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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 81 · 10 months ago

The New Witness

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The New Witness

John 3:22-36

Dax Bryant - preaching

So we will be in John Chapter Three as we continue our way through the gospel of John. John Chapter three is weighed read for US versus twenty two through thirty six. This morning. In his in his book mere Christianity, C S Lewis writes this. He says, I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him. I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great savior and, more or as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say he continues. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to do. You hear what Lewis is saying there. Jesus is not merely a good teacher who is to be respected and admired. He is the son of God who is to be worshiped and obeyed. And that's what John's Gospel is all about, isn't it? That's what we've been seeing, that's that's why John Tells Us, and in Chapter Twenty, verse Thirty One, he's writing these things so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. And the stories we've been looking at here lately, in John's Gospel and in these first couple of chapters, we've uncovered this this theme. Out with the old, in with the new. Remember that in chapter two there's the new wine. Jesus introduces himself as the new temple. Last week in chapter three he talks about the new birth. But we're seeing is that that Jesus both fulfills and surpasses everything about how people relate to God in the old way, under Judaism, that he has this exclusive power to make things new. And why does he have that power because he is the son of God. That's what John is proving and we're going to see the same thing again in this passage this morning, that that Jesus is the new and better witness, that that Jesus surpasses the witness and the Ministry of John the Baptist and everything that is that is wrapped up in John's witness. and and the hinge of this past age, where everything turns here, is really in verse thirty, Chapter Three, verse thirty, where John The baptist says he must increase, but I must decrease. And with that hinge in mind, this is exactly how we're going to approach this passage. We're going to look at John's humble decrease in verses twenty two through thirty, and then, starting in verse thirty to the end of the passage, we're going to look at Jesus's divine increase and we'll point out some specifics along the way. So John's humble decrease and then Jesus's divine increase. So let's pick the story up here. Chapter Three, Verse Twenty Two. After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the Judaean countryside and he remained there with them and was baptizing. So after this, right after what we have to ask, after what we've just been reading about, about Jesus in Jerusalem during the Passover,...

...about his conversation with Nicodemus about cleansing the temple, all of those things, now here when we come to this first we're not told how much time has passed. We're only told that Jesus and his disciples have now moved into the rural area that's outside of Jerusalem, outside of the city. And what are they doing out there? They're baptizing people. Only in John's Gospel are we told that that Jesus was involved with baptizing other people. But actually, if you just look down or at the next page, there in chapter four, verse two, John Specifies that Jesus himself didn't perform the BAPTISMS, but he left that to his disciples. And you may be able to imagine why that would be if you can picture the dynamics. I mean, these are early days in Jesus Ministry here, but imagine a few decades later, as the church in Jerusalem a symbols and they're having their conversations around the coffee pot out in the lobby and somebody asks so, well, who baptized you? I said, well, it was the Lord Jesus Christ himself baptized me. Actually, who baptize you? Oh well, never, never mind. Sorry I asked. So it's Jesus disciples who are baptizing people with water, but they're not the only ones doing this work of baptism. Right Verse Twenty Three says that John also was baptizing at Ann near Salim, because water was plentiful there and people were coming and being baptized. So at the same time that Jesus and his disciples are doing the work of baptism, John and his disciples are doing the same work somewhere in the region of Sumaria. is where this a non near Salim is now, remember, we have baptism going on here, but we're not yet talking about Christian baptism as we practice it, as we understand it. That doesn't come until a chapter two. Both Jesus Disciples and John the Baptist and his disciples were administering a baptism of repentance. Righte that that outward act that reflected the inner desire to turn from sin and to be cleansed from impurity. And then notice verse Twenty Four. John The Apostle, the Gospel writer. He adds that little comment there in parentheses in Verse Twenty Four, for John had not yet been put in prison. Now that's that's not just a state the obvious for us right. I mean it goes without saying if John the Baptist was incarcerated at this point then he hardly could have been out and about helping people be baptized. So why? Why does John The apostle insert this here? Well, as you probably know, this Gospel, John's Gospel, is the last of the four Gospels to be written Matthew Mark Luke. They were already in circulation by the time John Sits Down to compose his gospel. And when you read those other three Gospels, they pick up Jesus's ministry starting in Galilee after the death of John The baptist. There's no earlier record in those gospels of an earlier ministry that that Jesus had in Jerusalem and in Judea. And John The Gospel Writer, he's aware of that and he wants you to know that he knows that and it's a way to remind us that that what we've encountered so far in chapter two, in chapter three, even what we'll see in chapter four. Those events happen earlier than any other record of Jesus's Ministry in the other gospels. But but they're carefully curated and selected and placed here by John Because those, these stories especially, fits so well with John stated purpose. He again he's writing these things so that you may believe. So we have Jesus's disciples their baptizing in Judea.

