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It's All Part of the Process

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Intro:
John 3:30 NKJV
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Today, the title of my message is, [It’s All Part of the Process]. Keep your Bibles close, we will look at a number of scriptures.
Through the month of August we discussed what Jesus equals. We looked at our core doctrines and discovered that Jesus = Savior, Healer, Spirit Baptizer, and Coming King.
Now that we know who Jesus is our aim is to become more like Him. But how do we become more like the Lord? There is a process where this is achieved.
Process is defined, a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
As a child, like most children, I didn’t understand the processes of life:
All I knew was when I got hungry, food was on my plate.
One day my clothes would get dirty then they would appear in my closet clean.
One day my clothes would get dirty then they would appear in my closet clean.
One day my clothes would get dirty then they would appear in my closet clean.
The house would need straightened, I would watch TV or play outside and suddenly it was neat and organized!
The house would need straightened, I would watch TV or play outside and suddenly it was neat and organized!
It all just seemed to happen, I didn’t realize the process my mom took to make this possible!
When I started my masters at Evangel, they taught us the communications process for the program, specifically when we have a complaint.
They informed us, we have a program coordinator, a graduate studies director, and they listed a bunch of other titles. Their point, if you have a complaint, don’t go straight to the president of the university. We can solve your problems and answer your questions IF you go through the process!
I have learned, life is not a series of unrelated events, there is a process. Businesses have processes for making decisions. Schools have processes of teaching. Churches even have processes in how we conduct our affairs.
Little did I know that was the worst title for the worst job. I was informed that I would be a part of the process of keeping the store looking like new. Basically, I hung up clothes that had been returned and had to go and look for whatever people wanted in the back!
I began to realize, life is not a series of unrelated events, there is a process. Businesses have processes for making decisions. Schools have processes of teaching. Churches even have processes in how we conduct our affairs.
Processes are not just a business or organizational necessity. God has processes! He saw the sin that plagued humanity and had the process to fix the problem.
He would send His Son to die for our sins. His Son would rise from the dead and ascend to heaven. The Holy Spirit would then draw people to the Son whereby we might be saved!
Those who are born again are a part of the process. It is vital for us to understand while salvation is the MOST important decision we can ever make, choosing Jesus as our Savior is more than a one-time prayer.
The moment we are saved, God wants to begin the process of making us more like Him! He takes us with our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, inabilities, faults, or failures and forms them to make us more like Him.
But, God will not force the process on us. We have to make the decision, God I want to be more like Jesus. I want to be part of the process of recognizing what You want to do in me.
Sadly, there are many people with great potential to do something great for God, but they have yet to invite God in the process. Sure they are saved, but they are not living in the plan God has for them!
How then do we get in this process of doing all God wants us to do? I want to look at the relationship of John the Baptizer and Jesus. Both played their part and their story is beautiful picture of recognizing our part and God’s part in the process of our life!
Who was John the Baptist? He was Jesus’ relative. He was only six months older than Jesus. Jesus was the Son of Mary and John was the son of Elizabeth.
When Mary told Elizabeth
When Mary told Elizabeth she was carrying the Savior of the world, John leapt in his mother’s womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist was an integral part of laying the foundation for Jesus’ earthly ministry. John was vital, but he also knew his ministry was all part of the process.
Let’s look at John’s life and discuss this process. Its, [The Process of Humility], [The Process of Hunger], and [The Process of Honesty].
Let’s begin-
1. The Process of Humility
1. The Process of Humility
Luke 1:13–15 NKJV
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
Luke 1:13–17 NKJV
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke
Most parents assume their children are the best, smartest, advanced, and special. But John’s parents actually had proof to back up their claims.
John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest. Zacharias and Elizabeth were blameless people. The Lord spoke to them and revealed the future of John.
He would be set apart from birth. People will celebrate when he is born. He will be GREAT in the sight of God. He will never drink alcohol, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
God mapped out his life. John could have easily become arrogant with his position. He was vital to God’s process of bringing salvation to humanity.
He was the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. He served in the role of prophet, speaking to the people of Israel for God. Yet John never became prideful.
He understood the importance of staying humble before God.
Matthew 3:1–4 NKJV
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” 4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
When the time was right, John the Baptist began to preach. His message? Repent, turn from your sins, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The promise of the Kingdom coming was good news to the faithful jew. They anticipated the day when God would send a Messiah who would become their king on earth.
John served as a herald, preparing the way for the king. People began to ask, John are the Christ? Are you the King? He began to have a following. He could have easily taken on the role as King.
But John promised:
Matthew 3:11 NKJV
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11 NKJV
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11
John stayed humble, I am not even worthy to be his slave or carry his shoes. He is the one you want. And as he spoke these word, Jesus came to him.
John knew his identity, no one else did. Why did Jesus come to John?
Matthew 3:13–14 NKJV
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
Jesus came to John so that John could baptize Him. John could have used this as a tool to build his credibility and his following. However, John knew his purpose, to exalt and lift up the Christ.
John tried to refuse, insisting it was not his position to baptize Jesus. He humbly requested that Jesus baptize him. But Jesus spoke and John listened.
John had front row seat to Jesus’ baptism, the Father’s approval, and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove!
Humility? It’s all part of the process.
