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

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September 18, 2022 6:00 am

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

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September 18, 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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The mark of real growth. Somebody was going down in humility run down and make one who submits himself to the Lord. Humility is the opposite of what I drive ruins everything got Lucifer out of heaven to Adam and Eve out of the garden.

Saul out of the kingdom ruins marriages ruins families ruins churches to critically Skip weekend division Peter Pan was a kid who felt the solution to his problems was to never grow up.

It seemed to work so well friended what his favorite storyteller. Wendy was on the verge of throwing up yourself to Neverland to keep that from happening.

What he didn't expect was when he was actually looking forward to getting older and the special joys that come with going into adulthood. The simple fact was, not everyone was like Peter Pan everybody else's to grow up sooner or later, and that's a good thing it's a good thing for us as Christians to however as with so many things in God's kingdom. Growing up in our relationship with Christ is a bit different from simply growing up in the world will cover some more ground in John chapter 3 today so if you turn there in your Bibles skip. Isaac begins her study with a little insight from his childhood, when I was younger. I heard more than once people say to me what you grow up you ever hear that growing up what you grow up not typically what they meant by that is that I was acting up noxious or playing a prank or that I should somehow act older than I was acting at the time. Sometimes I discovered that these words came from people who just took life way too seriously. In fact, I think people can grow up, sometimes too fast.

I loved childhood. I still do. Somebody gave me a little bit about a list of some of the benefits of childhood here. Some of the highlights decisions were made by saying any meaning my name out. Life is good that ha. Mistakes were corrected by simply shouting due over money issues were handled by whoever was the banker and monopoly. It wasn't odd to have two or three best friends that he's my best friend and and he's my best friend to the net on the tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball and the rules didn't matter. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties. It was magic. When dad would remove his thumb scrapes and bruises were cast and made all better.

What I was then but we do grow up. In fact, we should grow up. The most important area we should have growth and is spiritually should grow up spiritually in Ephesians 4. Paul said that you may grow up in all things into him who is the head, even Christ. But I discovered something and I think you'll see it illustrated here this morning to grow up, you must first grow down the mark of real growth is somebody who is grown down in humility grown down in meekness one who submits himself to the Lord. Humility is the opposite of what pride pride ruins everything it got Lucifer out of heaven.

It took Adam and Eve out of the garden.

It took Saul out of the kingdom ruins marriages, it ruins families, it ruins churches in John chapter 3, we have a paragraph or John the Baptist is tempted with pride. There's a temptation for him to fall into spiritual pride we discover as we see him again. This guy has grown. He's grown by growing downward in humility as we see his response. John is not climbing the ladder of importance. We find it is climbing down that ladder. Verse 22 is where we begin this morning to verse 30. Let's read it together before we consider it piece by piece. After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea and there he remained with them, and baptized now. John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there and they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification and they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you testified, behold, he is baptizing in all our coming to him. John answered and said a man can receive nothing unless it is been given to him from heaven. You yourselves Jeremy witness that I said I am not the Christ. But I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom and 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, he must increase but I must decrease. Okay, here's what we have we have here an honest struggle and a humble servant or we have a humble servant response to an honest struggle. But here's what's happening. Here's the background. The story begins with an apparent rivalry between two groups. Jesus disciples and John the Baptist disciples.

John the Baptist is being eclipsed. Jesus is growing in notoriety and in controversy people have heard about the marriage supper at Cana they've heard about all the miracles he did in Jerusalem. They heard about his confrontation with the religious elite and that news is spreading and more and more and more people are coming to where Jesus is.

It says that John and Jesus are both at the Jordan River baptizing her something you need to know it was John's disciples who saw Jesus disciples. Baptizing Jesus himself was doing none of the baptizing is there will how do you know that I know that from the very next chapter. Notice John chapter 4 begins.

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. Watch this though Jesus himself did not baptize but his disciples, he left today and departed to Galilee so there's Jesus disciples there baptizing people calling people to repentance like John. This leads to an argument between John the Baptist, followers and some Jews about purification. We have no idea what that argument was about.

None of the details are given.

