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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2022 6:00 am

To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down! - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 25, 2022 6:00 am

"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.

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More of him, less of me. That's good stuff. You know, that is the cure. That is the antidote for self-focused living. There's so much of that today. What about me?

What about my needs? And see, John's disciples were trying to make it all about John. Well, John, Jesus and his gang, they're getting more people. John is saying, would you quit making this about me? This is not about me. This is about him. More of him, less of me.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. There's a fast food chain that lets you get any size drink for just a dollar. Of course, the expectation there is that people will want to get the largest one possible. After all, if you pay a dollar for any size, more is naturally better, right?

Well, I've often wondered how they'd respond if someone actually asks for a small drink or even a kid-sized drink for that same buck. That doesn't make any sense, does it? Well, actually, sometimes less is more, and that's exactly what we're going to talk about today here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition.

But before we get started, here's what we have for you this month in the Connect with Skip Resource Center. The most recent U.S. Census revealed that our population is much more diverse than ever before. In fact, over the past 10 years, our multiracial population increased 276%, which presents new challenges.

Here's Skip Heitzig. To say that this nation is divided would be a gross understatement, but I am not going to take sides politically. I am going to take sides morally and spiritually and biblically. I'm going to raise the conversation to a different level, to a higher level, to a biblical level, because the issue, as I see it, is not a skin issue as much as it's a sin issue. We want to help you understand this divisive issue from a divine perspective. When you give $20 or more today to this Bible teaching ministry, we'll send you Pastor Skip's booklet, The Church and Racism, plus his teaching featuring a conversation with Pastor Tony Clark.

Get these relevant resources today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. We continue today in John chapter 3, so turn there in your Bible. Let's catch up with Skip Heitzig for the rest of this study. John the Baptist has four things in proper order. Number one, he has the proper theology. Look at verse 27. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. Now that's a high view of God, is it not? Here's John the Baptist hearing what his disciples are telling him. Jesus' church has grown bigger than yours, John.

And John says, you know what? God is sovereign. No man can receive anything unless God gave it to him. How many of you believe that? How many of you believe that God is powerful enough to run the whole universe? Okay.

How many of you believe God is powerful enough to run your own life? Okay, good. Because you know what that means? Well, this is what it means.

If somebody else is displaying superior gifts or is more successful, another brother and sister, you know why? God gave it to him. That's why. If you believe that, that's what it means. God gave it to him. Isn't that great? I mean, isn't that what we pray for? Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Okay, if we pray that and we believe that, then why are we so surprised when it happens?

Or mad when it happens? And here's why. Because it didn't happen to us quite the way we wanted it to happen. They got more. I love John's response. The best way to evaluate any other Christian success, whether they have a nicer home or a bigger business or they have a more significant status or a bigger family or a prettier cat or whatever it might be, this is the way to see it.

This is the lens to view that through. God gave it to them. And I tell you why this is so important because it means if you're on the end of being the blessed person, you can't brag.

It was a gift. Well, you know, it happened because I was so faithful. I know it has nothing to do with you. God just is so good. He gave it to you. Listen to what Paul said.

First Corinthians four, verse seven. What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn't given to you?

And if all that you have is from God, then why do you boast as though you have accomplished something on your own? It's a great view. That's John's view. A high view of God. He is sovereign and nothing escapes his notice. Do you believe that nothing escapes God's notice in your life?

Do you believe that nothing escapes God's notice in your brother or sister's life? Can you rest in that? Can you let stuff go? Can you be content with that?

You know how revolutionary it is to believe this? God gave it to him. That means I don't have to worry about all of God's other kids. I don't have to worry about all the other ministries.

It's between God and them. So number one, he had a proper theology. Number two, he has a proper understanding. Here's John saying, I know my calling. I know my role.

I know my limitations. Verse 28. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. Now, I would just say that John the Baptist has a really good self-image. He knows who he is. He knows who he's not. He's not the Christ. He's looking at Jesus and he goes, that guy right there, that's my cousin. But I know something about my cousin. He's God and I'm not.

He's Christ and I'm not. And I'm okay with that. I know what I'm called to. I know what my role is. I know what my limitations are.

And in knowing, I tell you, there's again a tremendous freedom in knowing and being content with who you are. You don't have to be anybody else. You don't have to be uber servant. You can just be who you are. You don't have to be faster than a speeding bullet.

You don't have to be able to leave tall buildings in a single bound. But you know, here's the problem. Our society loves that kind of stuff, applauds the overachiever. You know what God loves? God loves people who know their limits, know their callings, know their gifts, but also know what their gifts aren't. And can say, you know what? I'm not God.

I can't fix that. God can, but I know my limits. Let me just speak to you a moment about gifts, spiritual gifts. In the New Testament, there's three places.

1 Corinthians 12, Romans chapter 12, Ephesians 4. That is a list of spiritual gifts, right? And it's not a gift. It's several different gifts. And the idea that we get from that little list, one of the things is that God must love variety.