We have John the Baptist and his disciples. They're baptizing somewhere around Sumaria. And there's this there's this time period of an overlap here in the Ministry of these two men, probably for roughly six months or so. There's this overlap. But really it's more than just an overlap, isn't it? Because as these things are as these ministries are crossing paths, Jesus's star is rising in John the Baptist star is fading, and that seems to create a bit of tension. Notice, as we come to verse twenty five now, a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. So we're not told who this man was. We're not told what the details of the dispute were, only that it was over a matter of purification of ceremonial law, we can probably assume. But whatever, whatever it was, exactly this, this conversation, maybe a debate, it gives John the Baptist disciples, reason to pause and for some reason they start thinking about John the Baptists Ministry and comparing that to the rising popularity of the Ministry of Jesus. Notice Verse Twenty Six. And they his disciples. They came to John and said to him, rabbi, he who is with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, look, he is baptizing and all are going to him. Try to read that without too much inflection in in to that verse. But but look at that verse. If you just read that verse by itself, if you isolated it and just looked at verse twenty six, is it positive or negative? Are they happy about this or are they a dismay? Just look at Verse Twenty Six. You can't really tell just by looking at verse Twenty Six, which is why we should never seek to isolate and understand a single verse all by itself. Right, being good Bible readers means that we need to look a little more closely at the context here to try to connect some dots. So so let's do that. Where is Jesus's group baptizing? They're in the rural area, but there's somewhere outside Jerusalem. They're in Judea, near the they're still somewhat near the religious hub of the country. Where are John's disciples baptizing? Well, there's somewhere out around Samaria, in the midst of you know, those half breed Samaritan Heathens. And notice here, when they come to John, they call him rabbi. Now that's not an inappropriate title, right John the Baptist, he is the teacher of these men. But it's very interesting to note that in all of John's Gospel this is the only time that title rabbi is applied to someone other than Jesus. And then compare that with how they refer to Jesus in that verse, He who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness. That's a pretty wordy way to describe him, when they could have said you know your cousin Jesus, right. I mean, is it possible maybe they're going out of their way to to not even refer to him by name, and then they say notice, look, he's baptizing and all are going to him now. Is that true? Is is everyone going to Jesus to be baptized? If so, who are all these people standing around soround waiting to be baptized by John and his disciples? I think the context makes clear that that these...

...guys aren't exactly rejoicing that what John himself had predicted about the supremacy of Jesus is starting to come true right before their very eyes. And the question is to ask yourself is, would you be very excited about this if you were in their shoes? Has that ever happened to you? or or maybe you can imagine just being part of something that is exciting, something that is new, something where you can see God's hand at work, and then it starts to fade away. And worse than that, not only is it fading away, someone else is experiencing even greater success doing the same thing that you were doing. How would you feel about that? Confused, maybe, or or angry, disappointed, bitter even. I think those are all valid natural human responses to the situation. And this is not just about you know jealousy in ministry or something like that. WHY IS THAT CHURCH BIGGER? Why? Why don't more people come to our church instead of that church? Why don't we have the same big budget that that other church has? It's not just about that, because this is something that all of us experience, no matter what we do, no matter who we are, no matter how successful we might be in life. However you measure that, the truth is sooner or later you get passed up, that that other guy gets the promotion that you deserved, that other business is bigger than your business, or your friend seems to have the perfect marriage or family or House that you should have, and you start asking, why don't I have the same gifts that he has? Why can't I have what she has? I want to be somewhere else, I want to be someone else. Selfishness and jealousy and resentment and envy, those things are always crouching at your door seeking to devour you. So how should we how should we respond then to those inclinations that we have? How do we resist these things? In the answer becomes very clear, I think, when we look at at John The baptists calm and measured response to his disciples concerns. In fact, John gives us here five reasons why he could respond not only without concern about his decrease, but even more than that, he can give a ringing, hearty endorsement of Jesus's ministry and his increasing stature and platform in reach. So let's look at these and we'll try to seek how they might apply to us as well. Five reasons here why John is happy with his decrease and Jesus is increase. Reason number one, all things come from God. All things come from God. Look at Verse Twenty Seven. John answered a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. What's He's saying? He's saying the same thing that Paul says in First Corinthians. For what do you have that you did not receive? Because if God is God, then this is true. All things come from God, which means that is if someone else is more gifted or more successful than you, ultimately it's because God has given those things to that person instead of...

