There’s a lot of good stuff in this passage, but one aspect really stands out to me and so that is the part I am going to focus on in this post, because it is vitally important that we all see this truth.
As we have already studied, John knew what his ministry was to be, and he knew both his place and Jesus’ place in the sovereign plan of God. But here today, we see a disturbing statement being made. John’s disciples came to John and told him that more people were going to Jesus to be baptized instead of coming to John.
The disciples of John were jealous of the ministry of Jesus!!!
They lost sight of the fact that John’s ministry was to point people to Jesus. They bought into what their flesh was telling them and what the devil was telling them. They bought into the lie that their ministry was in competition with the ministry of Jesus! But John sets them straight. He tells them, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” John understood that the ministry he had been given by God was meant to glorify the name of Jesus and not his own name. John summed it all up in this one statement when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
When we get right down to it though, aren’t we a lot like John’s disciples???
We are not united under the banner of Jesus Christ. Instead, we have decided that we are Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Methodists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Anabaptists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians, not to mention a whole host of independent and non-denominational churches whose beliefs vary from church to church. When we look at ourselves, aren’t we sometimes more interested in furthering our own denomination rather than furthering the Name of Jesus Christ? Shouldn’t we put aside all of the things that separate us and rally around the things we have in common? Namely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!
If we have been saved by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith in Him, then we have all been baptized into one body. That one body is the church!
Check out these two passages, paying close attention to the areas that are in bold and underlined.
1 Corinthians 12: 12-27 says:
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,
25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
And Colossians 1: 15-20 says:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
I know that’s two long passages to read in the middle of this post, but the point here needs to be made from the Bible. I need you to see that this is not just my opinion or my interpretation, but that this is based solely on the Word of God.
For too long, the church has been divided against itself because of the thoughts and desires of sinful humanity. Deep within each one of us, there is a desire; a longing to worship. We were created for the glory of God and to worship our creator, but when sin entered the world, suddenly mankind had made the choice to exalt the creature over the Creator. We chose to worship ourselves in the way we were designed to worship ONLY God.
That worship of ourselves continues today as we have set up different denominations based on our interpretation of the Scriptures, different styles of preaching and worship based on our preferences, and different men to act as the mini-god’s we would rather have lead our churches than the One and Only God-Man, Jesus Christ.
He needs to be the center of all that we say and all that we do. Always! But specifically for this post, He needs to be the center of the church, for it is His church and He is the Head of it! One thing I noticed in the Bible’s illustration of the church being the body: The parts that are the same are NOT connected directly to each other! For example, I have 10 toes, but each toe is connected to my foot, not to each other. I have 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 hands and 2 feet, but no part is connected to the same part anywhere! Perhaps there’s a lesson for us to learn about diversity in the body, as long as that diversity does not compromise the Word of God.
So let’s start looking at other churches and other denominations as our partners in ministry instead of as “the competition.” Maybe someone from another church will reach out and contact me and we can all share in the ways that are available for us to minister to the community. Pray that the Lord would open your hearts and minds to this truth and that we would come together under the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfill the ministry he has called us to… together!!!