Satisfied with Second

By Guest Teacher on June 12, 2022

John 3:22-36


Satisfied with Second

By Guest Teacher on June 12, 2022

John 3:22-36

Amen. I thought the singing was great. Also, I agree with you there. So it is absolute joy and privilege to be with you this morning. I'm so excited to be preaching here, to be with you all. I've been so encouraged as I've gotten to learn more and more about your church, learn what the Lord's been doing here in Huntington Beach over the last eight years, seeing so many people here on a Sunday morning. You know, we live in strange times, where it's hard to find a church that just reads the Bible, teaches the Bible and actually then tries to live the Bible. It's not extraordinary that it's extraordinarily rare. And so, to be with like minded people on the Lord's Day, worshipping our great God, who has revealed Himself to us, and has called us to worship him. It is a joy to be here. So thank you. Thank you for having me.

My name is Josh Petras. I serve up at Grace Community Church. As Bobby said, my wife and I have been married for the last 12 years. But more than that, what we're just saying really that that is my testimony as well. I was someone coming from a casual Christian home, who the Lord, by His grace, saved me when I was in eighth grade. And since then, like many of you, we just want to be faithful, and whatever way you'd have a service. So, it's a joy to be here.

If you have your Bibles, let's get into God's word. Enough about me. Let's go to John chapter three. John, chapter three is where we're going to be this morning. Again, thank you for the opportunity, thanks to the pastoral staff for letting me come. John chapter three, and it is my understanding that, when we read the Bible here, when we read God's word, we usually stand for the reading of Scripture. So let's do that. Why don't you go ahead and stand? I'm going to read our passage; we're going to read verses 22 to 36. I'm going to read our passage, and then I'm going to pray afterwards. So let's read the text together.

John chapter 3, starting in verse 22. Word of God reads: "After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).

Now a discussion arose between some of John's disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 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. He must increase, but I must decrease.” 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. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." This is God's very Word.

Let's pray. So consider together. Father, thank you for this morning. Thank you for the opportunity we have now to look at your word, to hear from you. Lord, we're thankful for your Son, Jesus Christ, that you love us because of Christ, that you've rescued us through His death. Lord, I pray now that you would use your word today by your Spirit, to make us more like your son and to love your son more. We pray these things asking for your help, in Christ's name we pray, amen. You may be seated.

I think we'd all agree that nobody, nobody, likes to feel like they're being sold something, that we're being manipulated, that someone is perhaps withholding all the facts as they're trying to persuade us. Or we don't like that feeling that someone is being overly kind, maybe even ridiculously kind, in order to get us to buy in. We don't like that. On the other hand, we can appreciate the sort of honest and kind salesmanship that comes from those who don't have to hit any hidden information. Maybe they even reveal their bias. We like to know, whether it's the news, political analysis, or buying a car, we like it when someone says, here's all the facts, the good and the bad. We'd like to know if there's any bias. When we look at the Gospel of John, what we find is really that all of the Gospels have a bias. We have one in the Gospel of John, you would see it as well as you're reading through Matthew, read through Mark. The authors are giving the history of Jesus, they're not telling us everything that Jesus did, but they're presenting a history with an angle, with an aim. There's something they want you to do with this information.

And just so we're aware of that angle, go back to John chapter 1. Alright, let's sort of set the context of John here. If you're looking at John chapter 1, starting in verse 12. John says, "but to all who did receive Him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Now let's jump back to John chapter 20. So let's kind of look in here, John, chapter 20. Let's see what John's aim is as he writes this gospel. John, chapter 20, you could look at verse 31. So the end of the chapter, actually, let's look at verse 30. Because this even shows the selective history of John, verse 30. He says, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing him, believing in Him, you may have life in his name." So, what is John's angle, he's presenting this history. We can turn back to John 3. Now he's presenting the history, and therefore in our text today John wants you to believe on Christ so that you may have eternal life. Now, we need to be careful with that sentence. Because in our day and age, there's a lot of, you could say, spiritual language that gets used, without people quite understanding what it means. People use words like hope and forgiveness and sin, but maybe they don't always have a clear understanding of those definitions. John's angle is that we have eternal life by believing in Jesus. Eternal life, that is a quantity of life. That's life that goes forever -- life after the grave. Jesus says that He is the resurrection. Whoever believes in him, though he die, he will live forever. But it's also a quality of life. There's a vibrancy, spiritual energy, you live life as you've never lived before. There's a fulfillment and a joy and a purpose that Christ offers right now.

