Testimony

John’s last sermon was like his first one, all about Jesus.
In a wilderness location where there was “much water” both Jesus and John were preaching and baptizing converts. John’s disciples were disturbed by the number of people following Jesus instead of John. When they mentioned this to their Rabbi, John was not at all disturbed. In fact, he welcomed the growing prominence of Jesus. To the amazement of his disciples, John took joy in his decreasing stature. He had told them all along that he was not the Messiah but only the Forerunner of the Messiah. Now that Jesus was on the scene, the transfer of influence was inevitable. John took great joy in this. Hear this amazing statement:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John knew that the declension of his ministry was not to be grieved; it was a sign of his success. Perhaps, when Messiah, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” began His public ministry, John could look forward to a more conventional life—a wife, a home, children—perhaps. Oh, he had made enemies to be sure who would be more than happy to see him disappear. Maybe they would leave him alone.

One Last Sermon
John continued to explain to his followers how the Kingdom of God worked in ways so different from the kingdoms of men. Jesus was different from John; His origin was from a higher place.

“He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly
and speaks of the earth.”

John was Jesus’ cousin. He knew about the visit of Jesus’ mother Mary to his mother Elizabeth. He knew that, while his birth was miraculous—his father and mother were far beyond the childbearing years—Jesus’ birth was a greater miracle. He had no earthly father! In John’s words, Jesus was “from above” and was “above all.”

The Supremacy of Christ
John had heard the voice of God calling him to the wilderness to preach, but he had not seen God. If Jesus was from “above,” who could imagine what He had seen? John’s taste of the supernatural filled him with an anticipation of the preaching of Jesus. Sadness tempered this anticipation for John also knew the prophetic prediction that most people would not listen to the message of Jesus.

“And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.”

John had stopped baptizing people and was looking across an expanse of the wilderness to where Jesus was at work with His followers and a growing crowd. As people left John’s congregation to go to Jesus, John’s heart quickened with joy.

“He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

As people realized that it was a joyful thing to John to see them flock to Jesus, the flow increased.

“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.”

His voice was no more than a whisper now. He waved the people on toward Jesus.

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

His time on the witness stand was over, his testimony complete. Picking up his belongings and quietly exited the scene, John thought with a smile, He must increase and I must decrease.

Scriptures:
John 3:30-36

He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the a has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Prayer:
Lord, You have chosen to work in this world through people, not through angels. John had his work to do and when he was done, he stepped out of the spotlight. His earthly life was nearly done but his eternal reward would never cease. Help me learn from his example, Lord! I know what You have called me to do—I will be busy doing it until I take my final breath. John won Your commendation and that’s what I want to do! For Your glory, Lord! Amen.

Song:
I Will Serve Thee

Words and Music: Bill Gaither

I will serve Thee, because I love Thee.
You have given life to me.
I was nothing until You found me.
You have given life to me.

Heartaches, broken pieces, ruined lives are why
You died on Calvary.
Your touch was what I longed for.
You have given life to me.

I will serve Thee, because I love Thee.
You have given life to me.
I was nothing until You found me.
You have given life to me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

4 thoughts on “September 14, 2018 “Testimony”

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