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Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Sovereignty of God and Humility of Man

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Setting The Table

Setting the table at my Grannie’s house
“After This” — We have to remember that John is not writing as a newspaper reporter. He is not following a chronological timeline of Jesus’ ministry on earth. So we simply know the events of our passage happened sometime after the dialogue with Nicodemus but we aren’t really sure how much time has passed.
“Judean Countryside” and “Baptizing” — Jesus and His disciples went out of the city and into the surrounding country of Judea and His disciples began baptizing people. We know from 4:2 that Jesus Himself did not baptize anyone.
“John was also Baptizing” — The ministries of John and Jesus overlapped. “Aenon” is a transliteration of the Semitic word meaning springs. So John was baptizing in an area which contained a lot of springs…water was plentiful.
John was not yet in prison” — John inserts this to let us know something important…While Matthew, Mark and Luke record the Galilean ministry of Jesus, John gives us something those Gospels do not, the Judean ministry of Jesus which predated the Galilean ministry.
Makes it clear that Mark’s account was after the arrest of John and at the beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. John is making a similar clarification as to when in the ministry timeline of Jesus these events took place. This is one reason why there are so many unique stories in John not found in the other Gospels.
Mark 1:14 NASB95
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

Sovereignty

“Now a Discussion...Over Purification” — A Jew approached John’s disciples and began arguing with them over purification rites. John’s baptism was a symbol of repentance from sin and right relationship with God. There were many rituals followed by Jews of the day whereby they believed bathing in water would make them pure. So the debate may have been how John’s baptism and those rituals were similar and different.
Jesus is Baptizing…and all are going to Him — Out of this conversation comes news that there were more people going to Jesus and His disciples to be baptized than were coming to John and His disciples.
The disciples of John were jealous, resentful and bitter over the fact that Jesus was being favored over John and the ministry of Jesus was beginning to eclipse John’s.
“John Answered” — John took the occasion of their jealousy to teach his disciples a lesson every single follower of Christ needs at one time or another in their life…a lesson on God’s sovereignty and our humility.
Sovereignty — God’s absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure.
Revelation 4:11 NASB95
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
1 Timothy 6:15 NASB95
which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
God created everything…He is Lord over it all…and this includes me and you!
John told his disciples that we have what God has given to us. God has either caused or allowed it to take place. Every THING we have, every OPPORTUNITY we enjoy, every single DAY of life is a gift God has sovereignly allowed us to have or experience. John understood this and was thankful, grateful and content.
This applies to our life calling as well...We have our calling from God and John understood His calling was not to be the Christ but to be the herald sent before the Christ.
This is something we deeply need to understand. God decides our call...the part we play in His story…and that is just what all of existence is…His story. He has created us and permitted us to be a part of it. Life, existence, everything are all from Him.
1 Corinthians 4:7 NASB95
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
John told his disciples that we have what God has given to us. God has either caused or allowed it to take place. Every THING we have, every OPPORTUNITY we enjoy, every single DAY of life is a gift God has sovereignly allowed us to have or experience. John understood this and was thankful, grateful and content.
This applies to our life calling as well...We have our calling from God and John understood His calling was not to be the Christ but to be the herald sent before the Christ.
This is something we deeply need to understand. God decides our call...the part we play in His story…and that is just what all of existence is…His story. He has created us and permitted us to be a part of it. Life, existence, everything are all from Him.
As one commentator put it, “John and Jesus were given their roles by heaven and John was entirely content in his.”
“Bride and Bridegroom” — John then proceeds to give a parable illustrating how he understood his own role. The friend who attends the bridegroom was the ancient equivalent of the best man. He would help organize the details and preside over the wedding.
But the friend also would accompany the bride to the bridegroom’s marriage chamber and wait outside the room or tent for the bridegroom’s shout that the marriage had been consummated. The friend would then certify for the wedding guests that consummation of the marriage had taken place and the joyous festivities could continue.
John understood the church to be the bride of Christ and the groom to be Jesus. He was the friend of the groom who escorted the bride to the groom. He was charged with introducing those who had faith to receive Christ
Joy — John understood that the joy of the best man was his and now his joy is complete. The Gospel of John associates “joy” with the verb “pleroun” (to fulfill or complete); John the Baptist means that he has the final and ultimate satisfaction of knowing that His God-given ministry has been a successful one.
This begs the question of us — Do you know your assigned place in the story? How would you know? And are you filled with Joy or jealousy at the prospect of living out your place in God’s plan for your life?
John understood that Jesus MUST become greater. This was the determined will of God. He wholeheartedly embraces God’s will in the matter and the supremacy assigned to Jesus.
"Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. I means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all." William Temple, "Christ in His Church"
"Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. I means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all." — William Temple, "Christ in His Church"
At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer on his 100th birthday, elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well. Lady Diana's failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until she peered more closely at the magnificent diamonds and realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth! Overcome with embarrassment, Lady Diana curtsied and stammered, "Ma'am, oh, ma'am, I'm sorry ma'am. I didn't recognize you without your crown!"
This begs the question of us — Do you know your assigned place in the story? How would you know? And are you filled with Joy or jealousy at the prospect of living out your place in God’s plan for your life?
At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer (musician and patron of the arts from the UK) on his 100th birthday, elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well. Lady Diana's failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until she peered more closely at the magnificent diamonds and realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth! Overcome with embarrassment, Lady Diana curtsied and stammered, "Ma'am, oh, ma'am, I'm sorry ma'am. I didn't recognize you without your crown!" "It was so much Sir Robert's evening," the queen replied, "that I decided to leave it behind." 
"It was so much Sir Robert's evening," the queen replied, "that I decided to leave it behind." 
We are free to stop thinking of ourselves and instead turn our eyes upon Christ…His life, salvation and plans for us. This is what John wanted for his disciples and it is what Jesus wants for us too.