But the other word, I think, that we need to think about is "believe". What do we mean by belief? That can mean so many things. For some people, belief carries the connotation of superstition, like you believe it's lucky to get a four-leaf clover, or you believe that every December 24, a large cookie addict will come down the chimney and deliver presents to all the good kids, right? It's superstition, right? And so when you say "believe," it feels like, Well, I'm kind of old. I'm too old for that. I'm beyond that. The other thing "belief" is is opinion, opinions ranging from politics to what's the best restaurant in town, where do I get the best Mexican food? Now, other beliefs can be absurd, right? Your sports team is down by 30. And sounds like come oh, man, you gotta believe to keep the faith, right? And so we use this word in all sorts of different ways. But what does it actually mean? Biblically? The word "belief" is the same word as "faith". It's the word "trust". It's to trust someone. And in the gospels, it's not just the trust that the facts of Jesus are true, it's to trust Jesus in such a way that you entrust your life over to Him. Belief in the Gospels, and especially when we're looking at the Gospel of John, is to believe in Jesus, that you believe on Him with your whole life. You surrender everything over to him, hold nothing back. You know, there's no neutrality here. There's no spiritual Switzerlands that are kind of cool with Jesus, you're all in, fully committed to who he is.

But even so, let's ask another question. What does that look like? Like how do I know if I'm really all in? How do I know if my belief in Jesus is God's description of belief, and not just a man-made way of belief? How do I know I'm doing the Christian way and not just the cultural thing of between Sunday morning attendance, you know, maybe wearing a cross, reading my Bible? How do I know that I'm believing in Jesus the way that Jesus wants us to believe in Him? Or how do I know as a Christian that still, today I'm continuing to believe on Him in the way that most honors Him? That's the question we need to wrestle with. And what would help us is an example. We're all helped by examples, or were helped by people not just telling us, but showing us. Prior to being a pastor, I was a math teacher, I taught algebra. At a junior high high school, I used to have a ministry of death. Now I have a ministry of life is what I say. So some of you, like cringed when I said, man, you weren't ready for that at all. But what I was doing all the time is I would tell the students how the formulas would work, how the math would work, the math, and then I would show them how it would work, right? Because we need to see things. With certain things we need that right? You can't explain with written instructions, to a seven year old how to tie their shoes, right? You have to show them how to do it. But many of us have been helped around our house, I am not a handyman at all. But I've been so thankful for the many videos on YouTube that have taught me how to like change a showerhead and change a car battery, and all these things I could never figure out. We love examples. And that's what John chapter three is about, the second half that we're looking at.

What you see here is John the Baptist. I know many of you are doing the scripture of the day through the Gospel of Matthew, and now you're in the Gospel of Mark. You know John the Baptist is an important character in the gospels, that back in the Old Testament, there is a promise that God had that he's going to send this eternal King, this eternal Savior, the Messiah, the Christ, that King is Jesus. But John, is the guy who's going to announce that the King is here. That's how John functions. But in this passage, he's more than that. John becomes, for us an example, showing us what belief in Jesus looks like, what it means to believe on him. We've all, maybe not in Huntington Beach, but maybe you've had the opportunity to walk through heavy snow before, and how it's always easier to walk in the footsteps of someone who's already gone ahead. That's what we want to do with John here in this message, you want to see what his belief looks like. Because I think the author of this gospel, the apostle John, wants us to believe in the same way that he does.

