptist speaks to that very issue.
John the Baptist uttered “Christ must increase but I must decrease.”
Humility is the first law of ministry. All faithful and honorable elects at NCCkl who
are called to minister must make much of Christ and nothing of themselves. 1 Cor
2:1-5; 2 Cor 4:5; 1 Thess 5:12 This is precisely what we see in John 3:22-30.
John The Baptist Is The Greatest Minister Of The Gospel Truth
John the Baptist is the great servant of God who had ever lived. He was the last
prophet. There had not been a prophets in 400 years, there were no stars in the sky.
Israel was in darkness. One star and he faded out as the Sun of righteousness arose.
He sought to be hidden, his joy was in being hidden. It was to bring Christ in view
that he lived and served. Think of it, the greatest man who had ever lived in the
history of the world, the most privileged prophet, the most popular preacher, drawing
massive crowds, the most powerful messenger bringing the greatest message the
world had ever heard – the Messiah is here and here He stands. John the Baptist
teaches us on how important it is that we fade away and Christ become everything.
The Son of God was living in obscurity up in Nazareth, thirty years. He finally
appeared. John the Baptist baptized Jesus so that he could transfer the sins of the
world on to Jesus, Who would then die for all men and rise up to justify the faith of
those who believe in Him. Jesus’ popularity grew exponentially because of the many
miracles and teachings He did. John tells the people to go after the Messiah. Their
ministries overlapped for a while, of necessity because there was a transition going
on. In this context, John 3:22-30 illustrates how the ministers of God ought to fade
away and allow Christ to be become preeminent in their lives.
Characteristics Of A Minister Of The Gospel Of God’s Righteousness
1. Exaltation to Christ
Any ministerial leader who exalts his ministry or position is
perverted in one’s claim. Any ministerial leader who declares oneself as authority
over the ministry is a deceiver and a liar. Any ministerial leader who claim as anything
more than a simple elect equal to every other elect has corrupted oneself. All human
ministerial leaders are like night stars, stars that appear in the darkness, their
flickering light not enough to light the world. They fade out as the sun rises. As the
sun goes out, the stars appear in the darkness. The righteousness of Jesus
Christ shine so fully and so brightly in a starless sky that His glory fills everything.
Jesus Christ is the Sun, we are just mere stars.
2. Faithfulness to Christ
The overlapping ministries between Jesus and John
fomented a problem. It was a problem very human. John’s disciples began to feel
jealous but John didn’t. There is no rivalry with John but His disciples did. As the
sun rises and the stars begin to fade, we see an amazing example of humility of the
greatest minister who had ever lived. His humility is magnificent. As soon as Jesus
went into the regions around Jerusalem and Judea and began to do His ministry, John
went somewhere else. There was no competition in him. He went north into Samaria.
He left Judea for Jesus. This is an act of a humble man who leaves the very location
of his success and goes somewhere to make room for someone else. John was very
focused in fulfilling his ministry of preaching the baptism of repentance which was a
kind of an OT, symbolic washing of the outside to demonstrate a desire to be washed
on the inside and to get ready for Messiah’s arrival and Kingdom
3. Allegiance to Christ
People were shifting from John to Jesus because John was
sending them and Jesus was performing miraculous signs and wonders. In vs 25, a
Jew is questioning the distinction between what Jesus was doing and what John does.
This discussion centers about who is supreme, who is preeminent, whose baptism is
most important and who is greater? The disciples of John should have known the
answer but they had the hard time with this. When John was finally imprisoned, we
can read about it in Mt 11, his disciples were still having a hard time shifting to
Christ. John’s disciples were fighting for the superiority of John over Jesus. They
were envious of the success of Jesus and His disciples’ ministry. They were zealous
with the ministry of John the Baptist and were filled with dissatisfaction. Strange
attitude, contrary to everything John had told them. John admonishes them in vs
27, “a man can receive nothing unless it has been given from heaven.” That
statement settles it with regard to ministry. John 15:5 Gifts, positions and
ministries in God’s Kingdom are given completely on God’s free grace, God’s sovereign
call, privilege and opportunity. 2 Cor 4:1-5 Ministry is a mercy. What is a mercy?
Something we don’t earn, something we don’t deserve and something we are given
even though we are unworthy. We don’t earn it. We don’t rise to the top because we
are holier than everybody else. It is a mercy. Col 1:25 A man receives nothing when
it comes to a call, when it comes to the privilege of ministry, when it comes to the
power of ministry, when it comes to the fruit of ministry except it is given to us
from heaven. 1 Cor 4:7 That will be true even of Christ. John 3:35 The principle is
very clear. Ministry is a mercy that flows to an unworthy elect based upon God’s
sovereign grace. We cannot earn it. We cannot gain it. However, we can forfeit it
and disqualify ourselves because of lack of humility. Thus, Christ must increase and
we must decrease. A great ministry never produces disciples of the ministry, it
always produces disciples of the Savior.