The bridegroom’s voice

10-john-on-jesus-he-must-increase-i-must-decrease-keynote-wide-004-004John 3:26-30 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.

John’s ministry had just hit it’s climax. It was exciting. Big crowds were coming to hear him preach and to be baptized of him. People were trusting the message, and he had a big following. But something happened. Jesus came on the scene. And we see here, someone – either his own disciples or the Jews that were round about, sharing some news with John: “John, you know the One you preached and proclaimed? Well, He’s baptizing, and all men are going to Him. Our crowds are dwindling. They’re now following Him now.” And I love John’s response. “I’m the friend of the bridegroom, and the friend of the bridegroom rejoices at His voice. I must decrease, and He must increase.”

When we preach Christ, and point people to Him, inevitably, at times, people will leave us to follow Christ in a greater capacity. I remember when I first took part of the youth work here at PBC. We recruited some solid teachers and workers. And things were happening. However, as our teachers and workers grew in faith and ministry, and follow Christ in a greater capacity, slowly, one by one, they began to leave and take their own ministries and shepherd their own flock. At one point I was thinking, “it sure would be nice not to always be giving up our workers like this”. But as I look at what they’re doing now – one is a pastor, and another a Spanish pastor, and another a ft staff member at our church – I should be thrilled when the Lord chooses to take one of “ours” or “mine” for His sake. Even now, as an administrator, we’ve had a couple key staff leave already, or in preparation to leave to the mission field. Might I, with John, rejoice as this happens. For, we’re not in this for us. We’re in this for the bridegroom. And if they follow Him, I’m happy.

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