And so, this morning, as we look at this text, I want to ask you two -- I'm going to present for you two choices. And this passage presents where each of us has two choices. So we'll look at those choices. And then finally, we'll ask a question about those choices after. So let's get into this text. Finally, let's, let's look at it again to understand the passage, verse 23. It says that John is baptizing, he's baptizing at "Aenon and Salim because there's plenty of water there." It's always a good reason to baptize, and there's a lot of water in a certain location. And you've got to understand that, at this time, John's ministry is extremely popular. Because if you read the other gospels -- I'll give you a few references -- In Mark, it says all of Judea and Jerusalem is coming to him. Okay, all the people are coming out, the religious leaders are coming out to him. Even Herod, according to Mark 6, the non-religious, non-Jew, this government official wants to hear Mark preach. He enjoys hearing Mark preach. In fact, Mark was so popular that it says in Luke chapter 3 people thought Mark might be the Messiah, he might be the Christ, he might be the one that God uses to set up His eternal kingdom, which tells us that John the Baptist was super popular. I mean, this is before movies. This is before YouTube. This is before all these forms of entertainment we have, there were no sports in town that people were going to. John was a big deal, which means his disciples would have been a really big deal as well. They would have been well known. And so when we read that there's a discussion, verse 25, that arises between John's disciples and a Jew of a purification. We're not really sure what this discussion was about. It would seem the Jews had ceremonies of purification. John's disciples were baptizing. Maybe there's some debate: Is your baptism really necessary? The discussion is a very politically correct way to describe what's happening here. There's some tension here. And so, in light of that conversation, what comes out of that and verse 26, is his disciples come to him and say, Rabbi, he who's with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, look, he's baptizing, and all are going to him, discussion with the Jew, discussion with the religious leaders about what their ministry is. And they come back saying Jesus is baptizing everyone. What happens there?

Oh, I think we're allowed to read a little bit into the lines and understand what's going on. You know, I don't know if this happened exactly like this, but probably something like where the Jew in the midst of this debate said something very snarky and ended by saying, Well, you know, that's great that you have this business going. And that's great. You do your little baptism thing. I'm sure you'll enjoy your final month and a half of doing that. Oh, you don't know? Oh, yeah, Jesus, the guy you've been talking about? He's baptizing. And I know you guys used to have some big numbers. But numbers are getting pretty big over there. So you guys will probably be closing up shop really soon. And so they go to John, when they say all are coming to him. They're worried. They're concerned. And what they're concerned about is something that you could call occupational obsolescence. They are worried that they are going the way of the blacksmith. Anyone want to go to a blacksmith this week, they're going the way of the milkman. Anyone have dairy delivered to them like that? How many of you remember Circuit City, way back in the day. Circuit City. They're they're worried they they are worried they are going the way of Blockbuster Video. Now for some of you that are younger, you may not realize that we used to watch movies, not on a computer, but on this magical black box called like a video tape. And you'd put it in, and you actually have to rewind it and stuff, and you get a fee and take it to a store that smells very much like popcorn butter. But that was the idea here. They are worried that they're not going to be around anymore, that they are no longer going to be needed. There's the diminishment of their importance right in front of them. And so they exaggerate, everyone is coming to him. Their concern is their reputation, their honor, their respectability, which leads us to our first point of view of your handout.

I said you have two choices that we have to make every single day. Choice One is this. choice one that we're presented with is to live for self. Everyday, you have two options in front of you. And one of those options is to live for self. They're worried that Jesus is becoming more popular than them. They just say that out loud, like, doesn't that sound ridiculous? Jesus is becoming more popular than us. I mean, that's so short sighted. That's so petty. And yet, that is so human. That's so much like you and me. Right? Here, this sounds like us, who build our lives so often to make our decisions about our our own importance, and our own satisfaction. One motivational speaker, not a Christian -- and you can tell from the quote. He said something like this: Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. Okay, that is a sentence dripping with self-centeredness. But it's something you see all the time. It's something every advertiser assumes about you, that you are interested and helping yourself out. It's something you see modeled in celebrity. So a few years ago, I read a story about a celebrity couple that decided to divorce. And the statement that was put out by their publicist said, "they have decided this is what's best, while they both focus on themselves and their careers." Right. That's the sort of me-first. it's about-me attitude that we see. And it's everywhere. We see it in our culture, we are trained by society around us and by our flesh to be about self promotion, self indulgence, and self importance, to celebrate the self. And so if I want to be happy, I need to look out for number one. If I go to the classroom, if I go to the workplace, at the house, I need to be about me. I need to rearrange my schedule with stuff, but I need to leave enough room for me-time.