...you. That's hard to swallow, right. You ever notice, maybe it's just me, when you see someone else doing well, you often think things like how did that Dope luck into that or or must be nice to have rich parents. Or must be nice to have of the right people who care about you, to have those connections. Right, we want to downplay the success of others, but of course if we happen to do well, then then it must be because of our own superior effort and intellect and hard work. But what John says here should should correct that way of thinking. A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. Behind all human appearances, behind what we can see, is the sovereignty of God, the God who gives and takes away. God doesn't make mistakes. Right, we agree on that. God doesn't make mistakes. So if someone else has what you think you should have, it's not because God messed up. And I want you to listen to this because I think if you can grab a whole of this has the potential to shift your thinking. God has sovereignly created you, each one of you, and he has given you the particular, unique combination of gifts and abilities and life circumstances that you alone have. It is by his hand, it is intentional, it is on purpose, and that thought should be liberating for you, because now, in place of competition, you can find contentment in place of covetousness, you can find cheerfulness. See when you when you grab a hold of this, this takes all the pressure off. You don't have to be the smartest or the funniest or the richest person in the room, or whatever it is that you think you should be. In God's Providence, you are what he has made you to be. You have what God has given you, and now your deepest satisfaction and joy and fullness are found when you rest in that truth. That's what John the Baptist does here. A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. Now, just to just to press on this a little bit more, if this is something you struggle with, let me offer just a couple of things here by way of application, because this really is a miserable way to live, isn't it, when you're always wanting someone else's job, someone else's marriage, someone else is home, someone else's talent, someone else is life. That's that's no way to live. So the next time you feel that sort of envious disdain for someone, would when you want what they have and you hate them for having it, try this. Just two things. Number One, pray for that person. Actually pray for that person. Pray that he or she will receive every blessing and experience every success in the Lord. I have found that it is very difficult, almost impossible, to harbor animosity and jealousy towards someone who you are regularly praying for. So pray for that person. Number two, be nice to that person. These are simple things. Be kind to that person, say something positive...

...either to that person or about that person to someone else. Try It. Pray for the person, be kind to the person. We Christians are supposed to rejoice in the success of our brothers and sisters. When Paul Speaks about the body of Christ and First Corinthians twelve, he says if one member suffers, all suffer together, when if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Let that be true among the people of God. Okay, back to the text. Looked at reason number one. Why John could be content here? John Continues Now Verse Twenty Eight. He says, you yourselves bear me witness that. I said I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. Now, if anybody had cause to be upset about the turn that things had taken here. It's John the Baptist, isn't it? I mean, if you if you put yourself in his sandals for a minute, right, God has been silent for four hundred years, since the day you were born. You've been told that you are special, that God has a wonderful plan for your life. But then, as time goes on, your parents pass away, you endure this long period of loneliness and isolation and and self denial. You're living out in the wilderness, barely surviving. But then God calls you to be his prophetic voice, to to break four hundred years of silence and and almost overnight all of that rejection and loneliness that you've experienced from your culture is undone and it's replaced by rising popularity. Enormous crowds people are coming out to see and hear you. Some of them even think that you're the Messiah and now starting to slip right through his fingers. But unlike some of his followers, John is not upset at all about these circumstances, especially about Jesus's rising prominence. Why not? Reason number two. He never claimed to be the Christ. In fact, he'd always made it clear that he was not the Messiah, and closely related to that is reason number three. He recognized that it was his role to be sent before the Christ to prepare the way for him to bear witness about him. See, John knew who he was, or or rather he knew who God had made him to be. He knew that that the role that he had, for however long it lasted, was given to him by God, just as Jesus's role was given to him by God. And you see, that freed John Up to be perfectly content and faithfully serve in this God ordained role as a witness, even when the one that he was bearing witness too started to outshine him, started to pass him up. There was no rivalry, no jealousy, no insecurity, no bitterness on John's part, only satisfaction and fullness and joy in what God had given him, and that's reflected in what he says next Verse Twenty Nine. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. Here's here's reason number four for John being able to respond like he did. He's actually excited and joyful about what is happening here. Not only is he perfectly content to be the man that God made him to be, he's overjoyed to be used by God like this, even in comparison to Jesus, especially in comparison...