It’s All About Jesus

John understood that he was from earth and Jesus was from Heaven. Isn’t this a funny thing to point out? But isn’t it something we should regularly remind ourselves! He, Jesus, is from Heaven…came down to earth…in order to save us. He is God! We are not! We are of the earth, made of dust…He is God and has no creator at all!
John called people to repentance and water baptism. Jesus was actually the One who saved people and baptized them with the Holy Spirit.
As says, Only Jesus can speak with supreme authority about heavenly things. He alone has seen and known the things of heaven. God has spoken to us through Jesus. We have to remember what John the apostle told us in chapter 1 — Jesus is the pinnacle of creation and revelation. John the Baptist knew this and we should never forget it!
John 3:13 NASB95
“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
The words of Jesus are not the words of a mere man. Jesus reveals to us the character and power of God. We look at Him and we see God.
The word and revelation of Jesus are not the words of a mere man. Jesus reveals to us the character and power of God. We look at Him and we see God.
Hebrews 1:1–3 NASB95
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 1:1–3 NASB95
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
God has spoken to us through Jesus. We have to remember what John the apostle told us in chapter 1 — Jesus is the pinnacle of creation and revelation. John the Baptist knew this and we should never forget it!
Hebrews 1:1–3 NASB95
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
No One Receives His Testimony — Of course John qualifies this with the next verse....there are some who actually do receive. But it seems no one does for the number who actually do so seems so small by comparison.
Most of the world has always been lost and most of the world always will be because the way to salvation is narrow and few find it. Jesus is the way, truth and life and no one comes to the Father but by Him…but so very few will receive this to be the case and will subsequently reman condemned.
And that is what John makes clear here…Those who accept the testimony about Jesus declare God’s revelation of Himself to be true…those who do not are calling God a liar…there is no middle ground.
He Who Utters the Words of God…Spirit without limit — The Jews of Jesus’ day believed that a certain portion or amount of the Holy Spirit was poured out on a prophet or messenger of God in accordance with the task. God the Father has given to Jesus His Son the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand
God has pulled out all of the stops — He has given His only Son, poured out the full measure of the Holy Spirit and completely revealed His character and power through Jesus.
Those who receive Him have eternal life and those who do not…the wrath of God remains upon them.
D A Carson — Believers already enjoy the eternal life that will be consummated in the resurrection of their bodies at the parousia; unbelievers stand under the looming wrath of God that will be consummated in their resurrection and condemnation
What are you looking forward to?
Believers already enjoy the eternal life that will be consummated in the resurrection of their bodies at the parousia; unbelievers stand under the looming wrath of God that will be consummated in their resurrection and condemnation

Conclusion

The world is condemned but God sent His Son to redeem us. All who place faith in Him have eternal life…a life Jesus called abundant. It is a full existence, fellowship with God…participation in His life, love and mission. It is joy unspeakable as we see His will accomplished in us…as we play our part in His story.
Do you know Jesus? Do you know your part to play? Are you living the joy of eternal life.
We are the Bride of Christ and just as Carson said, someday our marriage will be consummated at the resurrection of the dead. We will have new bodies that never wear out and never die. We will live in the perfection of heaven, a creation untainted by sin.
But in the here and now we have the opportunity, by faith, to enjoy something of that existence even while we live on this earth…But it means living by faith for Him.
This begs the question of us — Do you know Jesus? Do you know your assigned place in the story? How would you know? And are you filled with Joy or jealousy at the prospect of living out your place in God’s plan for your life?
All of this requires one thing…the letting go of your life…the way John the Baptist exemplified in his own life. It means seeing your life in the bigger picture of His life
Hudson Taylor was scheduled to speak at a Large Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary in eloquent and glowing terms. He told the large congregation all that Taylor had accomplished in China, and then presented him as "our illustrious guest." Taylor stood quietly for a moment, and then opened his message by saying, "Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master." 
Hudson Taylor — was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF International). Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.
Hudson Taylor was scheduled to speak at a Large Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary in eloquent and glowing terms. He told the large congregation all that Taylor had accomplished in China, and then presented him as "our illustrious guest." Taylor stood quietly for a moment, and then opened his message by saying, "Dear friends, I am the little servant of an illustrious Master." 
Can you see yourself as John the Baptist and Hudson Taylor did? A little servant of an illustrious Master? A Master who is the Son of God, King of Kings, Creator of all that is, Savior of all who have faith and the one who loves you more than you could ever comprehend.
The simple question is this — Is Jesus your Lord
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