This is the concern of the disciples. They are worried about their own importance dropping off. And there's this question about how John is going to react, and we'll get to that, that's the main focus of the passage. But I just ask you, How would you respond? How do you respond when life isn't about you? Do you find yourself, when you're importance is threatened, do you find yourself getting frustrated or jealous, bitter, despondent? Friend, you realize that life is not meant to be about you. Life was not designed to have you at the center of it. Life is not some grand narrative where we exist as the main character of our own stories. So let me ask some questions of you this morning questions I've asked myself this week. How much of life right now is about you? At work? Do you show up for you, with an emphasis on you? When a "bad decision" is made? Are you upset because it hurts the company? Or are you frustrated because your good idea wasn't the idea that was chosen? And your friendships? And even in your social life? Do those things exist for you? Or is there a focus on others? Dads? Here's a good question for all of us dads. When we get home from work, are we ready to pour out? Or do we succumb to the temptation that we need some me-time? Christian, do you find that you are easily offended? Do you find that when others get good things you're wondering why you didn't get your piece of the pie as well? Perhaps it is that we are living too much for ourselves in private conversation, or conversation with group? Do you find yourself steering the topic to something that's more of your interests, or something that puts you in the spotlight? Perhaps that is because you are living with a focus on yourself. Now all of this sounds very worldly. And it sounds very something that happens out there in the world. But let's be warned that this is something that happens in religious settings.

I want you to just to listen to this verse, I'm going to read for you Matthew 6:1. I just want you to listen to it and think about it. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, "beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven." So do you find yourself only serving when you get attention? Do you find yourself frustrated if someone gets a better service opportunity, or upset that nobody said thank you or noticed you? Do you only pray in such a way that people might be impressed by your prayers? They go, Huh, good prayer. You're collecting Mmms as you're praying along? Because it has become something about you? Do you only confess sin in a way that either minimizes the sin or preserves your reputation?

Man, we can so often be about us. Why is that? Well, the Bible tells us, the Bible tells us that is because sin is naturally selfish. So prior to being saved, we were dead in our sins, loved our sin, and all we did was sin. Now even as believers, we've been freed from sin, but we're still in these bodies that are tainted by sin. And what you see with all sin is that all sin is self-serving. Nobody has ever sinned because it didn't benefit them. It's we believe the lie that sin will make our life better because, while we're trying to make our life better, all of us fall into this temptation, this pattern of making our life about us. Maybe even this week, you can ask yourself, What sins in my life am I missing because of self-centeredness? Or what is self-centered in my life? Am I not noticing? That is sinful. We need to recognize as a tendency and all of us to plant the roots of our joy in self promotion, and self obsession. John's disciples, they remind us that there is another option. It's how will John react so your first choice, option one, every day is a live for yourself?

Option two. Now let's look at it as "live for Christ." Just to make life about Jesus, not about you. We see John's response in four verses 27, 28, 29, and 30. It's developed over these verses, but in reality can be summed up quite plainly. John is saying life isn't about me. Life is about Christ. Now I've not made myself the center of my life. Now life is not about my greatness. It's about the greatness of Jesus. He's not worried that his prominence is going down. In fact, he actually wants this to happen. This is his goal. Let's take a look. He begins by taking no credit for his success. So verse 27, John answered, a person cannot receive even one thing unless it has given him from heaven. He says, None of this originated with me, that none of this was because of my shrewdness, my good looks, my strength, my intellect, that I didn't receive this ministry because of me. All of it has to do with the Lord.

Friends, we need to adopt the same mindset. There is no good thing that we have in our lives, no eternally good thing that we have in our lives that originated with us. No amount of intellect, no financial stability, no position that we've been given. None of it had to do with us primarily. All blessings that we have, have come down from the Father who is the giver of all good things. We need to recognize that when good things happen in our lives, not use those, use them as an opportunity to boast or to flex, or anything like that, but to give God the credit. He is the one who has given us all things. How often do we, in our prayer lives, take time to thank God for all the good things that have happened that day? Any ministry opportunity we've had, any service we're able to do, any way we're able to bless others. All of that is because of the Lord, not because ourselves. That's John's understanding. He says I had nothing to do with it. The second thing he says is he understands his role. So in verse 28, he says, "You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but I've been sent before him." So John here is saying, this has never been about me. I wasn't the... folks... I'm not the end game. I'm just a setup, man. And this is actually predicted later this week. You could go read the beginning of Isaiah 40. You can look at Malachi 3, and you'll find it's predicted that there's this forerunner that's going to come to announce the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, the eternal King, Jesus. John is saying, that was it for my role, says I'm not the preeminent. Okay? I'm just the promoter. I'm not a big deal. I'm here to tell you about someone else who is a big deal. I think this is radically countercultural. Right? Because we're supposed to promote every accomplishment we have. I mean, it's social media. Isn't that why it was invented. Right? So when we do something well, and things are going great, or we get to visit something amazing, or we get to eat something good, we get to maybe boast a little bit, you know, post about all these great things we're doing. It's it's built like that. Now, I know not everyone does that. So don't feel guilty if you have social media. But you do see this tendency. If you do something great, you need to tell everyone about it. What's the point of doing something amazing, if not everybody knows?