This in turn leads to John's followers, going to John himself and complaining that Jesus group Jesus dig is growing larger than their gig verse 26 and it came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who is with you beyond the Jordan. That's Jesus to whom you gave or have testified give testimony, behold, he is baptizing and all our coming to him see that word all is called an exaggeration and emotional exaggeration. Everyone isn't coming to Jesus, but it sure seems like they are from John the disciple's perspective so here's the principle illustrated well here, God's own children can sometimes disagree.

Here's two groups are sensing rivalry between each other and they illustrate that sometimes God's own children can disagree.

I remember Walter Martin when he was alive would say to me from time to time I knew him because he came and spoke here. He said if you find two people that agree on everything. One of them is not thinking that's true isn't it a two human beings. They may share many things in common but they're knocking to agree on every point of life and is not the same with God's children as well. The church is not a society of perfect people and we know that you'd be surprised how many younger people get so disillusioned and younger Christians. I mean, there's a matter the age, but they expect to find among the church perfection and their dissolution. They go from one church to another church, another church in a hopeless search for the perfect church but the church is not a society of perfect people at society. Society of redeemed people who express their spirituality through their own imperfect personality.

This way it is. Dr. Bob Cook was the president of youth for Christ, and he cleverly said God reserves the right to use people who disagree with you. John's disciples Jesus disciples are not seeing eye to eye right now God is using them both and I can hear some people thinking yeah but were were supposed to get along perfectly mean after all work with the family of God. That's my point exactly ever been on a family vacation. Hey, I grew up going from California to Minnesota in the summer in a rambler station wagon without air conditioning for boys in the back. Mom and dad driving. It was a mass we love each other but boy did we fight, we find that even in the Bible in Genesis 13, you have the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of lot and there is a disagreement that family disagreement we come in Genesis 31 we have Jacob and Laban nephew and uncle having a confrontation. That's family with Genesis 37 Joseph and his own brothers a confrontation. That's family. We get to the New Testament, we see that spiritual family we come to these 12 disciples. They argued more than once, would be the greatest in the kingdom we come to the book of acts, and we find that Peter the apostle, and Paul the apostle had a disagreement about the law it surfaces in the book of Galatians in acts chapter 15 we have the Jerusalem Council at odds with each other as to the merits and meaning of salvation we have in the very same chapter Paul and Barnabas having such a disagreement. The contention was so sharp between them that they split company. Now that is reality. That's reality. Don't get the idea that when Christians hang around each other that it's always that they speak in soft sanctuary tones and music in the background and all we who have walked with Christ and each other for some time know that to be true. No, sometimes such disagreements are carnal and frankly stupid. Would you not agree that the controversy in the Corinthian church member. What Paul wrote about one says I am of Paul, once as I'm of the Paulus another says I'm of Cephas, then there was the super spiritual group. We thought they were better than anybody Ono were just of Christ. And Paul writes of them and says you're all carnal so there's there's a possibility of such disagreements being just carnal and wrong and downright stupid. I read a newspaper article get this, a group of firefighters in Fort Worth, Texas, were arrested because the firefighters deliberately set over 40 fires. The firemen set 40 fires when they were caught and they were asked why they did it. Here is the response we had nothing to do and we just like seeing the red lights flash, and the bills claim number.

Some people are like that he disliked it just to have anything to do and I want to hear controversy and see things stirred up and they started up and it's wrong. Then there are occasions when it's not carnal, it's corrective. And when it's corrective is caring. It is loving. There is a time for Christians to put their foot down and the fight sometimes we need to vehemently disagree when there is false teaching that would undermine the very fabric of the Christian truth, we come against that and the Bible even says we should in Jude verse three put up a good fight or fight hard for the faith that was given to the holy people of God but that's the truth we see it displayed here, God's kids can sometimes disagree something else on the heels of that that we also find not only can sometimes God's kids disagree they can compete with one another group of servants for Christ competing with each other instead of seeing a complement to one another. That's what's going on with John the Baptist disciples have a very human reaction.

They see Jesus thing dig growing larger than theirs.

They love John there loyal to John and they're making it about Jesus versus John a very human reaction.