...to Jesus, and we've seen this earlier in John's Gospel. Right, John is the witness, Jesus is the light. John is the voice, Jesus is the word. And right here John is the best man. Jesus is the bridegroom. You don't go to a wedding and say wow, did you see that best man? He was fantastic up there. Right, if that's happening, if the best man is a center of attention to a wedding, you're doing something wrong. Right. The best man's job is to be there, to support the groom, to draw attention to the groom, and John's job was to draw attention to Jesus, and he's done that. But now, when it says the friend of the bridegroom, that's that's the best man. Culturally, that that role meant that he was in charge of all of the little details of the wedding, perhaps most importantly, the specific duty of Standing Guard at the bridal chamber and only allowing entrance to the recognized voice of his friend the groom. And then, once he had fulfilled that task, he could depart rejoicing because he knew that his that his work was finished. That's why he can say, therefore, this joy of mine is now complete, or, better yet, this joy of mine has now been made full. John has been given the ultimate satisfaction of knowing that his God given ministry has been successful. That is such a privilege to see the way that God has used you be successful in your own lifetime, to see the fruit of that ministry, and John's given that blesting here now, as followers, they're somewhat upset by Jesus's rising popularity, but this is the very same thing that fills John with such great joy, because this was exactly what he had been working for all along. And he sums it up there in verse thirty. He must increase, but I must decrease. That's reason five for John to respond the way that he did. He knew that this transition was necessary. He must increase, I must decrease. This was God's plan. This was John's goal. And let's think about that phrase for a minute here. He must increase, I must decrease. That that really says it all, doesn't it not? Not just for John The baptist. This is the only way for a Christian to live. How many of you've heard the name Hudson Taylor? Pretty familiar with Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission in the eighteen hundreds, and now it's known as o MF. He was. He was famous in his own time as a as a missionary pioneer. Anyway, he was. He was speaking at a large church conference one time in Australia and they introduced him as our illustrious friend Hudson Taylor. Very flattering introduction, and he comes forward and he stands behind the pulpit for a few moments and he says, dear friends, I am but the humble servant of our illustrious master, and that's that's what we're talking about here. He must increase, I must decrease. That's the only option for a Christian. But but so often we will do everything we can to increase our position, our power, our role, our influence. We try to build those things up and then...

...we will go to great length to protect those things and hold onto those things so that we can keep them close. Now, you, you may not necessarily want to be the center of attention, but for most people at least, feeling like you're you're part of the inner circle is an intoxicating feeling. Mean whether that's in your job, with your friends at school, Amongst your extended family, even in your church. But the humble example of John the Baptist shows us a much better way. He's content with the role that he has and not only that, he is willing to graciously step aside to make room for another to fulfill his role. It's like it's like James Rights when he quotes from proverbs and says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, and then he adds humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you, he will lift you up. That's that's part of the upside down Kingdom of God, that the humble are exalted. When we get out of the way, when we yield our own personal interests and agenda to God's purposes, then much good results. So that's what we can take away from this humble decrease of John The baptist. And now a little more quickly, I want to consider the divine increase of Jesus Christ. Why is it that he must increase? Why should he fulfill the and exceed the Ministry of John The baptist? And in the next five verses were given five reasons why Jesus must increase. And this little section here in verse thirty to the end of the chapter, it brings together several themes that we've already seen and really, when you read it you'll see a different brilliant theological truth pop out each time. It's just full of this and again it brings it brings to mind the purpose statement that John has for this Gospel. He's writing to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, so that you might believe those things and so that you may have life in his name. So, with that in mind, here's here's the first reason why Jesus must increase. His heavenly origins, his heavenly origins. Look at Verse Thirty One. He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the Earth, belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is, above all, sort of, sort of rings of that conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus earlier in chapter three. Doesn't it that the new birth from above can only be experienced and and explained by faith in the one who has come from heaven? Now, John The baptist. In contrast, he must decrease because he belongs to the earth. He's a mere mortal, he's just a man. He speaks as one from the earth. Now he can call people to repent stance, he can baptize people with water, but he can't actually bring about the long promised renewal of water and spirit of new birth from above. He's of the Earth. Jesus must increase because of his heavenly origins. Reason number two. Why Jesus Must Increase His divine knowledge, verse thirty two. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard. Yet no one receives his testimony. Since the Sun has heavenly origins, since he is eternal, since he's always existed, that means that his knowledge is infinite.