That's not John's position here. He doesn't want it. The things he's doing are determinate with his greatness, to be about Christ. So he recognizes that John's greatness is a gift. He recognizes that his role is not to be the important one, it's to pass it on to someone else. And he also understands here his desire. John shows us that he's doing this because he wants to do this. And he uses the illustration of a wedding. You saw that in verse 29 it says 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." He's using wedding language. Now, I know, we all love weddings. Weddings are awesome. And I work with high school students. And when I talk about weddings with high school students, they are thinking about multiple things. The girls in particular get very excited, because they're thinking about dresses, and flowers, and color coordination, and centerpieces, and dudes are thinking about cake. And rightfully so. You've ever noticed when you on that drive home from a wedding, you're talking about what was great and you know, the preacher did a good job. The company was so much fun. It was such a beautiful setting. You know, you never hear anyone say on the car ride home. You never hear anyone go, Man, that best man was amazing. Best part of the wedding. And you see the way he just stood there, dressed the same as those other guys. Awesome. She liked how they had the toddler bring the rings down instead of him. Just wow, he was so great, right? That's not the goal of the best man. Nobody should talk about the best man if the wedding is done right. In fact, if the best man is being talked about at the wedding, it's usually because his speech went really really long. Right? It wasn't supposed to be a about you. But, see, in these days, the best man actually, like did something, like the best man was like a sort of wedding coordinator. Ladies, imagine that your husband's best but planning your wedding, that would have been a lot of hot wings there and probably wouldn't have been on a sporting event. But anyway, he actually did something, and would say my job is not to make it about me. It's so that everyone would look at the groom. Everyone would see how great he is, not notice my role.

That's what John is saying. That's why he uses this illustration, which then gets him to his summary. If you want to summarize these verses, it's verse 30. He says, "He must increase but I must decrease." Speaking of Jesus, he says, Christ must increase, I must decrease. Now that is a theological truth. That is a historical truth in this narrative. John's ministry is now going to diminish as Christ's ministry becomes the forefront. That is a true statement. But what you're seeing here is John's passion. What you're seeing here is what belief looks like.

If you're here this morning, and you're not a Christian, perhaps you're checking this out for the first time, or you've been here for a little bit. You're trying to figure out what all of this is, what you're stumbling upon is the very heart of Christianity. And it is this that life is not about you. Life is about Christ. Life is about elevating Jesus, that to be a Christian is to follow Christ in such a way that you say, all of my life is for him. As I said earlier, I'm trusting Jesus by entrusting my entire life over to Jesus. And again, this is not about paying Jesus back. This isn't about he's died for my sins. So there's a debt I need to pay off. This isn't about earning his favor. It's saying believe in me who has died for your sins. And I demonstrate that by saying my life is no longer about me. It's about Christ. And so now everything in my life is about him. My money is for Christ. My schedule belongs to Christ. My relationships are for Jesus, my phone use of my work, my entertainment choices, even my home, all of it I use for Christ. There is no part of the Christian's life where Christ is not rightfully say, mine. It all belongs to Him. That is the attitude that John the Baptist is modeling.