There's not a single way. There's many different expressions. There's many different assortments of people and gifts and the combination thereof that makes it beautiful. And by the way, even if two people have the same spiritual gift, it comes out different. Because the Bible says not only are there different gifts, but there's different administrations of the same gift.

So here's what it means. If you were to take two people, let's say you give a text of scripture to Chuck Swindoll, and you give the same text of scripture to somebody like Raul Reese, and you have them preach on it. Two different sermons, man. Two completely different ways of seeing things.

Both powerful, both good, both called, both anointed, both different. Same way with evangelism. Billy Graham can stand before thousands of people, not bad an eye. And just powerfully say, and you come to Christ now, and people will do it. You put another person in that podium facing a stadium filled with people, and they won't be able to say a word.

They'll just melt. Take that same person one on one with another human being, like knocking on the door. There's some people that couldn't stand in front of an audience of people, but they can knock on a door, and the door opens, and they can share with that person Christ. Not everybody can do that. A lot of us knock on the door and say, God, please don't let anybody be home.

I hate this. But you take that person, and he can over a period of time build a relationship with somebody, a colleague, and over time share powerfully. Same gift, different expression. I'm going to read something to you out of the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 12.

Don't bother turning to it. It's a different translation. The New Testament is interpreted by Eugene Peterson in his translation called The Message. But listen to this as I read it to you.

Paul writes, 1 Corinthians 12. You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts, limbs, organs, cells. But no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body.

It's exactly the same with Christ. I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant and not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge.

It's all the different but smaller parts arranged and functioning together. If foot says, I'm not elegant like hand embellished with rings. I guess I don't belong to this body. Would that make it so? If ear said, I'm not beautiful like eye, limpid and expressive.

I don't deserve a place on the head. Would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear?

If it was all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. Mark that. Let that sink in.

Right where he wanted it. So the spiritual gifts in a spiritual body, the church, are like physical parts in our physical body. Every now and then somebody gets the idea, well, if I am really good at exercising this spiritual gift, maybe somebody in leadership should recognize that and place me in a higher gift. So here I am. I'm really faithful. I'm going to get involved and exercise the gift of helps.

I hope somebody notices that so I can have like the gift of prophecy next month. You know what that's like? That's like a kneecap saying, hey, if I'm a really good kneecap, could I work my way up to becoming an elbow? I just want to work a little bit higher up the scale. Or a lung saying, if I'm really faithful of being a lung, could I have more exposure eventually?

Yeah, if you want to die, I suppose you could. But it's best to just function in the unction. And what gift God has given for you, for us to enjoy. So that's that's the second. Here's the third proper attitude. John the Baptist has the proper attitude. And here's the attitude of of not being bitter, not being angry, being joyful, but he's participating in the process. Verse 29.

Look what he says. He who has the bride is the bridegroom. That's Jesus. But the friend of the bridegroom, that's John, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice.

Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. It's a wedding illustration. Let me give you a little bit of a background. The friend of the bridegroom is like the ancient equivalent of the best man. Ever been a best man? Anybody here been a best man at a wedding?

OK. In those days, the best man, the friend of the bridegroom, he arranged the whole wedding. That was his job.

He arranged it all. And he was the liaison between the bride and the bridegroom. According to William Barkley, the friend of the bridegroom had one special duty, and that was to guard the bridal chamber and to let no false lover in. He would only open the door when in the dark he heard the bridegroom's voice and recognized it.

When he did, he was glad, and he went his way rejoicing, for his task is completed. What John the Baptist is saying is, I'm the best man at the wedding, and I'm so happy that my friend, my cousin, who is also my Lord, is getting the bride. You know, when I was the best man at my friend's wedding, I didn't stand there seething. I didn't go, I'm so jealous. I'm so hateful right now.

My friend, I wish I had that woman. That'd be like sickness to think that. He's happy for him. And John the Baptist is also filled with joy. That's the proper attitude toward anybody else who's blessed, anyone else who is used by God, anyone else who is successful, to rejoice in their accomplishments just like a best man would rejoice at a wedding. By the way, also in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the human body.

This is what he says. If one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. If one part of the body is honored, the whole body, all of the other members, are also honored with it. In the Old Testament, there's a great story of Moses going up to Mount Sinai and back, and on one occasion, he goes up with 70 of the elders, and they come back down. When they're coming back down, there's two guys that start prophesying.

Their names are given. El Dad and Medad start prophesying in the camp. Well, Joshua doesn't like that.

He thinks, you know what? Moses is the guy that's supposed to be the spokesman around here, not you two jokers. So he goes to Moses, and he goes, Moses, these two guys are prophesying in the camp. Stop them.

That's what he said. Even Joshua got caught up into this nonsense. I want you to listen to Moses' response. He said, Joshua, are you jealous for my sake?

