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No Competition


John 3: 22-36

We live in a culture and a world where the “spirit of competition” exists and is promoted in almost every aspect of life; sports, business; technology; wealth; beauty, education; everything is competitive.

Verse 22, John says: “Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.”

Now, look at vs. 23: And John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and they were coming and were being baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 There arose therefore a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.

26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have borne witness, behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him.”

So, how is John going to respond to this?

Well, look starting in vs. 27 and what John is going to do is he is going to explain to his disciples and give them 4 reasons why it doesn’t bother him one bit that more people are going to Jesus. Look at what he says; vs. 27.

He says, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.”

In short, what John is saying is, “We are not in competition with Jesus and His disciples.

And that is the lesson to us:  In the kingdom of God we are not in competition with each other. We are all working for the same goal. We may have different abilities and different gifts but those abilities and gifts were given to us by God for us to use for God.

Serving God is not a competitive endeavor and we will be amazed at what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.

So, look at the second thing that John tells his disciples. Look at vs. 28:

You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’

And that should be the way we should be.

Remember in 1 Cor. 12, the Holy Spirit had given the people different gift; some were given the gift of prophecy; others the gift of healing; some the gift of tongues; and it wasn’t long that they were “competing with each other”; “My gift is more important than yours.”

We are not in competition with each other; you may be a teacher; you may be an encourager; you may be one who builds up others; you may be a giver; you may be one who serves or one who leads singing or one who prays; whatever your gift is; whatever your ability is; you are serving Christ and, like John, be glad you are a part of what God is doing through all of us.

Look at vs. 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. And so this joy of mine has been made full.

 And John says at the end of the verse that this arrangement “fulfilled his joy.”

And then in vs. 30 John says: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

 John had fulfilled his mission and purpose; he had played an important part; but now it was time for the star to come to center stage and assume His rightful place.

John knew that it wasn’t about him. He knew it was all about Christ and he was glad to yield to Him.

So, the “spirit of competition” caused the disciples of John to be upset with Jesus and His disciples and John says that he is not bothered one bit that more people are going to Jesus than they are to Him.

John understood that God was working through him and his disciples and if God wanted people to go to Jesus that was God’s divine prerogative.

And John understood who he was and who he wasn’t and he was good with that; he was just glad to be a part of what God was doing through Christ.

And John was glad to be “the best man; a friend of Jesus”; doing what he could do for Christ. Shouldn’t we be too?

And John was glad to exit and let the star come on stage.

Competition in society can be good; but it really has no place in the kingdom of God; because in the kingdom of God we are all on the same team, working toward the same goal of bringing others to Christ; and we might be amazed at what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.

John was not bothered one bit about anyone who wanted to come to Christ and be baptized. Neither am I and there is no one in this auditorium this morning that is either. In fact, we are all here to encourage you or assist you in any way we can.