But don't make a mistake, because some of us might think, well, that's John the Baptist. I mean, he's actually in the Bible. Right? Don't treat this like this is some sort of extra-credit work that you can opt out of. This isn't varsity level Christianity while we play JV, this is in the Premium Package, we'll just take the basic works. That's not what this is. This is the call for all of us. So take your Bibles and go to Philippians chapter 1, we'll come back to John 3. But let's go to Philippians chapter 1, just so we could see, this isn't just some one off idea. But this is all over the Bible that you have this kind of commitment to Jesus. So Philippians chapter one, many of you are familiar with this letter, Paul is writing from jail. And they're talking to him because they're saying, "Paul, there's some people sharing the gospel, the good news that Jesus has died for sinners, and will rescue all who trust Him." There's some people who are doing it from less than pure motives. And Paul says, That doesn't matter to me as long as the Gospel goes out. Fact, verse 20, he says, "As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage, now, as always, Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death." That word there see that that phrase, my expectation is that Christ will be honored. That means that Christ would be exalted, lifted up. You remember when you were younger, and you and your friends are hanging out, and this is when kids would do risky things, and you want to try to jump over a fence and neither of you or your friends were tall enough. So one of you would get down on your hands and knees and give a boost to your bud. Okay, that's what that is spiritually. I lay myself down so that everyone else would see Jesus as better, that he would be lifted up. Friends, this is exactly what Christ calls us to. So, in Luke chapter 9, let me read it for you. He says "he was saying to them, If anyone wishes to come after me,, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me."

We can go back to John 3 now. But the point is that the scriptures say that you're either all in, or you're not in. Life is not about you. It's about Christ. Oh, that our hearts would be to make much of Jesus. I wonder how we're doing, and making much about Christ at work, on our campuses, parenting, priorities, goals, dreams ambitions, is life about Christ? Day by day, week by week. Don't miss this. John is not doing this out of obligation. I want to get to our third point, but I want you to see this John is 1doing this out of obligation. He's doing it because it's his joy. We all think, if I don't look out for number one, well, then who's going to, and then my life is going to be boring and lame. But what is said here, John 3, again, verse 29, the very end of the verse he says, "Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. This joy of mine is made fool, just as the best man rejoice is to see the bridegroom, get the attention." John says, It's my joy. It's my delight. It's my satisfaction to make much about Christ. Now let's look, because the theme of abundant life, vibrancy, satisfaction, is all over the Gospel of John. So let's look at a few verses. If you go one chapter over, John 4 just to see that this idea of, of believing, and satisfaction is all tied together. John 4, verse 13, this is the woman at the well. Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

So do you want to live in a way that you're satisfied? Believe on Jesus by making life about Jesus. It doesn't mean that life will be easy, but you will be full and satisfied. Jump if you have to John 15. I want to give you a few more of these verses to see, it's all over the Gospel of John, I'd remind you while you're turning to John 15, that Jesus elsewhere says, I use the bread of life, Whoever comes to me will not hunger normally thirst. John 15, verse 11, John 15:11, Jesus says, "These things I've spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full." So what he promises, John 16, verse 22, he says, See, also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. Or one more, let's go one more chapter at John 17. verse 13. Jesus says, "but now I come to you, and these things I speak in the world, so that they may have my joy made full in themselves. Friend, do you want satisfaction? So funny. Our world wants pleasure. But they're so bad at it. That's why you see people trying all sorts of new relationships, always buying the next newest tech device. They're going to drug use, looking for entertainment, they try the pursuit of pleasure after pleasure, and none of it works. Why? Because we were not made to find joy in us. We were not made to find joy in sin, stuff, or self, but to find our satisfaction in this life in making life about Christ. Friends, some of you here this morning are frustrated, how life has not served you well. And maybe even you came today to say how can this help me? I want to let youknow that God of the universe is telling you, you can't have that satisfaction you want. He wants to give you that satisfaction you desire. It only comes by making yourself lesser and making life about his son. Joy does not come from what God gives us, but in giving ourselves to Him. It was Augustine who said that he made us for himself and our son goals are restless until we find rest in Him.

This leads us then to a question though, if we want to be happy we pursue Christ we understand every day, I have two choices choice one, make life about myself choice two, make life about Christ. But then let's ask a question as we wrap up. How do I cultivate a heart that lives for Christ? I mean, practically, how do I do this? Because realistically, the flesh is bent towards sin. The world is always telling me I need to serve me. I need to watch out for myself. How do I do this? Yeah, I'm sure this morning, you could say like, That's right. I'm motivated this afternoon when I go to lunch, when I go back home, I'm motivated to live for Christ and not self. But how does that feel at 5 AM Monday morning, or when you get home from work midweek? Or that's easy to do when there's not hospital bills and trials in life. So how do I do this at all times? The answer to that we're given a hint of in verse 31, to 36. And before we look at, let me say again, verse 31 to 36, is to help your heart, say regularly, every day, He must increase, I must decrease. Verse 31 to 36, John three is, is theology, it's high Christology. These are beautiful statements. But again, they're their statements with a bias. They're to make us see the beauty of Jesus. And by seeing the greatness of Christ, you would then decide to not live for yourself, but to live for him. That's how we resist the urge to live for us.