I wish that all of God's people were prophets, and that the Spirit of God was on all of them. Isn't that a beautiful response? That's a response to John the Baptist. I'm just a friend of the bridegroom.

I'm so happy that this is happening. I'm sure his disciples were going, huh? And here's the fourth proper thing. There was a proper relationship. Look at verse 30.

It really is the best, one of the greatest verses in Scripture and the best one of what John said. Verse 30, he must increase, or go on growing, literally, but I must decrease. More of him, less of me. Say that with me. More of him, less of me.

Now say it like you mean it. More of him, less of me. That's good stuff. That is the cure. That is the antidote for self-focused living. There's so much of that today. What about me?

What about my needs? And see, John's disciples were trying to make it all about John. Well, John, Jesus and his gang, they're getting more people. John is saying, would you quit making this about me? This is not about me. This is about him. More of him, less of me.

It's a beautiful, beautiful solution. When William Carey, that great missionary to India, was dying, he turned to his friend. He said, when I'm gone, don't speak about William Carey. Speak about William Carey's savior. That's the attitude of John the Baptist. John's statement is also a statement of divine necessity. He must increase.

This has to happen, boys. Because I'm here simply as the herald. My job, my role was the forerunner of the Messiah. I pointed the way.

Well, guess what? He's here. And so now that the king has come, the herald doesn't need to be around.

There's no sense that people hang around the herald when the king is here. He must increase. I must decrease. It's sort of like the sun and the moon. The moon is great, but when the sun comes up in the morning, the moon doesn't need to hang around and compete.

It needs to go away and let the sun take over. And John is happy. He must increase. His sun must rise, and I must diminish. So here's my question. Could it be that you're dealing with something similar, that you're being eclipsed by somebody else in your family, in your peer group, at the office, other brothers and sisters? They're eclipsing you.

They're more successful than you are. How do you handle that? We realize there's a sovereign God who gives everybody whatever He thinks they should have.

I can handle that. Number two, to recognize the limitations of my own gifts and be content to function therein. Number three, to be joyful that you're just part of the process, that God uses any of us at all. And finally to say, it's not about me. More of Him. More of Him.

And much, much, much less of me. I want to conclude this morning by reading something. I don't know who wrote it.

The author is anonymous. I think that even makes it better, because it's called Dying to Self. And you've heard that illustration before, that we should die to ourselves.

Here's a question. What does that mean? Here's what it means. When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely said it not, and you sting and you hurt with insult or oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that's dying to self. When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, when your advice is disregarded, when your opinions are ridiculed and you refuse to let anger in your heart or even defend yourself, but you take it in patient, loving silence, that is dying to self. When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is dying to self. When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self. When you never care to refer to yourself in a conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self. When you see your brother prosper and to have his needs met and you can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy or question God while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances, that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that is dying to self. And that just proves how far we have to grow. And you know what? God will let us grow and God is committed and patient that we would grow and come to that wonderful, freeing position. It's all about Him.

It's really not about any of us. Boy, listening to all that, it's easy to think that dying to oneself has to be one of the most difficult challenges we'll ever face. However, it's also one of the most rewarding challenges because when we can get out of the way, that's when we'll see God do some amazing work in our lives. And we're going to leave you right there to ponder that for a while as we wrap up today's show.

But before we go, here's Skip and Lenya with a closing thought. You know, there are a lot of challenges that Christians face and I think some of the challenges aren't as apparent. You know, we think it's going to be the obvious. Someone offers you a drink or you go get invited to a party and someone pulls out something that shouldn't be at the party or you shouldn't be engaged in. And sometimes the biggest challenge to a Christian is that we're growing, that we're actually going somewhere in our faith. I mean, a lot of complacency or being too comfortable can be a problem for Christians.

So what would you say is some of the biggest challenges as a Christian to grow up? I once heard Christianity described as a long obedience in the same direction. And I've always liked that. You know, we plod along. It's a walk.

It's one step in front of another step in front of another step. And I think a lot of people are event-oriented. It's like, what's the new event? What's the new concert?

What's the new thing? Instead of that daily obedience and that daily walk, long obedience in the same direction. There's something to be said about a long-term commitment and commitment longer than microseconds.

And if we're faithful and loyal, the Lord looks for that and rewards that openly. Emphasis on walk. You know, I've heard you say before when we've been at an arcade or Disneyland back in the day at Frontierland, that they have the duck shooting things. That is, the ducks are rotating or coming by. And the ducks that are easy to pick off are the sitting ducks. And so I think it's the same thing as Christians.

If you're not moving forward in your faith, then you become... A target, easy to get down. Well, thanks, Skip and Lenya. And as we bring our time to a close today, if you'd like a copy of today's study, it's available for just $4 plus shipping. So call 1-800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com. Join us next time for a revealing message Skip has entitled, The Nail Everything Hangs On, right here on Connect with Skip weekend edition. A presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast your burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 21:55:30 / 2023-01-08 22:04:41 / 9

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