Why is that, well, John the Baptist spent so many years in preparation in isolation, and then he came down to the Jordan River and start preaching and baptizing, and crowds of people gathered around him, a people from every strata of society from Jerusalem from Judeo even Herod like to listen to them. People were saying such things like this guy so wonderful.

You must be like Elijah the prophet reincarnated all of that and now another star is rising higher than that. That's Jesus more publicity, more notoriety, along with more controversy. That's the competition and John's disciples feel very personal about it now. It's unfortunate, but it is true you know that as far back as Paul the apostle. Do you know the people around Paul saw Paul is competition. The not so weird why would anybody want to compete or get mad at Paul, but Paul writes from the Roman prison to the Philippian church. In chapter 1 verses 15 and 16.

I'll paraphrase it, remember it as best as I can. He said some preach Christ out of envy and strife and others preach Christ out of goodwill. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. In other words, they want to make my stay in prison worse than it is.

These want to stir things up, boy, that's contemporary stuff. We are a competitive society and everyone in ministry out of study John chapter 3 in Philippians 1 because that is so real I I read something this week sort of shocked me. There's a seminary back in the East Prof. of homiletics that's preaching at the seminary said that he gives to his students. He has a lease in the past given them a test. Every year, and it's a scientifically designed word association test, you know I'll say a word and what first word you write it down or say it so it was designed to see what kind of thoughts. The seminarians were thinking.

He discovered where there's a lot of bitterness and resentment in these kids. For instance, he would give them the word truck driver and they would associate immediately with that lazy and they listed several different groups of people and he was shocked at the response. So he said and I quote very often those who go into the ministry are negative and highly competitive people always see that illustrated even with John's own disciples were saying what they're saying and feeling with their feeling with Jesus that we get, I think, to the best part we go from the on a struggle to the humble servant. In other words, now is John the Baptist response to all and to discover something John the Baptist has for things in proper order number one. He is the proper theology.

Look at verse 27 John answered and said a man can receive nothing unless it is been given to him from heaven.

That's a high view of God is not is John the Baptist hearing what his disciples are telling them Jesus church is growing bigger near John and John says you know what God is sovereign. No man can receive anything unless God gave it to how many of you believe that how many of you believe that God is powerful enough to run the whole universe. How many of you believe God is powerful enough to run your own life. Okay, good. As you know, that means this 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. That's why if you believe that that's what it means God gave it to his neck.

Great maiden that 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 the wire was 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 bigger business or they have more significant status or a bigger family, or a prettier cat or whatever it might be.

This is the way to see this is the lens to view that through God gave it to Matteo 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 what happened because I was so faithful are Bellevue has nothing to do with the God this is so good he gave it to you. Listen to a pulse at first Corinthians 4 verse seven. What makes you better than anyone else. What do you have the God hasn't given to you, and of 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 of the high view of God.

He is sovereign and nothing escapes his notice.

You believe in nothing escapes God's notice in your life. You believe in nothing escapes God's notice in your brothers, sisters, life can you rest and 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 it's hard for some people who said good.

The cynical culture tells us if it seems too good to be true it probably is the fact that God wants to give us grace and eternal life is one of those too good to be true type of the habit have to prove worthy of God which is given to you because you love. That's why it's called good news. That's what we need to share the what were just about out of time. But before we wrap things up.

Let's find out more about this place correctly Skip resource off the United States.

The devastating civil order to overcome a deeply defining issue was of Jesus and people who represent his life. We can help one another deal with this topic today Skip hi thinking Tony Clark speak to white evangelical pastors about how churches we can create spaces for black and brown voices to be heard in a loving atmosphere concerning the atmosphere is fine this moment because he racism is a safe is a sin I now is our job began to die down and to have a mindset and also having sympathy in the those who are trying to live out this Christianity and their skin may be a little bit darker than yours cultivate the entity that comes from gaining a biblical perspective on racism or copy of this conversation between Pastor Skip and Tony when you get $20 or more today will send you Pastor Skip spoke with the church and bring to them, 892 1888, or get online securely and don't forget also asked for a copy of today's study. It's available for just four dollars plus shipping. When you call us at 1-800-922-1881. Learn more about how to grow up by growing down next so hope you can make a point to join us, right here and correctly Skip weekend edition presentation of connection

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