It knows no bounds. And again, comparing to John The baptist, even though John the Baptist was sent to proclaim a message that was given to him by God. He can only speak in a limited way of what has been revealed to him by God. Jesus, on the other hand, he knows all things, including his knowledge of each man's heart, remember the end of chapter two. And because of that, he uniquely can bear witness about heavenly things. Why? Because that's where he's come from. But no one receives his testimony, it says, that's kind of a hyperbolic way of saying, that he experienced large scale, aale rejection. However, there were some who would believe, and this is the third reason why Jesus must increase, because he is the embodiment of the truth. He is the embodiment of the truth. Notice Verse Thirty Three. Whoever receives his testimony, in other words whoever does believe in him, whoever receives his testimony, sets his seal to this, that God is true. So understand that when you receive, or when you believe, Jesus is testimony about who he is, about what he has seen and heard, you are certifying that God is truthful, not just that Jesus is truthful, but that God is truthful. See that there verse Thirty Four. For or because he whom God has sent utters the words of God, Jesus so completely says and does what God says and does that to believe Jesus is to believe God. Now again John the Baptist message. It was truthful because it came from God, but because Jesus is God, he is more than just truthful, he is the embodiment of truth itself. The other side of this, first John, Chapter Five, verse ten, whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he is not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his son. Here you hear the options. Either believe Jesus and certify that God is true, or don't believe Jesus and call God a liar. Why Must Jesus increase? Reason? Number for his unique empowerment? This is the end of verse Thirty Four. His unique empowerment, for he, for God, gives the spirit without measure. Now what's this about here? Well, as you think back through your Bible, throughout the course of redemptive history, God spoke to his people through many messengers, men like Moses and Samuel and David and Elijah, and the spirit of God gave each one of them a a measure of empowerment for a specific time to accomplish specific tasks. This is different with Jesus. To him, God gives the spirit without measure, without limit. Now, John The baptist, remember he's already seen the spirit descend and remain upon Jesus before he was baptized, fulfilling all kinds of prophet prophetic allusions in Isaiah, for example, Isaiah...

Eleven, the spirit of the Lord shall be upon him. Isaiah forty two, I have put my spirit upon him. Isaiah Sixty two, which Jesus quotes himself. The spirit of the Lord God is upon me right here. John Thirty Four. It is that very same truth stated in a new way. So why must Jesus increase? Let's let's recap here. Because of his heavenly origins, because of his divine knowledge, because he is truth, because of his unique empowerment, he has the spirit without measure. And finally, Jesus must increase because of his sovereign authority. Verse Thirty Five. The father loves the son and has given all things into his hand. Notice the sequence there. It is the loving relationship within the Trinity. That is the ultimate source of God's desire to redeem. Love is the reason that the father has given the son sovereign authority over all things. You know what that word all things means in the Greek all things. Who else but of God could it be said? He has authority over all things? And that's exactly John's point. Jesus must increase because Christianity is about Christ. It's not about all the other things that we tend to make it about. It's certainly not about you or me. This is why Jesus is not just a great moral teacher, you know, someone to admire and respect and might give you some good life lessons that you can take. Jesus Christ is much more than that, and that shows up in the last verse in this chapter, Verse Thirty Six. Whoever believes in the sun has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the sun shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. This is John's big climactic conclusion to this chapter, and it's so simple, isn't it? I mean, it's glorious, it's astonishing, it's wonderful, but it's really not very complicated. There are only two alternatives to responses to the new and better witness of Jesus Christ, either genuine faith, belief, or defiant disobedience. That's it. Whoever believes, really the sense is, whoever is continually believing already has eternal life. I hope you realize that, believer, that you're not sitting around waiting for eternal life to begin. If you're a believer, eternal life has already begun. You're in it. I mean you won't feel the fullness, the full experience of that until you are are reunited your body with your spirit and to exist with God in glory. But eternal life begins right now, because the way you receive eternal life is to believe in the Sun. This is very simple. You are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. But notice here, notice the contrast. Look at that last verse. Whoever believes in the sun has eternal life. Whoever does not believe the sun shall not see life. Is that what it says? No, whoever does not obey The sun shall not see lie. So do you notice? Hear? How belief is is paralleled...