You know, in Greek mythology, there are these creatures and these stories known as the sirens that sing these beautiful songs. And they sing so that as sailors hear them, they would steer the ship towards them. And unbeknownst to the sailors, there are rocks there, thus sinking the ships and the sirens will kill all the sailors. And in Greek mythology, there are these stories about how they get past these sirens. So one of them. It's fairly well known is the story of Odysseus, Odysseus, he wants to hear the siren song, but he doesn't want to die, so he has all his men plug their ears so they can hear anything. And then they tie him to a post. So he can listen, but they could sail on by. There's a second story though, story of Jason and the Argonauts. And Jason and the Argonauts, they also know that they're going to face the sirens. And there's a man along with Jason named Orpheus, who plays the harp. And what Jason does is he instructs Orpheus to play a song more beautiful than the siren song. And so that resistance isn't just about saying no, but about saying yes to a better song.

If we are going to say no to the tendency of living for self, it's not just going to be by gritting through by discipline and self-denial. That's a huge part of it. But it comes by being enthralled by the person of Christ. And seeing that his beauty far exceeds the beauty that I could ever find in me. Friends, isn't that why we read our Bibles? Isn't that why we come to church every Sunday? Because every Sunday, I'm in need of my eyes again, being lifted off me and lifted up to something better. That's why we look is not just to learn the right way to live, but the better way to live. And in these verses, we find Jesus is better than us, that his greatness compels us to say he must increase, I must decrease. And we see it in several ways. We could spend an hour on this passage, but I think it's just impactful to get the weight of it like this right here. So it begins by talking about his origin. Jesus is better because where he's from, He who comes from above is above all; he was of the earth belongs to the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all, the emphasis here is that Jesus is supreme, because he's not from this world. He's from eternity. He's from a better place. Now, we all know that certain places are more prominent than others. Right? There's a better reputation with some of them. So I grew up in Southern California city called Murietta. Some of you might know where that is, it's by Temecula, but if I'm out of the state, and people say, where are you from? I'm like, Oh, I'm from San Diego. You know, wink. Why? Because Because it sounds better, right? Some of us we we, you know, move His boundary lines a little bit of our city to make it sound like we're from a better place. I'm from LA, you don't need to know where Santa Clarita is, and when somebody says Jesus is from above, he's from a realm, he's from a place that's better than we're from, that no one else is from. But when it says that he's from above, it's not just referencing his better place. What it is also referencing is His deity, that he's from above where God is because He is God. And that because he's from above, he's also eternal. That Jesus, you need to understand, there has never been a time where Jesus was not. He's always been. That there's a real person right now in heaven, with flesh and blood, named Jesus Christ, who has existed forever.

I had a I had a friend who went on a missions trip to Nepal, and he's talking about the gospel, he's talking about Christ. And the Hindus, they would often ask, well, how old is Jesus? How old was he? And he'd be like, well, he's 33. He's trying to figure it out. And and what they were hinting at is, while in our culture, we celebrate all things, youth, including character, in that culture, it's those who are older, who are more well respected. And when he figures that out, he goes, Oh, well, then you need to understand Jesus is eternal. There was never a time he was born. There is never a time where he will cease to exist. When you come to Jesus. You're not just coming to a 2000 year old comic book Avenger, you're coming to someone who exceeds anything we can comprehend. Who does not exist through imagination. He is the real God-man who has existed forever and yet stepped into time. He says John 8, "Before Abraham was even born, I am." So we trust in Christ is better because he's always been. We trusted him because of his testimony. Because he speaks truth. Verse 32 says he bears witness to what he has seen and heard. Okay? All of us, most of our truth claims about the world and culture and society and work, all of it are they are borrowed truth claims. They're things that were taught to us and that we explained to others. But Jesus explains what he has seen firsthand. I mean, does he not say John 14, that He is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, He is one who tells us what reality is like? It's because he has first hand account of reality. Verse 33, whoever receives his testimony, he sets his seal to this, that God is true, and 34, "for he whom God has sent, utters the words of God."