2. The Process of Hunger
John 3:27–30 NKJV
27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
For some time Jesus and John worked simultaneously. But slowly John’s prestige and following began to dwindle and Jesus’ following grew larger.
Jesus and John were content with this because it was a part of the process. However John’s disciples became concerned. Jesus’ disciples began baptizing people.
John’s disciples wondered if this was proper. It could be that they thought, “this is our niche, Jesus and His disciples need to find their own thing, we have the monopoly on baptism.”
Why would they care so much? When a person became a disciple of a Rabbi or Prophet, they expected there would be a day when their discipler would die and one of them would take charge of the ministry.
But John, in a state of humility, displayed his hunger. He was not interested in large following, he was hungry for the Kingdom of God to come.
This hunger was the driving force behind everything he did. His goal was to make Jesus shine. He desired that Jesus would take center stage. John was content settling into the role of supporting cast.
He reminded them, I am not the Christ, I have the one who prepares the way for Christ!
I love John’s imagery of a bride and groom. The groom is the one who marries the bride. The best man gets to stand on the side and celebrate with his friend who is getting married.
His metaphor of marriage shows the deep love God has for His people. God sent Jesus as the Groom and He loves His people the bride.
No greater love had ever been displayed in history. John was hungry for people to experience this type of love. Therefore, when his disciples questioned Jesus’ identity and His actions, John explained, this is the process!
From here on out, I need to decrease, He needs to increase. I am not offended by this or worried. Rather this is my desire, my deep hunger that God’s will will be accomplished!
Humility? Its all part of the process.
Hunger? It’s all part of the process!
3. The Process of Honesty
Matthew 11:1–3 NKJV
1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. 2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Not long after John’s conversation with his disciples, he was placed in prison. John knew his life was coming to a close. It was likely he would die a horrendous death, and he did.
Those who surrounded Herod, the local leader, were evil and wanted John the Baptist dead. The were successful and he was beheaded.
John knew something like this was close and he started to question. He wondered, what if I got it all wrong? What if I didn’t do what God wanted me to do?
The mere fact that he asked the questions shows he was a humble man. He so desired God to establish His Kingdom on earth that he just had to make sure.
He knew who Jesus was, but he needed confirmation that He was the Messiah. John was honest with Jesus. He called his disciples and sent them to Jesus with a question, are you the one that is to come?
Matthew 11:4–6 NKJV
4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Jesus answered, not with a list of credentials, but with evidence that He fulfilled Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah.
Isaiah 35:5–6 NKJV
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.
Isaiah 61:1–2 NKJV
1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
Isaiah 49:8–9 NKJV
8 Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ “They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
When John heard Jesus’ response He knew what Jesus meant. He saw through Jesus the fulfillment of God’s word concerning the coming Savior.
Was Jesus offended by John’s questions? NO. John’s honest showed his sincere desire to make sure he was faithful with his part of the process.
Jesus told the crowd:
Matthew 11:11 NKJV
11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
No one in the Kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. Why? Because he knew his role in the process. His honesty with God displayed his humility and hunger for God’s will to be accomplished!
Close:
In the body of Christ, there is not room for anyone except Jesus. If our lives are built on any personality besides Jesus, we are doomed for failure!
It is easy to amen this truth, but it is much harder to live everyday. But God wants to work with us in the process of becoming more like Him.
We should have the same desire as John the Baptist, now that I am saved, Jesus must increase and I must decrease. When we get saved we relinquish our rights!
Sadly, there are many people have have invited Jesus into their hearts, but they have not truly given Jesus their lives. Jesus has become an addition to their schedule, and they devote enough time to Him to get by.
Many people try to go through life assuming they can do it their way and the do not involve God in the process:
I can have a strong marriage
I can build a good family
I can make a lot of money
I can become successful and happy
Yet the foundation of their lives is not centered on the process of decreasing so that Jesus can increase! Then when tragedy strikes people cry out, OH GOD WHAT WILL I DO?
His answer? Put me back in the process! But putting God in the process of our lives requires action, not just talk.
If we go through our lives and do not consistently pray, consistently praise, consistently worship, consistently come to church every chance we get, consistently give, consistently look to Him, and consistently follow Him, we are leaving God out of the process!
IF we are to do all God wants us to do and if we are to have all God wants us to have, we must be humble, we must be hungry, and we must be honest!
Humility? It’s all part of the process. It comes with identifying that God knows what we need. It comes when we lay down our rights and say God I want you to have your way in me!
Hunger? It’s all part of the process. I happens when our desire is to see God fulfill His will in our lives. It is evidenced by getting in the word and getting faithful to His house and His plans!
Honesty? It’s all part of the process. I can guarantee in our walk with God there will be times we think, God are you sure about this? He will not be offended with our honesty.
Instead it gives Him opportunity to remind of His faithfulness in the past so we can have greater hope in the future!
He must increase, I must decrease.
Let’s make this our prayer! Today, we need to get in the process.
Am I doing it God’s way or my way? Let’s humble ourselves!
Am I as hungry for God as I need to be? Does my life evidence a person who is desparate for Him! Let’s as Him to make us hungry!
Am I serving God with honesty and sincerity? Let’s get honest with Him!
Our altar service is for everyone because we are all still in the process. How do I know? The process completes when Jesus takes me home.
We are still alive, we still have more to do for Jesus. How do I know? It’s All Part of the Process!
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