...with obedience. Whoever does not obey the sun shall not see life. So think about this. If, if faith, if belief in the sun is the only way to receive eternal life, and it's something that's commanded by God. Here, then, failing to believe in Jesus as the son of God, that is not just to politely decline God's offer of Salvation, it is to disobey God's command. That's a fundamental difference in understanding how this works and the consequence of this disobedience, in failing to believe who Jesus is. What is it death or, as John Writes, he shall not see life, he shall not see life. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, then your impending death has already begun, not just your physical death, because, though your body will go in the ground just like everyone else, your ultimate death will only be fully realized when Jesus returns and your body is resurrected and reunited with your soul in order to be condemned forever. And please notice here too. He's not saying here that the wrath of God is coming. He's saying that the wrath of God is already upon you and that it will remain upon you forever if you disobey God and fail to believe in Jesus now. Does that alarm you? Does that concern you? But wait, there's more, because God's wrath is not some impersonal, mechanical cause and effect response of the universe to mostly good people who sometimes do bad things. Right. That's that's called Karma. That's an eastern philosophy that that Christians reject. Instead, God's wrath is the personal response of a Holy God who has come to the world that he has created and has found that very few of his creatures want anything to do with him. It is personal. I want you to think about this. If you're an unbeliever, this life, with all of its misery and tragedy and heartache and evil, this life is as good as it will ever get for you. And think about this. If you're a believer, this life, with all of its misery and tragedy and heartache and evil, this is as bad as it will ever get for you. It only gets better. And so, in light of that, I want you all to hear the summons of the Gospel Message, whether for the first time or the thousandth time. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Where there's breath, there's hope. And if you've not obeyed the son, then I pray that to day would be the day that you obey him, believe in him and and receive eternal life. But again, to quote see US Lewis, you must make your choice. Either this man was and is the son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense...

...about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. He must increase, you must decrease. And because our savior is so compassionate, so kind, so loving towards his people, he has shown us the way in this. Philippians, too, tells us that Christ, Jesus, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Notice, he humbled himself. Therefore, God has highly Exalted Him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that the name of Jesus, every Nie should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father. That's what this is about. Yes, Jesus has modeled humility for us to an extent that that we can't even fathom. But this is much more than a good example for us to follow. The humiliation of Jesus and taking on flesh, in submitting, in obedience to the point of even dying on the Cross, it leads to an ultimate, even greater exaltation, and Somehow, mysteriously, it's an exaltation earned by the Sun that his people share in with him forever. Every tongue will confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ, every knee will bow to King Jesus. On the day that Jesus Christ returns, there will be no debate and no question and no wondering about who he is or who he claims to be. You will confess him as Christ, you will bow the knee to him as king, either in this life in humble adoration and worship and obedience and submission, or you will do it on the last day, in a sobering moment when your pride is broken and your sin is exposed and you realize too late that you were wrong. Let me invite you, if you've never bowed the knee, if you've never confessed Christ as Lord, that today would be that day of salvation. He must increase, you must decrease. Let's pray, Lord. We ask that you would take these truths and bury them deep in our hearts so that they would affect us God, that we could take stock of our lives, that we could examine ourselves and see areas where we need to practice humility, where we need to get out of our own way, where we need to stop coveting and wanting what others have that we think we deserve, and to find contentment and joy and peace and fulfillment in your perfect provision for us, the Zenith of which is you securing salvation in the coming living, dying, resurrection, ascension and return of your son. Help us find our identity in you, not anything else. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

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