Do you want to know how the universe works? Do you want to know what God is like? I mean, there are so many people today who celebrate the ambiguous, and how difficult of a life that must be to say, We don't really know or who can know? But with Jesus, you can know, because he's spoken the words of God, we can know that every truth-claim he makes is reliable, and trustworthy. The word in the Old Testament for trustworthy is, is like "to lean on something," you actually lean on the words of Jesus, knowing they will not fall. So when he promises forgiveness. That's not just a feeling that you work up that I'm forgiven. It's a reality rooted in the Christ who only speaks truth. And therefore it's true because he's promised that it's true. It says there that is an interesting verse, the end of verse 34, "for he gives the Spirit without measure." That's talking about God putting his spirit on Christ. That's a fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah 42. You're familiar with this, the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descends upon Him like a dove. See, in the Old Testament, the Spirit came upon those who were prophets, to speak the truth. We don't have time this morning. It's such a great passage, if you looked at Deuteronomy 18, you'd see that Moses actually says, there's going to be this final prophet that comes. And then Jesus comes in the spirit and indwells them in a way that it's indwelt, no other prophet. And then in Hebrews 1, it says that God has spoken to us in the past and many times and in many ways, but his final word, on reality is Jesus Christ. If you want to know how life works, if you no longer want to walk through the fog of postmodernism, wondering what's true, you want reality that you can stand on. It's in Jesus. And we also find that verse 35 Jesus is supreme because the Father loves the Son, eternally, good reminder that God doesn't need us, He's existed forever, in fellowship in the Trinity. And that He has given all things into his hands, that this universe has a ruler. Matthew 28, Jesus says, "All authority has been given to me." Philippians 2 says that "every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." He is the one who has been exalted. This lowly Shepherd, this lowly humble servant, is the one who rules, which is good news, right? Because we're used to either really nice people who have no authority, or really authoritative people who aren't very nice. But here is a king, whose rule is demonstrated in his giving of self to others, one that you can actually trust, who has your best interest in mind, as he laid down his life, which shows us the authority of his supremacy of his salvation. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Friend, I want to remind us that the wrath of God is a real threat. We live in a day where consequences don't always come, that they're often lessened. We get a ticket and we expect to be let go. The threat of our sin, eternal wrath is a real threat, friend. And if you don't believe me, it's probably because you don't understand how awful sin is. Sin is not a personality flaw. Sin is not a small violation of God's strict rules. Sin is personally offensive to God. Every time we sin, we often do so knowingly, with a smile on our face, we do so knowing the rules of God saying, I'm going to be my own king. And so when we sin, we reject God's authority over our life, and try to put ourselves on the throne. This good God who has done nothing but good things are His creation, we rebel against, and therefore we deserve wrath. And yet Jesus comes, and what I love about the Gospels is you see the life of Christ, not just as amazing, but His perfect life is Him living the life, we couldn't have lived. And He's doing it in our place, as our representative, as the one who goes on our behalf. The obedience of Christ is glorious, because that's my obedience he's accomplishing for me. And then he goes to the cross. And He dies the death I should have died, that he's taking my punishment for me. Why? So that I could be forgiven. So that if I trust in Him, that if I entrust my life, if I cry out and say, I am a sinner who needs to be rescued. If I turn from my old life, and entrust my life over to Jesus, to save me, I have eternal life. Why? Not because I've figured out a formula called gospel, because there's a person who has promised forgiveness for sinners. And he speaks the word of God, who happily forgives sinners who trust in his son. This is Christ. Eternal, reliable, authoritative, able to forgive.

Friends, we have a choice every day, to live for our own greatness, or to live for His greatness. If we look inward, if we listen to the world, we'll make the wrong choice. But when we see Christ as He is in the Scriptures, the only right response is to realize that we must decrease and he must increase in our lives.

Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your truth. We're thankful for your son. We thank you that you have provided for us in Christ, forgiveness and hope. You've given us truth that we can rely on. You've given us assurance of your love or us. God, thank you for giving us something better than us. We might build our life upon him. Lord, I pray this week as we go out into the world, that we would not succumb to the temptation to make life about ourselves. Reveal by your Spirit by your word, and any sort of self-centeredness that we have. And may we live every moment of our lives, all parts of our calendar, as an act of worship, a sacrifice for your glory in the exaltation of your son. We love you Lord. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.