The Joy of Decreasing
Jamie Hart   -  

Due to the bad weather, we had some technical difficulties and a portion of the sermon was not recorded.

John 3:22-36

22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside, where he spent time with them and baptized.

23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were coming and being baptized, 24 since John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 Then a dispute arose between John’s disciples and a Jew about purification. 26 So they came to John and told him, “Rabbi, the one you testified about, and who was with you across the Jordan, is baptizing ​— ​and everyone is going to him.”

27 John responded, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”


31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, and yet no one accepts his testimony. 33 The one who has accepted his testimony has affirmed that God is true. 34 For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands. 36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him. (CSB)

The Problem (22-26)

“Rabbi, the one you testified about…is baptizing — and everyone is going to him.”

How do you handle the success of others?

Envy enters when, seeing someone else’s happiness or success, we feel ourselves called into question. Then, out of the hurt of our wounded self-esteem, we seek to bring the other person down to our level by word or deed. They belittle us by their success, we feel; we should bring them down to their deserved level, envy helps us feel. Full-blown envy, in short, is dejection plus disparagement plus destruction.

– Os Guinness

The Posture (27-30)

A Study in Self-Understanding

Do you know who you are?

I am Blessed

No once can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven.

The truth is that if God wanted us to have more right now, we would have it. If we needed different gifts to enable us to glorify him, he would provide them. If we were ready for the job or the ministry we want, he would put us into it. If we were supposed to be in a different situation in life, we would be in it. Instead of always saying, “If only this” and “If only that,” God calls us to glorify him to the fullest right now, whatever situation we are in.

– Philip Ryken

I am the Best Man

But the grooms friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. 

The “friend of the bridegroom,”…had a unique place at a Jewish wedding. He acted as the liaison between the bride and the bridegroom; he arranged the wedding; he took out the invitations; he presided at the wedding feast. He brought the bride and the bridegroom together. And he had one special duty. It was his duty 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 heard the bridegroom’s voice he was glad and he let him in, and he went away rejoicing, for his task was completed.

– William Barclay

I am Fading

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Joy is found in the downward descent.

The Perspective (31-36)

The one who comes from above is above all.

Where are you in the story?

Where have you set your seal?

If you should ask me to state in one phrase what I regard as the greatest defect in most Christian lives I would say that it is our failure to know God as our Father as we should know Him. That is our trouble, not difficulties about particular blessings. The central trouble still is that we do not know, as we ought to, that God is our Father. Ah yes, we say; we do know that and believe it. But do we know it in our daily life and living? Is it something of which we are always conscious? If only we got hold of this, we could smile in the face of every possibility and eventuality that lies ahead of us.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones 

Romans 8:32

He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?